Lake Macquarie Light Rail News
LMLR No 6 "North Eton" (Perry 2382 of 1941)
Malcom Moore propels 0-6-2T LMLR No. 6 towards the Engine Shed at the beginning of the restoration process. The locomotive's vivid colour scheme was a result of its 20-year sojourn at the Megalong Valley Tourist Railway west of Sydney. It is planned to return the locomotive to service in plain black with red pinstripe lining, red buffer beams and counterweights, plus polished side rods and motion.
0-6-2T LMLR No 6 (Perry 2382 of 1941) is the sister engine of fully restored and operational LMLR No 7 (Perry 6634 of 1952). Both locomotives spent all of their working lives in Queensland on North Etonís sugar cane tramway system. They were the last two steam locomotives in service there. By the 1968 crushing season both had been relegated to standby status for the Millís newly acquired diesel locomotives. They were not used during the 1969 season, and were subsequently purchased in 1972 for the embryo Megalong Valley Tourist Railway near Blackheath in the Blue Mountains.
This venture was unsuccessful. No. 7 needed re-tubing and only No. 6 was steamed intermittently on the uncompleted track, the last time being in 1986. Fifteen years later, in 2001, both locomotives were acquired by Lake Macquarie Light Rail. After a full rebuild No. 7 was returned to steam in 2004 and has been the mainstay of LMLR operations since then.
At the start of the restoration process No 6 was dismantled down to just a boiler on a wheeled frame in order to assess what repairs would be necessary. The boiler was found to be in good condition, considering the many years it had been out of service, and passed its hydrostatic tests and the boiler inspector's scrutiny with ease. The boiler shell was abrasive blasted, as shown above, before being given a protective coating and re-clad with the refurbished boiler sheeting.
The rest of the locomotive was in reasonable condition but the years had taken their toll. Among other things, the rear buffer plate was badly bent - a memento of some heavy shunting in past years - the trailing truck wheel-set was in poor condition, both side tanks were life expired, and expansive rust corrosion was evident throughout the cab and bunker assemblies. The cab roof had been roughly patched, possibly a memento of a past derailment and capsize.
Left: The trailing truck wheel tyres and flanges had worn thin. These were built up by MIG welding and re-profiled on a wheel lathe. The badly pitted journals were similarly refurbished.
Right: Re-metalled wheel bearings for the trailing truck wheelset.
Significant repair work was carried out to the back of the locomotive. A replacement rear buffer plate was made and fitted, the coal bunker repaired and straightened, and the bunker floor and part of the footplate renewed. Expansive rust was cut out of the bunker and cab assembly sections, and the roof repaired. The trailing truck needed repair work for thin wheel flanges, pitted journals and worn bearings. The driving wheel-sets were dropped to check bearings and journals - luckily these were in good condition and only new felts and modified drain plugs needed for the axle boxes.
Repair work to the coal bunker underway at LMLR. Remnant coal left in the bunker had rusted out the footplate floor and the bottom rim of the bunker. The new floor, replacement rear buffer plate and refurbished backhead of No 6 can also be seen in this shot.
The trailing truck supports were modified to permit the locomotive to negotiate curves with greater ease. The original Perry design of the trailing truck operated with a swing link system, which meant that when the loco negotiated a curve, the axle box casting that is connected to the fixed support by links, pivoted at about 15cm centres. The tighter the curve, the more the links swung about the top pivot. Therefore due to the arc of the link, this took the weight bearing capability off the trailing truck and weighed down the rear of the loco down. The leading drivers unloaded with a resulting tendency to climb up off the track.
The LMLR-design modification consists of a set of four rollers, instead of a pivot, which roll across flat bars welded on the top of the casting. Therefore there is a constant and even load sharing throughout the movement which results in a constant weight sharing by all wheels. With the original swing link set-up, 0-6-2T locomotives had difficulty negotiating a 37 metre radius curve but with the roller modification they can now negotiate 23 metre radius curves with ease. Sister engine No. 7 has run trouble-free with this set-up for over seven years.
Partially restored LMLR No 6 "North Eton" with the repaired trailing truck, rear buffer beam, footplate, ashpan, steam brake, handbrake, bunker and cab assembly back in place. The loco's side tanks were life-expired - the metal was so thin in places that a finger could be poked through the side - and replacement tanks are to be fabricated.
Work is currently being concentrated on the overhaul and re-installation of the steam fittings, and on the preparation of the exterior for spray-painting. The motion is waiting to go back on, having been overhauled and draw-filed smooth to remove years of dents and grime. Replacement side-tanks are on the drawing board. In recognition of the locomotive's heritage it was decided to name it "North Eton", after the North Queensland sugar mill where it spent all its working life. Suitable brass name plates have been cast and will be affixed to the side tanks.
