VHLDHM logo
The Depot Diary
No 119 — April 2018
 
Turntable - forecourt - roundhouse
The renovated forecourt between the turntable and roundhouse

In this edition

1. The Chairman’s chairside chat
2. Roundhouse forecourt refurbed
3. News desk
4. Big toys
5. Talking shop
6. Models
7. Workshop
8. Safety matters
9. Membership
10. Our coming events

The first word

Of course you may have been wondering if there is anything to report other than the refurbishment of the Museum forecourt? Well the good news is that “There is” and hopefully the following pages will provide plenty to interest everyone! Project Manager Bruce Coxon has prepared a great article for your enjoyment on the massive infrastructure upgrade that occupied his time for the last two years and led to the Museum’s six week closure. Progress has been made on many other fronts and as usual many volunteers have contributed across all departments since DD118.

In common with similar organisations around the world, the challenges of keeping the wheels turning are best met by sharing the load. We also share the need for renewal and succession planning. If as a member you have skills that can be put to good use at the Museum, please have a chat to Membership Officer Jeff Russell on 4751 2471 straight away, don’t delay! If you know anyone who is not a member, but has skills that are compatible with the Museum’s objectives, please let Jeff know! Make sure you include younger candidates when searching your brain. Also if you know of a likely group that we can target with an appeal for volunteers, please contact Jeff. The Museum always benefits from the input and impact of new arrivals and different ways of problem solving. All welcome!

Keith Ward, Publicity Manager VHLDHM

1. The Chairman’s chairside chat

I welcome back Bruce Coxon to the ranks of our executive committee as Large Exhibits Manager. (Bruce is well known to most of you as a committee member for many years and Chairman during 2015–17 — Ed)

Meeting:

The THNSW Board meeting was held at The Valley on 27 February. The actual Board meeting was held in the cafe/shop while giving Board members also a bit of an opportunity to observe a work in progress. Site inductions took place and given current activity, all movements for a closer look were escorted and restricted to safe areas. I provided the Board with an overview of our plans and progress in relation to other projects as well as WHS issues. I think the report was well received!

Rail Corridor Boundary Fence:

The latest news is that Sydney Trains are looking at it more positively with dates being considered in the May–June 2018 window (coinciding with a main line shutdown).

Civil Depot Handover:

Civil depot handover
From left: Ted Mullett (past Chairman), Henk Luf (current Chairman), Barry Palmer (Sydney Trains), Bruce Coxon (immediate past Chairman)

After years of negotiations, reams of paperwork and substantial amounts of friendly and gentle persuasion, the Civil Depot was transferred into the Museum’s custody. The Keys were ceremoniously presented by Sydney Trains' Barry Palmer to past Chairman Ted Mullett who passed them over to current Chairman, Henk Luf via previous Chairman Bruce Coxon who did most of the paperwork prior to the handover on 11 April. (A small but excited band of volunteers from across the years attended this impromptu but important event, before the mysteries of the roller door remote control had several of us practising the limbo!—Ed)

Key players
Volunteers
 

The Civil Depot will house some historically important railway items currently located within the Museum roundhouse, a process that by all accounts will take some time.

Henk Luf, Chairman VHLDHM

 

2. Roundhouse forecourt refurbed

From this...

Forecourt before refurb

to this...

Forecourt after refurb

View from DLE office across reburbished forecourt

If you have visited the Museum recently or seen our Facebook page you will have caught up with the fact that the forecourt refurbishment project has been completed, a project that we are all very pleased with. Three major issues have been resolved:

The management team thought we had been very thorough in our planning allowing for what utilities may be uncovered and what future needs (like ducting from the roundhouse to the turntable pit) should be provided for, but we were somewhat taken aback by the task of how to replace this drainage and maintain the heritage look. What we found was that in bays 1 to 5, the railways probably in the 1970s had remediated this section with some PVC piping but bays 6 to 10 had no drainage pipes left at all. Further to this, the roof downpipes emptied into a box drain which had a further pipe at the bottom taking the water away to the main outlet. It was essential to keep these box drains to preserve the original look of the system but nearby excavation meant they literally just fell to bits! They had been constructed with a very weak concrete mix and a few pieces of brick and rocks.

The two photos below show the new PVC piping and an example of a new box drain. The photo on the right is of bays 1 to 5 where we could save some of the box drains but from 6 to 10 they were all replaced. As you have seen in the completed photos, the finished project looks exactly the same from a heritage perspective as the original drains.

