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AEC 531 A Regal Mark III bus

Melbourne / Victoria Transport Discussion

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Re: AEC 531 A Regal Mark III bus

Postby LeylandOPS1 » Tue Dec 17, 2013 12:02 pm

So sad to see those buses destroyed, especially the ambulance. I could have used so many parts of them to help me restore my two buses. Bob was kind enough to show me through his collection a number of years ago.
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Re: AEC 531 A Regal Mark III bus

Postby man mk1 » Sat Nov 15, 2014 11:15 pm

do u have any seats for those buses for sale
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Re: AEC 531 A Regal Mark III bus

Postby AEC 531 » Sun Nov 16, 2014 11:03 am

Hi man Mk1

No sorry we do not have any seats for sale we only have the seats that came with the buses.

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Re: AEC 531 A Regal Mark III bus

Postby man mk1 » Sun Nov 16, 2014 11:09 am

oh ok thank u cause they is a aec regal for sale on gumtree 507 is the number i was hopeing to find some seats for it if i brought it
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Re: AEC 531 A Regal Mark III bus

Postby AEC 531 » Wed Dec 17, 2014 7:12 pm

Hi All,

I am back again to report on more progress in the restoration of AEC 560.

Well! For those of you that have been following these posts you will be aware our milestone for 2013 was moving AEC 560 into our shed so that we could commence its detailed restoration. This was a huge task as it required a lot of our belongings to be reorganised around our depot. After this occurred, the bus moved into its newly created restoration bay and sat awaiting its detailed restoration to commence.

We thought we knew what we were up for! We had seen small sections of decay in the cant rail area. Small amounts of decay were also evident where the window frames sit and rain water had collected. I am not sure though we were quite prepared for the extent of it. It was not until the frame was completely exposed did we appreciate the magnitude of the decay. Anyway, in for a penny in for a pound, as they say!

A lot of the equipment and fittings that had been taken off the bus in 2013 for restoration were commencing their return, so we were starting to see the benefits of the fruits of our labour. So at the commencement of 2014 the members now had a clean run at the restoration of AEC 560, and we commenced with the frame. So now the restoration stepped up a notch, or maybe three.

DERMPAV were invited by Steamrail Victoria to be apart of their open day that is held in March of every second year, 2014 was one of those years. Thousands of people inspected the site, with throngs visiting the DERMPAV depot. We were handing out pamphlets explaining DERMPAV’s heritage operations and the buses were shown as part of that. As a result we had a handful of people ask if they could look at the bus, as it was not open to general display, these requests were accommodated. Many of these people remembered them in active service and reminisced about their experiences with them. Not long after the open day we received a cheque from a person that wished to remain anonymous for $1000.00 toward the restoration of AEC 560. This was a significant contribution! Within DERMPAV, and in particular the bus restoration team, it galvanised the drive to get on with the restoration. To think that someone outside our organisation had the faith that DERMPAV could pull off the restoration, and decided to support those aims with a significant financial contribution was an outstanding gesture to say the least. Our sincerest thanks are extended to this anonymous person for that contribution.

At the commencement of the restoration we decided to set ourselves a deadline. We are trying to have AEC 560 back in heritage service by late February in 2016. This will enable us to showcase the bus at the Steamrail open day that is held in March of every second year. Whilst we are not sure yet if this is a realistic or an achievable date, we do understand that the date is not fixed, it is just something we are working toward to give us an objective.

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Above: It is inside at last! Here is AEC 560 in December 2013, sitting inside the DERMPAV main shed awaiting its turn at restoration.

The removal of the decayed frame section
So, starting off 2014 with the bus inside the main shed, we set about and marked all the external panels. We then identified all the window frames and window sills with masking tape; they were subsequently removed and passed immediately onto the bus restoration support crew for restoration. The window frames were treated separate to the restoration and were completed off site. Due to the complexity of the shape and design of the window sills these were removed and taken to our sheet metal firm where they had the rust cut out and new sections of parent metal welded back in place.

The removal of the external panels exposed the main frame on the off side, it is very easy to get hung up about the condition of a thing when it is covered in dirt, rust and crud and the frame was no exception. We initially thought that it was a lot worst until we used rotary wire brushes to clean the frame members. These wire wheels really are a marvellous thing! They remove all the rust and decay, leaving the bare parent metal with it displaying all its faults.

