MBR2078: A Silver Lining

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Our long-serving Buffet car MBR2078 ‘Woronora’ has recently been treated to a resealing of its roof, a necessary part of the rigorous regular maintenance program which is required to keep our cars in ‘first class’ operating condition, achieved with the support of our long term supplier and supporter Davco. This government owned car is an indispensable and popular fixture in our regular Cockatoo Run and Hawksbury River Express trains which are run for the enjoyment of Sydney tourists each month, and has hosted thousands of local and international tourists while keeping them all well fed – no mean feat when considering it has simultaneously covered thousands of kilometres! It has thus earned itself well deserved facelift indeed.

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With more carriages soon to follow, it is at this point that the Eveleigh Projects team wish to extend a heartfelt thanks to our equally valued, ever reliable suppliers Davco, without whom such ongoing work would not be possible. This November marks an astonishing 30 years that we have been using their Ormonoid Silvershield™ product to seal the roofs on our heritage rollingstock, and it has withstood the rigours and challenges of life ‘on the road’ with great aplomb, as well as looking fantastic to boot! In addition to being an important supplier, Davco is also a proud supporter of 3801 Limited, for which we are most grateful. We will certainly continue to seal the roofs of our carriages using Davco’s Ormonoid Silvershield™, and look forward to appreciating the benefits of its excellent protective finish and weatherproofing performance qualities for some time to come. Cheers guys – here’s to another 30 years!

Next time you’re in the market for primer, waterproofing or adhesives, head to http://www.parexdavco.com.au and pay them a visit!

And now for something completely different…

Our Eveleigh Projects volunteers have recently spent a weekend working on the iconic Red Rattler carriage situated in the Australian Technology Park. Known as a ‘Sputnik’ power car, of late 1950s vintage and having been manufactured by Comeng in Granville, C3704 has stood sentinel inside the gate since the ATP’s inception in 1995 and has functioned invaluably as the office for 3801 Limited. However, some years of relentless 24/7 exposure to the elements had understandably begun to take its toll on the old stalwart of late, so it was decided that it was once again time re-seal the roof of the car, both to maintain appearances and ensure it was kept fully weathertight and functional.

To this end, our fantastic suppliers at Blackwoods and Tremco most generously donated their Brushable Hydroseal to re-seal the carriage roof. Brushable Hydroseal is a heavy bituminous, fibre reinforced, rust inhibiting sealing compound, and is specially designed to be brushed thickly to any surface. When dry, the Hydroseal is tough and waterproof, and possesses excellent weathering qualities. The Australian sun certainly has put the product to the test over the years and we can most definitely attest to its effectiveness for the job at hand! After a couple of days’ work, the car not only looks vastly better than it has in some time, but is also now far better equipped to stand up to the elements for some years to come. Now for the bodywork we suppose… Watch this space!

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3801 Limited gratefully acknowledges and appreciates the ongoing support of Blackwoods and Tremco with our rollingstock projects:

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Blades of Glory

Following on from our last post about the disassembly and preparation of the compartment fans in the XBS, work has subsequently progressed on their finishing and reassembly. As always, in the interests of recording the process for posterity (and to assist the next poor souls who decide that refurbishing a set of 24V fans might be a fun way to kill a week or three), we have set out the steps involved in getting the fans to their current state.  For the best finish, the disassembled components were left to sit for a fortnight or so following paint stripping. This ensured that any residue had ample time to cure before painting, and would ensure the best possible adhesion of the paint system. Following a quick once over with some phosphoric acid to treat any surface rust, the components each received 2 healthy coats of etch grey primer. This was then followed by two coats of Metal Shield Epoxy Enamel in Classic Cream, with the exception of the fan blades which were painted silver. As usual, the paint was supplied by our good friends at Dulux.

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After leaving this to sit for 24 hours, reassembly was commenced. The plates were easily re-attached by tapping in a couple of small metal push rivets – and not even these escaped the onslaught of Classic Cream! With hindsight, it would have been nice also to have gone to the lengths of removing the plates when restoring the CAM fans (https://eastcoastheritagerail.com.au/cam10/), as it’s a gauge of the quality of the restoration project, with few carriages receiving such a thorough going over as this one is having. The devil’s in the detail – and in this case it’s a credit to the dedication of the skilled team at Eveleigh Projects, always ensuring jobs such as this are done to the best of their ability and to the highest standards.

