Monday, December 27, 2010

Nevilles routing adventure.

Following on from the fun of the Laundromat Neville decided to spend another day of heritage activities without his mates and headed north to Paterson.

rust plate

Regular bloggers may recall the early assessment of 629/729’s interior revealing the need to replace the old seat mount plates as most had deteriorated and were beyond ongoing use. Goodwin Alco has had these manufactured in quantity by our Oldmates at Negra manufacturing and we have now also provided enough to the TRMS for the RailCorp Heritage units 621 &721 to be also fitted with new plates and improve their seat mountings.

new floor mounts

The day started with the usual broom tidy up of the cars as routing through the rubbish would surely blunt the blades very quickly.


The holes for the existing mounting points were also sucked out to remove debris & dirt.

old hole

To assist with the routing task Maywald Engineering International (MEI) were engaged to design & manufacture a jig to guide and limit the router movement. The unit supplied is a prototype known as the “Nana 2010” and is seen here in its ex workshop state. Like most MEI products the production version is planned to be released in “Grey Nurse” & “Verdant Blue” shades but more of that later…….

The nana 2010

To mark out the job reference plate positions were measured and calculated & measurement screws installed in the vestibule walls to  provide post lino installation references. Once these plates are installed they will disappear under the lino floor covering so an accurate plan of the seat bolt locations is required so holes can be punched through.

  blue bulkhead

A blue chalk line was anchored and flicked firstly to confirm the early seat position reference

blue old

and then to also identify the point of the new installations.

blue new 

With the centre lines established the individual plate and hole locations were marked out and the nut holes introduced thanks to a spade bit.

spade bit


With the bolt holes drilled and cleaned out the Nana 2010 can be put to use.

With the alignment jig inserted the Nana is positioned using the drilled holes for the seat securing nuts as the alignment reference……

frame template in

..and then the Nana is secured to the floor with screws.

nana screw

With the alignment jig removed the routing fun can begin….

frame template out

and a routeing frenzy results with shavings everywhere!


The new seat mounting plate is then trial fitted and if no adjustments are required….

plate in frame

the Nana is removed leaving the plate in place ready for screwing.

plate in 

The original mounting positions are also being cleaned up with a quick route to ensure the plates sit flush.

 old hole tidy up

At days end one mans efforts have the car (or half of it so far) ready for the floor covering.

job done

It looks like theres only 3 days of solo routing to go, I wonder if it would be quicker with more workers???????

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Boxing Day wash day

With the festivities of Christmas day still limiting activity and the Aussies at 4/58 also having a lack lustre day the decision was made to at least progress some heritage work and thus made the day a real wash out!

As reported previously the original blinds sourced from our oldmates at Paterson are in reasonable general condition but carry many stains and marks which need to be removed.


After surveying the available appliances at Home (and confirming the opinion of the Minister for Domestic affairs) it was decided that a task of this magnitude required equally capable machinery.

serious machinery

A trip to the local laundromat found all machines available for use and so the pre wash treatment of the stubborn stains commenced.


Some of the blinds had serious marks (DNA?) so a good squirt of preen and a pre soak was applied before the blinds were pushed into the machines and the suds turned onto high!


Even though they were big barrelled, 3 machines were simultaneously required to wash the 2 cars worth of blinds.

45 minutes later the blinds were washed and due to the also soggy weather were transferred into dryers.


After another 45 minutes of listening to the deteriorating test the now dry blinds were removed, inspected and folded, their original golden glow now restored and ready to reenter service.


Stayed tuned for the next exciting episode – who said railway restoration isnt fun!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Heart of glass

Following a call from our oldmate scrappy our compass was again showing us heading west for another visit to the home of Western bank engine working and preservation– Valley Heights so save more heritage items.


As we set up, the hills began to echo to the sounds of a modern day “diesel train” XPT W27 as it headed past and into the 1 in 33’s.


Whilst the cars had been shunted down to the bottom roads little little else had changed with their condition…..

….and the team soon gathered and got to work.

interior strip

The windows in these Country cars had shutters rather than blinds…


..which meant plenty of screws had to be undone from the 3 sets of runner strips/both sides per window.


Even the ex fitter got the hang of using a screwdriver in the end…….


With the strips unscrewed and the 2 shutters removed


the sash cords were unclipped

windows out

and the windows removed.

frame clean

The result was a clear frame, devoid of strips, shutters and windows.

736 stripping

Close inspection of the strips revealed the detailed construction that went into these cars with all parts being individually machined and placed.

front win

With the saloons cleared attention turned to the end windows


and with the “bug eyes” rivets drilled out


The windows were prized from their silicone sealed placement


revealing some very ordinary timber framework.

timber frame

With the car stripped oldmates posed for a last pic in the cab


And then loaded up the hire truck.


