MBR2078 - S Type First Class Sitting & Buffet Car

MBR2078: A Silver Lining

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Our long-serving Buffet car MBR2078 ‘Woronora’ has recently been treated to a resealing of its roof, a necessary part of the rigorous regular maintenance program which is required to keep our cars in ‘first class’ operating condition, achieved with the support of our long term supplier and supporter Davco. This government owned car is an indispensable and popular fixture in our regular Cockatoo Run and Hawksbury River Express trains which are run for the enjoyment of Sydney tourists each month, and has hosted thousands of local and international tourists while keeping them all well fed – no mean feat when considering it has simultaneously covered thousands of kilometres! It has thus earned itself well deserved facelift indeed.

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With more carriages soon to follow, it is at this point that the Eveleigh Projects team wish to extend a heartfelt thanks to our equally valued, ever reliable suppliers Davco, without whom such ongoing work would not be possible. This November marks an astonishing 30 years that we have been using their Ormonoid Silvershield™ product to seal the roofs on our heritage rollingstock, and it has withstood the rigours and challenges of life ‘on the road’ with great aplomb, as well as looking fantastic to boot! In addition to being an important supplier, Davco is also a proud supporter of 3801 Limited, for which we are most grateful. We will certainly continue to seal the roofs of our carriages using Davco’s Ormonoid Silvershield™, and look forward to appreciating the benefits of its excellent protective finish and weatherproofing performance qualities for some time to come. Cheers guys – here’s to another 30 years!

Next time you’re in the market for primer, waterproofing or adhesives, head to http://www.parexdavco.com.au and pay them a visit!

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Around the Shed

And now for something completely different…

Our Eveleigh Projects volunteers have recently spent a weekend working on the iconic Red Rattler carriage situated in the Australian Technology Park. Known as a ‘Sputnik’ power car, of late 1950s vintage and having been manufactured by Comeng in Granville, C3704 has stood sentinel inside the gate since the ATP’s inception in 1995 and has functioned invaluably as the office for 3801 Limited. However, some years of relentless 24/7 exposure to the elements had understandably begun to take its toll on the old stalwart of late, so it was decided that it was once again time re-seal the roof of the car, both to maintain appearances and ensure it was kept fully weathertight and functional.

To this end, our fantastic suppliers at Blackwoods and Tremco most generously donated their Brushable Hydroseal to re-seal the carriage roof. Brushable Hydroseal is a heavy bituminous, fibre reinforced, rust inhibiting sealing compound, and is specially designed to be brushed thickly to any surface. When dry, the Hydroseal is tough and waterproof, and possesses excellent weathering qualities. The Australian sun certainly has put the product to the test over the years and we can most definitely attest to its effectiveness for the job at hand! After a couple of days’ work, the car not only looks vastly better than it has in some time, but is also now far better equipped to stand up to the elements for some years to come. Now for the bodywork we suppose… Watch this space!

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3801 Limited gratefully acknowledges and appreciates the ongoing support of Blackwoods and Tremco with our rollingstock projects:

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XBS2158 - 65ft First Class Corridor Car

Eveleigh BS: Blades of Glory

Following on from our last post about the disassembly and preparation of the compartment fans in the XBS, work has subsequently progressed on their finishing and reassembly. As always, in the interests of recording the process for posterity (and to assist the next poor souls who decide that refurbishing a set of 24V fans might be a fun way to kill a week or three), we have set out the steps involved in getting the fans to their current state.  For the best finish, the disassembled components were left to sit for a fortnight or so following paint stripping. This ensured that any residue had ample time to cure before painting, and would ensure the best possible adhesion of the paint system. Following a quick once over with some phosphoric acid to treat any surface rust, the components each received 2 healthy coats of etch grey primer. This was then followed by two coats of Metal Shield Epoxy Enamel in Classic Cream, with the exception of the fan blades which were painted silver. As usual, the paint was supplied by our good friends at Dulux.