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On observation of the plates, it’s interesting to note that while the fans in the CAM were manufactured by Stones of England, those in the XBS are home grown – having been made by Elcon in Australia. Following these, next up next for reattachment are the speed controller handle and the fan motor cradle. It never ceases to amaze us how easily these things can fit back together after a bit of tlc, especially given that the fans were temperamental to say the least during the disassembly leg! But now comes the tricky bit – after going the extra mile previously in removing the stator (refer to the earlier fan post below) to allow the components to be fully treated and restored, it needed now to be reinstated in its rightful place. In the end this was achieved with a bit of signature railway “gentle persuasion”, courtesy of a small mallet and drift. But would it work after having been disturbed from its resting place of the better part of eight decades?

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First, the brush contact mounts were refitted to the motor casing and leads then run to each, one for positive and the other for negative. The motor was then reassembled with little difficulty, being held together by just 2 threaded bolts, before being tested using (appropriately enough) a stalwart 12V transformer pilfered from the model railway. Performing these little projects away from Eveleigh at private workshops really helps the project progress, as you certainly couldn’t find one of those in The Large… But the result: good news! It works on 12V, so will be fine for 24V carriage voltage later on.

Having passed the test with flying colours, the motor is then mounted in its cradle, a process which for this style of fan is a ‘breeze’, using 2 simple plugs to allow the fan motor to be easily removed from the cradle. New electrical leads were also fitted at this point to allow for reconnection to the carriage electrical supply upon reinstallation. This is followed by the fitting of the caps to seal in the motor brushes and the four brackets to attach the fan grill, and we’re now ready for the final check.

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The variable speed controller works, adjusting the RPMs as it should – so once the grill returns from the chrome platers it will be reinstalled, making this fan complete and ready for interim storage prior to reinstallation later in the project. So now onto the next fan, and at this point a side-by-side comparison exemplifies both the quality of the restoration and scope of the skills which are alive and well among the volunteers of Eveleigh Projects team – the fan has been subjected to a miraculous restoration in its own right!

Keep an eye out for further XBS updates in the coming days…

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Doing it for the fans

In each compartment of the first class BS carriages was fitted a single wall mounted electric fan running on 24V DC, mounted above the doorway to assist with the circulation of air. These veterans have all no doubt given many hours of stellar service on those stuffy days when travelling in compartments would otherwise have lost its lustre! During the course of restoring the carriage, each unit was removed from its compartment and set aside for rebuilding and restoration as close as possible to original condition. The work started with somewhat of an audit of the seven fans from XBS2158, revealing a few variants among the collection and giving some insight into the frequency with which these were repaired/ replaced in railway service.

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Both three and four bladed designs were evident in similar numbers:

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One fan featured a complete departure from the standard eight-spoked ‘medusa’ grill design, while another had been retrofitted with an additional guard on the lower part of the grill, nearest to where passengers’ fingers are trying to operate the toggle switch to set the fan speed.

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The one thing that all did have in common was that all were rather tired, so they were relocated to our off-site workshop where two of our volunteers have been diligently working through the issues, one fan at a time. The following is an insight into what effort is lavished on a single fan! The first step is to remove the grill – these little brass screws put up quite a fight! This one needed a little bit of heat to coax it into cooperation:

With the fan now looking somewhat naked, the next step is to remove each of the four grill support arms. Once removed, it becomes clear that their mounting bolts will all need replacement:

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Then the Romford drive screw connecting the upper motor unit to the wall-mount base is removed, allowing for them to be separated:

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This brings us to the ‘clockwork’ mechanism, which spends the vast majority of its life hidden away within the base spending facing a piece of polished timber. This mounting however, is not airtight – to which the all-permeating soot attests! Unlike those fitted to the CAM (https://eastcoastheritagerail.com.au/cam10/), these fans have multiple speed settings. Our regular ‘electrical’ bloggers will appreciate the basic yet effective circuit design, impressively functional in its simplicity. For the young whipper-snappers of today, this is essentially what is condensed inside modern electronic chips!

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The speed selection handle needs removing to allow the several layers of paint which have been caked on over the years to be stripped back. Again, the mechanism is rudimentary yet effective, although it took quite a bit of elbow grease to separate from the base!

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Two simple threaded bolts release the motor housing – but of course we ought to know better by now than to think that it will come apart easily just because we’ve removed the bolts!

Next to come off is the brush inspection cover.

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The brush caps are then unscrewed, but unfortunately a number of these were either missing or extremely brittle, necessitating replacement. Please get in touch if you have any spares gathering dust somewhere on a shelf! eveleighprojects@gmail.com

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Slipping off the brush end of the casing finally reveals the inner workings, a trifle dirty but in otherwise excellent condition.

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And for those playing at home, this is what an XBS compartment fan looks like in kit form!

