V499 Locomotive: Smokebox Barrel

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Building V499 - From Scratch!

3D artist impression of what V499 will look like when built

V499 was a locomotive built in 1899 by the Baldwin Locomotive Works (USA) for the Victorian Railways. At that time it was the largest and most powerful locomotive on the entire Victorian system. It was so successful that a further 15 V class locomotives were built between 1900-1901 and they worked for many years all over the state. 

By the mid-1920s however the class were being superceeded by more powerful locomotives and withdrawals commenced in 1924, V513 being the first to go. Sadly, by 1930 all 16 members of the V class had been cut up for scrap.

The V499 Project was launched in June 2011 with the aim of building, from scratch, an ex-Victorian Railways V class 2-8-0 for use on tourist railways around the state of Victoria. It was felt that this locomotive was a highly important part in the development of steam locomotive design and as a result it deserves to live again. With its 2-8-0 wheel arrangement and its heavy tractive effort it is an ideal locomotive to cater for the increasing demands of a busy tourist railway.

An artist impression of what V499 will look like when it has finially been built

Building the Cab

The cab of V499 (where the driver and fireman control the locomotive) has been built following a successful funding campaign here on Pozible that we ran in early 2016. While it took longer than expected to see this part of the project through to completion, it has now been finished and can be seen at our worksite, on the Victorian Goldfields Railway, in Maldon. Click the video below to watch the metal being cut on May 4th 2017 for the cab.

Cutting the metal for V499's cab

The cab of V499 (unpainted) just after assembly had been completed on July 28th 2017

The cab is loaded onto the back of a tow truck, ready to set off to Maldon

The cab is lifted towards the V499 worksite within the workshop compound at Maldon

The cab after being painted in protective rust-guard paint

This now means that we have close to 12-15% of the locomotive. The line drawing below shows the current progress of the V499 Project. The tender frame is almost restored, the bogie wheels of the tender are awaiting restoration and we will modify the tender tank in the future as well. The cab was the first new component to be built and is also the first component of the locomotive portion of the project. You will also notice that the orange colour means 'In Design Stage' and that the smokebox layout and tender tank are currently in this process.

We have launched this crowd funding campaign to raise money to build the smokebox barrel, which will start to give the locomotive its 'face', one of the most recognisable features of a steam engine.

What is a Smokebox?

The Smokebox is located at the front of the boiler (see image below). The chimney sits on top of it and as the name suggests, the smoke from the fire collects in here before it is exhausted up the chimney and into the atmosphere. The 'Smokebox Barrel' forms the size of the smokebox itself. It is rather large too, being 4ft 9inches in diameter and made out of 1/2inch steel plate. 

3D CAD drawing of the entire smokebox design, complete with chimney

Into the Future

This is how V499 will look when it is completed. The original V499 was built in 1899 and entered service in March 1900. The photograph below shows this orginal locomotive during its test period, before it was commissioned into regular service. Our V499 will not be a 100% replica of the original locomotive; rather, it will be a respresentation of the V class locomotives in general throughout the 30 years of their lives.

V499 at Nyora on a test train. circa 1900

When V499 has been completed (no date set, as this all depands on funds) it will be based at the Victorian Goldfields Railway, which operates between Castlemaine and Maldon in central Victoria. The plans are also to take the locomotive to visit other tourist railways too, however it will always return to its base at the VGR. There are no plans to operate V499 on the mainline railway. It is also being built as a broad gauge locomotive, not standard gauge. This is because the purpose of the build is to provide enjoyment for visitors and volunteers on heritage railways as well as providing a brand new and reliable locomotive to cater for the demands of a busy tourist attraction.

More information on the V499 Project can be found on our website: www.vicsteam.com

Budget Overview

How The Funds Will Be Used

The funds from this campaign will be used to purchase the steel plate, cut the metal to shape and then roll the metal into the shape of the smokebox. Here is a list of where the money will be spent. (prces include GST)

  1. Supply of steel: Cut, rolled and profiled.: $3750
  2. Fabrication into a finished smokebox barrel unit: $2,500 (fabrication is charged at $110 per person, per hour)
  3. Delivery to Maldon: $750
  4. Total Cost: $7,000 (Of which we have $4,000 already from donations & subscriptions)

Building a steam locomotive is not a cheap excersie and at times a lot of money can go on something that appears to be very little. However, every dollar takes us a step closer to a completed project. In the case of V499 the estimated cost of the build is $4mAu. We aim to raise funds through crowd funding sites, such as Pozzible, as well as through regular donations, membership and fundraising events.

Potential Challenges

The Challenges

The biggest challenge is bringing the funds in to keep the project moving ahead. We have a highly skilled draftsman who is redesigning the V class for us. This has to be done, not only to modernise the drawings into digital form, but also because the original V class drawings no longer exisit. Luckily though there are more than enough drawings from other similar locomotives that we are using to redesign V499.

Be a Part of History

This is your chance to be a part of a unique and historic project. A steam locomotive of this size has not been built in Victoria since the 1950s. The V499 Project is keeping skills alive, contributing to tourism and bringing in further interest to the magic of steam; a love that many have experienced and a love that can and does last a lifetime.

We would be most grateful for your support. By pledging today you are not only getting some great rewards to enjoy, but the biggest reward of all is seeing the locomotive take shape and come to life!

More information on the V499 Project can be found on our website: www.vicsteam.com

on 22nd Mar 2018 at 10:30am. The payment portal is closed now.
AU$25 +Apprentice EngineerBy pledging $25, you will have a warm fizzy feeling that you are contributing to the most unique railway project in Australia.
0 Chosen | Unlimited AvailableEst. delivery is April 2018
AU$50 +Plate SteelBy pledging $50 you will have a warm fuzzy feeling that you are contributing to a very unique project. You will also be given a complimentary Family excursion class ticket to travel on the Victorian Goldfields Railway. When the Smokebox barrel is built and delivered to us you will be invited to come and see it, stand beside it and be included into the group photograph that will be taken of all supporters who have contributed to raising the needed funds to build the Smokebox unit.
3 Chosen | Unlimited AvailableEst. delivery is April 2018
AU$100 +First Class PatronBy pledging $100 you receive the same as the $50 pledge along with two complimentary tickets to travel in First Class on the Victorian Goldfields Railway with a complimentary beverage. First class tickets are valued at $70 per person, so this offer is excellent value indeed!
0 Chosen | Unlimited AvailableEst. delivery is April 2018
AU$150 +Smoke & SteamBy pledging $150 you will given the same reward as the $50 pledge. You will also get a Limited Edition print of V499. These prints are limited to 250 copies only and are numbered accordingly. If you have one of these already then a Limited Edition print of a water colour painting of Steamrail's A2 986 will be given to you instead.
2 Chosen | Unlimited AvailableEst. delivery is April 2018
AU$250 +Cinders & Ashesbe given the same reward as the $150 pledge, as well as a ticket for 2 adults to travel on the Victorian Goldfields Railway in first class. You will also get a 1 year membership (valued at $49.95) to the V499 Project. This membership will also give you the opportunity to come and volunteer on the build throughout the year.
0 Chosen | Unlimited AvailableEst. delivery is April 2018
AU$500 +Leading Engineerbe given the same rewards as the $250 pledge, as well as a cab ride between Maldon & Castlemaine on the Victorian Goldfields Railway in either a K class or J class steam locomotive (locomotive class subject to availability).
4 Chosen | Unlimited AvailableEst. delivery is April 2018