Of course we would rather have not touched any drainage but this failed system was found to be the root cause of all our damage!

New PVC drainage system New PVC drainage system
The box drains The box drains
 

There were other challenges along the way and one was the issue of how to weld standard 53 kg replacement rail to the original small 41 kg rail coming from the roundhouse. This took the specialist welders some time to perfect but the pictures below show how it was achieved. Most rails were severely corroded and were replaced. The railways had previously done some rail replacement and had used transition bolted plates but it was felt that to drill new holes through the very old original rail would produce a weak joint and welding was the way to go!

41 kg rail ready for welding to 53 kg rail 41 kg rail ready for welding to 53 kg rail
A completed weld and composite sleeper A completed weld and composite sleeper
 

Concrete sleepers were mainly used in the project but of course where the rails converge at the turntable, these were not functional as they cannot be cut to length and would foul the adjacent sleepers where they intersect. Timber could of course have been used but has limited life so the picture above shows a composite sleeper (made from recycled soft drink bottles!) that can be cut to length and fixed to the rail with coach screws.

Compacted roadbase
The new compacted roadbase with concrete sleepers installed and composites ready for use

Other interesting heritage items discovered included the original brick facings to the entrance of the roundhouse roads. The picture below shows an example of this brickwork installed c1913, during the depot’s construction. Great care was taken to not damage this infrastructure, some previous decay is shown.

Original brick facings
Original brick facings

As you can see it was a most interesting construction that took 21 working days to complete. Prior to this, two year has elapsed during preparation to arrange funding and tenders while heritage approvals from Sydney Trains and the Office of Environment & Heritage took place in order for work to proceed.

The project also had a number of issues that the team had to resolve, these included:

  1. In a prior test dig, a very small amount of asbestos was discovered in the soil below the bitumen. This of course meant that all precautions by specialist groups had to be taken to remove this contaminated soil and for it to be tipped at a registered facility. Also, all staff including a skeleton volunteer crew had to follow strict guidelines on how to be present at the site. This asbestos removal added considerably to the cost and complexity of the project and you will see in the photo below how the site was protected with plastic in order to contain the potential hazard.
Plastic sheeting protecting drainsPlastic sheeting protecting drains
Contaminated soil removalRemoval of potentially contaminated soil
  1. Protection of exhibits both large and small. As with all large projects, dust can be a concern along with vibration from machinery, and many volunteers spent considerable time covering and moving exhibits to safe storage locations. Some large exhibits like the single deck interurban trailer car, 5711’s tender and standard goods loco 5461 were moved to allow work to continue.
  2. A section of our shop area was set up as a Site Office for the many safety briefings that occurred every day to ensure no incident or accident occurred. I am happy to say that the whole construction period was injury free, which shows just how seriously safety was handled by the entire team.
  3. Site supervision and access was another big issue provided for by Museum volunteers. A roster was set up and an authorised representative was on site every day from 06:30 until 17:00. Progress meetings were held weekly between Valley Heights volunteer managers and the contractors to ensure the agreed “Inspection and Test” plan was being met and that work was proceeding to budget and program. Due to the additional potentially contaminated soil that had to be removed and the extra plumbing works, the project was over-budget by about 13% but acceptable when you consider we were working with a very old site with lots of hidden secrets!
  4. We were very fortunate in that the weather was kind to us but some rain, hot days and small amounts of wind played havoc with our plastic dust screens.

There were a number of smaller day-to-day issues that we had to overcome but all volunteers and contractors worked together to come up with an excellent finished product that will serve the people of NSW and beyond for many years to come.

There are many volunteers and contractors to whom we owe a great deal of gratitude for both their expertise and their willingness to do a great job:

  1. All the volunteers at Valley Heights led by Ted Dickson, Andrew Tester, Terry Matchett, Jeff Russell, our Chairman Henk Luf, Michael Pensini and his team who protected all of our precious small exhibits, our weekday volunteers who helped move large exhibits and prepare the site and to all other members who just showed us support along the way!
  2. Jennifer Edmonds, Andrew Moritz and Gordon Strachan from THNSW who were outstanding in supporting us and ensuring that the finances were controlled.
  3. The major contractor, Rhomberg Rail Australia that was technically excellent, willing to overcome problems along the way. Due to the escalating project cost, they provided service over and beyond the terms of the contract.
    Rhomberg Rail logo
  4. The Trinitas Group that provided the WHS and Occupational Hygiene services to monitor the asbestos removal process and issue the vital Clearance Certificate to confirm the site was safe.
  5. Absolute Environmental Services that expertly removed all asbestos contaminated soils.
  6. Niche Environment and Heritage that prepared the Heritage Impact Statements and carried out archival photography of key stages of construction to provide a record of the works.
  7. The Heritage Group of Sydney Trains that approved this work as land owners.
  8. The Office of Environment & Heritage that approved the works on this Heritage Listed site.

Thank you to all!

A big job for sure but when you see the smiling faces of young and old as they ride the trains on Museum Open Days it proves it was worth it!


Bruce Coxon, Project Manager VHLDHM

3. News desk

Shunting, signwriting and annual inspections

Summer open days

Sunday 14 January was a perfect summer’s day for a crowd of interested visitors to enjoy the Museum in the ambience of a non-running day. (With good fortune, I hope this will be the last time I need to use that term in years to come as our diesel shunting loco X206 is closing in on its unveiling as a revenue earner!) We welcomed a return visit by over 20 members of the National Model Railroad Association (NMRA) led by Division 7 Superintendent, Les Fowler. A guided tour was conducted for the group, including areas normally off-limits on Open Days.

Stevo smartened up
Stevo following smartening up

The plan to offer steam rides across the Australia Day weekend was thwarted, due to a minor technical hitch on the Saturday. This was resolved later in the day and in good time for normal service to be resumed on Sunday 28th. During the week prior, “Stevo” was smartened up with the reinstated covers being given a preliminary paint job ready for its first run of the year.

Trains, Trams & Ts

Sunday 11 February saw the return of the popular Trains, Trams & Ts event. A high profile publicity campaign had been conducted across various media channels and although reduced to one day this year to aid preparations for the forecourt upgrade, the event was highly successful, with over 200 visitors.

Many familiar activities were again on the program: the talented Kate Woolfe Trio; the Model T Ford Car Club; the Nepean District Historical Society and the Sydney Morsecodians. We also welcomed back the Nepean Family History Society (NFHS) after a three year absence.

Kate Wolfe Trio audienceVisitors enjoying live jazz by...
Kate Wolfe Trio... the Kate Wolfe Trio
Model TsModel Ts bask in the summer sun
Kate Wolfe TrioNepean District Historical Society display
Sydney MorsecodiansSydney Morsecodians
In 1920s costume
Roslyn Austin: a prize winner at TTT Period Dress competition

A high turnout of cars made for a colourful spectacle and provided plenty of photo opportunities for members and the public alike. Blessed with hot, but fine weather, the many family groups that turned up mingled with flappers and crooners in their 1920s gear, ready for the period dress competition. Andrew Tester was on hand to capture their best angles, with impartial judge, Judith McCleod, NFHS treasurer, making her decisions mid-afternoon. The band played in the middle of the day for the keen music followers who showed their appreciation of the fine jazz on offer at every occasion including a set on the tram.

Newington Armory visit

On Thursday 15 February, a large group, many from the Museum, joined the outing to the Newington Armory kindly arranged by David Lewis, STARPS membership officer, and Museum member. Another warm day saw a full load of 40 board the narrow gauge train after an introductory guided tour of the buildings and infrastructure. A fascinating insight into the behind the scenes activities that were conducted at the Armory over many years was followed by a tasty lunch in the Mess Hall.

Arriving by ferryArriving by ferry
 
Train thru armoryNewington Armory train
 
Armament hatchesArmament receiving and issuing hatches
 
TurntableArmory railway turntable
 
Visitors from Valley HtsValley Heights visitors at the Armory
 

Thirlmere Festival of Steam

Several Museum members were spotted at the Festival of Steam at Thirlmere on the weekend of 3-4 March. Saturday marked the unveiling of 3526 in its VERY bright green livery—a great paint job. Five locos were in steam and provided a wonderful opportunity for families and enthusiasts alike to enjoy the sights and sounds of yesteryear.

