Leschenault Lady is recovering in time for the South West Rail and Heritage Center open house | Bunbury Courier
THE SOUTH-WEST community will be visually feasted as the 123-year-old Dame Leschenault returns to steam on August 22.
Scheduled to be on display at the South West Rail and Heritage Center open house, the Dame Leschenault will proudly show off a new paint and boiler job, as well as specialized white-walled drivers or wheels.
The restoration was the joint effort of more than ten volunteers from the South West Rail and Heritage Center who officially put the locomotive back on line on July 26 after 15 years without steam.
Rail Heritage Western Australia President Philippa Rogers said when the center reopened in 2013, locals’ first question was where Leschenault Lady is.
“This is the question we have been asked every time, what happens to Leschenault Lady, are you going to restore it?” Ms. Rogers said.
“It was really a request from the community, which is now reflected in the number of people who have registered to attend the event on August 22nd.”
The Leschenault Lady returned home to Boyanup after being donated to Rail Heritage Western Australia by the Leschenault Railway Preservation Society about 25 years ago.
When the restoration began seven years ago, Ms Rogers said the first part of the project was to start with major repairs to the boiler.
“Steam locomotives are quite complex and boiler repairs are very specialized. It was dismantled and the boiler was entrusted to an engineering company in Manjimup in 2015. ”
“When it was delivered it was a matter of reassembling everything. Steam locomotives need to be serviced regularly due to their age and the Leschenault Lady was built in 1898. It’s so special that it has over 120 years, ”Ms. Rogers said.
South West Rail Heritage President Ted Pickston said it had been a long process to get the Leschenault Lady back on steam, but it was important to South West history to have her in service.
“This is the only steam train we have in Bunbury, so it’s nostalgic for her to run again. It’s important to show our story and get the community talking about it so that projects like these can continue, “said Pickston.
Running at around 60 to 70 kilometers per hour, Mr Pickston said the Leschenault Lady was once considered a ‘work horse’ locomotive.
“The way it works is that the fire heats up, which brings the boiler to a boiling point, which produces steam. You need to get a pressure of up to 150 to 160 pounds per square inch to operate. the pistons, which go into the cylinders at the front. “
It’s so exciting when you see how the rooms interact and the steam and smell of coal in the air. Many people remember Dame Leschenault as a family outing.
Rail Heritage Western Australia President, Philippa Rogers
The South West Rail and Heritage Center Open House will be held in conjunction with the 150e anniversary of railways in Western Australia.
Daytime activities include a West Australian Brick Society Lego exhibit, model train exhibits courtesy of the South West Model Railway Club, vintage machines and veteran cars, vintage train cars and older and more.
The Center is run in partnership with local community groups, including the Blacksmiths of the Boyanup Foundation and the Capel Men’s Shed.
Ms Rogers said seeing the Leschenault Lady in action was an “essential experience” as it engaged senses such as sight and smell.
“It’s so exciting when you see how the rooms interact and the steam and smell of coal in the air.”
“For many people, the Leschenault Lady is a memory from their childhood. Starting in 1968, he ran on special tracks around the Boyanup area and took people to Donnybrook for the Apple Festival and also to Collie for special events. A lot of people remember her as a family day. “
The Sud-Ouest Railway and Heritage Center open day will take place on Sunday, August 22 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., with the Lady Leschenault demonstrations kicking off at 9:30 a.m.
The Leschenault Lady will be on display for viewing purposes only and cannot take passengers at this time.
As nearly 700 people have already registered, Ms. Rogers suggests viewers attend in the afternoon.