Meanwhile, does anyone know what shape 5908 and 5916 are in, even if one has to be cannibalised for the other, given that (1) the 59s are handy for route availability and passable for speed at least on some routes and (2) as the fire ban season gets longer as it will continue to do, an oil burner could be a really useful engine?Both are in extremely poor condition, 5908 looks good externally but internally it is very deteriorated, 5916 has no parts in good condition and is probably one of the most deteriorated NSW steam locomotives
Look at the extent of the deterioration- https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:5916
Both were cannibalised heavily (16 more so) for the restoration and operation of 5910 in the 80s and 90s
As I said in one of the earlier posts on this thread, 5910 is probably going to be the next THNSW operational restoration owing to it's good mechanical condition and the simplicity of the repairs needed
While oil burners are good for the fire seasons they are not well liked by crews for many reasons
If my memory serves me correctly, both oily 59's sat in the open for many many years, and a fair bit of that time at BMD, they are both at Goulburn now, one looks fair the other a fail. I worked a couple of them prior to conversion to coal, and was never so glad to get out of the cabs on them, no matter how one adjusted the oil flow and atomiser when working hard you never got rid of the Thump Thump sound of the fire in the firebox, and the resultant headache.
While the idea of oil firing seems good, to get the best out of them one needed decent oil rather than much of the old mixtures used on them, when you finished a shift on them the stench of the oil permeated through your clothes and body, took a couple of days for the smell to get out of the skin, as well.
The thought of sitting on a seat and not having to swing the shovel sounds appealing as it meant a lot less work, but keeping a watch on the Boiler Pressure told you when to put sand through the tubes, make sure the roof hatch was closed as you did not get any of the hot unburnt muck that built up inside the tubes. Although that was a good thing to do on the Rozelle goods line in school holidays or before and after school as kids would hang over the road bridges with bricks in hand trying to drop them into the funnel or through the cab roof hatch, the oil and thicker smoke got rid of them and we were immune from the bricks though.
The sand also had adverse affects on the tubes as well as they needed replacement a bit more frequently than the coal versions. Most depots had change/locker rooms for enginemen as well as other depot workers, many an engineman would have an old pair of overalls in their locker for working on oil burners, saved their normal clothes from the oil globules if the hatch was open and got on your clothes. As the 59's were converted to coal burning, the second pair of overalls were pretty much used only for preparing/oiling engines for your shift on them.