Reefsteamers
South Africa's professional steam train operator


Updates and Notices 2016


13.12.2016 Dear Reefsteamers and Friends of Steam

Here is the latest Reefsteamers Depot Report, which covers two relatively quiet weekends up to 10 Dec. 2016. The report was slightly delayed as I was awaiting news on the 12AR front tube plate assessment.

This will be the last Depot Report from me until later in January 2017, although I do plan to post a few photo essays on Facebook over the Festive Season.

Enjoy the read

Lee Gates

05.12.2016 Dear Reefsteamers and Friends of Steam

H
ere is the latest Reefsteamers Depot Report, which covers recent work on the 15F 3046.  This work was mainly small jobs arising from the snag list generated from the first run after drain-train repairs and boiler certification.  The locomotive is reported to have run very well.

Enjoy the read

Lee Gates


12.11.2016 Dear Reefsteamers and Friends of Steam

Dear Reefsteamers and Friends of Steam,

Here is the latest Reefsteamers Depot Report, which covers recent work on the Class 15F 3046.  This has been a marathon effort with members both long-established and recent working on the locomotive, and quite a few putting in extra time during the week. (Much appreciated!) Philipp Maurer even flew in from Switzerland to assist at the depot.  We have learned a lot, especially with the riveting of the new piston Bull Rings. 

She is actually in steam at the moment as this email is being sent.  I believe A Donnis is the loco minder tonight. 

As she has had extensive work done on main pistons, the spool valves, bypass valves, smokebox and four new tubes, among other smaller repairs, 15F 3046 is going to need a lot of testing, checking and running in before going into full service.  She will be running with a full support crew this Saturday.

May the bugs and snags be few!

Enjoy the read

Lee Gates


30.09.2016 Dear Reefsteamers and Friends of Steam

Here is the latest Reefsteamers Depot Report covering work up to 10 September 2016, including a shunting signals theory and practical class.  I’ve also included a text-based summary of the work that was done last weekend, Sat, 17th September 2016.  Photos for the work will start appearing on our Workshop’s Facebook Page during the week.

We did quite well last weekend with over a dozen volunteers responding to the 15F 3046 drive.  We were able to form up five different work teams, and had two gents working alone on their projects (As that is their preference.)  So we managed to make progress on seven tasks.  We need to keep up the pace as to get 15F 3046 running again within a reasonable time.

LIGHT DUTY WORK
If you would like to be involved but are not able to do heavy work or otherwise don’t have mechanical / heavy engineering skills, Claire NE has prepared a shopping list of more ‘everyday’ lighter-duty tasks that need to be done around the depot and grounds.  Contact her at membership@reefsteamers.com for some ideas of where you can contribute.  We can then plan ahead and make sure that tools and supplies are available.

The engineering team just don’t have the time to keep up with the depot maintenance as well.

Enjoy the read

Lee Gates
Stubbornly unrepentant ferro-equinologist !


13.09.2016 Dear Reefsteamers and Friends of Steam

Here is the latest Reefsteamers Depot Report covering two weekends of work up to 3 September 2016.  I’ve also included a text-based summary of the work that was done yesterday, Sat, 10th September 2016.  Photos for yesterday’s work will start appearing on our Workshop’s Facebook Page during the week.

TRAIN TRIP BLOG, FACEBOOK or WRITE-UP
One lack that has been noted is the reporting back on the trains trips and it is becoming a bit like we have two separate clubs under the Reefsteamers name.  I cannot do that as I’m in the workshops and I don’t have time to do another report / newsletter anyway.  Claire Nelson-Esch (Our Membership Liaison) is also not into riding the trains as she is actively looking after the workshop people and also working with her depot-based projects and with new members.  Claire and I are asking if any of the coach staff or footplate crews would be interested in writing a simple blog – whether as a simple newsletter insert or to keep our Facebook Trips page up to date. It only needs to be a few photos and perhaps a paragraph or two describing the trip and anything special that happened.

