This Progress Report continues the coverage of the commercial overhaul of my Hunslet 0-4-2T steam locomotive by Ainsworth Engineering in Goulburn.
The overhaul has included several modifications to the locomotive in order to enhance the safety of its future operations at Junee. In its new environment, the loco could be working under hot and dry conditions during the summer months. Accordingly, in order to minimise the risk of any grass fire starting, the ashpan was modified to be able to hold water – thus any hot ashes dropping from the firebox would be extinguished. An improved spark arrestor has been fitted into the smokebox area. And finally, a water outlet from the injector has been fitted, along with a short hose, which will allow prompt access to water under pressure – hopefully enabling any sparks etc that do escape to be extinguished before any fire commences. These works are not obvious in the photos that I have taken, but it may be practical to record these when the locomotive undergoes trials at Junee.
During its life at the Mill and subsequently in the coastal environment of Wangaratta Park at Queen’s Beach, Bowen, the condition of the cab roof had deteriorated considerably – there were many rust holes in the side gutters, while the roof itself had additional holes where the original safety valve extensions protruded. Thus, as part of the overhaul, the original roof was discarded and a new one manufactured, to the same general design.
While the locomotive would have had some type of mechanical lubricator when in service at the Mill, this was not remaining on the engine at the time of recovery from Wangaratta Park. When in service at Loftus, all lubrication had to be undertaken manually – this meant accessing under the engine via an inspection pit to oil up the internals. This was no problem with the very limited sphere of operation at Loftus, but it was anticipated that greater distances would be able to be run at Junee, necessitating an improved lubrication system. Ken Ainsworth has taken a personal interest in the Hunslet’s overhaul and was able to source a second hand mechanical lubricator at a more than reasonable price – greatly appreciated! This has since been fitted and plumbed, so I am looking forward to the operational improvements this will bring.
Those of you who have witnessed the Hunslet in operation at Loftus under less than ideal conditions may have seen the necessity to manually lay sand in order to gain any sort of traction on the steep grade towards the front fence. This also severely limited the tractive effort and ability to push any kind of load up the grade. As part of the overhaul, the sanding equipment has been fully rebuilt and returned to operating condition. This has required not only the reconstruction of the releasing gear inside the two sandboxes, but also the manufacture and fitting of new control rodding from the cab area. It will be interesting to see how this equipment will work in general service. Regretfully, there is no sanding for bunker-first operations, so should this take place under adverse conditions, the skills of the engineman will be tested!
At some time in the dim distant past, the locomotive lost its Hunslet-style funnel/chimney for a simple stove pipe. Whilst operational, this did not appear to restrict the operational capacity of the locomotive, it just did not “look right”. No replacement funnel was available (does anyone any a spare Hunslet style funnel in their collection they would care to make available?!), I looked to improving the appearance of the existing one. I costed the manufacture of a copper-top look-a-like, but would have been several thousand dollars. The alternative gives the loco a slightly European look – what are your thoughts? Does it improve the look of the loco?
And now to the continuing photographic coverage of the project;
Thursday, 24th September 2015
2015-2485: By the time of this visit, the locomotive had been reassembled and had received its basic painting. Various inquiries had failed to disclose a colour scheme carried whilst in Mill service, so I made a “Captain’s call”, selecting a black smokebox, green boiler and side tanks, black underframe with red running board and motion. The green colour scheme, rather than black all-over, would also allow for easier photography amongst the pale green/straw coloured grass of Junee. At this stage, no lining had been undertaken. As a link to its Mill service, I decided to have its old name TORPEDO reinstated to the side-tanks.
2015-2487: The back of the firebox, showing the refurbished gauge glasses and throttle. I hope they operate as well as they look – anything would be a major improvement, with the throttle previously being difficult and finicky to operate.
2015-2490: As mentioned above, Ken Ainsworth was able to track down a Delvac twin delivery lubricator in good condition and at a most reasonable price. In this image, following an overhaul, the lubricator has been bolted into position, including the linkage to the piston rod, but the lubrication lines have not been installed.
2015-2491: Considerable expertise was required to design, construct and install the rodding to operate the forward sanding gear within the original sand boxes. Although not obvious in this image, rodding passes under the boiler in order to operate the sanding gear on the other side of the loco.
Thursday, 27th October 2015
2015-2753: Only a month later, I was back at Goulburn, mainly to inspect preliminary works on the overhaul of the Ruston locomotive. Some minor works were still required on the Hunslet (mainly trying to source a second steam injector of a more suitable size, which has so far proved elusive). In the meantime, in order to provide some protection from the workshop dust, the loco has been encased in plastic sheeting, part of which was removed so that I could inspect the signwriter’s expertise on one of the side-tanks.
Wednesday, 30th March 2016
2016-1732: Again, this visit mainly centred around inspecting the progress with the Ruston diesel, as well as having a look at the preliminary works on proposed modifications to one of my four 4-wheel passenger carriages – both to be covered in future Progress Reports. The manufacture of the addition to the funnel/chimney has been completed and fitted. Any feedback as to whether this is an enhancement on the original straight stack would be welcomed. 2016-1733: A close-up of the side-tank, now lined, showing the restored TORPEDO name – reckon the signwriter has done a great job with the lettering and shading.
I’m now looking forward to the day next month when the completed Hunslet, Ruston and carriage make their triumphant delivery run to Junee and Pete’s Hobby Railway. I really can’t wait!!!!
Pete’s Hobby Railway