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8649 Transfer from Werris Creek


On the 2nd December 2019 Electric Locomotive 8649 was transferred from Werris Creek to Morandoo Yard (near Broadmeadow) in preparation to be lifted off its bogies at Cardiff workshops, to enable a full examination of the underframe. This was the first time 8649 had left the Werris Creek area in nearly 20 years. Following this inspection the locomotive is expected to be returned to Werris Creek for further recommissioning works.

Its around 7:00 am on Monday 2nd December 2019 in Pacific National's Werris Creek Loocomotive Maintenance Centre yard. 8649 is pictured coupled to 8131 ready to be transferred, with members of the PN and Progress Rail crew in discussion in front of the loco. Last minute actions were obtaining a spare portable radio, a tail light (as 8649 does not yet have new batteries), placing fire extinguishers in 8649, and doing a brake function test. Until its rescue 18 months previously, 8649 was due to be scrapped. PN's site supervisor reported the contractor had even visited the site, but was sent away due to incorrect paperwork. Photo by Hugh Burns
Its now 7:30 am and 8131 and 8649 set off for Morandoo. The first stage of the run is operated at a cautious 30km/h, as 8649 has been in storage for 22 years and the correct operation of its relubricated axle and traction motor bearings has to be established. For this stage of the trip 8649 was manned by SETS and Progress Rail with radio contact to the crew of 8131. Photo by Michael McGinty
8649 has reached it's first scheduled stop at Quirindi to allow a check of axle bearing temperatures. Bearings were checked by both feeling each axle box by hand and measuring with an Infrared Thermometer. During the first stage of the trip it was audibly found some wheels had small flat spots, so at this stop the wheels were also inspected to verify the extent of this problem. It is possible this minor damage occured when the loco was shunted around while in storage. Photo by Michael McGinty
Between Quirindi and Willow Tree the speed limit of the train was increased to 60km/h. At Willow Tree the locos were stopped and bearing temperatures checked again. The temperatures were found satisfactory, with 8649 reading 1 degree below a spot comparison bearing measurement on 8131. After Willow Tree we all rode in the cab of 8131, with the Progress Rail fitter being dropped off so he could return to Werris Creek. Here the locos are shown after the checks have been made and we are waiting to depart. Photo by Michael McGinty
We had quite a wait at Aberdeen waiting for coal trains to pass. So the opportunity was taken to visit a buffet facility for refreshments. While we have to investigate the waterproof integrity of the of main removable loco roof, which is planned to be removed for fitting the radio antennae, the rest of the loco has survived its extended storage surprisingly well due to the weather conditions at Werris Creek, the durable two-pack paint finish on the loco and its welded constuction minimising overlapped panel joins. Photo by Michael McGinty
A vista of 1970s and 1980s NSW State Government infrastructure investment at Lake Liddel near Muswellbrook. Here we see two ex-State Rail Authority locos in front of two ex-Electricity Commission power stations. Now they are all transferred to the private sector. Like letting the 86 class mostly go to scrap, the private sector is taking a similar view of 1970s built Liddell Power Station seen on the right (1980s built Bayswater is on the left). Photo by Michael McGinty
8131 and 8649 at Glennies Creek near Singleton. Photo by Cameron Parker
8131 and 8649 pass under the footbridge at Branxton Station. Photo by Cameron Parker
8131 and 8649 viewed from the previously seen footbridge as they pass through Branxton Station. Photo by John Parker
8131 pulls 8649 past Hexham station. Photo by Cameron Parker
Nearing the end of the trip, 8131 and 8649 pass Warabrook station, which opened in 1997. Photo by Ed Tonks
8131 and 8649 immediately after arrival at Morandoo yard (near Broadmeadow). We arrived about 30 minutes late due to being unable to travel at full speed in the latter part of the trip, due to signals being almost continuously at "caution". Photo by Hugh Burns

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