If you are interested please contact me on lee@multisource.co.za, or Claire at membership@reefsteamers.com and we will make the necessary arrangements.  You can phone Claire at 082 894-8877.  Don’t call me – I hate phone calls and will likely just flip the phone upside down!  <Grin>

IGHT DUTY WORK

If you would like to be involved but are not able to do heavy work or otherwise don’t have mechanical / heavy engineering skills, Claire NE has prepared a shopping list of more ‘everyday’ lighter-duty tasks that need to be done around the depot and grounds.  Contact her at membership@reefsteamers.com for some ideas of where you can contribute.  We can then plan ahead and make sure that tools and supplies are available.

The engineering team just don’t have the time to keep up with the depot maintenance as well.

Enjoy the read

Lee Gates
Stubbornly unrepentant ferro-equinologist !
Steam Power – It’s the Wheel Thing!



19.08.2016 Dear Reefsteamers and Friends of Steam

Here is the latest Reefsteamers Depot Report covering the work up to Saturday, 13 August. Most of the work continues to be focussed on the Class 15F 3046, but work also continues on the 15CA project and on improvements around the depot.

If you would like to be involved but are not able to do heavy work or otherwise don’t have mechanical / heavy engineering skills, Claire NE has prepared a shopping list of more ‘everyday’ lighter-duty tasks that need to be done around the depot and grounds. Contact her at membership@reefsteamers.com for some ideas of where you can contribute. We can then plan ahead and make sure that tools and supplies are available


Enjoy the read

Lee Gates
Stubbornly unrepentant ferro-equinologist !
Steam Power – It’s the Wheel Thing!

16.08.2016 Dear Reefsteamers and Friends of Steam

Here is the latest Reefsteamers Depot Report covering the work on Saturday, 6 July and then the Tuesday Public Holiday work on 9 Aug 2016.  Most of the work continues to be focussed on the Class 15F 3046, but work also continues on the 15CA project and on improvements around the depot.

Enjoy the read

Lee Gates
Stubbornly unrepentant ferro-equinologist !
Steam Power – It’s the Wheel Thing!



07.08.2016 Dear Reefsteamers and Friends of Steam

Here is the latest Reefsteamers Depot Report covering the work up to last week Saturday, 30th July.  I have already started working on the photos and report for this week.

We are focussing on getting Class 15F 3046 ‘Janine’ through a boiler certification to be done and sign-off by 27 August and the new Spring 2016 Season.  Otherwise we will be in the situation of not having a single working engine available.  So it is a marathon, all hands-on-deck project.  But work also continues on the Depot electrics, the Class 15CA refurb and the Depot windows glazing project.

As it will take several weeks to undergo a boiler certification, the opportunity is being taken to do other medium-level mechanical work on the 15F locomotive – jobs that cannot be comfortably done in the time period between trips during running season.

These jobs include (But are not exclusive to):
- Re-metalling the crosshead slide slippers;
- Modifying the connecting rod ‘small-end’ bearings with an improved, ‘maintain-able’ design;
- Repairing fractured valve spools;
- Servicing the bypass valves (vacuum breakers) and re-lapping their seats.

Some of the tender’s coil springs need to be replaced as well, but they will be done early in the spring running season.


Enjoy the read

Lee Gates
Stubbornly unrepentant ferro-equinologist !


31.07.2016
Dear Reefsteamers and Friends of Steam

====== 15F 3046 NEEDS YOU ======
Reefsteamers is calling for volunteers to come and assist with the boiler certification and other work on 15F 3046. (Such as replacing some of the springs.) There are some engineering delays with 15CA and 12AR, and our other 15F 3052 is moving to assist with Friends of the Rail's traction issues in just a few weeks. We HAVE to get 15F 3046 running again by the end of August otherwise we will not have any working steam locomotives for the new Spring 2016 season.

Even if you aren't a skilled mechanic, fitter or engineer, you can help by lifting, cleaning and moving stuff, and handling tools and lamps - it all goes to speed up the engineering work. Come and lend a hand and meet the workshop crew, even if just for one Saturday arvey.

Contact Claire at membership@reefsteamers.com and she can update you on what is happening and how to get to the Depot. If you contact us before hand, we can plan ahead for the number of people we can expect.


