Progress Report 58: Rolling Stock Shed Fit Out

The short version: Electrical works within new rolling stock storage shed undertaken, internal fit-out completed, first items moved inside shed.

The longer version: Covers in greater illustrated detail what has been achieved.

Progress Report 55, dated December 31, 2019, covered the building of the locomotive and rolling stock Storage Shed, 10mW by 14mL, to lock-up stage.

Fitting Out

While structurally complete, the Shed still needed to be fitted out internally and electrically. Storage shelves containing locomotive and other parts, along with our small fitting workshop, which up until this time had been located in the semi-open within my partially enclosed house back veranda, now had to be relocated to the Shed.

However, as yet there is no rail access to the Shed as the turntable pit had to be constructed and the turntable (already manufactured off-site and delivered last year) installed, along with the access tracks into the Shed. Externally, on the pit road, de-ashing facilities and an elevated coal bunker were to be built.

Possibly the most unusual aspect to be included within the storage shed is a proposed built-in theatre -– or at least, a power-operated drop-down and retractable screen! Those who know me of old would be aware of the monthly Friday gatherings at my former abode at Loftus in Sydney for our “dirty film nights”.

Before you call the censor in, perhaps I need to explain!

On the third Friday of each month, and after an evening meal at a local Hotel, we would adjourn to my residence, then down to my model railway room. This was a converted double garage approx. 40-ft x 13-ft (13m x 4.2m), in which was a rather large HO-scale DCC layout of very-much freelance design, but operating New South Wales Railway prototypes of the 1950-1980 era – steam, diesel, electric, also multiple unit railcars and suburban electrics. After we had shown off our latest acquisitions and/or had become bored with this, we would adjourn to the lounge room where the night’s entertainment would commence, interspaced with supper etc. The entertainment usually consisted 35mm slides (or digital images) of railway action, old and modern, usually but not always of the NSWR, depending what was brought along by the Friday nighters. Otherwise, they suffered repeats from my own collection! Steam locomotives belching thick black smoke or diesels exuding imperfectly combusted fuel. This would continue sometimes until after midnight, or when I finally “threw them out the front door”, all still vowing to return next month for another dose.

Since relocating to Junee, I have not been able to hold any of these film nights. However, the new Storage Shed now provides for such evenings which will hopefully commence in the not-too-distant future.

Pending the availability of a contract electrician to undertake the permanent extension of the power mains from the house to the shed (and also to my archives shed), along with the installation of internal wiring, lights and multiple power points, a temporary supply was arranged by Dave. This comprised a wandering lead from a power point on the back veranda of my humble abode to a couple of temporary internal floodlights and to a local power board to which our electric jug, etc could be plugged in. Walkways were marked on the floor, with suitable instructions that they “must” be kept clear at all times.

Image 2020.0498: Josh marks out the safety walkway as Phil looks on. Thursday, 12/3/2020.

Image 2020.0498: Josh marks out the safety walkway as Phil looks on. Thursday, 12/3/2020.
 

March Volunteers’ Work Days – setting up the Equipment, etc.

With a planned volunteers’ work days planned for mid-March, a second temporary lead was run over from the house to provide power to PHR’s fridge and microwave, both acquired second hand for a good price and still in full working order. These work days took place from Friday 13th through to Tuesday 17th March and centred on the relocation of Matt’s fitting tools and equipment from my back veranda to a permanent and secure location within the Shed.

During the weeks beforehand, I had physically relocated a number of metal shelves from the back veranda into the shed, along with numerous parts, mainly motion-work and rodding, from the dismantled Fowler locomotive (stuff which I could physically move!).

The Friday (13/3) morning was taken up with discussions and planning as to where the Workshop and machinery etc., should actually go and how it could be moved, followed by the temporary removal of a considerable amount of my “railway archival materials” outside.

