Re: puffing billy

Bill Russell

G'day All,

Just because you have a big engine does not mean that you have
to haul big trains. G42 is more economical (fuel and water) than an NA.
Where a normal Puff load is close to maximum for an NA it is a doddle for
G42. I don't know about the relative maintenance costs.

We do have an NGG 16 which is currently in pieces being
compared to the blueprints (purchased in 1973) and the drawings being
(converted to)/(used to prepare) CAD images. When this is done an
estimate of the cost of re-gauging can be done. My guess is that it could
happen within 15 years.

We did make informal approaches to Sierra Leone about 20 years
ago and were politely but firmly told to go away. I don't know if we looked
at the ones in Nepal. We also looked at a Senital Steam Railcar in Sri
Lanka at about the same time, but were also told "no thanks".

Running big trains implies big numbers of passengers. You have to
be able to accommodate these in toilets and resturants etc. Apart from that
I imagine many tourists would prefer small intimate groups.

And the final point. With a 17 car train those at the guard's end
hardly ever see the locomotive. Bigger may be impressive, but it is not
always better.


Bill Russell.

On 22 Nov 2006 at 3:00, Michael J wrote:

--- In, "crannyjohn" <peterson.john.j@...> wrote:

Hello all,

My train was hauled by DH31 but I had a chance to inspect G42 in
action. A fantastic achievement; amazing to watch. I have a question.
The Garratt was introduced to increase train sizes; Is this how it's
used on Puffing Billy?? Or are the train sizes the same as the NA's??

I remember when the Garratt was being proposed for restoration (25+
years ago) there was an article in Narrow Gauge discussing how it
might affect trains. At the time one morning train had a much higher
patronage than other trains out of Belgrave, and it was suggested that
the Garratt could haul that train. It sounds as if that problem might
have been overcome with the double header already mentioned. At the
time the Lakeside extention was brand new, and I don't think Gembrook
was anything more than a fantacy.

The problem with scheduling a train to meet the Garratt's capacity is
what do you do if it is not available. The article proposed purchacing
one of the South African garratts, which has subsequently occured. Of
course it will be some years before this loco is available. In the
meantime the already extensive timetable PB runs must place some
stress on the loco fleet, with only 5 nA's, which is possibly the
reason your train was hauled by a DH.

Ironically there have been a couple of opportunities over the years
for PB to obtain 2'6" gauge Garratts. There were Garratts available
when the Sierra Leone Government Railways closed, and more recently
there were two Garratts available in Nepal. They were up for sale two
years ago, but are now part of a proposed tourist railway there.



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