3526 in shed3526 in shed
 
3526 on Turntable3526 on turntable
 
3526 ready for departure3526 poses for photos
 
2705 with passenger train2705 with passenger train
 

Day Out With Thomas

Ted Dickson and I helped at the Day Out With Thomas at Thirlmere on 17-18 March. Ted managed family groups doing cab inspections of 3642 and I spent the morning on the main gate and then taking umpteen shots in all manner of poses of those wanting pictures with the Fat Controller in front of Thomas. Despite hot and windy conditions, the hundreds of excited children were well catered for and all seemed to have a good time. If you’ve never experienced one of these days up close, it’s quite an eye-opener!

Steam returns to the Valley

Steam returned to Valley Heights on Sunday 25 March after a six week break and Stevo was “all fired up” chugging up and down the line to enable visitors to gaze from above on our latest major project!

Engineers at the Valley

On Tuesday 27 March, we hosted a group from the Western Sydney Division of Engineers Australia. Following Devonshire Tea in the café, prepared by Eileen Ward, the requested technical tours were guided by Ted Dickson, Ted Mullett and myself. Three groups of seven were escorted to various exhibits and infrastructure, including some not normally accessible to the public. Experts were on hand to discuss their pet subjects: Ted Dickson—steam loco 5711 and ash tunnel; Terry Matchett—diesel shunter X206 and workshop; Steve Corrigan—electric loco 4601 (featuring the first “public” demo of the simulator!); Henk Luf—model layout; Ray Beharrell —1950s layout. Feedback from this special interest group was very positive and they plan a return visit in 2019. If you are a member of another group or know anyone who is and may be interested in a mid-week visit, please let me know on 4751 4174.

Engineers looking at X206 modifications with Terry MatchettTerry Matchett explains X206 modifications
to the group
 
Engineers inspecting ash pit with Keith WardTed Dickson explains the workings of
5711 and the ash pit
 
Visiting engineers on roundhouse forecourtVisiting engineers with Museum volunteers on “new” roundhouse forecourt
 

The colour green

Washing green paint off 5461Washing green paint off 5461
 

On the first Sunday in April, standard goods loco 5461 was trialled in a new coat of water based Brunswick Green to match 3214. As it was then realised that there were too many green locos in service already, Ross Stenning kindly agreed to wash off the paint the next day.

Glenbrook Park Junior Playground

The “Transport across the Mountains” themed Glenbrook Park Junior Playground was officially opened by Blue Mountains City Council (BMCC) Mayor, Mark Greenhill on Saturday 7 April. Other councillors plus Federal MP Susan Templeman were also in attendance and I, along with other contributors (including the Men’s Shed) had the chance to speak briefly. The items donated by the Museum were mostly in place, but some work remains, including the mounting of interpretative plaques. The park appears to be well received by those using it, especially the children! Council awarded a certificate of recognition to the Museum and it is on display in our shop until a permanent home is found.

Mayor Mark Greenhill, Susan Templeman MP, councillors and community at openingMayor Mark Greenhill, Susan Templeman MP, councillors and community at the opening
 
New sleeper path at Glenbrook Park Junior PlaygroundNew sleeper path at Glenbrook Park Junior Playground 
 
Railway Scales in parkRailway scales in park
 
Railway track feature in parkRailway track feature in park
 

Seniors “One-for-one” and a birthday

Sunday 8 April turned out to be a great boost to the Museum’s fortunes with healthy visitor numbers and good shop sales. The day was the first of our Seniors “One-for-one” days and many of the seniors who turned up brought other family members along.

The day was enhanced by a pre-booked birthday group of 30+ who enjoyed rides and made good use of our gas BBQ. As a nice touch, they also provided their own musician, local Rob Spark, who fitted in well under one of the two shelters we provided and performed with great skill for several hours. Thanks to all who helped with the preparations for this large group.

Musician Rob SparkMusician Rob Spark
Marquee and GazeboThe museum provided a marquee and gazebo for the birthday celebration
 

Stronger Families Alliance

The Museum participated in the first airing of the Stronger Families Alliance in conjunction with BMCC and other service providers. One of the objectives is to “Coordinate information about low cost/free school holiday local activities for families living in the Blue Mountains in one accessible calendar”. We are one of the few “commercial” activities involved in the program but only opened on our regular day during these school holidays (Sunday 22 April). A survey was conducted on site so that Mountains residents could provide feedback to Council. A link to the holiday calendar has been added to our website and other activity organisers are doing likewise as a condition of engagement. If this program looks promising, we’ll consider opening as a non-running day on the two Thursdays during the July school holidays.