Lake Macquarie Light Rail News
LMLR Passenger Carriage "Innisfail"
0-6-2T LMLR No. 7 (Perry 6634 of 1952) leads the railway's two 'heavy-weight' passenger cars, "Innisfail" and "The Commissioner's Car", across No 2 bridge on the approach to Nomad Station.
Lake Macquarie Light Rail currently operates two 'heavy-weight' passenger carriages, "Innisfail" and "The Commissioner's Car." Both began life on the 610mm gauge Innisfail Tramway in North Queensland which operated both passenger and goods vehicles to service the district.
The Tramway's 6m long by 1.6m wide passenger cars had the same underframes as the ubiquitous H-class bogie goods wagons which were designed to carry bagged sugar from local sugar cane mills to Mourilyan Harbour for export. The fully loaded goods wagons could carry 8 tonnes of bagged sugar. They were later converted to carry bulk sugar bins, but were set aside in the late 1990's when road trucks took over the transport task. Five vehicles were acquired by LMLR in 2002.
"Innisfail" is the latest passenger carriage to be outshopped by LMLR. Restoration began in 2009 with a thorough overhaul of the heavy underframe. One of the more challenging tasks was working around the heavy ballast weights - steel blocks weighing over 100kgs each - inside the cramped confines of the underframe. Dropping any of these on one's toes was not an option! Bogie frames and wheelsets were removed, taken apart, inspected and repaired.
The passenger car body was rebuilt using a steel framework fixed onto one of the ex-Innisfail Tramway (Qld) H-class bogie underframes, originally used for both passenger and goods vehicles on the tramway. The heavy-duty chassis' are ideal for narrow gauge use, their weight and low centre of gravity making for a very stable platform.
The passenger car body - frame, roof and floor - was rebuilt with 50mm square steel tube from a drawing of one of the original Innisfail Tramway carriages. Marine ply was used for the body panels and floor, with the roof formed from zinc anneal sheeting. The interior was lined with estapol varnished panelling. Longitudinal seats were installed giving a seating capacity of up to 20 passengers. Innisfail is an open carriage and as such has no doors or windows. 24V DC lighting was provided for night runs, and as an added touch, old-fashioned metal advertising signs are affixed inside the carriage. The two end platforms were enclosed by decorative wrought iron railing panels, with two passenger gates at either end.
The colours adopted for Innisfail were based on the old British Rail "blood and custard" scheme - a dark maroon body and cream yellow above the window sill line. The carriage carries the nameboard "Innisfail", named after the Innisfail Tramway from whence it came. It has proved very popular in service, free-running and offering passengers unrestricted views of the railway surrounds. With the growing popularity of LMLR a third 'heavy-weight' passenger car is on the drawing boards to cater for the peak loadings.
A photo montage of Innisfail:
Top left: Laying carpet on top of the marine ply floor inside the passenger compartment.
Top right: Varnished wooden panelling lines the roof and interior carriage walls. Power for the 24V DC electric roof lights is supplied from the locomotive.
Bottom left: Innisfail in undercoat. Many hours of patient bogging and sanding went into the preparation of the carriage for its painting out.
Bottom right: The car's end platforms feature checker-plate steel floors with wrought-iron safety railing and passenger gates.
Lake Macquarie Light Rail News
The LMLR Nomad Signalling Project - Update
0-6-2T LMLR No. 7 (Perry 6634 of 1952) steams away from Nomad Station during a late afternoon run in August 2012. The Up Starting Signal was assembled from redundant NSWGR signalling equipment donated to LMLR. Signal design conforms to NSW standards.
Lake Macquarie Light Rail has undertaken an ambitious 1950's NSWGR-style signalling project for its Nomad Station operation. The heart of the project is a new-build Signal Box at the east end of the station. It houses a 16-lever frame that is thought to have originally come from Darling Harbour Goods Yard in Sydney. When fully operational the Signal Box will control the operation of loop turnouts at each end of the station which will be protected by a full set of Distant, Home and Starting Signals. The railway was fortunate to have been donated a large amount of semaphore signalling equipment made redundant by the rollout of CTC across NSW.
As received, the 16-lever frame was configured for a different track and signalling layout. Also, as it had not been used for many years, it was in dire need of TLC. The frame was fully disassembled and its mutliplicity of components cleaned, checked and where necessary, repaired. Not a job for the faint-hearted. The daunting task of working out how the interlocking was originally set up, then modifying it for the LMLR layout, was undertaken by our resident signal engineer, 'BJ'. The number of different combinations possible for 16 levers runs into the thousands, so many hours of patient trial-and-error were needed to unlock its secrets. The result is an interlocking configuration that is fully compliant with NSW railway signalling design and operation.
The station turnouts are fitted with facing point locks, and both points and locks are connected to the Signal Box via lengthy runs of standard point rodding. Expansion compensators have been inserted at 25-metre intervals in the point rodding runs.
