Workshop Blog

The NG/G16 Countdown Begins!

May 30, 2018

With a projected completion date of mid-2019, the race is on to get our re-gauged South African NG/G16 class Garratt assembled and tested. A lot has been happening, so here’s a snapshot of progress to date: Once the cross shafts and the reverser stand were complete, the reach rod brackets and reach rods were overhauled.…

Read More

NG/G News For Febuary

February 3, 2018

Over the past few months, we have been progressing a lot of different tasks, in order to keep the project moving along at a good pace: Installation of the sanding gear on the engine units (above and below) has reached the stage where the engine needs to be assembled before it can progress further. Cowcatchers…

Read More

Rising From The Mud

January 7, 2018

The more eagle-eyed reader of Puffing Billy’s in-house magazine, ‘Narrow Gauge’, might have noticed a dramatically photo-shopped representation of Belgrave yard plateau lurking in the centre spread of last September’s edition. The photo gave the impression of a clean, dry and level yard! Sadly, at the time, this didn’t reflect reality; the mud, the dirt,…

Read More

It’s All backwards, What’s With That?

January 7, 2018

The discovery of a broken side control spring on G42’s hind engine unit was soon followed by the dawning realisation that with the engine facing the ‘Down’ direction – towards Gembrook, as all our engines do – the workshop wasn’t long enough to get the pony truck in question over the drop-pit in the workshop.…

Read More

Carriage Project Part I – Calculations & Concepts

December 14, 2017

I think it’s safe to say we can skip the why’s and wherefores’! Anyone familiar with Puffing Billy will know that passenger numbers are through the roof and our little trains are struggling to cope with the ever-increasing demand. At the same time, as much as we try and dissuade them, our marketing department insist…

Read More

Garratt Happenings: The NG/G16 129 August Update

November 17, 2017

Work moves on apace with NG/G16 129, including the following tasks: Removal of boiler from the cradle to enable final installation of all the steam, exhaust and water pipework, as well as insulating and cladding the boiler. Superheaters and main steam pipes have been fitted in the smokebox (above and below). Work on the sanding…

Read More

A Neat Space Saving Feature

July 20, 2017

One of the things we have an eternal struggle with at Puffing Billy is a lack of space, whether that be offices, workshops or just undercover storage in general.  Nowhere is this more evident that the carriage workshop at Emerald; with barely enough accommodation for 3 carriages, this facility is responsible for the annual mechanical…

Read More

216 NQR; The Finishing Touches

July 20, 2017

Hugh Markwick and the workshop volunteer team have now completed work on the restoration of 216 NQR. Above, 2 of the team pose in the sun at Emerald with the finished wagon. The bodywork, drop doors, drawgear and fitting up of the air brake pipework all took place in the Belgrave workshop. Once complete,  the…

Read More

Scavenging The Last Remaining….

July 19, 2017

Mention has been made previously of the need to manufacture more bogies for our rolling stock. Many are now approaching the end of their useful life, with frames and axleboxes being condemned after a lifetime of wear and tear. The new rolling stock project involves the manufacture of 12 new carriages, and therefore 24 bogies,…

Read More

Emergency Surgery For Thomas

July 19, 2017

During 2016, the decision was taken to trial moving the Day Out with Thomas event to Gembrook, starting with the spring season, thus inaugurating Gembrook as the railways new centre of special events. Locomotives and rolling stock were transferred in the Down direction on a Friday evening, and back again on Sunday evening at the…

Read More

Latest News From The NG/G Corner

July 19, 2017

With 4 fitters now employed full time on the restoration of NG/G16 129, momentum is gathering and what has, until recently, resembled a large kit of parts, is slowly coming together as this latest progress report shows. The piston valves have been assembled and trial fitted into the valve chests (above). Following overhaul, the 8…

Read More

The Case of The Missing Rivet

February 15, 2017

As Christmas 2016 approached, and Puffing Billy’s 6 train running began in order to accommodate the annual summer rush, G42 was taken out of traffic and rolled into the workshops for a ‘B’ exam.  Now removing our biggest locomotive from service at the busiest time of year might sound a little counter-intuitive to some, but…

Read More

NG/G Update; Rounding out 2016

January 31, 2017

Quite a range of jobs have been carried out or are now under way, and there is plenty of work to do, as the photographs demonstrate. Above, the NG/G16 boiler cradle, complete with boiler, sits suspended between the 2 engine units for the first time in nearly 20 years. Brake hanger brackets, shafts, air reservoirs…

Read More

Ashpan Part II

January 16, 2017

The air box has been modified somewhat from the original concept, in order to increase clearances around the rear pony truck. Above and below, the first stage of the redesign, with damper fitted, can be seen. Each hopper has its own bottom slide fitted, in order to dump ash, and these two photographs show the…

Read More

NQR Revised

November 1, 2016

Whilst attempting to better cater for massive patronage growth, the need for us to call into service every available item of rolling stock is becoming more the norm than the exception. This includes all the converted NQR open wagons with cyclone mesh doors, noisy vibrating steel floors and dark, claustrophobic interiors. With the introduction to…

Read More

Rich In History

September 7, 2016

One of the benefits of working with Puffing Billy locomotives is the chance to discover the rich industrial heritage that come with them, such as the eccentric strap (above and below) which currently resides on 6A, and yet is clearly marked ‘5’. Of the 17 NA class locomotives built, sadly only 6 still exist, and…

Read More

D21 – The Return Journey

July 29, 2016

When D21, the trusty Belgrave yard shunter, came in for its last exam, it was deemed time to re-tyre the wheelsets based on the level of wear and how close they were to the condemning limit. Removal of the tyres revealed issues with the wheelsets which necessitated pressing the wheels off the axles as well.…

Read More

Ashpans & Exams

May 21, 2016

Sparks! The bane of any steam railway in the summertime, and, in bush fire prone Victoria, Puffing Billy is certainly no exception. With progressively longer and drier summers we are seeing our fire danger season extended year on year. Luckily, a history of good engineering design has resulted in our locomotives starting fewer and fewer…

Read More

Bogie in Brief

May 20, 2016

What, you may wonder, is the next step in the development of the new Fox bogie? The answer is easy; testing and more testing! Shortly after completion, the new bogie was transferred to the carriage workshops at Emerald, where it had the body of 91 NQR attached. Following some shunting around Emerald yard – backwards…

Read More

Garratt Goings-on

May 20, 2016

The boiler was recently removed from the boiler cradle, in order for work on the piping and brake rigging to continue. The cradle will soon be turned over for fitting of the completed brake shaft hanger brackets (above). Above and below, the brake shafts are seen under construction. The shaft in the lower photograph has…

Read More

http://puffingbillyworkshops.blogspot.com/