With the car devoid of glass, the scrappy and the RTM boys will have less issues to clean up after the sacrifice is complete

736 stripped

and before our departure a minute of reflection is held in respect for the beast unit 636/736.

736 goodbye

After a few hours drive up the Highway, Motorway and freeway

strips and shutters

the booty of strips & shutters…..


and window glass is unloaded at Paterson.

Whilst 636/736 will rest in peace never to be rostered again the oldmates take solace in the fact that we recognised the heritage donor potential of set 636/736 to support ongoing preservation activities and its sacrifice will benefit 629/729 and other vehicles.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The brown (and green) vinyl mission – Part II

A year had passed since the last successful hunt for original brown seat hides and again we found the trail leading us to 2 cars worth of booty at the Valley Heights heritage precinct.


Originally designated as the RTM’s 620/720 set to be preserved, 636/736 had once been the subject of cleaning and initial restoration efforts by the dedicated Valley Heights volunteers. With the allocation of Newcastle sets to the core heritage collection it was decided that 636/736 had no place in the heritage collection and was stored at Valley Heights pending a decision on its future. After several years of neglect and the inevitable graffiti and vandal attacks, it was offered unsuccessfully to interested heritage parties, and then eventually was advertised for sale by tender by RailCorp and bought by a scrap merchant.

pre strip seats

While suffering from extensive floor rot and body corrosion and having been already stripped of many fittings, 636/736 contained a full set of original brown and green stamped seats in very good condition which were ideal to complete a refit of a heritage 620/720 set - just like 629/729! A call to the successful scrap merchant resulted in a sale of the internal fittings for a price much less than the new upholstery costs being contemplated and so the vinyl recovery mission (part II) commenced.

pre strip partition

Not only did the set contain the much sought after seats but it also retained the wooden trailer car partition which segregated the first and “variable” class sitting areas in the cab half of the car.


Over several days the usual suspects set to work unbolting the seats and other reusable non metal fittings and soon had the cars looking much more spacious.


636/736 were constructed as “Country cars” originally allocated to Dubbo working and despite their original configuration variations were constructed using components standard to all the cars. The bathroom vanities and basins would be hard to replicate so having spares in stock is a big bonus.


As is the norm for these kind of activities several “artefacts” were discovered during the stripping works and the collection below provides a culture snapshot from the last days of the sets Illawarra service. The half fare single ticket to Dapto was dated for travel in July 1995 and the Orchy bottle dated to expire in September 1996. It appears that all items were utilised well before the required limits but perhaps not within the guidelines of their intended use.


Ultimately fitted to all cars, the trailer car saloon partition was introduced to country cars to provide a segregated section of dedicated first class seats in the cab end of the trailer car. The adjoining area which was also partitioned by the wash room compartment walls, was used as a variable class area fitted with 12 seats. While normally allocated as second class, a wall mounted hinged sign was able to be reversed to denote “First” and in periods of high demand extra first class passengers could be accommodated.


In later day working Newcastle based sets had the partition removed but in the Illawarra they were left in place and cars like 736 were withdrawn with them intact.

After dismantling the framework and removing the securing screws the partition was broken down into components and will eventually be reinstated in 729.

partition down

Another hard to reproduce item is the hinged “class” sign which was fortunately still in place and will also be reinstated.


After a long day removing seats Jamie pauses with the “spanners” in the stripped cab of 736 and indulges in thoughts of the many drivers that had sat there before him.


Another day and more work to finish the job is underway.

With the seats dismantled the components are walked through the cars to load into the truck for transport to storage.


Outside the seat squabs have their centre arm rests removed to facilitate more compact storage.


In later days many cars had their armrests removed but the ones “down the coast” survived.

scwab armrest

Two nuts on the underside hold them in position….


arm rest off

…and once undone the components can be stacked flat.


All the vinyl components are stamped originals and comprise of a combination of NSWGR, NSWTD, PTCNSW & SRANSW markings.


Stacked up in the truck ready to go 2 cars worth of seats more than filled the truck.

seat backs

With the seats all out 636/736 is ready for its last empty car movement.

seats removed

Farewell 736/636.

736 tartar

Off down the mountain and across the flat to the storage yard more activity saw the truck contents transferred and sorted into a container.


A 20 footer may look big but it sure fills up fast!


The seat frames and end arm rests were separated to facilitate better storage and minimise damage

seat ends

…and a test polish performed to anticipate how good they’ll look.

stacked up

Another hunt for brown and green vinyl may be over but the seat fun still has a way to run.