After completing the deep clean of the main frame it became very apparent that the decay was confined to the main cant rail section that runs around the bus where the windows sit. It seems that rain water sat on the external surface of the window sill until it rusted through, then it sat on top of the main cant rail until it rusted that section out. The rain water then it entered the box section and rusted the lower section of the cant rail out, after which time the rain water was free to run down the inside section of the frame and onto the ground, by then the damage was done. It was strange to observe that in some places the decay was minimal and the frame looked like it was in reasonable order whilst in similar locations in other places the frame was like Swiss cheese...Very odd!

Image
Above: As can be seen in the above photo it is possible to see directly through the decayed cant rail, this section was located under the passenger window directly behind the driver. Once the water had decayed through the top of the cant rail section it sat on the bottom section decaying that until it was gone. This section should look like the sections of cant rail frame that are shown on my trailer in another photo below.

Since my last post we have had enquiries about the restoration details with some people considering restoring one for use as a bus. Most of these that are being offered for sale on Ebay or Gumtree have been turned into motor homes. Their owners having discovered their top speed was only 60 kph, have made modifications to the driveline to enabled them a better turn of speed, thus allowing them to fit in with the traffic flow. Modifications such as new split diffs or the addition of a Joey box are not unheard of, they do however exceed the design parameters of the bus. It needs to be understood that there are different rules applied by Vic Roads for a bus against a motor home. Although the motor home may look like a bus it is not subject to the Bus Safety Act and it’s supporting Regulations. If you want to use your restored project as a bus again then you need an understanding of this act and its regulations.

So what do you look for if you are considering one of these buses as a restoration project. Climb underneath it and with a torch look at the interior panels of the lower skirt area, if they are brown from rust it is a good indication the top sections have rusted out. Also look from the interior of the bus, view the steel work that sits behind at the bottom of the window frames, that steel section is the top fold of the cant rail, if it is showing signs of rust you can nearly be guaranteed that you have problems with rust in the main cant rail section. If this is present the bus will most probably fail its frame inspection. It is very expensive to rectify, and you will need to have proven welding skills that satisfies your accredited Vic Roads Engineer if you are going to use the vehicle as a bus again.

Back to AEC 560, once the frame was exposed and cleaned we arranged a meeting with our Vic Roads accredited engineer to ensure that all the stakeholders had a clear understanding of the methodology to be employed in repairing the frame work to ensure the integrity of the frame was not compromised and moving forward our repairs would stand the test of time.

So with all the repair methods intimately understood, Max then stepped up with his trusty nine inch angle grinder, employing a cutting disc he made quick work in removing the best preserved section of the cant rail. This section was taken out to our sheet metal firm and we arranged them to manufacture sufficient new sections to enable the complete cant rail right around the bus to be replaced. They constructed these new sections from the dimensions of the sections removed and employing the same construction techniques as those employed by the original manufacturer when the frame was constructed back in 1952. This method of repair had also previously been discussed and met prior approval with our accredited Vic Roads engineer when discussions were undertaken into the repair method of the decayed sections of the buses frame. All of these new sections will allow the frame repairs to take place further into the restoration.

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Above: There seems to be about two million pop rivets that need removing to get the panels off the side of an AEC bus. Here we see Jason Oliver and Cameron Stewart removing those pop rivets and ultimately the external panels from the off side. As can be seen the window frames and window sills have been removed and passed on to the bus restoration support team for restoration. It was not long before the frame work on the off side was exposed for evaluation.

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Above: Frank Gherghetta from the bus restoration team inspects the frame after the cleaning process with the wire wheels was concluded for the day.

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Above: Our accredited Vic Roads engineer discusses the intimate details of the coming frame repairs with Max. Max is a DERMPAV member who is a retired boilermaker with 44 years experience who will be carrying out all the cutting and welding repairs to the cant rail frame work of AEC 560.

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Above: Here are all the off side window sills after all their fittings and the old rubber for the window seal was removed, as can be seen the new metal has been welded back in this is evident at the bottom of the window frame. The last window sill in the line did not display any decay and there was no requirement to carry out any repairs.