After leaving this to sit for 24 hours, reassembly was commenced. The plates were easily re-attached by tapping in a couple of small metal push rivets – and not even these escaped the onslaught of Classic Cream! With hindsight, it would have been nice also to have gone to the lengths of removing the plates when restoring the CAM fans (https://eveleighprojects.wordpress.com/2014/02/19/tam-fans-how-far-theyve-come/), as it’s a gauge of the quality of the restoration project, with few carriages receiving such a thorough going over as this one is having. The devil’s in the detail – and in this case it’s a credit to the dedication of the skilled team at Eveleigh Projects, always ensuring jobs such as this are done to the best of their ability and to the highest standards.

On observation of the plates, it’s interesting to note that while the fans in the CAM were manufactured by Stones of England, those in the XBS are home grown – having been made by Elcon in Australia. Following these, next up next for reattachment are the speed controller handle and the fan motor cradle. It never ceases to amaze us how easily these things can fit back together after a bit of tlc, especially given that the fans were temperamental to say the least during the disassembly leg! But now comes the tricky bit – after going the extra mile previously in removing the stator (refer to the earlier fan post below) to allow the components to be fully treated and restored, it needed now to be reinstated in its rightful place. In the end this was achieved with a bit of signature railway “gentle persuasion”, courtesy of a small mallet and drift. But would it work after having been disturbed from its resting place of the better part of eight decades?

First, the brush contact mounts were refitted to the motor casing and leads then run to each, one for positive and the other for negative. The motor was then reassembled with little difficulty, being held together by just 2 threaded bolts, before being tested using (appropriately enough) a stalwart 12V transformer pilfered from the model railway. Performing these little projects away from Eveleigh at private workshops really helps the project progress, as you certainly couldn’t find one of those in The Large… But the result: good news! It works on 12V, so will be fine for 24V carriage voltage later on.

Having passed the test with flying colours, the motor is then mounted in its cradle, a process which for this style of fan is a ‘breeze’, using 2 simple plugs to allow the fan motor to be easily removed from the cradle. New electrical leads were also fitted at this point to allow for reconnection to the carriage electrical supply upon reinstallation. This is followed by the fitting of the caps to seal in the motor brushes and the four brackets to attach the fan grill, and we’re now ready for the final check.

The variable speed controller works, adjusting the RPMs as it should – so once the grill returns from the chrome platers it will be reinstalled, making this fan complete and ready for interim storage prior to reinstallation later in the project. So now onto the next fan, and at this point a side-by-side comparison exemplifies both the quality of the restoration and scope of the skills which are alive and well among the volunteers of Eveleigh Projects team – the fan has been subjected to a miraculous restoration in its own right!

Keep an eye out for further XBS updates in the coming days…

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Around the Shed

Eveleigh Projects Prints

In addition  to being tireless and meticulous workers with our multitude of restoration projects, many of the Eveleigh volunteers also happen to be excellent photographers. As such, we have decided to make a range of railway themed photographic prints available for purchase, with all proceeds being directed back into the ongoing restoration efforts of the group. Many of these prints feature locomotives and rollingstock that has passed through the Eveleigh shed doors having been owned or operated by 3801 Limited over the years

All are A4 prints on glossy photo stock, and are available unframed for $5 or framed for $20. These can be obtained on board any 3801 Limited tours, through the office in the ATP, or by contacting the blog email: eveleighprojects@gmail.com

Support a worthy cause and get your hands on a great conversation piece in the process! Thank you for your support.

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XBS2158 - 65ft First Class Corridor Car

Eveleigh BS: Doing it for the fans

In each compartment of the first class BS carriages was fitted a single wall mounted electric fan running on 24V DC, mounted above the doorway to assist with the circulation of air. These veterans have all no doubt given many hours of stellar service on those stuffy days when travelling in compartments would otherwise have lost its lustre! During the course of restoring the carriage, each unit was removed from its compartment and set aside for rebuilding and restoration as close as possible to original condition. The work started with somewhat of an audit of the seven fans from XBS2158, revealing a few variants among the collection and giving some insight into the frequency with which these were repaired/ replaced in railway service.