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After a first pass with the paint stripper things are looking better already, and our thoughts turn ahead to what colour these fans will be post-restoration. Unlike the CAM fans, the first coat here appears to be a cream/ off-white colour, so this is what they will be reinstated in.

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Going the extra mile, the next step is to remove the stator to allow the casing to be cleaned fully. These are fitted with fantastic little electrical clips! After a bit of persuasion, the stator slips out of its casing which can then be thoroughly cleaned.

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The true quality of a restoration lies in the details, and in keeping with the high standards of the Eveleigh projects we are always looking to go above and beyond the call to really set our restorations apart. As such, we also tapped out the speed dials (whose lovely details had only been revealed for the first time in decades once the congealed paint had been removed) so we could clean out the area behind them, and again the original cream paint was found. We’ll put these plates back on last, following the repainting and reassembly of the fans. Quality is the name of the game here – while we are already putting in the effort, we may as well do it properly!

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So after some hours of work stripping them all down, this is where we are up to currently – the next stage is to begin a thorough repainting, where again no detail will be left unattended to. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you feel you can help us out financially with the projects, as now that we’ve done a full assessment on this job we expect we’ll spend around $700 restoring all seven fans alone. Feel free to drop us a line eveleighprojects@gmail.com if you can help out!

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Looking good so far after completing paint stripping, but a ways to go yet!

Keep an eye out here for more updates on the XBS fan project.

The Window chapter

We’re well overdue for a blog update, so let’s wind back the clock and review some of our work from late last year.

Finding a BS car in largely original configuration is a somewhat rare occurrence these days, with most of the S-type carriages represented in preservation being their second class FS counterparts (in fact, when this car is completed it will be the only operable BS car based in Sydney). This makes it rather more valuable than it appears at first glance, not only thanks to the comfort it provides with its cosy 6-seat compartments (compared to 8 in the FS cars), but also due to its significant value to the heritage community. With this in mind, this restoration will be keeping everything as original as possible while still telling the story of this car, which includes a few modifications that have crept in over its years of service with the NSWGR.

At the start of its life, the toilet windows were timber framed – the same as the rest of the car – but during its career, XBS2158’s were replaced with fixed windows featuring frosted panes to provide privacy in the WC. These have been mounted and sealed using rubber locking strips:

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The Chippies were understandably overjoyed at this, as we only had to assemble a set of 29 timber window frames, rather than the full complement of 32 as would have been required for the fair-dinkum original when it first rolled out of the Clyde Engineering workshops in November 1937. Each of the existing windows was first removed before being individually assessed to determine what could be salvaged of the original frame. Water damage has proven to be the most common symptom throughout – witness to the car’s time spent in storage – but thankfully for the most part this was confined to the lower mortise and tenon joints. This deterioration had been accelerated as a result of the Railways fitting the dreaded Tee-nuts in the later years of their service, so these have now been duly removed and replaced by timber plugs.

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The installation of fresh timber plugs has meant we have been able to use heavy gauge brass wood screws to attach the window latches, as per tradition. The windows that proved beyond repair were discarded and replaced with spares sought from our extensive window store at Eveleigh. Here is an original that’s been in storage since it was brought to the LES following the closure of the Carriage Works. This window has never been used… the LES is home to some real treasures!

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Pretty soon we had a good looking set of windows that just needed a final sand before painting. Dulux are big supporters of our restoration efforts at The Large, and we are immensely appreciative of their invaluable support in the provision of superior paints from their oil based range.

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The paint system used for the window exteriors is oil based Preplock, of which we apply two coats:

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This is then followed by two coats of Dulux Super Enamel Indian Red – this paint has been proven to wear remarkably well in what is a gruelling environment when in regular mainline usage. This system has proven to last well in excess of 10 years, no mean feat given our cars are often steam hauled! (Apologies at this point to the Candy fans among you, as XBS2158 is being painted into the Indian Red livery complete with cream ‘buff’ lines – the way God intended!)

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The inner faces of the frames meanwhile are painted with 3 coats of clear varnish, giving a smart internal finish.

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We spent over 60 hours just painting the windows – not including all the prep and timber repairs. It is easy to forget when appreciating a gleaming carriage on the platform the work that goes in behind the scenes long after the passengers and crew have gone home! For the best results, the next step is to stack them up in a safe place and let the paint cure fully before we trim the excess paint off the glass pane and fit the windows later in the project.

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Stay tuned for more BS!

