Maintenance Update: To Port!

In 2017 we moved on from Eveleigh due to changes in and around the site and the tenure arrangements. We’re setting ourselves up in the Illawarra and enjoying some great tenure with fantastic supporters like Bluescope and UGL. Down in Port Kembla in particular, we have made the most of the COVID downtime.

Our Port Kembla team have been busy repainting the train from one end to the other. Huge thanks to our friends at Dulux for the kind supply of Gloss Enamel oil based paints. Worth doing, worth Dulux!



Its more than just prettying them up – a good paint system protects the steelwork and the carriage structure. Fresh paint does look good too though! To save the cutting in, we just slip the fittings off and put them back on at the end:



After several months painting the running set, it’s a reminder the CPJ lounge car needs some love later on – watch this space!

We didn’t stop at the bodywork though – the frames were next, and the steps came off for stripping. We went with gloss black, and high vis yellow non-slip treads:



The slack adjuster bracket didn’t go without its share – gloss white was used to highlight the position of the slack adjuster at a glance, to help our maintenance team doing pre-trip inspections. Gloss black frames and fresh gloss white lettering look the goods, now the bogies stand out though!



We didn’t stop at the frame either – we pressure cleaned, primed and glossed the under floor of the carriages to protect the steel work:

We’re an inclusive mob at ECHR – the bogies didn’t go without in the end…

But we didn’t stop there, all the battery boxes on the carriages received freshly rebuilt battery boxes. These were full strip downs, back to the basic metal components and fresh structural ply:



Working from home is nothing new to us!

Brett and Chris reckoned the easiest cars to re-fit battery boxes by far were the 12 wheelers with their 4 truss rods:

But we didn’t stop there either! The SFN received a plumbing upgrade, from the old rusty steel water pipes to fresh modern poly pipes. We also moved away from the troublesome air operated water service units, upgrading to an electric water pump – we’ll work through upgrading the other cars too as time permits. Also installed were some new stop cocks that help us isolate the toilets, something we could have done with in the past! Thanks to our friends at Rob Lemme plumbing for provision of their excellent plumbing services.



Inside the cars, Chris made up some new in house quick release fasteners for the emergency steps:

Life after Eveleigh isn’t all bad – life’s what you make it, and our hunger to keep our heritage trains running helps to promote regional tourism and linking the city with the regions! Stay tuned for more maintenance updates with the new ECHR Projects blog – until next time!

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.

SFN2182 Overhaul

During 2011 passenger car SFN2182 has been withdrawn from service and is being overhauled at Eveleigh.

Picture 079

Work has commenced repairing the roof area.

Picture 080

The malthoid covering on the roof was in need of repairs and the end timbers required replacement.

Picture 081

Whilst most of the roof will only require painting some sections had to be removed to repair rotten timbers in the roof.

Picture 082

It soon became obvious that this was not going to be a quick repair job. (Is it ever?)

Picture 084

What started off as a simple job soon became a much bigger than expected task.

Picture 085

The end sections of malthoid were removed to repair the wood work. All metal sections were treated to prevent rust.

Picture 086

A new wooden section will be manufactured and spliced into place before the malthoid material is reapplied.

Picture 089

New wooden mouldings were cut and shaped to the correct roof profile. These sections were primed and reapplied before the malthoid was replaced.

Picture 088

At the same time the removal of body rust began. This project will continue throughout the year and the car will receive a mechanical overhaul during this period. More updates throughout the year.