Overhauling a Carriage Part 3: New Battery Boxes

Often overlooked, the battery boxes are an essential part of a well maintained heritage train. While the work is far from glorious, this sort of maintenance work needs to be done.

An old (spare) box in storage at Eveleigh was stripped and metal components treated for corrosion. Due to the years of acidic fumes, the timber was mostly beyond salvage, with new origan planks used in place. The Tuesday work group applied 2 coats of low sheen black paint, and the box was fitted to SFN2182. Who knows when we’ll have to look at this one again?

The cells look pretty snug in there!


The opportunity was taken to clean the terminals as part of 6-monthly maintenance, which is usually conducted by our Tuesday volunteers.

Pre clean:


Post clean:


With the doors fitted, its another job done! Onto the next one.


Overhauling a Carriage Part 2: Bogie Work

The following is a selection of photos were taken from our mechanical team showing some of the key steps in
a complete overhaul of one of the bogies on SFN2182.

With the carriage body hydraulically lifted and layed onto temporary stilts, the Bogie is removed from the carriage and the stripping out of brake beams and components


The Yoke and Draft Gear are inspected for wear and cracks.


Springs and components are removed for inspection and requalification/reclamation.


Swing plank removed in preparedness for overhaul, inspection and bush renewal.


Swing plate and leaf springs are re-fitted.


The Bogie Bolster which holds majority of the carriage weight is replaced after crack testing.


With the Bogie replaced and the brakes connected up the carriage is now ready for air brake testing before being allowed to return to service.


And with this work on the second bogie (the other one was completed earlier) this completes the overhaul of SFN2182.

Overhauling a Carriage Part 1: First comes the elbow grease

The overhaul of the car body on SFN2182 was completed late in 2011 and the following is a selection of photos showing the completion of the job.

Following the treatment of any corrosion, the sides of the car were sanded back.


The toilet windows were removed to ensure all areas were properly prepared prior to any painting. There was no escaping the candy colours, which were from the State Rail Authority days of the 1980s.


Speaking of which, the recent arrival of 42101 also retains signs of the Candy era, and would likely have hauled cars like SFN2182 on the main south in its heyday. The 421 is privately owned and restoration work is being finalised pending reactivation for use on primarily heritage work.


2 coats of metal primer was followed by the first coat of Indian red.


Car internals were dismantled to get in and treat some troublesome corrosion. But before too long, it’s looking pretty good.


…and the new sills have been machined and test fitted.


The Rowling workshop at Engadine had the new sills varnished and polished.


The top-coats were completed a few weeks later, and our resident car builder Dave Mathews went about re-fitting the windows and sills. Cheers Davo!


There is nothing like a deadline to focus ones attention, and with the Sydney Special Children’s Christmas Charity trip bearing down on us, the final touches were applied in readiness for this important annual event.


Away from the carriage body, the car was also lifted and the bogie overhauled.


I think we can safely say that the results speak for themselves, a grand effort by a dedicated team of volunteers.


That was easy! What was all the fuss about??


With a steam loco on the front, SFN2182 is again part of the active 3801 limited fleet. Here ARHS ACT’s 3016 sits proudly at Central Railway Station with the Special Children’s Christmas Charity train in December 2012 before departure to the Rosehill Gardens. The SFN is the second carriage behind the steam engine.


The greatest satisfaction (for us volunteers) is seeing something you worked so hard on travelling all over the state being enjoyed by the people, both passengers and line-side photographers.


Before long, SFN2182 is back in familiar territory, overlooking the big blue Pacific Ocean on the Cockatoo Run.

Wiring the Gutted End

With excellent progress being made in the compartments of L516, a move was made to installing a functional lighting arrangement (with heritage value) in the gutted end of the car.


A survey of the roof beneath the masonite sheeting showed reminants of the old compartments. The luggage racks were located on the left (see faded Manilla painted tongue-and-groove panelling), and the compartments were on the right in this space. Clearly visible is the location of the partition between the 3rd and 4th compartments, shown in the center of the photo.


The original cloth insulated wiring was evident, and the holes through which they run will be re-used. Note the chalk markings, presumably measurements in inches.


We chose for a fourth option to those considered previously, which will give the best throw of light. This option utilises existing cable runs, and is probably the closest to the original style.

The wires were run by carefully removing some of the timber planks before the circuits were soldered and globes installed.

With the masonite roof back up, it’s the end to another very satisfying volunteer working bee


Now we have to find where we left the lamp fittings.

It’s all in the detail!

Big jobs like this need to be broken down into smaller bite-sized pieces, and so we’ve been trying to work our way through the compartments one at a time where possible.


But its the small jobs that seem to occupy the time, and new timber mouldings needed to be manufactured to replace the old ones that were removed during re-wiring work.

At the Rowling workshop at Engadine, the wood machinery was set up to machine replacements, and the results are a good match.


Several lengths were machined.


Back at the shed, they receive a coat of undercoat.


We also undercoated the air vents at the same time. These were removed to access the cable chases through the roof line, and will be topped off with Manilla prior to re-fitting.


The roof was sanded prior before applying any undercoat.


In some places, this revealed the original red cedar under the paint work.


For a while there, the roof was looking like patch work, with light fittings dangling from the roof…


But patience pays off, and one by one, the lights are re fitted.


And then the shades were added.


One of the original berth light fittings were refurbished, and fitted in place to remind us of where we are heading…and what we’ve to look forward to.


From the outside, its also looking good.


But there is always more to be done.