Other stuff

Networking:

Andrew Tester and I joined an introductory meeting at Katoomba with Council’s new local museum adviser, Gay Hendricksen, that was also attended by representatives from Glenbrook Historical Society, Blue Mountains Historical Society, Linden Observatory, Bygone Beauties, Woodford Academy, Mt Wilson/Mt Irvine Historical Society and several from Council. Gay is a founding partner of The Rowan Tree Heritage and Cultural Services and has a long career in the museum and galleries sector. We have already submitted our response to a questionnaire about our current status. The meeting heard of the aspirations and challenges of the various organisations, many common with ours! One item of interest was discussion of the cataloguing tool eHive and Andrew is looking into that, possibly as a way of managing information about our large exhibits. Gay visited the Museum in April for the BMACHO meeting and we were pleased that she joined the group for the guided tour.

BMACHO at the Valley:

Friday 6 April saw the Museum host the monthly meeting of Blue Mountains Association of Cultural Heritage Organisations (BMACHO). After morning tea, kindly arranged by Grant Robinson (our delegate), debate kicked off amongst the large group of 16, including Gay Hendricksen, as well as Henk and myself as observers. A guest speaker from “Friends of the Paragon” outlined that group’s views on the recent history and future of that building/business at Katoomba. Meetings such as this provide an opportunity for us to showcase the Museum to a new batch of business people and policy makers who have input into heritage issues across our area. The meeting closed with a well patronised 30 minute guided tour.

BMACHO meeting at Valley HtsBMACHO meeting at Valley Heights
 

Website:

Andrew Tester, Grant Robinson and I have been working on a revamp of the Museum’s website. This involves making the content more accessible and relevant and also more user friendly for those viewing via mobile phones or other devices. This is a key element given that a large proportion of our target audience uses devices, especially smartphones as their sole channel for receiving news and information. This is a work in progress and will be submitted to our Committee before any changes are made.

New website computer viewNew website—desktop/laptop computer view
 
New website—mobile phone view (a)New website—mobile phone view (a)
 
New website—mobile phone view (b)New website—mobile phone view (b)
 

Signage:

The “bogie sign” has been moved for the duration of the corridor fence project to its temporary home adjacent to the cement hopper.

Bogie sign

Publicity:

Most of you will have heard of the world of “Twitter”. The Museum now has an account and love it or hate it, in the same way that our Facebook following has accelerated over the last few years, we are hoping that the same will happen to our Twitter account. Morsels of news, information and comment are now going out to the world and will bring about increased exposure and a higher level of awareness with about 50 “followers” so far. These are from many countries with a strong representation in North America & Europe. There are some “odd” ones: a laundry in Denver and a Nepalese restaurant in Wales! Although our engagement with the process is still minimal and we have a lot to learn, there is every confidence that Twitter will be another string to our bow. If interested to see what is being said about your Museum, you don’t have to join up—just visit: https://twitter.com/@heightsrail

Keith Ward, Publicity Manager VHLDHM

4. Big toys

5711:

Attention has returned to the engine with it receiving a well-deserved clean up and paint as it is now 24 years since its last coat. This involved high pressure water cleaning but the ensuing paint job is for preservation only of the locomotive fabric. My thanks go to Chris Troy, his son Sam, Ross Stenning and Steve Dive for their assistance, in the process using over 40 litres of paint and solvent. (Ted Dickson)

5711 update
5711 cleanup 18 April 2018

ETB:

Damaged seats in the U-boat were repaired or replaced. This involved the removal and refitting of a number of seats to improve the appearance and comfort level for visitors.

(Dave Grove)

4601:

All recent work relates to development of the driver experience simulator. The recent acquisition of a set of brake handles suitable for the 46 class has focused attention on finding a way to interface the actual brake handle/brake valve assembly to the simulator. The simulator has three brake functions: Release, Lap and Service Application. These are the same as the independent brake in the 46 class, as opposed to the Automatic (train) brake which has at least five positions (Release, Running, Lap and Service and Emergency Application). This fact, in addition to the physical design of the independent brake valve, meant  that the Independent brake was the best suited to interface to the computer.