Image 2020.0512: Ben, Josh, Phil and Matt pose briefly for the camera as the milling machine is about to be dropped into place inside the Shed. Saturday 14//3/2020.

Image 2020.0512: Ben, Josh, Phil and Matt pose briefly for the camera as the milling machine is about to be dropped into place inside the Shed. Saturday 14//3/2020.
 

Saturday (14/3) saw the difficult job of actually moving the drill press and milling machine finally being accompanied by the appropriate language! It was a case of all hands (and strength!), with a little assistance from Josh’s Dingo machine. With that completed and in place, my “heritage junk” was brought back inside under secure cover.

Sunday (15/3) seems to have been taken up with a major re-sorting of the various steam bits-and-pieces on to specific shelving, along with tools, etc, etc…

It was now time to fill up the rail tracks within the Shed! I had long wanted to relocate the Fowler frame from being outside in the weather to the kinder confines of undercover shelter. It was a case of which comes first in the Fowler restoration project – to complete works on the frame or to undertake the boiler retube. I decided that a moveable frame had priority and with this inside the Shed, the volunteers would not be subject to the extremes of the Junee winter and summer.

Accordingly, the local T-Line Steel telehandler was hired for an hour or so on the Monday (16/3) to firstly move the worst of the four-wheel passenger carriages to inside the Shed on the pit road, followed by the Fowler frame which was placed on 1 Road, supported off-rail by judiciously placed plastic sleepers. Initially the frame was rested on sleepers to keep it off the concrete floor. Later, it was elevated by the use of jacks and permanently supported on four purchased stands which had been strengthened by Phil and Josh. Matt made sure that in its new location, the frame was precisely level.

Image 2020.0540 The Telehandler is about to place one of the carriages on to 2 Road, so it can be pushed inside and over the pit. Monday, 16/3/2020.

Image 2020.0540 The Telehandler is about to place one of the carriages on to 2 Road, so it can be pushed inside and over the pit. Monday, 16/3/2020.
 

The old saying goes something along the lines that on the seventh day, God rested. In this case, it was a simple BBQ that evening, put on by Josh.

Permanent Electrical Installation Works

It took a little time for our local (Junee) contract electrician to undertake the installation of the permanent 240v power supply to the Shed. The project was not a simple one as it included extension of the main supply from the house switch box to a sub-box within the Shed, together with a further extension to my Archives Shed, thus re-instating the supply to that establishment.

Phil and Josh had previously excavated the 600mm deep trench from the below the house switch box to the Storage Shed and beyond to the Archives Shed, making use of Josh’s multi-purpose “Dingo” – certainly far less back-breaking than having to manually dig out the trench! In the intervening period waiting for the electrician, the trench partially collapsed owing to rain, etc., but it was a quick project to excavate again, now the “Junee concrete” had been broken.

On the basis of doing it properly the first time, no expense was spared (well, a little was saved!!!) in wiring out the Shed fully, both with lighting and electrical power points.

For general internal lighting, four 45w LED strip light battens were attached to the ceiling adjacent to each of the two longitudinal walls. A single 120w LED high bay light was located at the western end of the Shed, suspended centrally from a cross-beam. Electrical provision was made for the later installation of two further bay lights, should they be needed.

Pit lighting is provided by six 45w LED strip lights (three on each side) and one 20w strip light at each end, below and between the rails.

Multiple dual power points were installed along the southern (machinery) side of the shed, mostly of 10 amp capacity. The supply for workshop machinery was kept on a separate circuit to that for the volunteers’ kitchen area with its fridge and microwave. A 15 amp point is located adjacent to the western roller door, together with two 10 amp points, the latter to provide power to an electric clock and the drop down / retractable projection screen. Within the pit, a single 15 amp outlet at the roller door end, while at the other end, a dual 10 amp outlet is located. Another 15 amp outlet is located within the workshop area, allowing sufficient power if required for an electric welder to be used.

