New/imported steam locos on Vic narrow gauge?

 
  Adogs Chief Train Controller

Hi, had a search for previous threads on this topic and didn't find any, apologies if this topic has already been done to death... Wink

Noting that all the remaining NAs, plus G42 and the Climax are in use or being restored at Puffing Billy, are there any other sources of narrow gauge engines, should Puff or the Walhalla GR want another steamer?

In particular noting that there is/was only one steam loco at Walhalla, and that wasn't really strong enough to pull a set on its own (no idea whether this is correct or not, but I have heard that the Henschel could pull about three cars of the weight of the PBR ones, but the Walhalla ones are heavier due to being build from old coal bogies they were donated. But I could imagine that building carriages costs money and they might as well use the materials they got for free - and also if they want to run steam in future they probably want a steamer that can pull more than three cars anyway.  Feel free to tell me if I'm way off the mark on this).

Noting that PBR have the South African NGG under restoration, would it be feasible to import another one in future?  Google suggests that there are a number of NGGs either privately owned or in parks somewhere in South Africa, how much would it cost to buy one/transport/rebuild/regauge?

Failing that, are there working or restorable geared locos like the Ali-Shan Shay out there anywhere?

Do the 2-foot mountain railways in India (or elsewhere in Asia) possibly have any retired smaller steam locos lying around?  Noting that a number of Asian countries run on metre gauge, which depending on the locomotive could maybe be re-gauged to 2'6"?

Assuming that all of those options would be extremely expensive, what are the best guess estimates anyone has only building an NA from scratch?  I know that PBR have the dream of one day building 18A - has anyone ever done an estimate on the costs?

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  Valvegear Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Richmond Vic
Wow! Now that is opening a can of worms. I don't know any of the answers, but I will be interested to read some informed comment.
  Adogs Chief Train Controller

Yeah... I know it's opening a can of worms, but I'd be interested to hear from people who know more than me.
  darcycammo Chief Train Controller

Location: cockatoo vic
well i think before PBR starts looking at building 18A i think they should rebuild 3A witch in the end will be like building a new train anyway with all the parts that need to be made and bought.

plus PBR have enough mainline trains in service like 6A 8A 14A G42 D21 DH5 DH31 and they also have 7A 12A NGG all getting work done on them plus they still have 3A CLIMAX SHAY 861 986 1711 NRT Sub Nigel DH25 what they really need is more pass rolling stock cause when they have the like the green timetable every year they could do with more pass rolling stock
  TheMetman Locomotive Driver

Location: gippsland
The Henschel can barely pull three cars until the coal box had to be modified.The owner modified it with a large new coal box and a smoke stack that alows condensed water from the cylinders going backwards into the boiler. It's stored because WGR and PBR don't wish to run it.

The cars that WGR runs are built at same place as the PBR NBH cars. I know because they were built locally.
  Adogs Chief Train Controller

I was looking at it more as a hypothetical - obviously at the moment there are enough locomotives undergoing restoration or to be restored in future (eg 3A, the NGG, the Sub Nigel) that they don't need to bring in any others or build an 18A anytime soon.

But looking into the future, what would the different options be?
  Adogs Chief Train Controller

The Henschel can barely pull three cars until the coal box had to be modified.The owner modified it with a large new coal box and a smoke stack that alows condensed water from the cylinders going backwards into the boiler. It's stored because WGR and PBR don't wish to run it.

The cars that WGR runs are built at same place as the PBR NBH cars. I know because they were built locally.
"TheMetman"


Thanks for the clarifications - what I'd heard was at least second (maybe third or fourth) hand, so I wasn't sure of its accuracy.
  412M Assistant Commissioner

18A is likely to be far closer to being finished than most people think. A member of PBPS has, over a long time, been collecting parts not used by the workshops on the existing Nas (as they only have a relatively low mileage left on them before they can't be used any more), and will be making these parts into 18A when he has all the parts he needs...

I should also point out the BPR has some steam locos on NG also, mostly stuff from the old 3'6" Fyansford cement works railway, which is under restoration. They also have 1-2 other steamers (definitely 1 operational) from TGR/QR.

As for other options, other than steamers already in Australia, nothing is likely to be purchased, as it would be far too expensive to purchase, transport, restore, maintain and train people on the locos.
  Graham4405 The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Dalby Qld
As for other options, other than steamers already in Australia, nothing is likely to be purchased, as it would be far too expensive to purchase, transport, restore, maintain and train people on the locos.
"412M"

There's a South African 24 class 3'6" gauge steamer not doing very much in Cairns NQ right now... Wink
  Adogs Chief Train Controller

Related question - what's the biggest engine that could be re-gauged to run on VR narrow gauge (whatever the minimum curve radius, clearance at side of engine etc).