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Above: Here we see the off side window sills after being sandblasted and undercoated, they have been transferred to Newport awaiting final painting and then fitting.

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Above: With a penchant for making the sparks fly. Here we see Max with his trusty nine inch angle grinder as he commences the removal of the best section of decayed cant rail this was used as a pattern to have new cant rail sections constructed by our sheet metal firm. It of course is the first section of frame work removed from AEC 560.

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Above: Triumphant at last! Max with his 9 inch angle grinder in one hand, holds up the section of the cant rail he removed, obviously pleased with his efforts! Then again, I cannot think of to many things that would not yield to the 9 inch angle grinder. When this frame section was inspected closely we found pin holes in it, with bigger rust holes toward the front of the bus. This section was the best preserved and offered our sheet metal firm the best look at an original section of the cant rail. The spot welds could even be identified in the flange work at the rear of this section.

It is our intention to move around the bus in a systematic way so that as the frame restoration is completed and our rust prevention method is applied, the exterior and interior panelling can be completed. We are certain that this process will take a considerable time to complete.

In late July we received the new frame sections back from our sheet metal firm, now for the first time Max was able to commence the restoration of AEC 560’s frame by replacing those sections he had removed earlier with new metal. We had ordered ten lengths of cant rail section each being a little over two metres long, this was sufficient to completely replace the entire cant rail on the bus, we suppose that the near side is in the same condition. (Hope it is! Or we are going to have a few spare frame sections!)

In preparation for the replacement of the decayed cant rail it was discovered that we required some corner brackets as these had also decayed as the cant rail decayed. We fashioned a cardboard replacement and took it to our sheet metal firm who were requested to manufacture sixty of them which should ensure that we have sufficient to complete AEC 560. It might seem that we are ordering too much stuff for the restoration but it is surprising how it gets used up, it is even more costly though, if you need to go back and have a couple of something made after you have had a run of them made, so it is always better to over order, but just slightly. We received the corner brackets in September and were poised to start the frame repairs.

Unfortunately, as it sometimes happens in a not for profit organisations, other tasks within DERMPAV took up our time, at the time of writing, whilst having set all the equipment in place, none of the cant rail has been replaced. We are now ready to replace the cant rail when time permits. This will now occur in 2015.

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Above: Here are the new completed lengths of frame sections sitting on my trailer; these will be used to create the cant rail repairs on AEC 560. Once installed they like the rest of the frame will be rust treated.

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Above: Whilst it is an expensive way to restore a thing, it is sometimes far better to pay someone with advance skills and tools to make certain items that either give a better finish or where mass production is required. Well, the corner brackets fell into the mass production arena. Here is a photo of the sixty corner brackets in a box awaiting fitting to AEC 560.

The Wheel Arch
The off side rear wheel arch assembly proved interesting! It is made up of two parts the first is the splasher and the second is the wheel arch proper. During the frame inspection it was discovered that the wheel arch assembly had decayed extensively in three areas. The first was where the water splasher that can be seen from the outside of the bus and goes around the outside of the tyre, it had decayed where it turns and heads under the bus connecting with the wheel arch. The other two areas were on the wheel arch, where it is fixed to the bus frame in the rear position, as it turned out this was the same place the floor boards also contacted the wheel arch this had allowed water to contact the floor boards causing decay in the immediate area. The other was where the wheel arch contacted the splasher.

The off side wheel arch proved to be extremely stubborn item to remove, the inner end of it was supported by a lip that rested on a frame member. The problem with this, was the lip of the wheel arch assembly had a floor board on top of it. The lip of the wheel arch was not able to be slid out from under the floor board as the chassis rail rose behind it as it moved over the rear axle.

So when you are stuck between a rock and a hard place what do you do? Invite Max to help out! He came and surveyed the situation and returned with his trusty hammer and cold chisel, and before we could ask what he was going to do, he proceeded to remove the lino around the wheel arch. This revealed another two issues, first the lino was stuffed and second the floor boards were rotted.

