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ben_issacs

Famous Australian steam loco back running

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ben_issacs

ADMIN NOTE: this topic contains some major factual errors and omissions in some of the posts. Please see the post later in the topic that clears this up

 

https://jnsforum.com/community/topic/16463-famous-australian-steam-loco-back-running/?do=findComment&comment=206854

 

Folks, 

 

On 5th. Feb., the NSW Govt. Rlys most well known steam loco ,Pacific C 3801, ran trials at Thirlemere, after a very long and somewhat ucked up restoration period. 3801 was taken out of service with the need for boiler restoration quite a while ago, maybe eight or ten years. The old boiler was removed and arrangements were made with a German company to supply a new boiler. From then on, everything went bad!

 

After several months, the new boiler arrived and was offered up to the frame. It wouldn't fit! Back to Germany for rectification, back to Sydney, still wrong! This went on for a long time, still no satisfaction. Finally the NSW Govt. took over the project, and the decision was taken, which perhaps they should have done in the first place, to refurbish the old boiler. which was done by a local firm.


So, 3801 steams again, after the expenditure of a lot of money!! The German built boiler is said to be retained as a spare boiler, but if it didn't fit in the first place, why would it suddenly fit if used as a replacement?

 

Regards, 

Bill

Melbourne

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ben_issacs

On the 28th. of March, the restoration to full operating condition of NSWGR C 3801 Pacific was finally completed and the loco ran light engine  on the Picton Loop Line. This restoration has taken a very longtime, and, unfortunately, with the restrictions on mass gathering of people due to the corona virus, there was no official return to service ceremony, and the running of special, steam hauled trains will not take place until the end of the virus.

 

However, there is a short video of 3801's March 28th. operation. 
 

https://www.thnsw.com.au/3801

 

Bill, 

Melbourne.

 

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roadstar_na6

They should‘ve sent the whole engine to the Dampflokausbesserungswerk Meiningen for boiler restoration and would‘ve saved lots of time and money I guess 😄

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stevenh
59 minutes ago, roadstar_na6 said:

They should‘ve sent the whole engine to the Dampflokausbesserungswerk Meiningen for boiler restoration and would‘ve saved lots of time and money I guess 😄

 

That could well have resolved the issue of just sending the boiler + other measurements. It was a sad day when the new boiler came back and didn't fit :(

 

But super happy to see this locomotive on the rails once more! I had actually booked travel and accom to Hunter Valley for Steamfest!... cancelled now.

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ben_issacs

The replacement boiler was built in Australia, one wonders why this couldn't have been done in the first place? Thus saving a lot of the time and cash that has been put into the project.

 

Bill

Melbourne

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Ochanomizu
On 4/3/2020 at 10:01 AM, roadstar_na6 said:

They should‘ve sent the whole engine to the Dampflokausbesserungswerk Meiningen for boiler restoration and would‘ve saved lots of time and money I guess 😄

 

Hello,

 

Sometimes the blindingly obvious is ... well ... blindingly obvious !!!

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ben_issacs

Ochanomizu,

 

The way Menningen stuffed up the 'new' boiler, if the whole loco had been sent there, it would have come back with not only a crook boiler, but with all the wheel sets at different gauges!

 

Bill

Melbourne

 

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roadstar_na6

They‘re the best reputated steam loco workshop in the world, I highly doubt they messed it up because they did something wrong but rather because they got wrong data to work with.

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ben_issacs

I note that when the Japanese have problems with their preserved steam locos, they don't send them to Meningen, they do the work in Japan.

 

When 3801's boiler first came back from Germany, it wouldn't fit. sent back for rectification, returned, still wouldn't fit! Yes, possibly communication problems were a cause, 12,000 miles or so between Sydney and Meningen, so little opportunity for  direct supervision.

 

Bill

Melbourne

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marknewton
Posted (edited)
On 4/4/2020 at 9:42 AM, ben_issacs said:

The replacement boiler was built in Australia


No, the loco's existing boiler, 3819A, was repaired by Ken Ainsworth's works at Goulburn. 

 

On 4/7/2020 at 8:07 PM, roadstar_na6 said:

They‘re the best reputated steam loco workshop in the world, I highly doubt they messed it up because they did something wrong but rather because they got wrong data to work with.


That is correct. The job wasnt properly specified, and the person sent to Meiningen lacked the experience or professional qualifications to oversee the job properly. Back at Chullora the initial project manager came from an aviation engineering background and was reluctant to be advised by people with long and extensive experience with the engine. That reluctance meant that when the project went bad, those same people were unwilling to return to assist. 

 

On 4/7/2020 at 8:02 PM, ben_issacs said:

The way Menningen stuffed up the 'new' boiler, if the whole loco had been sent there, it would have come back with not only a crook boiler, but with all the wheel sets at different gauges!


With the best will in the world Bill, you're making foolish comments on a subject you know nothing about. You should stop. Meiningen didn't stuff up, they built what they were asked to build according to the spec they were given. The fault lies squarely with the then Office of Rail Heritage. The two principals of that organisation came from an academic/arts background, and were also reluctant to listen to anyone with practical experience of the engine. They placed exaggerated emphasis on the Burra Charter, and so insisted on trying to return the engine to its "original" condition.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burra_Charter

 

We continually argued that the Charter has little relevance or application to items of moveable heritage, and that "original" is meaningless when applied to an operating steam engine, but were ignored. As a a result, the document package that went to Meiningen was based on the 1943 boiler design, as built in other words. That design was soon modified in service, including a change to the front tubeplate angle ring and smokebox interface, relocation of the belly plate attachment angle under the second strake of the boiler barrel, and modified expansion brackets at the front of the firebox foundation bar. The new boiler did not incorporate these mods, as well as others unrelated to attachment, and that's why it couldn't be mounted on the engine.
 