Is a 3'6" engine as big as you could safely start with?

Is it easier to re-gauge to larger (ie 2' to 2'6") or smaller?  Or is that entirely dependent on the design of the engine?
  412M Assistant Commissioner

At PBR, the DH is the absolute maximum height and width which can be allowable (special restrictions are imposed on it's operations in some areas as a result of these). As for length, the longer it is the narrower it has to be. I am unable to provide a list comparing length Vs. width, but someone else may be able to.

As for regauging locos, it is entirely dependent on the loco's design as to whether it's easier to make a loco run on a narrower or broader gauge.

Most bogie locos can be easily changed, assuming everything near the bogies are high enough. Otherwise, the bogies may be rubbing against the frames or overhanging valances etc.

Locos with a fixed wheelbase are far harder to gauge convert. They have two vertical frames, held apart by horizontal spacers (as opposed to bogie locos, with 1 horizontal frame). Whenever they are to be regauged, the frames almost always have to be moved inwards or outwards. Sometimes, if you're lucky enough, it may be possible to move the wheels from the inside of the frames to the outside or vice-versa and not have to move the frames at all.

There is also the complication of useless paraphernalia, such as steam pipes, that no-one cares about that has to be moved to make any steam loco work after regauging (unless it has internal cylinders and it is being put onto a wider gauge, although it is highly doubtful that a loco would exist on a gauge of equal to or less than 2'6" with internal cylinders and be powerful enough to be even considered for purchase by PBR, BPR or WGR).
  Sir Thomas Bent Minister for Railways

Location: Banned
With anything like this, each case would have to have three questions asked of it:

1) Can it be done?
2) Should it be done?
3) Is it going to be financially viable?

If you can answer yes to all three questions, with a decent argument supporting it, then you'd look at it.

A lot of steam locomotives are simply not gauge convertible.  Clearances under fireboxes often prevent a narrowing of gauge or the frames themselves cannot be altered in a safe way.

Even if you did, would it wreck the locomotive or carriage?  Is it better to leave it intact on the gauge it is on?

And lastly, is it going to be a black hole in which the limited money that all preservation societies, even one as well-funded comparatively as PBR, are invited to pour money into?
  Ballast_Plough Chief Commissioner

Location: Lilydale, Vic
I think it was the conversion of D21 at PB where a transfer gearbox had to be constructed. Just moving the wheels inwards would have fouled the gearbox so the box actually had to be raised with a transfer piece built in-between.
  Grantham Minister for Railways

Location: I'm with stupid!
There are plenty of other 2'6" gauge railways with under-utilised steam engines, but I don't think they'd wish to sell them, most already are heritage items where they are. I don't suppose we'd want to sell them any na's or PB's Garratt...

There are several in Europe, South America, some in Cuba, some in India and other parts of Asia. It might be a long stretch to purchase and import them, and of course they will still need work.

A new build isn't impossible, you could build something basic for far less than the price of "Tornado" in the UK, but if you want something basic, then it would be easier to restore something already existing...  

M
  412M Assistant Commissioner

Possibly after the NGG is restored, PBR will find that it only uses all of it's Na's that aren't in the workshops at the time on very special occasions. Maybe then would be the time to consider sending an Na down to WGR, either as a long-term lease arrangement, or selling it to them, with training for drivers, firemen and workshops crew thrown in also?
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
Possibly after the NGG is restored, PBR will find that it only uses all of it's Na's that aren't in the workshops at the time on very special occasions. Maybe then would be the time to consider sending an Na down to WGR, either as a long-term lease arrangement, or selling it to them, with training for drivers, firemen and workshops crew thrown in also?
"412M"

412M, I think that PB became the huge and wealthy outfit that they are today by being very careful and tight with money. I doubt they'd even give Walhalla or anyone else a surplus bogie (although they might sell them one for a commercial price).

The idea of Puffing Billy ever giving anything away or even renting something out long term for a low fee strikes me as a little optimistic. Sadly Walhalla will never be a rich and cashed up outfit, so I think the best they can hope for is the use of an Na for one weekend a decade. Sad
  skitz Chief Commissioner

Possibly after the NGG is restored, PBR will find that it only uses all of it's Na's that aren't in the workshops at the time on very special occasions. Maybe then would be the time to consider sending an Na down to WGR, either as a long-term lease arrangement, or selling it to them, with training for drivers, firemen and workshops crew thrown in also?
"412M"

412M, I think that PB became the huge and wealthy outfit that they are today by being very careful and tight with money. I doubt they'd even give Walhalla or anyone else a surplus bogie (although they might sell them one for a commercial price).