The various outlets are located such that it is not necessary for power leads to be run over rail tracks. The general pit strip lighting is controlled from a switch located adjacent to the relevant eastern side roller door.

The three roller doors are power operated, both by a manual control located adjacent to each door and by remote. I had learnt the hard way with the manual chain pulley operations of the numerous roller doors at the Railway’s Heritage Store at Redfern, where I was Site Supervisor for some twelve years.

External flood lights have been provided at the eastern and western ends of the Shed, together with another looking along the southern side. None were required between the Shed and the house, as the existing back veranda lighting more than met requirements.

Apart from the pit lighting, the interior lighting is controlled from adjacent to the sub-box as are the external flood lights at the eastern and southern sides. Part of the internal lighting can also be switched on and off from the western end of the shed, as can the external western end floodlight.

The end results are an eye-opener, with the internal lighting resulting in an almost daylight brightness, as evidenced in some of the images accompanying this Progress Report.

Image 2020.0629: Night scene showing interior lighting of Shed being tested. Fowler frame is elevated on 1 Road. To have had the pit lights on as well would have provided too much glare! Wednesday 15/4/2020.

Image 2020.0629: Night scene showing interior lighting of Shed being tested. Fowler frame is elevated on 1 Road. To have had the pit lights on as well would have provided too much glare! Wednesday 15/4/2020.
 

Inspection Pit Works

We had the internal inspection pit, but no access to the pit floor or any safety fencing. This was remedied when our local contractor T-Line arrived on Thursday 30th April with newly manufactured four flights of stairs, each complete with a handrail, plus portable safety fencing for the length of the pit. This fencing had been designed so that it could be temporarily removed if required for any reason, but normally it remains in place. Apprentices from T-Line installed the steps and fencing the same day.

Image 2020.0740: T-Line apprentices assist with the installation of the first set of pit stairs. Thursday, 30/04/2020.

Image 2020.0740: T-Line apprentices assist with the installation of the first set of pit stairs. Thursday, 30/04/2020.
 

Image 2020.0759: Another night scene, lit solely with shed lights, across the Fowler frame showing safety fencing in place. Each section can be lifted out if required. Friday 15/5/2020.

Image 2020.0759: Another night scene, lit solely with shed lights, across the Fowler frame showing safety fencing in place. Each section can be lifted out if required. Friday 15/5/2020.
 

It was at this time that it was discovered there was a trespasser trapped in the pit – a baby Giant Banjo Frog (Limnodynastes Interioris, so I am advised by those who know infinitely more on the subject that do I!). He (or was it a she?) was captured, and being a youngster, given a stern lecture under the Juvenile Justice laws on the dangers of trespassing on the railway, photographed for future i.d. purposes should it again trespass, then released into a damp vegetation patch elsewhere on the property. So far, Banjo the frog has not returned!

Image 2020.0747: Banjo the juvenile frog is given a stern lecture on the dangers of being in the rail corridor. Thursday, 30/4/2020.

Image 2020.0747: Banjo the juvenile frog is given a stern lecture on the dangers of being in the rail corridor. Thursday, 30/4/2020.
 

Pit End Guard Rails

While the local T-Line had constructed and installed four stairways providing access to the pit, together with removable safety fencing along the pit adjacent to 1 Road, it was left to Josh and Phil to construct a similar safety fence to go across 2 Road at the western end of the pit and was installed on Monday 20/7/2020. This is easily removed if a rail vehicle has to be moved beyond the pit area to the western end of the Shed. These guard rails, along with the stairways, are all painted in a bright safety yellow.

Image 2020.1031: Josh is drilling for one of the supports to hold the new pit end guard rail, while Phil looks on (but doubtless supervising!).

Image 2020.1031: Josh is drilling for one of the supports to hold the new pit end guard rail, while Phil looks on (but doubtless supervising!).
 

Hot water for washing!

