January 2010 Update

Fowler #5: The new spun steam dome cover top was grafted onto the old one that was surplus after L509s overhaul. Also the hole formerly used for the pump take off on that loco was welded up and after being painted was fitted in its rightful place. After successfully passing its boiler survey the regulator valve face was removed and built up before being machined off and scraped resulting in much easier and smother operation. The loco is used on Sunday trains and is performing well.

C847: Prior to the railfans weekend in April the boiler was striped for survey and passed with no problems. However the Westinghouse pump decided it didn’t want to participate in the weekend and the spare (ex 935) also was not interested. The pump off WW571 was borrowed and was eventually coaxed into life allowing the loco to take part. A number of superheater elements were later found to be leaking and these have been either repaired or replaced. The regulator was proving to be quite difficult to open and shut. Originally this was thought to be the packing on the operating lever side of the cam shaft which was duly replaced. This helped slightly but a full strip down revealed the bush on the fireman’s side of the cam had seized onto the shaft. It proved quite difficult to remove however it did budge finally after several different torque multipliers were tried. It was re-machined and refitted. The valves and their seats also came in for attention the seats being refaced to tidy up some bruised areas and the valves similarly treated. They also had their spindle collars built up and machined to get them opening in the correct sequence again.

De505: More work has been undertaken on the low voltage wiring replacing wires that the insulation has broken down on.

Rm30: To cure the long standing problems with the batteries a successful grant application has seen the purchase of a set of brand new batteries. These are currently being fitted. The better old batteries will be used to make up a new set for Rm 34.

Rm34: It’s been a while since this railcar has featured in this column but progress is being made on putting it back into one piece. Several months have been spent sorting out the wiring problem associated with when it was striped for its “overhaul”. This culminated with the engines being test run for the first time in many years. Work is now focusing on finishing off of the interior work and refitting the seats.

C132: Since the last report things have been happening steadily with this project. All the boiler welding repairs were completed by late march allowing the boiler to be x-rayed on the 3rd of April. With this hurdle successfully past the team turned their attention to re-riveting the lap seams and the smokebox tubeplate followed by tubing. The boiler is fitted with 10 stay tubes and these were welded in place after which the rest of the tubes were cut, swaged, annealed and the ends polished. They were then all expanded into place and the firebox ends seal welded. The 2 brackets removed for easier access inside the dome were re riveted allowing the boiler to be filled with water. Some problems with the fit of the mud hole doors were the only problem areas and these are being attended to allowing the boiler to be hydro tested. Work has also continued on the frame. After a through steam cleaning (steam being provided by #5) it was decided to remove the springs and wheels. The springs were in a rather sad state with several broken leaves. These were first taken to the blacksmith in Eastbourne however after waiting for several months and having no action they were picked up and taken to Whitecliffs blacksmith outside of Christchurch. Only a couple of weeks later they were shipped back completed. The Wheels and axle boxes were dropped out in a morning using the newly commissioned drop pit. The axle box brasses are in fairly good order however all the gear associated with the springing is well and truly flogged out and is currently the main focus of work. Yet another grant application resulted in us being able to purchase, and have cut out and rolled steel for a new saddle tank.

L509: Work has continued on the cowcatcher construction with the first one completed and riveted awaiting fitting to the rear. This will require the air pipe to be rerouted behind the rear headstock. The Loco ran without the large headlight for a few weeks while the one belonging to MOTAT was measured up for a new one to be fabricated. This was undertaken, the new one fitted and MOTAT’s one returned to them. The mechanical lubricator has been giving erratic feeds recently so was removed from the loco, striped and cleaned giving a slight increase in feed. It was always know that when the loco returned to service that it would have to be retubed before too long and following another successful grant application this was undertaken over a 2 week period. The ash pan has also required some attention after the both the doors were buckled by ash build up and the side mesh was replaced with more suitable material.

Barclay 531: Since arriving at SSR in May the loco was stripped down to allow the wheels to be removed for re-profiling. This work was undertaken at Acme engineering in Petone. While the wheels were removed some other areas were tidied up on the fame and it was painted. The wheels were then refitted allowing parts of the motion work to be reinstated. The new components for the couplers was finished, sandblasted, painted and returned to the frame. Work on the new boiler has also progressed with the making up of new studs allowing the mountings to be blanked off for a hydro test. New wash out plugs were turned up and also fitted. The boiler has been filled with water and there are no leaks or problems apparent. The doubling plate for the regulator quadrant has been made along with the studs for the firebox door and these await fitting. The new smoke box was rolled up and the joining ring and front of the boiler drilled allowing the smoke box to be slipped on for welding to the joining ring. The boiler was placed on the frame for the first time to mark out the saddle bolts and to cut the foot plate to suit the shape of the firebox. The smoke box was then fully welded and fitted with the door hinges and the holes for the exhaust pipes and funnel cut out.

A1833: This car is currently inside the workshop to have some repairs done to the roof cover after a gust of wind caught it one Sunday.

Wagons: The new works Kp wagon arrived on site in March and over the following few weeks was fitted with missing brake components. It was planned to use the wagon for the railfans weekend however it wasn’t but it did allow the track gear to be transferred out of the Fm Modules on Ub1206 and them to be taken off the Ub making that wagon available for the goods trains. E3703 the small 4 wheel tank wagon was water blasted and painted prior to the railfans weekend.

Workshop: Visitors to the workshop in the last few months would have noticed that it is looking very different. This came about after Hutt Workshops were selling off some surplus machinery. SSR were successful in tendering for a Dean Smith and Grace Lathe. A corner near the entrance to the depot was chosen as the place where the lathe would be set up. However it was chock full of over 20 years of “accumulations” which had to be shifted before it could be moved in. The lathe is already being put to good use on parts for C132. Also purchased in recent months was a large milling machine and a place had to be cleared for this to be set up. This has resulted in a far more organised and less cluttered workshop. A few of the unlined walls were even lined and painted to give the whole area a brighter look.

North end: The major filling work on the left creek side of the tracks has been completed in recent months and the whole area levelled. The area south of the new shed has been cleared of growth and track etc and a start made on filling this. The carriage under frame that was sitting here for many years was sold to Mainline Steam who is using parts of it for a new 50ft under frame they intend to build. The new carriage storage shed was basically complete by March however a problem with the rail doors caused a problem however this is now sorted. The concrete nib wall is now in place leaving just track laying to complete.

Track: Concrete sleeper laying has continued on the north end curve with 4 sets now complete. Some new timber sleepers were replaced at the north end of Mc Kirdy loop and also 12 sleepers just north of the double slip were replaced and ballasted. Some joints near Bedplate have been jacked up and hand tamped

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