Progress Report 31

We had a problem with the Pete’s Hobby Railway web page over the last weekend (10th-11th June) – naturally it occurred while both myself and Nick (who looks after the page) were away from Junee in Sydney, and so could not immediately resolve the issue. I’m pleased to say that the problem has been sorted out – as is evident that you are now able to read this latest Progress Report! Thanks, Nick (and Kyle)!!!

While the Hunslet 0-4-2T steam locomotive still remains at Goulburn awaiting caulking of the firebox weep, just about all of the other post-overhaul adjustments and subsequent minor modifications have been completed. We at Pete’s Hobby Railway are looking forward to the return of “Torpedo”. Trials will be undertaken to hopefully test the locomotive’s improved steaming capabilities, now that the hardened piston packing with its resultant steam leaks has been replaced and the defective drain-cocks repaired. We are also looking forward to testing the new coupling arrangement which we anticipate will make the rides for my passenger friends a lot more bearable.

The cool winter conditions (dawn being around Zero℃, rising to around 15℃ or so during the day) has meant that our weed-poison operations described in my previous Progress Report have taken a little time to show results, but are now slowly doing so.

Winter rains have turned the dry grass to a nice verdant green, making my property quite attractive (especially for railway photographs!), as well as providing for some interesting photographic opportunities. All the photos in this Report were taken on 13/06/2017 by myself.

IMAGE 2017.3018: The leaves of one of the Kurrajong trees at the entrance to my property make a great “frame” for Loftus station.

Image 2017.3018: The leaves of one of the Kurrajong trees at the entrance to my property make a great “frame” for Loftus station.

Following the commercial overhaul and conversion of one of Pete’s Hobby Railway’s four 4-wheel open carriages to a combined passenger/guard’s vehicle with hand brake, and the cosmetic painting of a second car by volunteers Nick and Rhys in time for my 75th earlier this year, similar attention is now being bestowed to a third vehicle. The carriage had been taken out of service prior to my 75th, along with the fourth car, when the seat supports gave way in both vehicles.

So far, the overhaul and repaint of the third carriage has been undertaken by yours truly in spare time (what is that, I ask myself). The collapsed side-panel supporting the rear seat has been reattached to the floor and one of the upright pillars, while additional support has been provided under the middle of the seat. This particular seat has had its timbers sanded back, undercoated and painted in a darkish brown using paint left over from the second car. Similarly, the remaindered light green paint has been used for the external side timbers and will later be used on the upright pillars.

Image 2017.3029: Cosmetic restoration of the third PHR carriage (actually numbered “4” just to confuse the issue!) is under way. The fourth carriage (not carrying an original number) is in the background waiting attention.

Image 2017.3029: Cosmetic restoration of the third PHR carriage (actually numbered “4” just to confuse the issue!) is under way. The fourth carriage (not carrying an original number) is in the background waiting attention.

Proposals for the fourth carriage include converting it into a “dining car” by the removal of the centre seat and replacing it with a suitable table. An alternative suggestion is to remove all the seating and replace same with lounge type chairs, but this cannot be done until there is suitable under-cover storage for the carriage when not in use.

Whilst shopping in nearby (40km away!) Wagga Wagga, we came across suitable seat cushions and backs, purchased for a very reasonable price – suitable for our interim “1st Class” carriage. Accordingly, these will be placed in the combined passenger/guard’s van, thus allowing our first class passengers to be attended to by Rhys our guard who may now have to take on the additional duties attending to these “special” passengers!

When Junee Shire Council approved of the construction of Pete’s Hobby Railway in June last year, this included to construction of a storage shed in which the operational locomotives and carriage would be securely kept under cover when not in use. The shed would allow for two tracks to pass through, with power-operated roller doors at each end and a single side-entry door. Because of the time since the original quotation was obtained, it was necessary to go back for an updated price to be obtained. However, when there was no response to my emails and phone-calls, we checked the premises out when in Wagga, only to find it closed, gate locked and “For Lease” signs plastered along the main street frontage. So, now it is back to square one!

It was with some reservations that I made mention some time ago in an early Progress Report that my unrestored Perry 0-6-2T was available for sale, as is, how is. While there have been several nibbles, (luckily?) these had not eventuated into a sale. Others within the PHR Volunteers Group had expressed a wish that it should be kept, particularly as it was the only Perry-built locomotive fitted for dual gauge operation (and one of the very few canefields locomotives). If the sale price had been achieved, the income would have covered about half the cost of overhauling back to operational condition, my 1900-vintage 0-6-0 Fowler locomotive. My soft spot has gotten the better of me, so I am withdrawing the Perry from sale and will continue with its cosmetic restoration as time and finances permit… along with any worthwhile income from OzLotto investments!

Image 2017.3021: The partially cosmetically restored Perry locomotive, with the Fowler loco in the background. The tender actually belongs to the Fowler, but doesn’t look out-of-place behind the Perry! What do others think?! The dual 3’6” (1067mm) and 2’0” (610mm) gauge couplings are visible on the front of the Perry.

Image 2017.3021: The partially cosmetically restored Perry locomotive, with the Fowler loco in the background. The tender actually belongs to the Fowler, but doesn’t look out-of-place behind the Perry! What do others think?! The dual 3’6” (1067mm) and 2’0” (610mm) gauge couplings are visible on the front of the Perry.

Everyone is anxious to get back into track construction works now that the cooler weather is with us. Mario (with his heavy machinery) is particularly keen, but to make things viable (or at least less expensive for me and PHR!) he wants to collect the Hunslet from Goulburn on his way south. In the meantime, basic poisoning of the grass, etc., on the future right-of-way has been undertaken. However, the cool conditions means that it is taking some time for the grass to die.

Image 2017.3030: The first lot of poison-spray is beginning to take effect on the proposed ROW. The areas on each side have since been sprayed, but it will be several weeks before this becomes evident.

Image 2017.3030: The first lot of poison-spray is beginning to take effect on the proposed ROW. The areas on each side have since been sprayed, but it will be several weeks before this becomes evident.

That’s all for this Report. Hopefully, the next one will cover the return of the Hunslet and the commencement of further extending the tracks on Pete’s Hobby Railway.

Cheers,
Pete.

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