Thursday, April 20, 2006

Noises in the Night

click on any photo to enlarge

To avoid as far as possible any disruption to other traffic, Craig planned to move the bus to his home near Wollongong in the early hours of morning. Craig, his long-suffering girlfriend Olivia Walker, and I assembled at Sydney tramway museum at 4.30 AM, armed with some tools in case of trouble, cameras still and video, and drums of water to cope with the losses from the leaky water pump gland.

AT 4.55AM THE RADIATOR RECEIVES THE FIRST OF MANY DRINKS: THE WATER PUMP GLAND GAVE UP LONG AGO, BUT SPARES FOR GARDNER ENGINES ARE NOT DIFFICULT TO OBTAIN

I have to say it was a rare pleasure to be allowed to participate in this undertaking: the combination of the slow steady beat of a Gardner 6LW and the sounds produced by an Albion gearbox is a pretty intoxicating mix. The gearbox is unlike any other in existence, because it has the pre-war specification of helical gear teeth for third gear: the so-called "silent third", which reverted to straight-cut teeth in post WWII production. So it has all the sounds of an Albion CX19, with the added sophistication of "silent third'. Those readers who have heard it will know what I mean.


HEADLAMPS FITTED AROUND 1940 OR '41, AND RUNNING ON 12 VOLTS, ARE NOT A DAZZLE PROBLEM

In pitch darkness at 5 AM the journey began down the Princes Highway. South of Waterfall, we diverted onto the Old Highway, in order to reach Wollongong via Bulli Pass.



CRAIG AT THE WHEEL OF A VEHICLE DATING FROM 1938; HE DATES FROM 1978

Craig correctly reasoned that one short sharp descent would be preferable to the alternative route via Mount Ousely which involves much more hill climbing and a longer, if gentler, descent to the coastal plain. Second gear was used for the majority of the way down the Pass, which has a 20 kph speed limit for trucks and buses. A truck followed us all the way and overtook at one point but showed no desire to exceed our speed. The grade is 1 in 8 at some points.
Unlike some well-worn gearboxes, 1615's showed no sign whatsoever of wanting to jump out of gear on the long 5 kilometre descent, but at the bottom, after acting as a compressor for so long, the engine belched a nuclear mushroom cloud of blue smoke to underline the fact that the piston rings and bores are in dire need of attention.
By 6.40 AM we were outside Craig's home in Figtree; about 55 km from Loftus we reckon, without a moment's trouble from the old girl, apart for some pauses for a drink of water in the radiator.
Reversing into the entrance drive was quickly completed, Olivia took a shower and departed for work, and some flattened cardboard was pushed under the engine of 1615 to catch the various fluid leaks from the machinery room behind the radiator.



DESPITE HAVING ITS TOP DECK OFF, THE DOUBLE DECKER IS STILL TOO HIGH TO FIT INTO THE AVERAGE GARAGE

Next step: remove the front fascia of the garage so the bus can fit under the entrance beam to be locked away for the next few years while work proceeds on the body frame, cutting out the many rusted sections, welding in new metal, and returning it to 1939 condition.



IN THE DRIVE. CRAIG PARKINSON STANDS BY WHAT WILL KEEP HIM OFF THE GOLF COURSE FOR A FEW YEARS



SWEEPING UP THE LEAVES AND TWIGS DISLODGED BY THE PROCESS OF REVERSING INTO THE DRIVE.
THE BUS AWAITS THE REMOVAL OF THE GARAGE FASCIA TO PERMIT IT TO ENTER. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED

1 Comments:

Blogger Gwilym said...

WOW!!! How impressive, both the scale of the project at hand and the blog Dad!! When I left this was just one single page with no photos, haven't you been a busy boy!

4/25/06, 8:38 PM  

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