Case Studies, Cranes & Lifting

Load 28 steam ahead in locomotive restoration

Adelaide based Load 28 recently providing lifting capabilities for SteamRanger project which restores old locomotives.

In November of 2021, the team at Load 28 were again asked to help the SteamRanger Heritage Railway to assist with the lifting of steam engines which are currently being restored at the Mt Barker workshops. George Protopsaltis, Business Development Manager at Load 28, has been working SteamRanger for eight years and he provides some detail regarding the recent lifts.

“SteamRanger is a non for profit organisation focused on the restoration and maintenance of old steam engines. They operate a number of trains across South Australia.

“Quite often throughout the year they will require our services for a day or two. Obviously, they want to make the most of having the cranes on site and on this visit we deployed two 95t capacity all terrains and two pick and carries for the smaller lifts.

“There were a number of lifts for us to conduct including positioning bogies, lifting the engines and everything in between. We deployed two Liebherr LTM 1095-5.1, 95t capacity all terrain cranes, a 28t capacity TIDD and a 25t capacity Franna.

“We had a dual lift with the Liebherr’s which involved an 844 locomotive weighing 38t and they also lifted a boiler which weighed 21t. We were lifting at 7m and 8m radiuses and the cranes were operating at 80 per cent of their lift charts,” he said.

The conditions were ideal for lifting with a flat and firm surface which helped the pick and carry cranes. The Franna and the TIDD were lifting at 3m to 4m radiuses, and they were lifting at roughly 85 per cent of their charts.

“SteamRanger were very thorough with their planning, and we had obviously worked on lift planning to ensure everything went smoothly, which it did. We had some spreader bars for the lifts, we cradled the various pieces of equipment and we also had lift points,” said Protopsaltis.

SteamRanger Heritage Railway is the operating arm of the Australian Railway Historical Society (SA Division), and operates a number of different heritage steam and diesel hauled tourist trains between Mt Barker in the Adelaide Hills, up over the crest of the southern Mt Lofty Ranges, down to Strathalbyn and on through the coastal holiday towns of Goolwa and Port Elliot to the tourist resort town of Victor Harbor. These trains include the iconic ‘Cockle Train’, ‘Southern Encounter’ and ‘Highlander’.

SteamRanger Heritage Railway welcomed the 844 locomotive 844 in 2020. After several years of negotiations, the operational broad gauge locomotive 844, joined the fleet following its donation by OneRail Australia (formerly Genesee and Wyoming Australia).

Locomotive 844 was built by AE Goodwin & Co at their Granville, NSW workshops, and entered service with the South Australian Railways on the 25th October 1962, servicing on both broad and standard gauges, before being placed in storage at Dry Creek, following the cessation of stone train operations between Penrice and Osborne

Locomotive 844 joins its sister unit 845, which is also under restoration at SteamRangers Mount Barker Depot where the locomotive is receiving a cosmetic overhaul to its original livery, and undergo the appropriate accreditation for operation on the Cockle Train service.

Another locomotive being restored is the 520. The 520 class was designed during World War 11 by F.H. Harrison, who was the Chief Mechanical Engineer of the South Australian Railways from 1938 to 1952.

New engines were urgently required because of the large increase in traffic caused by the war. As these engines were designed to operate on nearly all lines, from the heavy mainlines to the lightened branches the axle load has to limited to 16 ton. Unique features of the engines include their streamlined appearance, fully enclosed cab and the use of roller bearings on all axles. The first engine, 520, entered service with the S.R.A. on November 10th

1943 on the port Pirie line achieving a maximum speed of 78 mph between Red Hill and Port Pirie. 520 was named Sir Malcolm Barclay-Harvey after the Governor General of South Australia at the time of i’s introduction. A total of 12 engines were built between 1943 and 1947, the latter nine having a more streamlined front end than their earlier sisters. They were built as fully coal burners, but later converted to burn a mixture of coal and oil, 520 has since been converted back to a full coal burner.

The 520s were a very successful engine, so much so that they were the last of the ‘big” steam engines to remain in service when the dieselisation arrived on the South Australian Railways’ broad gauge.

“The work with SteamRanger is always interesting and varied. It’s great to see the passion from the volunteers who are restoring these great locomotives and it’s even better to take a ride on one of the many trips offered by the SteamRanger Heritage Railway.

“The team at SteamRanger know the capabilities of Load 28 and over the years they have seen our preparation and planning then implementation of our cranes and crew for these lifts. We are delighted to play our part in seeing these proud old locomotives brought back to their former glorious condition and flying down a rail track somewhere in South Australia,” said Protopsaltis.

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