With the removal of the floor board by more destructive methods than was thought desirable the wheel arch was finally removed. It was passed onto our bus restoration support crew who had already organised its arrival with our sheet metal firm, they carried out all the repairs to the wheel arch and splasher, the repairs were nothing short of spectacular, the old sections were completely removed and new sections manufactured and welded in place, it is hardly surprising that they get sent all manners of guards and old items from people who are restoring tractors, buses, trucks and other farm machinery to have new items built. They then went to the sand blasters to have all the old paint removed and the new repairs sandblasted and undercoated. They were then taken to Newport for storage for final fitting to AEC 560 once the frame repairs are complete.

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Above: Here we see Jason Oliver from the bus restoration team doing battle with the wheel arch. The splasher has been removed which was extensively rusted, the wheel arch and the outer edge is swinging free but the inner edge is proving difficult, if not impossible to remove. Max would later fix that!

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Above: Here is the wheel arch with the wooden step over removed.

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Above: Here is a photo of the repaired off side rear wheel arch and splasher, the new metal that has been welded into position is obvious. This also shows where the areas of decay were, these will be the places that we will need to pay particular attention to regard weather proofing when the reassembly process arrives. It is now on its way to be sand blasted.

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Above: Here is a photo of the sandblasted wheel arch assembly from the off side. All the old paint and mill scale from the new repairs have been removed and they have been undercoated. They are now ready to go to Newport for storage awaiting fitting to AEC 560 after the frame repairs are completed.

The removal of the lino after it was found to be defective was a large undertaking, necessary to ensure that the floor boards underneath it were sound. It was interesting to note that the only places that the floorboards were rotted were the locations where water had been held against them by body panels. Luckily this only seemed to be where the rear road wheel arch’s were located.

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Above: Here are two photos of the rear of the bus with the lino removed, we are looking at the floor boards, if you examine the area where the off side wheel arch has been removed you will observe the decay to the floor boards at the leading edge.

Whilst the off side panels were removed, with the aid of a large drip tray the opportunity was taken to degrease and steam clean the chassis and the underside fittings on the off side of AEC 560. The difference is starting, now we can see the fuel tank and all the markings on it and the chassis rail.

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Above: Here is the chassis rail and the underfloor components after being cleaned on AEC 560. As can be seen the stencilling applied by the M&MTB all those years ago is evident, and the underfloor area looks so much better for the clean. This will make it easier when we change the main springs later on in the restoration.

Our Rust Prevention Method
I guess I should start out by saying that we only want to pass this way once, unless of course it is on a second bus. This adage resulted is us undertaking a lot of research into rust prevention products for use on the buses frame. Ours is a three part process, firstly it cleans and degreases the metal to be protected and prepares the surface for the etch coat, then the etch coat is applied which will at the same time convert any metal oxidation (rust) neutralising it and then provide the keying surface for the topcoat to adhere to, then of course after the etch coat has dried, the top coat is applied. Combined the three coats will withstand the harshest conditions or treatment the interior of the frame work will be able to provide, it is not UV resistant so another coat of paint would need to be applied if it was on the exterior. It is without doubt the best product on the market currently, unfortunately it is not a cheap product, but when you put the restoration hours spent by the DERMPAV members into the mix it really does provide great insurance. DERMPAV will be fairly secure when we reach the next frame inspection that there will not be brown streaks running down the interior sections of the panel work indicating something is amiss further up.

Well, that is the bus itself; let’s take a look at some of the happenings that have been occurring behind the scenes.

Windows frame report.
It had been hoped to have a window frame competed however it was discovered that the rubber section that runs around the bottom window glass is no longer available. We tried exhaustively many different styles but in the end have come to the conclusion that a special tooling will be required to recast this section suitable for our window frames, the tooling is expensive and then there will be a requirement for us to take a certain amount of this to make it worth their while to extrude it. More effort will be expanded next year to resolve this situation.

Chrome dress strips.
The AEC Regal Mark III employs a chrome dress strip that runs around the bus, a bump strip, if you like, to protect the paint work from door strikes from smaller vehicles. We had removed these from the off side off the bus and during the restoration assessment.

Initially we took them to a firm that specialises in stainless steel manufacture as we could see the advantages of rust free dress strips. They informed us that it would be near impossible to bend polished stainless steel around the section that curves around the back of the bus. As this was seen as an impossible task it was then our intention to have these restored in normal steel by DERMPAV members, but other more important works kept interfering, so decision was reached to outsource this work so it would not hold up progress on AEC 560.