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Both three and four bladed designs were evident in similar numbers:

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One fan featured a complete departure from the standard eight-spoked ‘medusa’ grill design, while another had been retrofitted with an additional guard on the lower part of the grill, nearest to where passengers’ fingers are trying to operate the toggle switch to set the fan speed.

The one thing that all did have in common was that all were rather tired, so they were relocated to our off-site workshop where two of our volunteers have been diligently working through the issues, one fan at a time. The following is an insight into what effort is lavished on a single fan! The first step is to remove the grill – these little brass screws put up quite a fight! This one needed a little bit of heat to coax it into cooperation:

With the fan now looking somewhat naked, the next step is to remove each of the four grill support arms. Once removed, it becomes clear that their mounting bolts will all need replacement:

Then the Romford drive screw connecting the upper motor unit to the wall-mount base is removed, allowing for them to be separated:

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This brings us to the ‘clockwork’ mechanism, which spends the vast majority of its life hidden away within the base spending facing a piece of polished timber. This mounting however, is not airtight – to which the all-permeating soot attests! Unlike those fitted to the CAM (https://eveleighprojects.wordpress.com/2014/02/19/tam-fans-how-far-theyve-come/), these fans have multiple speed settings. Our regular ‘electrical’ bloggers will appreciate the basic yet effective circuit design, impressively functional in its simplicity. For the young whipper-snappers of today, this is essentially what is condensed inside modern electronic chips!

The speed selection handle needs removing to allow the several layers of paint which have been caked on over the years to be stripped back. Again, the mechanism is rudimentary yet effective, although it took quite a bit of elbow grease to separate from the base!

Two simple threaded bolts release the motor housing – but of course we ought to know better by now than to think that it will come apart easily just because we’ve removed the bolts!

Next to come off is the brush inspection cover.

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The brush caps are then unscrewed, but unfortunately a number of these were either missing or extremely brittle, necessitating replacement. Please get in touch if you have any spares gathering dust somewhere on a shelf! eveleighprojects@gmail.com

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Slipping off the brush end of the casing finally reveals the inner workings, a trifle dirty but in otherwise excellent condition.

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And for those playing at home, this is what an XBS compartment fan looks like in kit form!

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After a first pass with the paint stripper things are looking better already, and our thoughts turn ahead to what colour these fans will be post-restoration. Unlike the CAM fans, the first coat here appears to be a cream/ off-white colour, so this is what they will be reinstated in.

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Going the extra mile, the next step is to remove the stator to allow the casing to be cleaned fully. These are fitted with fantastic little electrical clips! After a bit of persuasion, the stator slips out of its casing which can then be thoroughly cleaned.

The true quality of a restoration lies in the details, and in keeping with the high standards of the Eveleigh projects we are always looking to go above and beyond the call to really set our restorations apart. As such, we also tapped out the speed dials (whose lovely details had only been revealed for the first time in decades once the congealed paint had been removed) so we could clean out the area behind them, and again the original cream paint was found. We’ll put these plates back on last, following the repainting and reassembly of the fans. Quality is the name of the game here – while we are already putting in the effort, we may as well do it properly!

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So after some hours of work stripping them all down, this is where we are up to currently – the next stage is to begin a thorough repainting, where again no detail will be left unattended to. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you feel you can help us out financially with the projects, as now that we’ve done a full assessment on this job we expect we’ll spend around $700 restoring all seven fans alone. Feel free to drop us a line eveleighprojects@gmail.com if you can help out!

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Looking good so far after completing paint stripping, but a ways to go yet!

Keep an eye out here for more updates on the XBS fan project.

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XBS2158 - 65ft First Class Corridor Car

Eveleigh BS: The Window chapter

We’re well overdue for a blog update, so let’s wind back the clock and review some of our work from late last year.

