Australian Standard Garratt G-33

The Australian Standard Garratt or ASG is a significant part of our steam locomotive collection as it reunites all six remaining steam locomotives that were in use at the closure of the Fyansford Quarry Railway in 1966.

This icon of Australia’s rail and wartime heritage arrived at The Bellarine Railway in May 2013, after being part of the North Williamstown Railway Museum at Newport since 1968. Before moving the locomotive to Queenscliff, a survey was carried out and it was found to be in remarkably good condition, making it suitable for restoration to operating condition. A small group of our volunteers have been working on the locomotive and found many areas still requiring care and attention, mainly due to being static for 40+ years.

All donations are gratefully accepted to allow this project to continue and maybe either in-kind labour or monetary. Donations (cash) of over $300 will guarantee the donor a seat on the first official train when the locomotive returns to service.

January 2024 Update

Bellarine Railway’s ASG 33 Restoration Project January 2024 Update

The ASG project keeps rolling along. We have entered our 10th year of this project, and I have to admit that the time frame for this rebuild has probably gone out the window however the last 12 months have seen a big lift in our progress, especially with the new volunteers joining us for our journey. Bob Devries has taken an early retirement and has been committing to the restoration, 3 days a week.

Bob’s experience in restoration has seen us tackle some of the “bigger” tasks that were in front of us, including the corroded boiler stay heads. Arguably the biggest exercise of all has been the removal of 105 of these damaged stays from the boiler. This task has gone very well, we have now removed all the condemned stays and I’m happy to say we only damaged one hole.

One of the great parts of this exercise is being able to train and instruct our new volunteers into the demands of serious boiler works, Murray Thompson and Ross Clark have slotted into the team.

Other works have continued with John Gotten learning the finer art of replacing all the lateral wear faces on the axle boxes of the front engine unit. The efforts of many members have to be seen to be appreciated. 

(Footnote, I’ve asked John to put his thoughts down about his time volunteering with us, an article for another day).

Under Lindsay Walker’s guidance, the myriad of tasks undertaken and completed with parts removed from the locomotive, will speed up the entire assembly process.  There has been a new bronze bearing cast to replace the worn one on the lead bogie on the front unit. Machining will commence shortly, when finished the lead bogie will be reassembled. 

Currently underway machining is also taking place, on the manufacturer of 8 new swing link pins that hold the main driver springs to the axle boxes.  Tony Bren is constantly on his back as he undertaken on the job of reinstating all the steam piles that are attached to the boiler cradle. No, we haven’t seen him sleeping on the job just yet.

On January 28, we had our Boiler Inspector down to see an operational steam test on the Society’s steam crane, I grabbed the opportunity to get Max to assess our current ASG work and my concerns with the boiler. I’m pleased to say that all is good with what we are doing and now the boiler stay replacement programme can continue with new stays being installed.  If all goes well with our stay program, I am hoping by the end of February or early March that this work will be complete and then our efforts will go into organising a boiler washout and then set up so we are able to conduct a hydraulic test on the boiler – if it all goes well, we may have an operational boiler.  This will lift the speed of the project and maybe by the end of the year steam trials. That’s the plan at the moment.

The variety of work that our volunteers carry out each week are many and varied and it’s not always around the ASG. Colin Palmer, keeps an eye our lawn mowers and has them running well. Trevor Hutchinson and partner in crime Neville Lane carry out many tasks, just recently the boys did all the steel fabrication work for Santa’s new sled used in our theatre production of THE POLAR EXPRESS™.

There are quite few volunteers putting time into ex-South Australian Railway’s carriage, Car 19 restoration, I will leave this project reporting to Brian and Michael.

The first weekend of February we are again opening up the Queenscliff Workshop to visitors for the weekend, an opportunity to continue promoting our restoration projects whilst also showing off our 10-ton West Australian Government Railways.  The Steam Crane will be in steam and working all weekend doing operational displays. 

We still have still many small tasks in front of us leading up to that weekend, this also includes a visit from the rail regulator conducting mandatory compliance audits of our workshop.

A busy time….

Chris Hibble

ASG Project Leader   

*****

March 2021 Update

Bellarine Railway’s ASG 33 Restoration Project March Update

Moving out of Christmas and into the new year, even a minor February COVID lockdown hasn’t dulled the team’s enthusiasm – on the contrary we’ve welcomed three new blokes to both the Tuesday and Saturday shifts! Without a doubt it’s the positive attitude, skillset and energy of this great bunch of volunteers creating a workshop that’s experiencing little wins each and every day whilst having a lark at the same time.

Operated by the Geelong Steam Preservation Society, the Bellarine Railway has been around for more than 50 years.  Importantly our success into the future relies heavily on the next generation of railway enthusiasts rolling their sleeves up and getting involved – January 30th Queenscliff Workshops was a hive of activity with our young volunteers’ day.  Organised in conjunction with Jake Short and Darcy Peterson, we had 15 eager young volunteer railwaymen tackling a variety of tasks from needle gunning, footplate preparation, rust prevention, manufacture of driver’s seat and various painting tasks, such a magnificent contribution to the restoration project from these guys – kudos to all involved

Queenscliff Workshops Young Volunteers Day

Completed Tasks to March 2021                            

The boiler cradle preparation works continue with both reconditioned steam and water balance pipes now being reinstated in stages on both sides of the cradles frame. Of note, significant restoration externally and internally has been undertaken to remove substantial rust and corrosion associated with these piping fixtures.

Footplate restoration & replacement – having endured prolonged exposure to the elements and damaged in various minor incidents and crashes, parts of the footplate required either repair or replacement much of which has now been undertaken.  In particular, the footplate on both sides around the smoke box and the fireman’s section of the cab footplate suffered from significant corrosion.

Removed – Corroded Smokebox footplates

Considerable preservation hours also spent completing structural repairs to the frame directly supporting the front engine pivot.  Significant water damaged and corrosion in evidence on parts of the frame, hence various sections were removed and new pieces fabricated and reinstated to maintain the structural integrity of the pivot.

Other repairs affected in the area of the Smoke box involved removal of the live steam pipe elbows from the underside of the smokebox.  Inspection of this specific area revealed significant delaminating and corrosion between the double skin of the smoke box steam pipe access point.  Removal of the elbows presented some challenges, specifically  with flanges where corrosion certainly hampered the process.  To arrest the corrosion in this space part of the smoke box exhaust plate has been cut out with a new piece to be fabricated.

  Removal & Reconditioning of the live Steam Pipe

Further hours also spent reconditioning the air reservoirs and strengthening the support brackets.  A bloody challenging task to say the least, the process was completed with the air tanks remaining in-situ.  Removing the sand boxes created additional space to allow works on the tanks, however the access area was still considerably restricted.  One of the more difficult tasks yet undertaken by the ‘Cliff’ Workshops team.

Whilst the majority of the boiler had previously received its coat of Dulux High Temperature Silver Paint, the firebox now follows suit.  Whilst some boiler wall stays still require attention the sides and end have now been painted.  The top of the firebox is the only section now requiring the paint treatment, which will occur once the top of the firebox is flame descaled.

Steam Generator – It’s been well over half a century, but thanks to the great work of Steam Rails John Farrell and locomotive K190, the ASG’s steam generator finally spun again under steam for the first time since leaving the cement works.   John has generously completed a full overhaul, including the remagnetising of the generator’s permanent magnets, the electricity created will provide power to the ASG’s headlights and cab lights.

John Farrell’s Reconditioned Steam Generator

Cab Works – Continued anti corrosion works undertaken on the cab footplate, neutralising current rust, removing and replacing pitted and deteriorated metals to ensure cab integrity is maintained for many years to come.  Continuing the works recently initiated by Rob DeVreis, new volunteers Colin Palmer& Neville Lane work on fabrication of cab’s handrails, an elegant finish to the cab’s sides.

New volunteers Colin & Neville at work

The locomotive’s chimney is now receiving some attention and not before time. Closer inspection revealed significant rust, corrosion and cracking.  Reconditioning and welding work has commenced.

Graham Pendlebury works on G33’s chimney

Finally, various pieces of equipment and fixtures have been reconditioned in the preceding months, including copious amounts of pipe work and mounting brackets.  An interesting item receiving the attention of a citric acid bath is the loco’s boiler injector fitting, with the acid treatment designed to work on cleaning and restoring the internal and external surfaces to as new condition.

Upcoming Tasks April – June

Plans are afoot to finalise the second modified freight bogie in order to take the weight of the cradle.  The intent is to split the rear engine and move the boiler cradle to Lakers Siding where the rather noisy process of riveting both running boards and the cab

to the cradle frame can be undertaken with limited disruption and annoyance to our neighbours.  Whilst at Lakers the plan is to attack and replace the 70 odd boiler wall stays, a big job!   Smoke box repairs will also see a new piece of rolled plate, fabricated for the underside blast pipe section.

With the cab riveted in place, fixtures such as the window housings, hinges and brackets can be restored and reinstated.

The rear unit will remain at Queenscliff, were plumbing works, sandblasting the inside of the water tank and preparation for the completion of driving wheels and chassis will occur. Further the time is right to begin the reassembly of the rear unit’s cross heads & slide bars.  Finally, the front engine unit will also be brought in over the pit to allow for disassembly.

Australian Standard Garrett

July 2020 Update

Since our last update, the Queenscliff workshops have been witness to some significant undertakings with respects to our beloved restoration project, the ex-Fyansford Narrow Gauge Loco – Australian Standard Garratt G33.  The culmination of which now sees both the rear locomotive unit/coal tender and the middle boiler and firebox sections safely housed indoors under the roof and out of the weather at the ‘Cliffe’ Workshops.

The preparation works required to make the successful loco move were massive.  Works included removal of the trailing buffers, production of a cradle designed to both take the weight of the boiler and enable safe and easy transfer of the separated loco around the yard as and when required, works on easing seized components, removal of various connecting pipes and lubrication of various axels and bearings.

With the assistance of the delightful Class 11 Diesel Locomotive in Emu Bay Railway Colours, the yard shunt commenced Saturday morning 27 June.  Plenty of spectators witnessed the moved and pleasingly the hard work spent in preparation for this day was repaid – barely a squeak from the driving wheels, motion gear, axels and bearings.  The shunt involved positioning G33 into the shed and raising the front end of the boiler to allow for the removal of the front locomotive unit which is now stabled in the Workshop Yard adjacent to the pit in readiness for restoration.  Having bare millimetres to spare both the rear engine and boiler/firebox are now safely undercover ready for further restoration works.  Significantly, running the loco into the Queenscliff Shops is the first time since the mid to late 60’s G33 has been stored out of the weather, a huge step forward in the restoration process.

Works now continue at pace, in all weathers!  Removal of the water balancing pipes and some damaged and worn boiler stays being two of the more substantial tasks currently being undertaken.  Combined with continued rust descaling, needle gunning and wire brushing, some areas of the loco are now receiving some undercoat!

The main cylinders and air compressor piston ring castings have been manufactured and are now on site ready for machining, any volunteers?

The reasonably complicated task of rebuilding the cab unit continues, where original plans,  new sheet work and old structure continually test the patience and resolve of the ASG team attempting to accurately as possible reproduce an original cab – perhaps something to do with a myriad of Fyansford modifications!  Guttering material and manufacture have now been finalised and works continue to finish this stage of the project.

Offers of assistance are gratefully appreciated and cordially accepted, such as the sandblasting of various componentry and cowlings now being undertaken by Craig Elstone and son Daniel from Elstone Diving Services Drysdale.  This assistance will most certainly accelerate the restoration process and embolden the swelling numbers of volunteers working on the project and thus continue the great momentum we currently have.

A big thank you to volunteers working with either the Tuesday Boys or the Saturday Lads or both!  Without your dedication, the ASG Project would simply stall.  If you’re interested in getting involved don’t hesitate to pop down to the ‘Cliffe’ workshops for a cuppa and a chat, bring your overalls and we’ll put you to work!!

There has been a myriad of tasks undertaken by many individuals, keep your eye out for future updates on the Bellarine Railway Volunteers Portal and other social media platforms.

Cheers
The ASG Restoration Team

Australian Standard Garrett

May 2020 Update

Social isolation has slowed works on ASG33; however, team members have resorted to completing some Garratt tasks at home – a great initiative.  As COVID-19 restrictions are relaxed the ASG Restoration Team will recommence various tasks on the loco.

Rebuilding the cab has been a monumental task, as the cab itself has not fared well, having been outside for more than 40 years. Throughout its working life, the ASG’s original cab was modified numerous times by the Cement Works at Fyansford, Geelong.  Hence our challenge is to return the cab, to as near as possible, its original condition.

Work has also commenced on some firebox and boiler repairs, once these are finished, we’ll prepare for a hydro test with the boiler being in surprisingly good condition.  To further enhance restoration, we are modifying two freight bogies to create a mobile cradle.  Removing the ASG’s boiler from the chassis and loading onto the cradle will provide both a relatively easy way of manoeuvring this substantial piece of the loco around the workshops and yard whilst also enabling ease of access to those additional hard to reach areas and pieces of the locomotive attached to the chassis for restoration, reconditioning or replacement.

John Farrell from Steamrail is reconditioning the ASG’s generator, works including re-magnetisation of the magnets and bringing the generator back to as new condition. The generator still needs a steam test and adjustments before return to the Queenscliff Workshops for refitting to the ASG.

There has been a myriad of tasks undertaken by many individuals, keep your eye out for future updates on the Bellarine Railway Volunteers Portal and other social media platforms.

Cheers

ASG Restoration Team

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