So after picking up the wheel arch, I was telling the owner of our sheet metal firm about the problem and asked if he could repair the steel bump strips, he suggested that we bring them over for evaluation. Upon seeing them he stated that the strips were so badly corroded from the inside and outside surfaces that the repair of the old ones was out of the question, new ones would need to be constructed. He asked it these could be manufactured out of lighter gauge polished stainless steel instead of the heavy gauge steel as the price difference would not greatly differ. He also pointed out that as polished stainless steel they will not decay in the fashion the steel ones have. Bloody Happy Days!!! The old ones were left at his premises as samples.

As always, about two months later we were contacted to advise that they were ready to pick up. After the necessary financial arrangements were concluded DERMPAV were the proud owners of the best looking bump strips that have ever adorned a Regal Mark III bus. At least all they will need is a wipe over with a damp cloth to bring them up like new.

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Above: Here is a photo of the dress strips ready to go out to our sheet metal firm for restoration. As can be seen in the photo, the existing chrome plating is peeling off, bolts that secure the strips to the bus are broken, and some of the brackets that hold them have separated from the strip, also rust holes are evident in the parent metal. They really are in a sorry state!

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Above: An impossible task! Well here they are! Dress strips made out of stainless steel no need to paint the interior surface, the exterior surfaces are highly polished. Here are all the new dress strips from the off side. They are all together awaiting transfer to Newport for final fitting to AEC 560. They photo shows them with the protective coating over the polished surfaces. They really do look magnificent! The photo does not do them justice!

As the year progressed many restoration items started occurring at the same time. Yet still, AEC 560 held surprises for us, but nothing that we saw as insurmountable. Although we are now in full swing with the restoration, the light at the end of the tunnel is not visible yet! So persistence seems to be the name of the game for the moment.

My post would not be complete without a rail motor photo, (we like railmotors!) but this time I get to include both of DERMPAV’s interests. On the 3.5.2013 we engaged John Phillips with AEC 592 to provide our passengers with a free ride from our depot at the Newport Railway Workshops to their motel in Spencer Street where they were staying the night. So here are the passengers from the Queensland Australian Railway Historical Society detraining from 58 RM and boarding AEC 592 after the Victorian Insights tour to Barnes, their destination is their motel room and some rest and relaxation.

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Above: This photo embraces DERMPAV’s two types of heritage vehicles, The Diesel Electric Rail Motor and the AEC Regal Mark III bus. On the 3.5.2013, AEC 592 and 58 RM are pictured together at the DERMPAV depot at Newport during the operation of the Victorian Insights Tours Charter, which we operated around Victoria from the 27th April to the 4th May 2013. The photo above represents the first time this combination had been used by DERMPAV in one of its heritage tours; obviously it will not be the last! Our thanks is sincerely extended to John Phillips for the use of AEC 592 on the above day. Photo: Colin Kelly

Well that is it from me for now, so I will see you next year in the next post, with more progress on AEC 560!

Well, has it really been a year since my last post! My how time goes quick! Each year it seems that the festive season lurks behind some bush and jumps out to pounce upon us. I usually get hints it is coming when the council start putting up Christmas decorations in the streets. It is a time for Christmas parties, family gatherings and catching up with good friends, then all to soon Christmas is over and the we are celebrating and welcoming in the New Year.

So on behalf of DERMPAV, I would like to extend our sincerest best wishes for the coming festive season to yourself and your family. We hope you stay safe and we look forward to you joining us next year as AEC 560’s restoration continues with its ultimate return to heritage service.

Regards
Colin Kelly
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Re: AEC 531 A Regal Mark III bus

Postby system improver » Wed Dec 17, 2014 8:34 pm

Colin, your report is indicative of the effort being put into this restoration by your team. Well done to all concerned. It has clearly been a very productive year for 560 and you should feel well satisfied. Looking forward to the 2015 report.
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Re: AEC 531 A Regal Mark III bus

Postby CCCC » Thu Dec 18, 2014 12:19 pm

great thread.
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Re: AEC 531 A Regal Mark III bus

Postby AEC 531 » Sat Dec 20, 2014 10:08 pm

Hi All,

Many thanks for your kind comments and offers of support, we are hoping that 2015 will certainly be a progressive year for us and our heritage vehicles.

