As covered in Progress Reports 28 and 29, my Hunslet 0-4-2T left Pete’s Hobby Railway on Monday, 3rd April last (immediately following Junee’s Rhythm n Rail weekend) for Ainsworth Engineering at Goulburn. Two separate slow-motion videos of the loading have now been attached to Progress Report 28 – taken from differing angles, the loading was well covered. Personally, I prefer the background music selected by Rhys for Josh’s coverage! But I’m “old”.
While making my way to Sydney on Friday last (19th May) for a “Modelling the Railways of NSW” seminar, I was able to meet up with Manager Ken Ainsworth to discuss progress with the Hunslet. Actually, there has been little progress since my earlier inspection on 24th April. As the caulking of the steam leak had not taken place, the steam test scheduled for Tuesday 16th May did not take place. The modified rear coupler is now in place – I look forward to trials when the Hunslet returns to Junee.
Inspection at Exeter
With my desire that the Unattended Platform Waiting Shed for Loftus platform should replicate the real thing as closely as possible, my attention was drawn to the fact that a much modified version of the structure continues to service passengers on the down platform at Exeter, just south of Moss Vale. I won’t dwell on the fact that we got a little lost finding the shortest way from the Freeway into Exeter, but we did get there a little before sunset (actually “cloud-set” as it was already getting dark and most photos were taken by flashlight!). This structure includes side windows and a rear sliding door for “out-of’s” to be loaded into road vehicles… however, many photos and some measurements were taken, which should assist Josh and his team in the construction of the appropriate structure for Loftus.
The Permanent Way – Weeds and Foliage
One concern on Pete’s Hobby Railway has been the quick appearance of weeds and foliage on the new permanent way. Back in the days of the Weavering Light Railway at Loftus, I gave up on maintaining a ballasted permanent way, instead allowing the track to be grassed over. But Pete’s Hobby Railway has higher standards, so I had been considering various ways to attack the problem.
Up to this time, all I had was a 5-litre over-the-shoulder spray outfit, not really suited to job in hand. When in the local (Wagga!) Bunnings hardware store in mid-May, I came across a larger version with a capacity of 37-litres. Distribution of the spray was through a small motorised pump, powered by a car battery (not included!). The tank was certainly portable (when empty!) and could easily sit on one of the carriage seats with the battery on the floor, leaving sufficient space on the seat for the spray operator.
Last Monday (22/5) I convinced Rhys to assemble the equipment. I had already charged up an old car battery which surprisingly still held a charge, so the equipment was first tested with water – and worked efficiently. Ben was not keen to carry out the first weedicide run, but was soon encouraged by Rhys to do so. Three single trips were required – the first spraying one side of the rail and formation, while the return trip did the other side. The third journey did the “four-foot” between the rails. Weeds growing on the surrounds of Loftus station were also dealt with. Some 110 litres of herbicide were sprayed – with the current colder weather, it will take several weeks to see the results (or otherwise) of the exercise.
Hopefully, the next Progress Report will cover the return of the Hunslet and subsequent trials, followed by a recommencement of track extensions as we try to reach the area where it is proposed to construct an inspection pit.
Until the next Report…