Steve Corrigan with visiting engineers  featuring the  first “public” demo of the 460 simulator
Steve Corrigan with visiting engineers featuring the first “public” demo of the 4601 simulator

A further challenge was to carry out the work in such a way that no modifications at all were carried out on either the brake valve or handle, ruling out any drilling or cutting. An additional requirement is that the handle can be removed in the normal manner when not in use, enabling safe storage. A functional solution was implemented using a wooden “collar” which is fitted over the top of the valve, secured in place using adhesive Velcro. Micro switches attached to the collar are then actuated when the handle is either in the fully left (Release) or fully right (Application) position. Lap is achieved by wiring in series the normally closed contacts of both switches in series, so that the Lap signal is on when the handle is in the mid position. A gap in the collar permits the handle to be lifted out in the normal manner when not in use. Connection from the brake valve to the computer interface in the No 2 end High Tension compartment is via a terminal block in the main control stand and thence via existing wiring. This will facilitate easy change back to the original arrangement of using the regen brake handle should the need arise. During testing, this arrangement has worked very well, but the main disadvantage is its “inelegant” appearance, thus providing the next task!

(Steve Corrigan)

HG Guards Van:

Bruce Coxon writes: My main goal in taking on this new role as Large Exhibits Manager, is to restore the van which I see as a valuable asset that can be used on the Valley Heights Mixed. As I have to prepare a budget, Conservation Management Plan, etc. before setting up the work area and gathering a crew, it will probably be much later in the year that we actually start work on the van.

HG Guard's van
HG Guard's van

X206:

I have also learned that we can proceed to carry out the test day on the new mechanical controls on X206 as the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator (ONRSR) has no objection to the change. I am in discussion with Alan Gardner (THNSW) about having this test day during April. Alan believes there will be no issue and we will be right to go leaving only the accreditation by STARPS which is well underway. Driver re-training will commence in April/May this year as our original licence qualifications expire soon.

The load test subsequently took place on 18 April 2018
X206 load test towing Valley Heights MixedX206 load test with Valley Heights Mixed
X206 during load test X206 pushing Stevo during load test
 

Roundhouse Display:

In the meantime, we are considering creative plans to reconfigure the layout of the roundhouse, which will separate large display exhibits from work-in-progress areas to make it easier for visitors to move around. Trikes will be moved into the fettlers' shed when finished and other items to the Civil Depot when ready. Care must however be taken to ensure that the proposed work zone doesn’t just create another safety issue with lots of containers, tools, power leads and other equipment just left lying around! .

Bruce Coxon, Large Exhibits Manager

 

5. Talking shop

Book Deliveries:

If there are gaps in your railway library, Blue Mountains Journeys and Sydney Rock (supplied by Blue Mountain Education and Research Trust), Central West Express and Byways 32 are back in stock at the time of writing. Buy now while stocks last.

Blue Mountains Journeys coverBlue Mountains Journeys cover
Sydney Rock coverSydney Rock cover
 

DVD/CD Deliveries:

Steam Action Part 4, Branch Lines, Steel on Steel and Recent Steam in the Mountains are all popular titles that turn over quickly. Drop in on open day and bring your cash/credit card.

New release:

STARPS have supplied a number of children’s Thomas and Engineer caps for sale.

Steve Corrigan, Retail Manager

6. Models

The late John Stanley Collection:

John’s brother Warren has donated to us all of John’s model railway locomotives, rolling stock and also modelling tools and spare parts. This is quite an extensive collection and includes many models that John was working on and had not completed. I am sorting through the boxes to catalogue the items.

Ray Beharrell, Model Railway Manager

7. Workshop

A metal pit cover was fitted to the eastern end of No 3 road, following the roundhouse pits being identified as a potential hazard by the safety committee. Following this successful installation, units have been ordered for other designated pits. (See update in Safety mattersEd)

The fuel injection pump again failed on road/rail unit “Mario”. It was removed and taken to the repairer who found the malfunction, and repaired it under warranty. The pump was refitted, and vehicle is now functioning normally. (Our love/hate relationship with this very useful but time-consuming piece of equipment continues!—Ed)

Terry Matchett, Workshop Manager

TELL YOUR FRIENDS!

8. Safety matters

Safety mattersSafety is the first priority in any workplace. As an organisation we are responsible to ensure that we provide a safe working environment for our volunteers and contractors as well as ensuring the Museum is safe for visitors.

 

It is just as important to us as it is to your family and friends that when you finish working for the organisation at the end of each day, that you return home in the same healthy state that you were in that morning.

