Keep K163 Going

Keep K163 Going

The scope of works that has taken place on the axleboxes was far more extensive than initially expected. Probably not at all surprising, considering the engine had not been lifted from it’s wheels during the initial restoration in 1986 or since, in the preservation era. In effect during the last 35 years, we have been relying on residual maintenance from the Victorian Railways. K163 operated from 1941 to 1968.

The repairs to the axleboxes have included:

  • Full strip down and assessment
  • Detailed measurements of the engine (cylinder centreline to horns, wheelset back to back, frame to wheelset centre)
  • Removal of the bearing brasses
  • Remetalling of bearing surfaces
  • Building up the brasses for correct press fit back into the axleboxes
  • Replacement of the retaining dowels
  • Fitment of replacement hub liners (Vesconite)
  • Machining of the axleboxes to ensure correct positioning in space

The team at Fabracobblers, supported by our volunteers have done a mountain of work on a very limited budget, with many challenges overcome, including a global pandemic. We couldn’t be happier with the results.

Next steps include test fitting of the axleboxes into the frames, any adjustment to the reconditioned (built-up) wedges finalised, fitment of the bearings to the wheelset journals and then packing the axlebox cellars with new wool pads, trimmings and felts. Once this is complete the suspension hangers will be installed (also having been repaired to correct ovality in the pin holes) and springs under hung on the axleboxes. The engine will then be ready for lifting onto the wheelsets.

We are hoping to have the engine back together in the next couple of months. However as any project of this scale, there are many challenging steps to overcome which require a level of care and attention to ensure the engine is properly reassembled. We will continue to provide updates as milestones are achieved.

We would greatly appreciate support from our supporters while we bring the project to it’s final phase of reassembly. Remember the Keep K163 Going Gofundme campaign, if you are in a position to assist.