Transport Heritage Expo 2016

As some of our loyal rail heritage enthusiasts may be aware of, this June Long Weekend will see the annual Transport Heritage Expo play host at Central Railway Station. With Steam train shuttles, vintage bus rides around the CBD, Devonshire Teas aboard the Southern Aurora, and also the reappearance of the famously preserved red rattler “F1” set, we at 3801 Limited are delighted to announce we will have our wonderfully restored projects on display at Central Station along side these other ironic heritage items.

Vintage EMD Diesel Electric 42101 and our restored Ken Butt lounge car CAM502 will be on show at Central for the general public to see, taking part of the Transport Heritage Expo festivities.

This would not have been possible without the tireless volunteers providing much of the legwork and labour for free.

Most surplus money made from ticket sales is ploughed directly into running costs, insurance and repairs to keep our fleet operational. To undertake restorations, such as our most recent project lounge carriage CAM502, requires significant financial backing. For this we thank all our donors no matter how small or large, as without your support we would not be able to undertake the restoration nor share the results of our labour with you. We invite you to consider becoming involved either voluntarily or financially!

X Marks The Spot – XBS2158

With the CAM project all but complete, the team at Eveleigh are keeping the momentum going by starting work on the full overhaul and restoration of first class compartment car XBS2158.

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“this one looks good, let’s take it home and do it up!”

This car is currently undergoing a full restoration for the NSW rail heritage community.

This car was facing an uncertain future on a private property in the NSW Hunter Valley. It was subsequently transferred to Sydney in late 2014 to facilitate the re-activation works in keeping with the long standing Eveleigh Railway Workshop tradition repairing heritage rolling stock.

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Overall this car is in pretty good shape, but there is always much work to be done. Some collision damage is evident from its railway service on one end of the car, requiring some repair works.

Daniel and James have been leading the charge, stripping out the toilet area where a new steel floor has been sought, and duly cut to size and welded in situ.

The vertical columns have been replaced also and are looking great. A quick coat of metal primer and the whole show is now awaiting the steel sheeting, which has been cut to size to seal the carriage exterior.

Window work is well underway also, with Project Leader Daniel coordinating the lads to slip the old windows out of the car to allow components to stripped. Each of these windows will require an individual assessment to determine if it can be salvaged and repaired…

There are a lot of metal window fittings that need cleaning and polishing so get in touch if you think you can offer some worthwhile assistance!

Having been in storage for so many decades, there is a lot of nuisance dust in the carriage. So the boys have spent a lot of time working through each compartment cleaning them out. There are a lot of interesting heirlooms behind the seats!

But there is always soooo much cleaning to be done! More XBS updates soon.

Christening Time – Welcome to the world CAM502

Well it has been an incredible journey. But we are delighted to say that our little pet project of 8 years was recently completed last December, just in time for Christmas!

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Last November, the Assets Standards Authority within TransportNSW department granted permission for CAM502 to operate on the rail network for the purpose of trials. Locomotive 42101 was utilised for the first trial journey along with the support of two of our other carriages. The test journey occurred on Tuesday 24th November 2015 from Eveleigh to Waterfall and return.

Only a few minor bugs were found but otherwise it performed satisfactorily to our travelling maintenance team and passed successfully. This would be the green light for the carriage to start operating on mainline tours.

Up next, on Sunday 13th December 2015 we had our annual christmas volunteers party to Robertson on the Cockatoo Run tourist train. On this day we got to show case the car to our fellow volunteers, colleagues, family and friends, as well as to our friends at the Robertson Heritage Railway Station. This would prove to be a very joyous day for everyone involved, not only within the restoration team, but also for every volunteer, past and present who contributed to this fantastic project.

Since then, “the CAM” lounge car been used on several mainline tours and charters. One successful event soon after our christmas party trip was on Thursday 17th December 2015. The car being utilised within the consist for the new Hawkesbury River Express to Brooklyn, just north of Sydney.

Special guests were invited, included the Mayor of Hornsby Shire Hon. Mr. Steve Russell, as well as the family of one of our late founding directors, Mr Ken Butt.

Special mention must be made to the Butt family for their contributions to this restoration project. As a tribute to the late Mr. Butt, the carriage has been named after him as the Ken Butt lounge.

So there you have it. One complete 1920s vintage lounge car, ready for service in the 21st Century.

But keep watching this space, as we may have a few more tricks up our sleeves… Thanks for reading!

Photo credits: Jane Bennett, Ian Wallace, Thomas Durber, Fred Sawyer.

From TAM to CAM

TAM sleeping cars must be one of the most recognised carriage types used by the NSWGR but there is a lot more to them than most perhaps appreciate. Eveleigh, Meadowbank and Ritchie Bros all made this type of TAM, and each manufacturer had their own little nuances in the finer details.