The semaphore signals are being assembled from redundant NSWGR components. Some of these had been out of use for years and were in very poor condition. Extensive restoration and repair has been the order of the day. Providing signal posts for single signals is a straightforward process of cutting down ex-NSWGR posts down to a suitable size. There are two bracket signal posts (Up Starter and Up Home) which were more of a challenge, requiring some serious fabrication and welding procedures to produce braced structures complete with signalling platforms.
The original scope of the project has been extended to include a ground frame controlling access to the engine shed branch line east of the station. When fully operational, the ground frame will first be released from the Signal Box, then unlocked with the branch line staff, before the branch turnout and protecting signalling can be operated.
The Nomad Signalling Project is still a work in progress and it will probably take another couple of years to finish. This includes commissioning, preparation of standard operating procedures and accreditation. Until completed, LMLR will continue to operate under the existing Safe Working procedures.
Nomad Signal Box framed by the two Down Starting Signals. When fully operational the Signal Box will control train movements through Nomad Station with a full set of Distant, Home and Starting signals at each end.
[Left] The fully-interlocked 16-lever frame is thought to have originally come from Darling Harbour Goods Yard in Sydney. It was overhauled and reconfigured for Nomad Station track layout by LMLR signal engineers.
[Right] Signal Engineer 'BJ' installing a signal lamp for the Down Loop Starter. All completed LMLR signals are equipped with authentic 240V signal lamps for use during evening steam runs.
Lake Macquarie Light Rail News
Ex-Innisfail Tramway Diesel Locomotive "Mourilyan"
(Baguley 3390 of 1954)
August 2010: Baguley-Drury 0-6-0DM (3390 of 1954) shortly after arrival at LMLR from North Queensland. The harsh tropical climate had not been kind to the locomotive since it was withdrawn from service at Mourilyan Sugar Mill in 2004.
In 1954 the Innisfail Tramway in North Queensland imported two Baguley-Drury 2ft gauge diesel-mechanical locomotives to begin dieselising the system. Their main task was to haul export bulk sugar from local sugar mills to Mourilyan Harbour. LMLR's loco (Baguley 3390 of 1954) was allotted road number DL12 and given the name Mourilyan. After sale of the Tramway to private Industry, Mourilyan went to South Johnstone Mill where it was relegated to secondary duties; truck shop shunter, hauling ballast, weed spraying and navvy trains. As more powerful diesel-hydraulic bogie locomotives were acquired, the older diesel-mechanicals were set aside. Mourilyanís last recorded run, on a navvy train to Mourilyan Harbour, was in 2004.
Mourilyan was a 15-tonne 0-6-0 135hp (110kw) diesel-mechanical locomotive. A Gardner 8LW engine drove the jackshaft through a Vulcan-Sinclair fluid coupling to an air operated Self Charging Gear R 11A (SCG) epicyclic 4-speed gearbox and a RF25 SCG final drive. The maximum tractive effort developed was 3760kg and it was rated to haul 220 tonnes. Top speed was 25 km/h, more than adequate for the 20km/h limit then prevailing on the Innisfail Tramway. At first it had a tendency to derail itself on the light track, so cast steel weights were added for extra stability and with the additions added during service, brought the total weight of the locomotive up to 18 tonnes.
When acquired by LMLR in 2010 the loco was basically in good mechanical condition but the exterior had suffered from several years' exposure to the North Queensland climate. This necessitated the removal of all the bodywork for extensive repair, and fabrication of replacements for panels which were too far gone to recover. Many component assemblies, including the air compressor, radiator and air brake cylinders were stripped right down and fully rebuilt.
The decision was made to restore the locomotive as closely as possible back to its original condition. This meant replacing and lowering the roof (raised in mill service), replacing the cut-down rear hood, jettisoning the cast steel ballast weights and all the extra headlights added during mill service. As the locomotive had been fitted with a larger compressor to supply air for Westinghouse train brakes the installation of original-pattern engine-bay side louvre doors was not considered practical.
Considerable work was also needed to overhaul the air brake and electrical systems, but fortunately the big Gardner diesel engine was in good condition and only needed servicing. Red letter day came in late 2011 when the loco successfully operated under test at LMLR for the first time. New brass name plates were cast and a genuine RMB Baguley makerís plate was donated and affixed to the radiator grill.
Mourilyan is a very useful addition to LMLR's motive power pool. With main line power available at the turn of a key, the loco finds good use in mid-week runs for local community and charity group where lighting up steam locomotives is not a practical proposition. It also stars in heavy shunting moves that LMLR's smaller IC locomotives struggle to perform.
May 2011: The poor condition of the bodywork dictated that the locomotive had to be stripped down before restoration could begin. New panels were fabricated to replace sections that were too far gone to repair. Ancilliary components including the air compressor, radiator and brake cylinders were fully rebuilt.