Injured at work poster

Safety Notice Boards

Please be conscious of the Notice Boards displayed at the entrance to the Amenities and Training Room (a.k.a. Meal Room). These are regularly updated and while every effort will be made to communicate when a new item is posted on the board. It is ultimately your responsibility to check regularly for new notices.

Housekeeping

There are improvements being noticed in this area but we need to stay on top of this. SafeWork NSW can and have sent inspectors into workplaces unannounced, to conduct random audits of safe working practices in any workplace. Hefty fines can apply to individuals and organisations for breaches of the WHS Act especially for repeat offences where breaches have been identified in the past.

Just a reminder about housekeeping in our workplace. We need to ensure we clean up after ourselves at the end of each day. This includes cleaning work benches, putting power tools away, tidying and storing extension cords and not leaving out flammable liquids where they can cause harm.

We sometimes work in areas that are accessible to the general public so it is important that we don’t leave our equipment out where it could cause harm or even be stolen when not in use.

Roundhouse Forecourt Renewal

As reported in Depot Diary 118, the refurbishment of our roundhouse forecourt was imminent. We are very pleased to announce the work has now been completed. Rhomberg Rail commenced the work on Monday 12 February, and it was completed on Monday 12 March. A full and comprehensive report with photos is included elsewhere in this edition.

The new surface has removed the major trip and fall hazards that existed with the exposed rail heads and has improved accessibility for the mobility impaired, wheelchairs and families with prams.

Our thanks are extended to the contractors, Rhomberg Rail, for their expertise in completing the work and to Transport Heritage NSW for supporting and funding this project through to fruition. Finally, thanks go to former Chairman Bruce Coxon, for the long hours invested over an extended period of time in preparing the various applications, engaging contractors and negotiating with authorities to achieve this outstanding outcome.

Edge Protection

We currently have some areas that have unsatisfactory edge protection (fencing) where falls are a possibility. A team of volunteers are currently working towards addressing the first area of concern with a start being made along the top of the retaining wall that extends from behind the fire shed to the Ash Tunnel.

The current work is being made out of material on hand at the Museum to keep the cost to a minimum. The attached photo shows progress to date and I am sure you will all agree the work looks terrific.

Fence along top of the retaining wall

Additional fencing beyond the Ash Tunnel towards our eastern boundary and on the side of the footpath leading from the DLE’s Building to the former upper car park adjacent to the mainline is likely to need funding assistance and quotes are currently being sourced to do this work.

Safety Committee Matters

There are a number of matters currently on the agenda of our Safety Committee. The table below summarises the status of some of these matters:

Safety issue Current Status
Housekeeping Permanent Agenda Item—Ongoing
Tagging & Testing of Electricals This is an ongoing task of which we need to maintain currency. Members will soon undertake training in the Testing & Tagging of our equipment.
Local Risk Register Draft has been developed thanks to David Honer, THNSW. This is a live document and ongoing maintenance is to continue.
Emergency Response Procedures Document is currently being drafted.
Sleeper Retaining Wall Investigation into its replacement. Survey of the wall has been undertaken and a report is imminent which will determine the next course of action.
Rail Corridor Boundary Fence Some good news here with quotes and a contractor engaged to replace the last section of the boundary fence which runs between the eastern and western boundaries parallel to the main line. This project needs to be completed by 30 June 2018. Stay tuned for updates!
Pit Covers All new pit covers to fit across the front of exposed inspection pits in the Roundhouse have now been received and fitted in place. This eliminates the risk of falls into these pits.
Managing Oil Spills The Museum in conjunction with STARPS is currently trialling the use of reusable absorbent matting around the locomotives during lighting up process. Strips of matting down each side and underneath the locomotive are laid to catch and absorb oil spills. This assists with managing environmental safety issues and reduces the risk of spoiling the new forecourt surface.
Access to ETB 6039 Following the forecourt renewal and with this carriage back in its usual position, improvements have been made to public access to the “U-boat” A safer set of steps has been positioned allowing access to the carriage from a platform at the top of the steps. The steps formerly used for visitor access are now at the other end of the carriage—to be used for emergencies only.

 

Thanks

We would like to acknowledge and thank the invaluable support of Transport Heritage NSW for their help, guidance and assistance in addressing the safety at Valley Heights.

