Today, we take you behind the scenes at Thirlmere’s New South Wales Rail Museum, where our team of Simon, Tracy, and Adrian (with John doing the video!) are replacing windows in the iconic Southern Aurora carriages which THNSW will use for crew cars. In this blog post, we’ll provide an in-depth look at the process, sharing insights and anecdotes from the restoration journey.
Getting Started: Removing the Old
Simon kicks off the window replacement adventure by explaining the initial steps: “The first thing we do is we actually remove all the screws at the bottom of the interior window frame.” With Tracy, the expert behind the scenes, and Adrian outside the carriage, the team carefully removes the screws, setting the stage for the window transformation.
Out with the Old: Extracting the Interior Window Unit
After unscrewing the last stubborn screw, Simon gently tips out the interior window unit, revealing the intricate components within. He highlights the importance of this step: “Now we just very, very gently tip it out until we can come up, and there we have the interior window unit.”
Navigating Challenges: Dealing with Faults
Simon acknowledges that windows can develop faults over time, necessitating replacement. He demonstrates the removal of the old window rubber, stating, “This is the window rubber that we use to lock the glass to the side of the carriage, and this one had to be replaced because the old one had split.”
The Neoprene Challenge: A Battle Worth Fighting
As the team prepares to install the new neoprene rubber, Simon humorously notes, “This is gonna fight us pretty hard.” To combat this, they employ a valuable tip from a seasoned carriage builder: silicon spray. “If you use soapy water, it dries, and it stays crusty,” Simon explains. The battle begins, with Adrian skillfully wielding tools and Tracy overseeing the process.
Precision and Ingenuity: Crafting Solutions
In their quest for perfection, the team employs old screwdrivers and custom-made shop tools to maintain tension on the window, preventing the need to backtrack. Simon proudly shares, “The paddle just goes in there, and then thank you, John. And then the other one’s there, beautiful.”
Locked and Loaded: Securing with a Locking Strip
As they progress, the locking strip becomes the next focus. Simon details their strategy, “The next bit we’ve got to do is the locking strip, so again, we’re using silicon spray just to make life a bit easier.” With precision and teamwork, they navigate the challenges, ensuring the new neoprene stands the test of time.
The Finishing Touch: Bringing It All Together
After successfully tackling the locking strip inside and outside the carriage, the team moves on to the final steps. Simon guides us through delicately placing the internal window unit back in, securing it with one final screw. “And with a little bit of luck, there we go alright, and that is how we replace windows in Southern Aurora carriages.”
Conclusion: A Journey of Restoration
As the team wraps up this window replacement saga, we’ve witnessed the dedication, skill, and camaraderie required to restore the Southern Aurora carriages. Simon, Tracy, and Adrian’s journey serves as a testament to the passion and precision involved in preserving railway history, one window at a time.
Stay tuned for more behind-the-scenes adventures as Vintage Rail Journeys continues to breathe new life into iconic trains and carriages. All aboard for the next chapter in rail restoration!