The idea of Puffing Billy ever giving anything away or even renting something out long term for a low fee strikes me as a little optimistic. Sadly Walhalla will never be a rich and cashed up outfit, so I think the best they can hope for is the use of an Na for one weekend a decade. Sad
"Bogong"


Or better still Twisted Evil , get rid of the ATR/DSE managment of WGR and annex WGR under the ETRB Act and manage the running of the railway from PB.   Manage the operations from one point and let it follow a natural course. Wink
  Adogs Chief Train Controller

I think you're right that PBR wouldn't be likely to give anything away, and they're completely justified in hanging on to what they've got.

BUT - maybe a possibility would be if someone put up the cash to restore something which is currently static at Puff (eg 3A or the Sub Nigel O&K) to restore it in return for Walhalla having it on a long-term loan.

Could be a win-win, PBR get something restored for them which was otherwise down the list of priorities, WGR get usage of a steamer.

But if there was the cash available for that to happen, it might make more sense for WGR to buy a working steam locomotive outright.

There is of course a fair point to be made that Walhalla's financial priorities would currently be a) restoring back to Boola Rd and eventually Erica and b) restoring and regauging the DH from Queensland.
  Adogs Chief Train Controller

Or better still Twisted Evil , get rid of the ATR/DSE managment of WGR and annex WGR under the ETRB Act and manage the running of the railway from PB.   Manage the operations from one point and let it follow a natural course. Wink
"skitz"


Would that be possible in terms of practicality or politics?
  skitz Chief Commissioner

Its one of those things.

Practically it would have everything to gain.

Politically impossible, most probably.

People are funny cattle
  speedemon08 Mary

Location: I think by now you should have figured it out
There is of course a fair point to be made that Walhalla's financial priorities would currently be a) restoring back to Boola Rd and eventually Erica and b) restoring and regauging the DH from Queensland.
"Adogs"


Tis' the other way around. Get the DH running and they are more likely to get the funding for the extension to Erica
  Adogs Chief Train Controller

Well, I guess I'll just have to go back to fantasising about finding a 2'6" original Sierra Leonean Garratt sitting in someone's garage and having the spare cash to take it off their hands.
  B 67 Chief Commissioner

Location: Central Gippsland
Well, if it's only hypothetical, I've noticed that there's a good number of 2'6" gauge steam locos scattered all over Taiwan. Other then the Alishan line (which has one or two Shays in working order and several more on static display) Taiwan also had an extensive system of 2'6" sugar lines and other timber and mining lines, as well as the isolated east coast mainline system that was originally 2'6" gauge (now converted to 3' 6" and linked to the west coast lines and effectively forming a continuous loop around the island).

I'm aware that there are 2'6" diesels for sale in Taiwan, but probably not so many steamers. The majority appear to be 0-6-0T locos, but there were certainly larger locos on display in parks, museums and other locations - and no doubt others I don't know about.



2-8-2 in Hualien. An 0-8-0T was on display nearby as well as a couple of diesel railcars and rollingstock.

[bigimg]http://www.gmes.org.au/PICT0077r.jpg[/bigimg]

Here's one of the larger 3-cylinder Shay's from Alishan - this one placed in a town remote from where the Alishan line runs.

Last time I rode through Alishan's Biemen yard (about 5 years ago now), there were quite a few derelict locos and rollingstock, some with plants growing over them. I understand that some of these have since been restored, but at the time it did get me to thinking the hypothetical "what if"
questions.  Laughing  Some were obviously there as a result of accidents though and were probably there for parts and eventual scrapping. But I'm getting off topic. Suffice to say there's a lot of 2' 6" gauge steam (and diesel) locos and rollingstock in Taiwan even though most of the tracks are now gone.
  Adogs Chief Train Controller

There we go Smile

There is also some working 2'6" steam in mainline China, on at least one industrial railway (Shibanxi) near Chengdu in Sichuan.

Here is a link to the most recent photos I could google up on the interwebs: http://www.farrail-blog.com/englishposts/steam/shibanxi-narrow-gauge-line/

There are plenty of other sites of this railway with photos dating from the last ten years.  It's a scenic route and a number of steam tourists from Europe, Japan and other parts of China have come to see it.  I've read that it's slowly becoming obsolete due to improved road traffic and the closure of the coal mines that make up most of its traffic, but also that local authorities want to maintain and promote it as a heritage railway.

However, if that doesn't happen, and any of the locomotives are looking like being scrapped...
  allambee Chief Train Controller

Reconditioned?
http://www.multipowerinternational.com/narrowsale.html
If I were purchasing direct I'd go direct to China and avoid the hefty markups.

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