Until this time, the only external facilities for volunteers to wash and tidy up (apart from using those inside-house), were two cold water taps, one of which was normally used to replenish the side tanks of “Torpedo” during lighting up times. Phil and Josh subsequently extended one of the taps to serve a sink. Then, in a gesture of unexplained generosity, I decided to arrange for a local plumber to extend a hot water supply to the sink. I selected a plumber at random from the local phone book (in line with keeping as much contract work as I could within the town) … then surprise, surprise! On seeing the job and being a closet rail enthusiast, he offered to undertake the work at no cost! Oh, that hot/warm water has been greatly appreciated during these cold winter months! Thanks indeed, guys.

Image 2020.762: Plumbers Danny and Ian complete the extension of the hot water line to the mixer at the sink. Monday, 18/5/2020.

Image 2020.762: Plumbers Danny and Ian complete the extension of the hot water line to the mixer at the sink. Monday, 18/5/2020.
 

In conclusion

Despite not yet being connected by rail to the operating part of Pete’s Hobby Railway, the Shed has well and truly been commissioned. Supported on stands near the western end of No. 1 Road is the Fowler frame, ready for further works to be undertaken … another story! There is sufficient space at the eastern end for the Ruston to be stored under cover. No. 2, the Pit Road, is taken up with one of the four-wheel (ex-cane wagon) carriages, together with “Torpedo 2”, the pump fettlers’ trike – awaiting some minor repair works. The remaining space is temporarily taken up with a portable table, allowing me to sort out my “heritage junk”.

Mention should be made of the kind donation by another local railway enthusiast, Peter Kilburn (or was he having a tidy-up?!) of the metal-work from an old railway goods-yard gate, together with other paraphernalia. These were collected on Monday 25/5/2020 and stored for future re-use. Thank you, Peter, for thinking of Pete’s Hobby Railway.

Image 2020.0770: Part of the ironwork recovered from the old wooden railway gate

Image 2020.0770: Part of the ironwork recovered from the old wooden railway gate
 

Pete’s Hobby Railway now has another mascot/security guard. In earlier Progress Reports, I covered the acquisition of a small gnome whom was christened “Garret”. Unfortunately, whilst guarding the railway from atop a flight of portable stairs, be was blown over by a strong gust of wind and, like Humpty Dumpty, could not be put together again. A replacement was obtained, but during the relocation of the fitting machinery into the Shed, he got in the way of (censored!) feet and suffered severe injuries. Although temporarily reassembled, a further replacement was secured. Hopefully, Garret III will last a little longer!

Image 2020.0791: Garret III and Garrett II at one of the doors to the Shed. Friday, 5/6/2020.

Image 2020.0791: Garrett III and Garrett II at one of the doors to the Shed. Friday, 5/6/2020.
 

In the meantime, construction is proceeding with the turntable, ash pit and associated rail access tracks – all of these will be the subject of a separate Progress Report. Possibly, in view of the complexity of the turntable pit construction, I am leaning on Phil and Josh to provide a “how to build your own turntable” thesis – I certainly have enough photos to illustrate same! Weather conditions permitting, railed access to the Shed should be available before the end of this month (August 2020).

Another small “Shed” job has been the concreting of part of an all-weather path from the back veranda of my house to the western end of the Shed. This part was constructed one metre in width, the idea being to allow for wheelchair access for yours truly, should it be necessary in the future.

Image 2020.0991: I’m inspecting the new concrete path, Friday 10/7/2020. The extension of 2 Road to outside the western end of the Shed is evident in the image, taken on my camera by Josh Burke.

Image 2020.0991: I’m inspecting the new concrete path, Friday 10/7/2020. The extension of 2 Road to outside the western end of the Shed is evident in the image, taken on my camera by Josh Burke.
 

Expressions of Interest closed on 31/07 for the purchase of the Perry 0-6-2T and the former Hudswell Clarke/Fowler bogie tender and are currently being considered.

Until next time,
Pete
SM Loftus

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