27.06.2016 Dear Reefsteamers and Friends of Steam,

Here is a traditional Reefsteamers Photo essay on the recent Class 25 and 19D locomotive retrieval trip we ran on Sunday, 19 June.  It’s been quite a while since I’ve done one of these!  <Grin>  The trip was unusual in that we ran the service train and the typical Magaliesburg Passenger Coaches together in one extra-long train behind two locomotives, and then split them up – the Passengers going onwards to Magaliesburg for Father’s Day and the Service Train laying over at Waterval Yard next to Millsite Depot while we went into fetch the two waiting locomotives.

After three weeks of preparation, the final move was very successful – almost a hook-and-go procedure.

Enjoy the read – this one took a while to compile!  The Photo Essay has 76 photos.  There are over 130 captioned photos posted on our Facebook Workshop page, so go on over and have a look.

This week, I will be posting captioned photos on-line from the double-loco fire lighting that we performed on Saturday 18 June before the trip.  These photos and captions will only be available on Facebook.

Lee Gates



18.06.2016 Dear Reefsteamers and Friends of Steam

Here is the latest Reefsteamers Depot Report from last week. (11 June)  The primary focus therein is the running repairs to the two 15F locomotives that ran in very-public tandem the previous week… accompanied by vintage cars and aircraft.  15F 3052 didn’t run well on her test run but the issue turned out to be a simple one : the accidental fitting of an overly-long rod for the regulator – so the ‘throttle’ could not be opened all the way. 

Our regular old war horse 15F 3046 developed fire grate problems and a bypass valve issue was making one cylinder end run weak, hence the peculiar horse-canter three-beat that was recorded.  It was not 15F 3052, as erroneously reported by some line-siders, and again it was a simple problem to fix

Both locomotives are running again tomorrow (Sunday) with an extra-long train.  The train will split into two at Krugersdorp.  The 15F 3046 will run to Magaliesburg tomorrow for a Father’s Day Train.  15F 3052 will run a service train through to Waterval Yard and then be used to retrieve two derelict locomotives from Millsite. The service train has 8 vehicles for braking purposes – including a set of sleeper coaches – the ‘mixiest’ goods train we’ve ever ran.

We are retrieving a Class 19D to be put into our restoration lines for future work as a medium-weight locomotive.  We are also retrieving a derelict Class 25 Condenser Locomotive to be stored in safety on behalf of Steamnet 2000.  (NOT for our own use.)   


Enjoy the read

Lee Gates

13.05.2016 Dear Reefsteamers and Friends of Steam

H
ere is the latest Reefsteamers Depot Report from last week. (7 May 2016) 

Most of last week’s work was the finishing work on Sandstone’s Class 15F 3052 ‘Avril’ (Owned by David Shepherd) prior to her live steam test.  We are pleased to announced that she passed her steam test on Monday, 9 May and now has a fresh 3-year boiler certificate.

Class 15CA 2056 is progressing and the driving axle suspension gear is completely stripped now.  While the axle boxes are away being relined, the removed suspension components now need to be cleaned, inspected and then re-bushed if necessary.  There are several dozen items to be done.

We have fallen behind on a lot of other jobs and need volunteers to assist the engineering people.  The removed 15CA components, tool cupboards and fitters shop need work too.  Please come and lend a hand this Saturday on 14 May.    Contact Shaun Ackerman at engineering@eeefsteamers.com if you can come to assist us, and he will assign you to a team.


Enjoy the read

Lee Gates

21.04.2016 Dear Reefsteamers and Friends of Steam

Here is the latest Reefsteamers Depot Report from last week. (16th April) 

We are doing well with the turn-out of volunteers over the last few weeks and it is making quite a difference to the pace of work.  Let’s keep it up!
We still need some ‘light duty’ workers to assist us with sorting out tool cupboards and racks in the Machine Shop and the Fitter’s Workshop respectively.  Contact Shaun Ackerman at engineering@eeefsteamers.com if you can come to assist us, and he will assign you to a team.


Enjoy the read

Enjoy the read!

Lee Gates


08.04.2016 Dear Reefsteamers and Friends of Steam

Here is the latest Reefsteamers Depot Report from up to 2 April 2016. We had a very productive Saturday last week with enough people in the workshops, even though a train was running on the same day.

