Progress Report No 39 — Preparing for the 2018 Rhythm n Rail Festival

Commencing last year, I arranged a public operating weekend for Pete’s Hobby Railway in conjunction with Junee’s annual Rhythm n Rail Festival, held over the second weekend in March. This operation is promoted as “train spotting at Pete’s Hobby Railway”, since the public can only view from outside the front fence. For the 2018 RnR, this involved an initial light-up on the Thursday, and more preparations on Friday 9th March, with public “train spotting” running on the Saturday and Sunday, 10/11th March.

It had been hoped that this year’s “train spotting” would have seen the completion and official opening of the 1915-era unattended platform waiting shed on my Loftus station, but alas – such was not to be, with completion still some time away.

Advice of the forthcoming Train Spotting was placed on the town’s Notice Board, while other details were also included in the RnR publicity and promotional materials.

As a preliminary, PHR Events Co-ordinator Nick had arranged for some advance publicity through the new “Wagga Weekly” good news newspaper, with the editor at large, Pennie Scott calling in on 2nd February to interview me.

Image 2018.0014: Nick (at left) is introducing me to Pennie.

Image 2018.0014: Nick (at left) introducing me to Pennie. In retrospect, perhaps Pennie should have been standing on the platform approach, with myself on the lower level! The visit resulted in some excellent publicity for the forthcoming RnR Festival. Rhys was behind my camera for this photo.
 

Image 2018.030: Pennie gets the inside story of Pete’s Hobby Railway

Image 2018.030: Pennie gets the inside story of Pete’s Hobby Railway from myself and Nick. Rob and Ben wait patiently in the seat behind. Another photo by Rhys using my camera.

Working Days

My volunteer friends spent the days beforehand preparing the railway for the weekend’s operations, much of the activity being devoted into preparing my 1915 steam locomotive “Torpedo” for its two days of glory. Again, with Lachlan Valley Railway unable to supply a steam locomotive for main line activities (the “rail” in RnR), [Editor’s Insert: LVR provided Rhythm n Rail with a diesel locomotive hauling heritage carriages] it was left to Pete’s Hobby Railway to provide the “real thing”.

“Torpedo” had been partially stripped for some intended non-essential boiler work which for one reason or another, was not completed, so the loco had to be reassembled and made operational.

I had asked a young friend of mine from Sydney, who is undertaking a photographic course at college, if he would have a go at recording his photographic impressions of Pete’s Hobby Railway. Ultimately, I was provided with over 400 images, of which I have selected a small number for this Progress Report. Many thanks to Tristan; His efforts follow…

From daybreak on the Thursday, it was “all hands to the deck” to get “Torpedo” looking her best for the occasion. Not only did this include a complete wash and polish, all brass work received the appropriate attention with “Brasso” and cleaning cloths.

Image T0056: Matt attacks the waterway cock on the right hand gauge glass mounting to reveal that there was in fact brass work under the years of grime.

Image T0056: Matt attacks the waterway cock on the right hand gauge glass mounting to reveal that there was in fact brass work under the years of grime.
 

Image T0100: Meanwhile, Ben is down at the front end, wire-brushing the internal baffle of the smokebox door.

Image T0100: Meanwhile, Ben is down at the front end, wire-brushing the internal baffle of the smokebox door.
 

Image T0168: Time to light up as Matt places the first shovel of oil-soaked rags into the firebox. You can see how the water gauge mountings have come up with more than a little tender-loving-care. Matt is using one of two mini-fireman’s shovels imported from the UK at great expense.

Image T0168: Time to light up as Matt places the first shovel of oil-soaked rags into the firebox. You can see how the water gauge mountings have come up with more than a little tender-loving-care. Matt is using one of two mini-fireman’s shovels imported from the UK at great expense.
 

Image T0252: It takes time to raise steam so loco beautification continues. Jasmine makes sure that the mechanical lubricator piping is shining!

Image T0252: It takes time to raise steam so loco beautification continues. Jasmine makes sure that the mechanical lubricator piping is shining!
 

Image T0261: Matt is engrossed examining the eccentrics while in the background Rhys is hard at work on the tender tank side.

Image T0261: Matt is engrossed examining the eccentrics while in the background Rhys is hard at work on the tender tank side.
 

Image T0263: The opposing view with Rhys and his polishing rag. I'm not too sure what Ben is doing in the cab... possibly just looking on after having attended to the fire.

Image T0263: The opposing view with Rhys and his polishing rag. I’m not too sure what Ben is doing in the cab… possibly just looking on after having attended to the fire.
 

Image T0285: Pressure is building as Rhys passes the time talking to Matt. Visible is our new temporary inspection 'pit' which enables some restricted access under the locomotive for internal oiling. On the left are our coal and timber fuel supplies.

Image T0285: Pressure is building as Rhys passes the time talking to Matt. Visible is our new temporary inspection ‘pit’ which enables some restricted access under the locomotive for internal oiling. On the left are our coal and timber fuel supplies.
 

Image T0322: Time for the initial light engine trials with Matt at the throttle.

Image T0322: Time for the initial light engine trials with Matt at the throttle.
 

That’s all for this Progress Report. More shortly.

Cheers,
Pete.

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