There were also regulatory issues raised by Workcover, who are now the licencing authority for pressure vessels in NSW. Their representatives were also unwilling to take advice or guidance, insisting that AS1210 took precedence over any prior railway boiler  code and that the German boiler was non-compliant. And so it went on...


Disclaimer: I was at Eveleigh on "secondment" with '01 from 1986 until 2005 as a boilermaker. That is my trade, learned as an apprentice with the NSW railway. I was part of the team that rebuilt her for Bicentennial train operations in 1988, I ran and maintained her afterwards, and I was also part of the team that rebuilt sister engine 3830. When the shitfight over the ownership of the engine and the mismanagement of the subsequent overhaul/rebuild became too much, I walked away and returned to crewing suburban trains. So I'm not by any means an impartial or objective commentator. But I also can't abide seeing or hearing ill-informed discussion about something that I've been so closely involved with for so long, so I'll correct it whenever I can.

 

Mark.

 

Edited by marknewton
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cteno4

Mark,

 

Thanks, well put and really great to hear all the real facts and the clear story about what happened. I’ve had and seen projects like that where others’ without the background or experience end up taking over and not listening to those that have actually know what needs done. They always end in disaster like this. Sad.

 

jeff

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Ochanomizu

Hello,

 

I had heard a brief version of the explanation given by Mark, but from representatives of AMRA NSW.  They did not mention the Burra Charter though.

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ben_issacs

Mark, 

 

Thanks for your info. on the saga of 3801's boiler.

 

I was the one who stuffed things up, not Meningen!

 

Bill,

Melbourne

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yakumo381

For some reason when I first read the title to this topic I thought it was "Famous Australian steam loco running backwards..." Obviously been in lock down for too long now...😕

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Ochanomizu

"back, running" ... not "back-running" 

 

ah, the subtleties of punctuation ...

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marknewton

On the subject of 01 running backwards, here's a video of one of our adventures on the BHP Youth Orchestra Charter in 1998. Our engine crew that day was loco inspector Ian Thornton driving, and Ronny Webb firing. Support crew was Stan Shaw, Matt Lee, Simon Foster, Reg Swansea and myself. 
 

 

I missed all the excitement because I was back in the crew van preparing the water treatment mixes and getting lunch ready! Later in the trip we had the engine on the pit at Junee, and found that a number of the Gibson ring rivets were loose from all the frantic slipping. 
 

Cheers,

 

Mark.

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marknewton

Another of Bevan's videos shows the start of 3830s life in preservation. It was also a long project with a few upsets along the way, and a bit of a rush at the end to meet a deadline for the handover ceremony. The last week before the deadline saw Dave Mathews and I living in the crew van at Eveleigh because of the long hours we were putting in.

 

I well remember one night when we were putting 30's spark arrestor and front end together. We had the two 38s nose to nose with a walkway between them so we could refer to 01's arrangement. About 11pm our mate Dave Fitton finished work next door at Xplorer and came in with some pizzas and bottles of Fanta, and a boom box. We had a feed, then spent the rest of the night working to the sounds of Blondie, The Clash and the B-52s - it was a great nights work. 😁

 

We did our running-in and load trials out of Port Kembla loco. At the time 3801Ltd was running a scheduled steam tourist train to Moss Vale out of there four days a week, called "The Cockatoo Run". There were a couple of reasons for doing it there. The line from Unanderra to Summit Tank is 20km of almost continuous 1 in 30 grades, so the engine would be really working. From the Tank to Robertson the grades were easier, and Robertson to Moss Vale is fairly level, straight and good for fast running. We reckoned that as the line didn't see much traffic, we wouldn't tie up the world if the engine failed - which turned out to be a good idea. And as the regular steam loco at Port was somewhat temperamental, it would be good to have another steam loco to cover the job and avoid running the train with the diesels.

 

The video starts with the light engine trials around the Sydney suburban lines. Once we were happy with those most of the tinware got attached and we set off for Port Kembla with a single Cockie Run car on the Thursday. The car was full of support crew, tools, spares, and the people who'd worked on the rebuild, getting a ride by way of thanks for all their hard work. The bloke seen on top of 30 at Eveleigh at 2'26" is me, checking the filler plug for leaks and the sandbox. We had a fairly sedate run down the coast to Thirroul as we were following the local, then we wound her back and ran at track speed all the way to Port. She steamed well, nothing broke, fell off or ran hot so it was a successful trip.


Friday was a book-off day, while we unpacked our gear and settled into our accommodation at Port. Our first run up the mountain was on the Saturday morning. The train was fully booked, there was a big crowd of railfans assembles on the platform to see our first revenue trip, and I think everyone was excited as well as nervous. I know I was. But for the most part it was an uneventful run with only two minor problems showing up. One was that the cylinder drain cocks wouldn't fully close, and the driver's side Cardew valve wouldn't seat. We put up with both until we arrived at Moss Vale, where we sorted them out. The run back to Port was without any problems.

 

Unfortunately, the next day's running went very pear-shaped very quickly. I'll continue the story in my next post.

 

Mark.

 

 


 

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ben_issacs

Yes, probably should have said 'back in running', although ''back running' is not a common usage, , one would usually say 'running backwards' or 'running in reverse'.

 

Bill,

Melbourne.

 

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