News Update April 2013

The past few months has seen a huge amount of outdoor activity due to the almost uninterrupted  fine weather that the region has enjoyed. The downside of this is it has left the ground very dry and the whole region was under a fire ban for a month. This precluded the use of our steam locomotive fleet for the duration but gave our 2 De locos an opertunity for an airing. We are fortunite to be able to call on a vast stable of motive power to suit almost any requirement. This is due to the dedication of members who has nursed these locomotive back to health. 

Passenger numbers have been steady since the beginning of the year, with our Children’s Day event this Shunting before our Children's Day eventyear being the most sucsessful ever. A slightly different format this year with Barlay 1749 and L4246 running in place of R.M30. This proved enormously popular and we could easily have filled 2 wagons every trip. Instead of running turn about with the regular train hauled by C847, we ran twice for each one trip of the train to cope with demand.

L509 & Fowler #5. Only a couple of repairs to these locos have been required, repairs to the blower pipe for 509 and tightening a frame stretcher on #5.

C847. A new set of engine brake block have been fitted. When the loco was restored at GVR the blocks were changed to the type used on Dsa shunting locomotives as GVR has a good stock. Our stocks were nil but we do have a good stock of Ww blocks so a set of these was exchanged with GVR. Some other minor work including repairing a annoying steam leak on the compressor has kept the loco fit for service.

Barclay 1749. Further work on the injectors now has one that is working 99% of the time and the other working well but wasting. Some other minor work is scheduled in the next new months including machining the expansion links and new die blocks.

De505 &508. Both of these locomotives are being used turn about during the fire ban. For 505 this has been the first time since March 2003 that it has been used on a regular passenger train.

R.M30. Recently moved into the main shed for servicing, a replacement spring had to be fitted after the existing one broke a top leaf. Thanks to Pahiatua Railcar Society who have lent us a spring until our one is back from being repaired. we are currently having difficulty finding replacement material for the repair.

Overhauled wheels for F139F139. Over the Christmas break the van was moved into the workshop for its major overhaul. The leading end bogie was removed and dismantled and it was no surprise as to the condition of the components. One wheel set has been replaced as the existing wheel had a journal that was 1/2” larger than the other, explaining why the bogie was always tilted. As this required machining to put right it was decided to fit another wheel as the flange on the existing was nearing the condemning limit. The other wheel set required the end collar built up and both wheels have been sent to Acme Engineering for machining. The elliptical springs were in better condition that the trailing bogie but have been sent for repair due to exploded rust between the leaves and broken buckles. A new set of pins and new hangers have been machined for the brake rigging and the spreaders have been built up and machined also. Both end doors and the sliding door separating the guards compartment have been removed and overhauled and are painted in primer ready for refitting. Both large sliding doors were also removed and are only fit for firewood due to rot. Thanks to the Lion foundation we have received a grant for paint for the exterior, timber to build from scratch and clad 2 side doors and hardwood for new headstocks and bogie bolsters.

Track. The remainder of the work required to complete the resleepering of McKirdy loop is now complete. This has resulted in a far tidier and safer area than before and Ballasting the yardshould last for many years. Attention then turned to a few areas in front of the shed that required work including levelling Road 2 and repairing and packing road 4/5 turnout. Some further formation preparation earthwoarks were carried out on the extension, and the turnout purchased from KiwiRail last year and 2 sets of rails have been moved into position. Once the work required in the McKirdy yard is complete work will recommence on the much awaited project.

Structures. The derelict shed that was obtained for no cost and the subject of an enormous amount of work by the Wednesday creHulls Creek Station now in positionw over the past year is now in position on Hulls Creek Platform. Once the piling was complete the building was loaded onto a hand trolley and pushed to site and rolled off the trolley using sleepers and pieces of boiler tube. The whole operation took less than 2 hours and the results are very pleasing. With the completion of repainting the workers hut on the platform, attention is now focused on repairing and painting the jigger sheds. Now over 30 years old they are well over due for a birthday and will give a better impression as visitors ride past.