TAM Fans & how far they’ve come

Over the years, dust and grime has accumulated on the fans in L516’s compartments, leaving them looking rather unloved. The ventilation fans (known as “Imperiston” fans) were sent to our friends at the Rowling Electrical workshops to restore them to their former glory.

This is how it’s done:


Step 1 – Disassemble the fan units. The insulation on some of the wiring was in a very poor state, which is a common symptom of life-expired cloth coated cables.


Step 2 – Check the motor works using a suitable power supply, then remove the motor from the casing and blow compressed air through the motor to flush all the soot and dust out.


Step 3 – Hit the parts with high pressure water, removing the white paint to reveal the original black paint. Some paint stripper helps for the more stubborn paint. Leave the parts out in the sun to dry.


Step 4 – Apply 1 coat of primer and 2 coats of gloss enamel and leave to cure for a week or so.


And don’t forget to paint the fan blade guard too.


Step 5 – Remove the bearing from the motor shaft, soak overnight in kerosene, disassemble the bearing, clean, re-grease and re-install:

Step 6 – Reassemble the fan units. This needs to occur in a number of discrete logical steps. Start by securing the 2 metal “hoops” to the motor housing.


Step 7 – Fit the 3 remaining support arms for the fan blade guard.


Step 8 – Secure the motor to the motor housing, followed by the fan blades and fan blade guard.


Step 9 – Reassemble the mounting block, new wiring and the motor rear cover.


Voilà! The Rowling Workshop was doing a special 4 for 1 deal the day we visited.


A nice touch is to polish the builders’ plate and apply a wax finish to prevent tarnishing over time. L516’s fans date 1926-1929, over 10 years before TAM502 was built.


It is interesting to note that these “Imperiston” fans were made by Stones, the same English company who made the under-car axel-driven generators used on NSWGR cars. Stones made a large range of equipment, from steam locomotive booster units to train lighting to axel boxes. Once source even suggests that Stones made the fans used on the Titanic.


Images used with permission from Graces Guide and can be found at: http://www.GracesGuide.co.uk

The fans for L516 are now ready for re-installing in the sleeping compartments as time permits.

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