Andrew Tester, Chair—Joint Operating & Safety Committee

9. Membership

We welcome the following new members:

Your fellow members hope you enjoy all the activities and facilities at your Museum.

Jeff Russell, Membership Officer

10. Our coming events

Teddy Bears’ Day Out. This highly successful event will be held on an extra Open Day—Sunday 20 May. Children with teddies are admitted free and can enjoy some extra treats—the “Teddy Bear Express”, the “Hidden Teddies” competition, a pack of “Gummi Bears” and a hoped for return visit of “Mama” and “Papa” Bear! Make sure that all the children in your family and circle of friends know about this one!

Please share Museum news with friends, relatives, workmates and neighbours.

2018 Calendar of events

Wednesday May 2

BMATA—Blue Mountains Accommodation & Tourism Association—Meeting and Visit

Thursday May 3

Crows Nest Probus Club Visit

Saturday May 5

Mt Victoria 150th Anniversary Exhibition Officially Opens—11am
Exhibition Open until January 2019

Tuesday May 8

THNSW CEO Andrew Moritz—Visit and Q & A session.

Wednesday May 9

Visit—The Entrance Diggers Club.

Saturday May 12

Hydro Express—Sydney to Medlow Bath and return
Tickets available through Transport Heritage NSW.
Rides sold out

Sunday May 13

Museum not Open—Mother’s Day

Mon 14-Fri 18 May

Retirees Week

Sunday May 20

Museum open day
Teddy Bears Day Out (Kids with Teddy Bears admitted free)
Steam tram rides today

Monday May 21

Parramatta Legacy—Visit

Saturday May 26

Mt Victoria 150th Anniversary – Great Train Weekend featuring Garratt 6029 and CPH Rail Motors (subject to availability).
Steam Shuttles—Mt Victoria to Lithgow and return
Rail Motor Shuttles— Mt Victoria to Katoomba and return
Tickets available through Transport Heritage NSW.

Sunday May 27

Mt Victoria 150th Anniversary – Great Train Weekend continues featuring Garratt 6029 and CPH Rail Motors (subject to availability).
Steam Shuttles—Mt Victoria to Lithgow and return
Rail Motor Shuttles—Mt Victoria to Katoomba and return
Tickets available through Transport Heritage NSW.

Sunday May 27

Museum open day
Valley Heights Mixed rides today

Sat 9 - Mon 11 June

Transport Heritage NSW Expo—Central

Saturday June 9

Committee meeting

Mon 11 - Fri 15 June

Retirees Week

Sunday June 10

Museum open day
Steam tram rides today

Saturday July 14

Committee meeting

Sunday June 24

Museum open day
Valley Heights Mixed rides today

Sunday July 8

School holidays
Museum open day
Steam tram rides today

Saturday August 11

Committee meeting

Sunday July 22

School holidays
Museum open day
Valley Heights Mixed rides today

Saturday September 8

Committee meeting

Sunday August 12

Museum open day
Steam tram rides today

Sunday August 26

Museum open day
Valley Heights Mixed rides today

Sunday September 2

Museum open day
Fathers' Day—dads admitted free
Steam tram rides today

Saturday October 13

Committee meeting

Sunday September 9

Museum open day
Steam tram rides today

Sunday September 23

School holidays
Museum open day
Valley Heights Mixed rides today

Saturday November 10

Committee meeting

Sunday October 14

School holidays
Museum open day
Steam tram rides today

Saturday October 27

EXTRA open day
HALLOWEEN—LATE OPENING & CLOSING (TBC)
Valley Heights Mixed rides today

Sunday October 28

Museum open day
HALLOWEEN
Valley Heights Mixed rides today

Saturday December 1

Committee meeting

Sunday November 11

Museum open day
Steam tram rides today

Sunday November 25

Museum open day
Valley Heights Mixed rides today

Saturday December 8

EXTRA open day
Special Christmas Themed Weekend—Santa Arrives on Steam Tram
Steam tram rides today

Sunday December 9

Museum open day
Special Christmas Themed Weekend—Santa Arrives on Steam Tram
Steam tram rides today

Keith Ward, Publicity Manager VHLDHM

Photo credits

Keith Ward, Eileen Ward, Andrew Tester, Bruce Coxon, Grant Robinson

Depot Diary: Print friendly version
Depot Diary: High quality print version
Note: