Ex-Pioneer Sugar Mill Klondyke

MAY 2024 – JULY 2024

Klondyke has been a workhorse of The Bellarine Railway for 30 years, hauling countless passenger trains in the late 1990s and early 2000s, before being repainted in 2009 to suit our special event needs. Klondyke had a defect in its trailing wheelset which caused its operation to be heavily restricted, but come April 2024, an avenue opened for a replacement wheelset to be sourced and put under the locomotive in the 2024 Winter break.

Trailing Wheelset - The Main Job

The Trailing Wheelset – The Main Job

Klondykes operation was hamstrung by a defect in its trailing wheelset, which was an addition to the locomotive made during its time at the Queensland Pioneer Sugar Mill (PSM) in the 1960s. Klondyke was originally an 0-4-0 coal burning locomotive, until the PSM decided that it was far too unstable and needed an extra wheel to stabilise the rear of the locomotive. The two other Perry locomotives at PSM also received the same modification

We believe that the trailing truck was sourced second hand from the ‘Hunslet’ locomotives that the PSM operated prior to the arrival of the Perry locomotives in the 1950s. PSM had four of these Hunslets, all built between 1898 and 1915. The existing axle under Klondyke is stamped ‘993’, which aligns with a 1909-built Hunslet.

In late April 2024, the generous folk at the Burdekin Machinery Preservationists (of Brandon, QLD) were generous enough to offer another wheelset in exchange for our defective one. They were in possession of a water cart that was built by PSM using one of the spare Hunslet wheels.

It cannot be overstated how grateful The Bellarine Railway is for the support of Burdekin Machinery Preservationists (BMP) in this project.

The wheelset from BMP was road freighted to Lakers Siding in May, and by early July the wheelset was ready to be fitted into Klondyke. The existing axleboxes from Klondyke were used on the ex-BMP wheelset.

Other Jobs - Making a Multipurpose Locomotive

Other Jobs – Making a multipurpose locomotive

With a new wheelset installed and tested, Klondyke can once again be used to haul or regular heritage services. A plan was developed to restore this locomotive in a way that met both our need for an accurate event character, but also a unique heritage steam locomotive.

To do this, a few previous changes to the locomotive were reversed. These included:

  • Refitting the Cowcatcher
  • Refitting Pyle-National turbo generator, and headlights
  • Refitting rectangular windows
  • Refitting the tapered chimney
  • Repainting in Blue with altered lining
  • Replumbing air compressor exhaust and reinstating the muffler
  • Polishing the brass dome cover
  • Casting of new builders plates

In addition to this, a boiler inspection was completed, and a few other maintenance jobs attended to. These included repairs to:

  • Fireman’s Side connecting rod little-end bearing and pin
  • Worn crossheads
  • Worn draw gear
  • Trailing truck axle boxes and horn guides
  • Water tanks
  • Worn motion pins

Completion of these jobs left us with a respectable looking blue steam locomotive, but we had yet to engineer up our solution to turn it into the character it was to portray. To do this we made all of the appropriate lining out of magnet strips, and fabricated a selection of detachable components, including:

  • Rear cab wall and false bunker
  • Wheel arches
  • Front cab wall, with round windows
  • Side cab walls, with altered window pattern
  • New dome cover

Thanks to the amazing teamwork and imaginative thinking of The Bellarine Railway volunteers, we now essentially have two locomotives for the price of one!