W
ell done to all concerned!

Enjoy the read

Lee Gates
Stubbornly unrepentant ferro-equinologist!


06.04.2016 Dear Reefsteamers and Friends of Steam,

Herewith, this Saturday’s Workshop Schedule:

===== HEAVY WORK – 15CA LOCOMOTIVE AXLES and BEARINGS  =====
Work will be continuing on the 15CA locomotive project.  The last of the four driver axles will be turned in the wheel lathe and then moved to storage in the afternoon.  The axle boxes need to be removed from the axles to be sent for re-metalling.  We will need some help with the rolling, hoisting and moving of the one axle, and the various bearings, but it won’t be an all-day job … except for the lathe operator.

===== MEDIUM WORK – 15CA BOILER FLUE PREP =====
The main work for the day will be the measuring and cutting of the 30 x Boiler Flues to fit the 15CA’s boiler.  The swaged ends then need to be cleaned of surface rust, and then heated for annealing (Softening) so they can later be beaded for welding without cracking.  A lot of assistance will be required in the lifting and moving of the 30 x boiler flues, rotating them for even heating from the torch; and for the cutting and cleaning operations.  As we have seen with the swaging work, many hands make the repetitive boiler flue work a lot lighter.

Depending on progress, we will make a start on loosely installing the completed flues into the boiler.  The scaffolding to do so has already been set up in front of the locomotive’s work bay.

===== LIGHT DUTY WORK – TOOL SORTING =====
We would like to start cleaning and sorting out the tool cabinets in the machine shop and surrounds.  We cannot spare the engineering people for this work and we need the physically strong people for the axles and flues.  Who would like to assist in this lighter duty work?

Coach Staff … there isn’t a train running this week.  Perhaps some of you can come and assist us with the tools instead?  Contact Shaun Ackerman at engineering@reefsteamers.com if you can come and he can put a team together.

===== LUNCH =====
As always, bring along between R50 to R70 for lunch.  We’ll normally decide what to do on the day.  Lately, we have been ordering-out from a local road house which does a good variety of meals of reasonable size and quantity, and we club the change together to buy cold drinks. 

===== TOOLS =====
Reefsteamers will provide all the tools and materials needed.

===== TEA & STUFF =====

Who’d like to make tea and look after the workshop grunts, making sure they are well lubricated and in a good mood?  Contact Claire at
membership@reefsteamers.com if you’d like to assist.

Lee Gates
Stubbornly unrepentant ferro-equinologist !
Steam Power – It’s the Wheel Thing!

Reefsteamers Main Website = http://www.reefsteamers.com
Reefsteamers Facebook = https://www.facebook.com/groups/reefsteamers/



29.03.2016 Dear Reefsteamers and Friends of Steam,


===== HEAVY WORK – LOCOMOTIVE AXLE MOVE =====

We are heading towards another busy, dizzy Saturday with a Magaliesburg Express running and a whole load of work to do on the 15CA locomotive, all at the same time.  We need to move a third axle from under the locomotive to the wheel lathe.  This axle is going to be the main driver axle, which means it has BIG, heavy counterweights, and we will need many hands to move that spoked lump of weighty circumferential ironmongery. 

===== MEDIUM WORK – BOILER FLUE SWAGING =====

A start will be made on doing the second swage on the 30 new boiler flues for the 15CA locomotive as well – and it takes four people to carry each boiler flue safely … three if they are strong youngsters with no sense of muscle pain and spinal disks like ovoid chunks of old truck tyres.  So ideally, we need TWO teams of people to help with the heavier work. 

===== LIGHT DUTY WORK – TOOL SORTING =====

For lighter duty work – we will be starting to clean up and sort out the tool cupboards in the machine shop.  So if you’re not up to bench-pressing locomotive axles, you are likely able to carry a spanner or two at least!