Regards
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Re: AEC 531 A Regal Mark III bus

Postby Boff » Sat Jun 06, 2015 6:55 pm

AEC 531 wrote:Hi All,

Many thanks for your kind comments and offers of support, we are hoping that 2015 will certainly be a progressive year for us and our heritage vehicles.

Regards
Colin Kelly
Secretary
DERMPAV


Love your work Colin and DERMPAV's efforts in what is probably a far greater job than you first envisioned.

That said I have a suggestion and a question.....

My suggestion is that neither of the Buses are ever again washed with a high pressure washer and that you avoid alkaline or acidic detergents as they are impossible to fully neutralise and high pressure blows the stuff in places its not meant to go = Decay.

Long handle brush, bucket and Ph friendly detergent with a 44 gallon drum of elbow grease....

My Question is.... Why no RedHen pictures? :mrgreen:

Cheers,

Tony
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Re: AEC 531 A Regal Mark III bus

Postby AEC 531 » Tue Jun 09, 2015 10:10 am

Hi Tony,

Many thanks for the suggestion on cleaning the bus once it is finished. Our intention was to hand wash it in any case even though it is a big job. Once it is finished it will be kept undercover and out of the elements that cause deterioration. We have found as we have removed the exterior panel work, there were locations where rain water had entered the frame work of the bus through the panel work joints leaving rust tracks and decay behind on the panel work. As a result we will be using either a mastik or sika product to provide a fine film to seal each of the exterior panel lap joints to each other, also to the window frame seals to ensure the rain water cannot enter.

In regards to the rail motors, my statement in my posts that we like rail motors! refers to the Diesel Electric Rail Motors (DERM's) as that is the type of rail motors our organisation is mainly concentrating on. The Red Hens were a South Australian rail motor and like the the Bluebirds were an exceptional rail motor being locally designed and built. The Red Hens were the suburban cars and offered a very fast turn of acceleration and braking, they however lacked a toilet, but could be seen all over the South Australian suburban network. They appeared in two formats the double ended cars and the single ended cars and were powered by either a Rolls Royce of Detroit 6:71 series Diesel engines. Their survival in operation and the job they did was testimony to their success. Oh alright! here is a photo of one of the double ended cars, it is a web photo.

Image
Above: Red Hen Rail car 429 in South Australia (We like rail motors!) A web photo.

Once again many thanks for your suggestions and question.

Regards
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Re: AEC 531 A Regal Mark III bus

Postby AEC 531 » Tue Sep 15, 2015 9:05 am

Hi All,

Thought I would share a link to a You Tube video of a new venture we are undertaking called Rail Paddle and Plate. This raises funds for the restoration of AEC 560 and 64 RM our other rail motor, it can be seen here at. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_eV1VJtad4E

This venture involves train travel from Newport picking up at Geelong then onto Ballarat, along the way you are served savories with tea or coffee. A bus transfer takes you to the Begonia Princess a ferry on Lake Wendouree for a two hour cruise, where you are served a two course meal, the return is the reverse with sweet cakes and tea or coffee being served.

We depart Newport at 2:20 pm and Geelong at 3:30 pm with a return of 9:45 pm to Geelong and 11 pm at Newport.

It is a great afternoon - night out and a great way to support DERMPAV and its ongoing vehicle restorations. At $139.00 per person, it is great for individuals, couples, groups of friends or social clubs

These operate on the second Saturday of every month, and the next Rail Paddle and Plate tours will operate on the 10.10.2015, 14.11.2015 and 12.12.2015, seats are limited so book now so you don't miss out. Bookings can be made at our website http://www.dermpam.net.au

Come as stranhgers and leave as friends...Rail Paddle and Plate.

