The Carillon

Hello and welcome to another blog post from the Maldon Workshop at the Victorian Goldfields Railway. Way back in December when your blogger last posted I told you about a strange object that I had come across during a foray into the dark depths of the workshop. With no one around I was left to wonder what on earth was going on – was someone branching out into sculpture? Was it just a bored Friday Afternoon prank? A few days later when I asked one of the workshop regulars I got the answer – “it’s a Carillon”. A what now?


You may have noted the hammer in top of the above shot which is a clue – a Carillon is an ancient musical instrument played by striking. But a quick search reveals that a Carillon is normally housed in a bell tower and consists of at least 23 bells. Nice try, that ain’t no Carillon! But what is it?

Keen readers of this blog may recall that the rebuilding of the ashpan for the VGR’s coal burning steam locomotive K160 is one of the tasks being done at Maldon while most of the bigger stuff is being done at Newport Workshops. K160s ashpan was in very poor shape and to call it a rebuild is a bit of an understatement as almost none of the original item could be salvaged. The design of the ashpan on these types of locomotives is quite complex as it sits in between the driving wheels and takes all sorts of twists and turns to maximise it’s effectiveness in the confined space. One of the obstacles that needs to be overcome is axle of the real pair of driving wheels.


The image above may be a bit hard to make out but it shows the ashpan design of a Victorian Railways K Class steam locomotive. You can see 3 distinct hoppers with the front of the locomotive being on the left of the diagram. The large hump between the 2nd and 3rd hoppers is the relief for the rear driving wheel axle. And this is where our Carillon comes in. As you can see below far from being a musical instrument the subject of our blog is in fact a great example of workshop ingenuity. Faced with the task of bending a couple of pieces of angle steel into the semi hoop shape required for the ashpan Baz and Geoff came up with this.



In the top shot you can see that the piece of steel to be formed has been first held in place by a piece of scrap welded to the bench and then slowly bent around the makeshift forming tool which is also welded to the bench. In the lower shot you can see how other pieces of scrap have been carefully welded into place on the steel bench which was marked out beforehand using the plan featured above.

So there you go, mystery solved. We leave you with the full shot of workshop volunteer Geoff playing the “bells”. This is a great example of the sort of clever solutions that our workshop crew come up with in their ongoing efforts to keep our Railway running at full steam. For those of us lucky enough to see it up close it is a credit to all of them.


And that is a nice lead in to our next blog post which will will focus on work done over the Summer Fire Season to our Oil burning loco J549 while she is out of service. Tune in next time for Tubular Hells! Bye for now.