===== ONE-STOP MEMBERSHIP FORMS =====

Claire NE will be present on the day to handle Membership Forms.  If you wish to fill in a Membership Form straight away and submit the funds without the hassle of bank payments and scanning a signed form, come along to the workshop this Saturday and Claire will process your 2016 Membership on a one-stop basis. Download the membership form

===== LUNCH =====

As always, bring along between R50 to R70 for lunch.  We’ll normally decide what to do on the day.  Lately we have been ordering-out from a local road house which does a good variety of meals of reasonable size and quantity, and we club the change together to buy cold drinks. 

===== TEA & STUFF =====

Who’d like to make tea and look after the workshop grunts, making sure they are well lubricated and in a good mood?  Contact Claire at Membership@reefsteamers.com if you’d like to assist.




Lee Gates
Stubbornly unrepentant ferro-equinologist !
Steam Power – It’s the Wheel Thing!


28.03.2016 Dear Reefsteamers and Friends of Steam,

The newest Depot Report

Enjoy the read

Lee Gates

10.03.2016

====== REEFSTEAMERS COACH LIFTING WORK DAY – 12 MARCH =======

Reefsteamers is looking for a dozen volunteers to kick-off our ‘Coach Lifting’ program.

What’s is ‘Coach Lifting?’, you may ask.

Coach lifting is a mandatory periodic exercise whereby the coach is jacked-up away from its wheels to allow access for inspection and servicing.

This entails disconnecting the mechanical links of the bogies (the pivoting wheel truck) from under the coach, and then jacking up the coach’s end, while leaving the wheels behind on the track.  This exposes the central pivot for inspection.  While the bogie is free from the coach, the bogie’s brake system is serviced and lubricated.  Each end of the 40 ton coach is jacked up once at a time, the inspection work performed and then the bogie reinserted.   When the coach is safely back on both sets of wheels, the components under the coach are inspected, lubricated and serviced.

Reefsteamers plans to do a mandatory inspection lift on two 40 ton coaches this weekend and we need 12 extra volunteers to get the job done safety and in time.  The younger, stronger lads will handle the heavy jacks and wooden bolster pads.  But we need a lot of other people to assist with oil cans, split pins, passing the tools, air hoses, tilt spotters, as well as painters, greasers and the like –  all light duty work.  Even the girls can get involved.

We will be lifting the day sitter coaches over the next few weekends starting this Saturday, 12 March.  Unfortunately, the core engineering team have locomotive work to do on a tight deadline and they cannot do this job as well.

It’s a fun exercise and if you get involved, you’ll learn a lot and will likely meet some new people as our membership has been growing.  You will be put under the charge of a competent person who will, er, coach you along as to what to do.

We’ll be doing lunch, likely gas-fired boerie rolls organized by the lovely Claire NE.  Depending on the weather, we’ll even put some music on in the workshops.

Please consider what you can do to assist with a coach team, even if only for a half day.

If you can come, please email Claire at membership@reefsteamers.com for catering, and email Shaun Ackerman at engineering@reefsteamers.com to help him organise the teams, supplies and the PPE gear required.

Many hands will make light work, it’s a sociable day out with a big team and you will be doing something useful for steam preservation.

Lee Gates
Stubbornly unrepentant ferro-equinologist !
Steam Power – It’s the Wheel Thing!

Reefsteamers Main Website = http://www.reefsteamers.com
Reefsteamers Facebook = https://www.facebook.com/groups/reefsteamers/


10.03.2016 Dear Reefsteamers and Friends of Steam,

The newest Depot Report

Enjoy the read

Lee Gates

02.03.2016 Dear Reefsteamers and Friends of Steam,

The newest Depot Report

Enjoy the read

Lee Gates

04.02.2016 Dear Reefsteamers and Friends of Steam,

The newest Depot Report

Enjoy the read

Lee Gates

26.01.2016

Dear Reefsteamers and Friends of Steam,

Here is the first Reefsteamers Depot Report for 2016.  Last weekend’s Saturday work was mainly to do with patching of the 15M Workshop roof guttering.  But this report also lists the highlights of our progress over the last year and some of the projects that we will be undertaking in the first quarter of the new year.

As always, feel free to visit our Reefsteamer Workshop Page on Facebook for more
frequent updates, and for captioned photos that do not appear in the Depot Report itself. 
https://www.facebook.com/groups/reefsteamers/


Enjoy the read

Lee Gates