Thanks for your consideration, we look forward to seeing you on a future tour

Regards
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Re: AEC 531 A Regal Mark III bus

Postby AEC 531 » Tue Sep 29, 2015 9:23 pm

Hi All,

Today (29.9.2015) DERMPAV recovered AEC 507 from Rosebud to our depot at Newport. AEC 507 was donated to DERMPAV, we would like to extend our sincerest thanks for this donation which is an addition to our fleet of AEC Regal Mark III buses. As we are currently in the midst of the restoration on AEC 560, AEC 507 will go into storage with AEC 531 until time permits and allows a restoration evaluation, at that point its fate will be determined.

Here is a link to a You Tube video for your viewing pleasure, that was taken by Col Mornane, and shows the days events. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7SKqEQhHiU

Image
Above: Here is AEC 507 on the back of the low loader used to transport the bus to Newport. If you look closely at the frame members where the exterior panels are missing the decay is evident. These buses and decay seem to go hand in hand if they are stored outside.

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Above: Here is a front on photo of AEC 507.

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Above: Here is a side photo of the off side it still has its panels in place but the decay is still evident. it has come through the exterior panel work.

If you can, it would be good, if you could patronize our tours, as this is where we generate our funds for the ongoing restoration of these heritage vehicles. Our next tour is the Rail Paddle and Plate Dining Experience on the 10.10.2015, it combines heritage train travel, bus transfer, a meal on the Begonia Princess (a paddle boat on Lake Wendouree) wines from the cellar of Michael Unwin Wines or other drinks to you taste. the return is the reverse of the above. We pick up at Newport and Geelong railway stations for bookings and further details visit our website at http://www.dermpav.net.au, limited seats are available on the October dining experience, November is fully booked out and December is filling quickly, it will operate on the 5.12.2015, the day was altered due to track works on our normal day of operation.

The Rail Paddle and Plate Dining Experience is great for individuals, friends, couples, groups and social clubs, but please be quick to ensure your ticket and your spot on this dining experience. Remember, we come as strangers, but leave as friends! Rail Paddle and Plate.

As you know we like railmotors! I will post a rail motor photo when I post my yearly report on the restoration of AEC 560 in December, if you cannot wait that long reply to me here, letting me know that you are desperate for a rail motor photo and I will post one, desperate times require desperate measures.

Thanks for viewing my post!

Regards
Colin Kelly
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You can see us at http://www.dermpav.net.au
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Re: AEC 531 A Regal Mark III bus

Postby AEC 531 » Tue Dec 22, 2015 10:55 am

Hi All,

Once again, I see that Christmas decorations are up in the street, and I feel that time has again made a fool of me, in three days it will be Christmas day. This must be some sort of a record for me as I usually like to get these posts up a little sooner. Anyway, I am back again to report on more progress in the restoration of AEC 560.

As those that have been following this post will know, at the end of 2014 we were on the cusp of replacing the cant rail, it had been found to have been significantly rusted away, in places, being only a shell.

The repairs to the cant rail commenced in mid-January and were completed by late April. As the cant rail was not one complete long length it was replaced in sections. Every second section was removed allowing the intermediate sections to hold the upright sections in place to ensure they remained in their correct positions, we then went back and replaced all the other sections until the job was complete. We also made a jig to ensure that when the new cant rail sections were being welded back in place it was in the correct position. This was vital as the window sills need to fit back into their correct location.

We had commenced the restoration of the cant rail at the rear where we had removed the best preserved section of cant rail to allow our sheet metal firm the ability to construct the new sections of cant rail as described and pictured in my last post. We were in for a shock as when we removed the remaining cant rail we discovered that not only had the rain water decayed the cant rail it had also decayed the uprights where the cant rail joins them. We are a resourceful bunch at DERMPAV and manufactured new sections to replace the damaged upright sections as we completed the repairs.

Once all the repairs were completed we had the frame inspected by our accredited Vic Roads Engineer who signed off the repairs. After this we applied our rust prevention paint.

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Above: Here is AEC 560 with every second cant rail section removed, the process is progressing with the installation of the new sections, whilst the old ones hold everything in place.


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Above: The first section of cant rail has been welded in place just behind the driver, and Max is now working on the second section fitting it to ensure it will weld up correctly.

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Above: Max, with 45 years’ experience, uses a M.I.G. welder to restore the frame on AEC 560. It will not be long before the rest of the frame on the off side is restored. Whilst Max was doing this he repaired other defects that were evident.