All TAMs had berth number boards outside of each compartment, where as our old Ritchie Bros TAM has illuminated berth numbers:

Some TAMs, had elaborate curved cedar panels on the bunks, where as our TAM has flat finish panels:

All the TAM’s had berth lights, although there were several different light fitting castings and the location of the switches varied from builder to builder:

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Our old girl, L516, was originally constructed by Ritchie Bros and classified as TAM502. It was released to the NSWGR for traffic in the July-August intake of 1937. When new, TAM502 had 10 compartments and could sleep 20 berths:

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When it became a works car, it was re-classified to L516, where the L denotes that its a works vehicle and 516 was just simply a number allocated to it. In this part of its life, berths 1-10 were stripped out and that area was made into an amenities and workspace for the crew:

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We’ve opted for a lounge setting in the former amenities area:

Carriage classification is a passionate topic for some and so it is important that we are sympathetic to the heritage of the carriage. It’s obviously no longer a TAM, nor an “L” works car, it’s become a composite sleeping and lounge car. The NSWGR actually had composite sleeping cars manufactured and used in service. Coded CAM, these cars combined sitting areas and sleeping areas in a couple of different configurations. Our old TAM has been re-classified to CAM502, and its nice to see that some of the CAM traits have been incorporated into the car including the traditional saloon seating against the wall in the lounge.

This old girl is a long way off from when it was recovered from storage in 2007. Looking at it now, it’s hard to believe we embarked on this ambitious project. However, some years down the track and we have another quality carriage restoration completed and looking forward to seeing people enjoy our labour of our love.

The next step is main line trials. Keep an eye out, as our recently completed CAM502 will be coming very soon to a station near you!

Last Days – “The End is Nigh!”

Well it has been a busy couple of months forging towards the end of the project. The lounge is feeling more homely with all the panels attached to the walls.

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The style of the panelling at this end of the car differs a little from the original “compartment” end of the car. These cute little cover strips neatly mask the joint between the panel and the shutter runner, and are a legacy of the MANN carriages that this panelling was salvaged from.

Todd stripped each of these back to bare timber and polished like new, before Alan fitted each of them.

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Husband and wife team Alan and Jan manufactured, varnished and fitted these neat cover strips along the sides of each table.

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Garry’s handrails have been fitted also. Each of the brass fittings was machined from brass stock, and Rex has done an outstanding job. Fitting and machining is a great skill to have and we’re always looking for skilled volunteers.

Our teenage volunteer Cameron has completely stripped and re-built these super panels to make them match the window spacing in the traditional fashion. The quality of this workmanship is as good as the old car builder trade back in the day.

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But young Cameron’s real passion lies with the shutters that he has been diligently fitting throughout the carriage. Over 500 hours of volunteer work has been poured into this part of the project alone, including repairs, rebuilding, painting and fitting. This has been a huge effort.

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The compartments have finally received their ceder panels on each of the bunks.

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Brian has been polishing each individual washbasin in the compartments, and they are looking great.

Bretts pet project has been the sliding door for the new retention toilet in the former attendant’s compartment. Roy has also branded it with hand written signage accordingly.

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Ross and his Tuesday team have fitted this carriage with a modified water service system, using an electric pump in place of the standard air service system. This means that the car is fully self contained and does not require an operational locomotive to provide air to run the water services. All the rusted steel water pipes have been replaced and a new tank installed also. We opted for a cistern flush system to ensure sufficient flush water flow.

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Roy has also completed the sign writing here, to match the original before the shellac was stripped.

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…while the “Berths 1-10” has been replaced with more appropriate signage in a fashion that is sympathetic to the heritage of the car. Great work Roy!

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Keith’s kitchenette has come a long way also. This space can be used to serve light meals and morning/afternoon/high teas. A bar fridge is provided also to chill food or drinks.

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The wall space has been used in the kitchenette necessitating the installation of blank windows, which have been painted to match the rest of the colour scheme across the windows.

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Outside and below the frame, Fred spent a couple weekends crawling around the bogies and running gear. His main focus was blacking out any left over exposed primer and overlooked bits.

A cruisey job, considering the boy driver spent most of it while laying about on the job!

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The Tuesday group have installed the gangways and our weekend warriors Chris and Thomas have done a great job attaching the canvass curtains.

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Roy made it look effortless to attach all the stickers to the side of the carriage. SLEEPING and LOUNGE have been used at either end of the carriage according to the layout. The car has been named in honour of the late Ken Butt, long time board member and supporter of 3801 Limited.

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There are a couple of detail jobs to finish off with but we are now ready for main line trials.