Finding a BS car in largely original configuration is a somewhat rare occurrence these days, with most of the S-type carriages represented in preservation being their second class FS counterparts (in fact, when this car is completed it will be the only operable BS car based in Sydney). This makes it rather more valuable than it appears at first glance, not only thanks to the comfort it provides with its cosy 6-seat compartments (compared to 8 in the FS cars), but also due to its significant value to the heritage community. With this in mind, this restoration will be keeping everything as original as possible while still telling the story of this car, which includes a few modifications that have crept in over its years of service with the NSWGR.

At the start of its life, the toilet windows were timber framed – the same as the rest of the car – but during its career, XBS2158’s were replaced with fixed windows featuring frosted panes to provide privacy in the WC. These have been mounted and sealed using rubber locking strips:

The Chippies were understandably overjoyed at this, as we only had to assemble a set of 29 timber window frames, rather than the full complement of 32 as would have been required for the fair-dinkum original when it first rolled out of the Clyde Engineering workshops in November 1937. Each of the existing windows was first removed before being individually assessed to determine what could be salvaged of the original frame. Water damage has proven to be the most common symptom throughout – witness to the car’s time spent in storage – but thankfully for the most part this was confined to the lower mortise and tenon joints. This deterioration had been accelerated as a result of the Railways fitting the dreaded Tee-nuts in the later years of their service, so these have now been duly removed and replaced by timber plugs.

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The installation of fresh timber plugs has meant we have been able to use heavy gauge brass wood screws to attach the window latches, as per tradition. The windows that proved beyond repair were discarded and replaced with spares sought from our extensive window store at Eveleigh. Here is an original that’s been in storage since it was brought to the LES following the closure of the Carriage Works. This window has never been used… the LES is home to some real treasures!

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Pretty soon we had a good looking set of windows that just needed a final sand before painting. Dulux are big supporters of our restoration efforts at The Large, and we are immensely appreciative of their invaluable support in the provision of superior paints from their oil based range.

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The paint system used for the window exteriors is oil based Preplock, of which we apply two coats:

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This is then followed by two coats of Dulux Super Enamel Indian Red – this paint has been proven to wear remarkably well in what is a gruelling environment when in regular mainline usage. This system has proven to last well in excess of 10 years, no mean feat given our cars are often steam hauled! (Apologies at this point to the Candy fans among you, as XBS2158 is being painted into the Indian Red livery complete with cream ‘buff’ lines – the way God intended!)

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The inner faces of the frames meanwhile are painted with 3 coats of clear varnish, giving a smart internal finish.

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We spent over 60 hours just painting the windows – not including all the prep and timber repairs. It is easy to forget when appreciating a gleaming carriage on the platform the work that goes in behind the scenes long after the passengers and crew have gone home! For the best results, the next step is to stack them up in a safe place and let the paint cure fully before we trim the excess paint off the glass pane and fit the windows later in the project.

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Stay tuned for more BS!

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Around the Shed

42101 & CAM502 on display at Transport Heritage Expo 2016

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As some of our loyal rail heritage enthusiasts may be aware of, this June Long Weekend will see the annual Transport Heritage Expo play host at Central Railway Station. With Steam train shuttles, vintage bus rides around the CBD, Devonshire Teas aboard the Southern Aurora, and also the reappearance of the famously preserved red rattler “F1” set, we at 3801 Limited are delighted to announce we will have our wonderfully restored projects on display at Central Station along side these other ironic heritage items.

Vintage EMD Diesel Electric “42101” and our restored Ken Butt lounge car “CAM502” will be on show at Central for the general public to see, taking part of the Transport Heritage Expo festivities.

This would not of been possible without the tireless volunteers providing much of the legwork and labour for free.

Most surplus money made from ticket sales is ploughed directly into running costs, insurance and repairs to keep our fleet operational. To undertake restorations, such as our most recent project lounge carriage CAM502, requires significant financial backing. For this we thank all our donors no matter how small or large as without your support we would not be able to undertake the restoration nor share the results of our labour with you. Some of our key sponsors are recognised below. If your name or business is not there we ask you to consider whether you too would like to become involved either voluntarily or financially (http://www.3801limited.com.au/donations.htm).

So come on down this weekend, check out the event, and say hello to our team!

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