August 2012: Near the end of its restoration process, Mourilyan is seen here coupled up to 0-6-2 ex-North Eton No. 7 (Perry 6634 of 1952). The diesel locomotive has been restored, subject to modern safety requirements, as closely as possible back to its original condition.This includes the colour scheme, original traces of which were discovered preserved under layers of paint.
Lake Macquarie Light Rail News
Restoration Update: ex-Burrinjuck Dam Steam Locomotive "Jack" (Krauss 6063 of 1908)
Jack arriving at LMLR in September 2008. For many years it was believed that this locomotive was "Archie" (Krauss 5945 of 1907), one of 4 identical Krauss engines used during the construction of the Burrinjuck Dam in southern NSW. It was not until the restoration process began, revealing Jack's number - 6063 - stamped on all the components, that its real identity was revealed.
After completion of Burrinjuck Dam in 1928, Jack went to Queensland to work the sugar cane lines of Farleigh Mill. In 1969 it was donated to the NSW Rail Transport Museum. After many years as a static display at the Museum, it has been leased to LMLR under an agreement which will see this historic little engine fully restored and returned to steam.
The intervening years had not been kind to Jack. While it still looked quite presentable externally, internally it was in poor condition and represented a major restoration challenge. The wheel sets had rusted solid inside the axle boxes, internal rust and corrosion was rampant, the boiler required major attention, and many of the steam fittings were missing.
A detailed restoration plan was prepared and agreed upon, and LMLR was able to obtain a grant from the NSW Office of Environment & Heritage to help fund the project
Restoration began with the removal of the wheelsets and axleboxes (not an easy task), their repair and then re-installation. This allowed us to move Jack around the workshop as required without having to resort to skidding it on greased rails. The loco was then stripped down to basically a flat chassis on wheels. As parts and components were removed, they were logged, labelled and stored for restoration. It soon became apparent that some were life-expired and quite beyond repair.
Hundreds of hours of cleaning, needle-gunning, wire-brushing and abrasive-blasting have since gone into restoration and repair. Heavy repairs were carried out to the corrosion-damaged front end, including the buffer plate, drag box, coupler and the two well tanks inside the frames. The boiler was removed from the frames, detubed, smokebox removed, and then sent off-site for specialist repairs.
New component assemblies fabricated in the LMLR Workshops to date have included replacement side tanks, fireman's side lower cab assembly, ashpan and footplate. The presence of wide-spread expansive rust in the remaining assemblies has required a considerable amount of additional repair work.
Re-assembly of Jack is underway with the re-uniting of new and refurbished cab sections on the back of the loco. New side tanks have been trial fitted and brass name plates put on for the camera. The boiler is off-site undergoing specialist repairs.
Lake Macquarie Light Rail News
Nomad Railway Station
Steam locomotives Perry No. 7 (left) and Baldwin No. 1 "Fairymead" (right) standing at Nomad Station on a very wet day in May 2012. Nomad is Lake Macquarie Light Railís centrepiece passenger station and it has been developed as a replica in miniature of the charming little stations that used to grace the NSW country railway scene.
During the railway's first few years a short concrete-faced platform marked the future station site. Development began in 2007 with the erection of a timber frame and weatherboard station building, modelled on the design of early NSW country stations. The interior of the building is fitted out with panelled walls, polished wooden benches and a real pot-belly stove. The station is manned by an authentically dressed station master on running days.
The station surrounds have been progressively enhanced by landscaping, paving and the erection of 1950's-style picket fencing. Other typical station fixtures include platform seats, station signs, heritage lighting, a destination board, even a luggage trolley complete with waiting luggage. A gated level crossing provides visitor access to the station, where passengers are issued with their tickets through a genuine ticket office window, complete with polished brass ticket tray.
A major development was undertaken recently with the construction of a loop line behind the station and the addition of a back platform. At the same time the main line platform was lengthened to accommodate longer trains. This enabled two trains to be run to cater for heavy passenger loadings on busy days; one train boarding passengers at the station while the other train is steaming around the main line.
Visitors are currently witnessing another big change underway at Nomad Station Ė the installation of a comprehensive signalling scheme. The signal box visible in the background of the photograph houses a fully-restored 16-lever frame. The points at each end of the station loop will be operated from the signal box. Starting, home and distant semaphore signals are being installed at the station and on the approaches. Until the project is completed and commissioned, the existing LMLR Safeworking system remains in place. When fully operational, the signal box will control the operation of points and signals for all train movements within station limits in accordance with standard NSW Railway practice.
Lake Macquarie Light Rail's genial owner, Grahame Swanson, and Station Master Allen Kenworthy pose for the camera in front of the ticket window on Nomad Station. On busy running days extra volunteers are rostered on to assist Allen on the station - manning the crossing, issuing tickets and boarding passengers.