Fan Fits

The volunteers have been working in pairs to install the fans that were restored previously (refer TAM Fans post). The tricky part here is that the bolts extend through into the next compartment and hold that fan in place also.

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The sills in the corridor end of the car were inspected and it was decided to carefully remove them to perform some small timber repairs while preserving the majority of the original Australian red cedar. Chris gave the sills a quick rub back with the sander located the nails holding it down.

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The crook edges of the sills were cut off and new timber spliced in place

NSWGR TAM sleeping cars were built by 3 different manufacturers – Eveleigh Carriage Works, Meadowbank and Ritchie Brothers – resulting in slight variants between the different cars. However, one thing that was standard to TAM cars was the use of a “one-third” size battery box mounted on one side of the car underframe, and a “two-third” size battery box mounted on the other side. The reason this was done seems to be lost to history, but L516 will be fitted with a single standard size battery box to standardise our carriage fleet.

The volunteers have completely rebuilt the battery box for this car and the weekday metal work guys have been busy fitting it to the car.

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The original 24V DC carriage electrical system fitted under the frame comprises a battery box, a DC generator and a generator regulator board, all of which was stripped from the car and replaced by 240V AC when L516 was a works car in her last years of service with the railways. So its been a massive job to reinstate the original 24V electrical system. A new generator regulator board has been manufactured and fitted by our weekday work team.

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The electricians soon follow, slipping the timber board off to install the regulator components. From left to right are the regulator box, diode, and on the right is the current sensor circuit.

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Under the car frame, any remnants of the old 24V DC cloth coated cable were documented before we removed it in readiness for the new cable runs.

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At great expense to 3801 Limited, we are leading the heritage movement towards modernising carriage toilets by progressively installing retention toilet tanks on all the cars in our care. With the arrival of the plastic container for L516, the weekday metal work volunteers will start manufacturing a steel frame prior to installing the tank to the car.

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At the end of this Saturday/Sunday double working bee, and in the glorious afternoon sun, we welcome Lachlan Valley Railway’s 5917 back into the security our shed as many engines have done over the years. Goodwin Alco’s 4501 looks on.

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The 59 had hauled a private charter train to the Hunter wineries.

ATP Heritage Community Days (May 2014)

On Friday 16th and Saturday 17th, 3801 Limited participated in the Australian Technology Park Heritage Community Days weekend.

We opened the doors of our Large Erecting Railway Workshop for the enjoyment of the general public, providing the chance to explore the restoration works as well as inspect the collection of locomotive, and carriage rollingstock that was on display.

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The volunteers talked to the visitors, answering questions about the history of railways in NSW, as well as explaining the valuable role of heritage trains in today’s modern society. The open display within the Large Erecting Shop was a part of a grand tour of the whole ATP complex. This coordinated by the Australian Technology Park.

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Aside from the heritage exhibits in both the Large Erecting Workshop, Blacksmiths Workshop, Pumping House and around the ATP facility, an assortment of Jane Bennett’s artwork was on display also.

There really was something for everyone at the ATP Heritage Community Days event – keep an eye out for the next one!

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More photos from the weekends event can be found on the ATP Flickr page.

A look back (2012) – New batteries for ABN2194

The old lead acid batteries on crew car ABN2194 had failed, and a set of replacement cells were sourced for this car. With the battery box cleared out, timber crates were manufactured, new cells were fitted, and the water was topped up too.


Before the lights were tested in the workshop.


Then they were tested out on the mainline on a return trip to Goulburn.

Battery voltage and charging current were measured during the trip to evaluate its performance.

A look back (2012) – L516 wiring and fitting electrical work

The great thing about working at Eveleigh is the broad range of skill sets and age groups that you come across.

Electrical engineering student Brad Benson joined the project to help complete the wiring and electrical fit-out of the car, and was quick to master some new skills. The fan and berth circuits were drawn through behind pressed metal mouldings and timber panelling.

Pretty soon, we were starting to put the whole show back together for the first time in several years, and the TAM is another step closer to being completed. Timber discs for the lights were sanded and undercoated ready for re-fitting roof lights in the compartments.


A common misconception is that these car rooves are “white”. In fact the original colour is “Manilla”, Australian Standard Y45, which is a slightly yellow tinted colour. With Brad’s help, the high gloss has returned to the inner rooves of L516 (really TAM502) for the first time in many decades.


Meanwhile, dining car AB91 provides some good ideas for how to light the gutted end of L516.

L516 (Existing):    


Chris is keen to see what might look good, but I think we better sleep on this one.

A look back (2012) – Rewiring L516

L516 is a project that has been at the heart of our volunteer working bees at Eveleigh for several years, but has been put on the back-burner with other projects taking the limelight. But with the SFN overhaul safely behind us, L516 is again progressing to the day when she will be carrying paying passengers.

Regular bloggers from old will recall that L516 began as TAM502 built by Ritchie Bros. Towards the end of its working life it was part of a breakdown train with 240V fluorescent lights and a generator fitted for the work. This unfortunately meant the original 24V DC lighting circuits were almost completely stripped, while any remains were cut off so short that is was almost impossible to re-draw circuits through behind the panelling. Many circuits remained unidentified and cut in several places making tracing the existing circuits almost impossible.


The most simple and straight forward circuit to begin with was the number boards, which was knocked over in a day.

By the end of the week, with 3 out of the 4 circuits near completed, making the car not only look and feel like an old TAM, but also shedding some light on the remaining inner-car jobs that remain for the carpenters and fitters.