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Above: I know that I have given this a run before but this is a good before and after shot, it shows the same location before and after the repairs were completed.

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Above: After all the off side frame work repairs were completed we applied our rust preventative paint to stop further decay. Here is a photo with the frame treated in that paint. We need to complete the work on the rear suspension and the chassis before the panel work can be replaced.

While the external panels were off we took the opportunity to remove the fuel tank it was cleaned internally and externally then once dry it was cleaned with a wire wheel and the rust penetrative paint applied. The same still needs to be completed for the chassisi rail and the fuel tank replaced and the pipe work installed before the panels can be replaced.

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Above: Cameron and Glenn clean up the fuel tank with wire wheels, they are a marvellous thing at removing old paint and grime leaving bare metal to treat with our paint.

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Above: Here is the painted fuel tank, it requires its stencils to be replaced and then reattached to AEC 560 once the chassis paint work has been completed.

During this process we removed both of the rear off side wheels and removed the road springs and shock absorbers. On removal the shock absorbers were found to be completely useless, as the inner piston could be pushed into the outer cylinder without providing any resistance, it shock absorber was a Munroe device and two replacements were sourced at great expense to management, these were placed in storage for fitting once the suspension is replaced.

The shackle pins and their associated bushings were in no better condition the bronze bushings had worn oval and these had consequently worn the hard chroming off the shackle pins, luckily we have located a firm that can renew the hard chrome and the machine the pins to as new dimensions. This work is still outstanding and will be completed in 2016. This needs to be completed to enable the rear off side suspension to be reinstalled. Once that is completed the off side wheel arch can be reinstallled along with its splasher.

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Above: Here is the rear off side wheel with the spring and its associated shackle pins and bushings missing. The same parts on AEC 581’s equipment was not much better so the job became more difficult but we are making headway, this will conclude in the new year and will make the others easier to complete.

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Above: Here is John examining the springs off AEC 581

The restoration of the window frames are progressing well. We had identified the various rubber sections that were needed to reassemble the window glass back into the window frame with the exception of one and in the end we decided that we would have to have the special tooling made and extrude the new rubber section for this window. So in the early part of 2015 the bus restoration support team took the glass pane and the window frame out to the rubber manufacturer who determined the size the rubber section needed to be to make the two items fit together properly with the sealing sections of the extrusion being in the correct place on the glass to seal it against the weather.

We paid for the tooling and after about two months received about four metres of trial rubber section to ensure that the tooling was correct. With the supplied trial section, we applied a suitable lubricant, placed it on the window glass and offered it gently to the window frame, with a lot of lubricant and a fair amount of gentle persuasion the glass and the rubber popped into the window frame, working very quickly the weather stripes were massaged into their correct locations. And violia the first window was together…Bloody Happy days…there was some celebrations that day I can tell you. Then is dawned there is only another fifteen windows to go!...Shivers!!!!! Looks like I am going to be busy for a while!!!

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Above: Here is a photo of my technical window frame rubber compression device that was manufactured with great skill by me, you will notice the nail protruding on the right for the finer adjustment of the device, LOL. This is window No.3 being compressed, this was before I worked out the better method of assembling these window frames. Lubrication is a marvellous thing!

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Above: This image shows the various parts that make up the windows, all these parts will make up windows 1 & 2, they await the assembly and insertion of the various rubber sections which we now have on hand. The task is going to be a long one. At the time of writing we now have windows, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, & 7 completed and stored at Newport whilst 8 & 9 are awaiting assembly, the frames are back from the chrome shop.

Along while ago we had decided that we would move around the bus in a systematic way resorting the bus as we go. The decision was reached to move from the off side around the rear of the bus, so we removed the rear window and discovered that it was actually a wooden panel that has all the fittings and fixtures attached and this is sandwiched between two pieces of sheet metal, once again the rain water had not been kind the wood which had retained the moisture and caused major decay in the panel work. There was a curved piece of wood that the door fits against this also showed signs of rotting and will be replaced.

As the panels were removed off the rear of the bus we discovered a 1947 florin that had been sandwiched between the lino and the floor boards. The things you find!!! We came to the large curved section that curves off the roof line and turns down the rear of the bus. After releasing all the hold down rivets we were able to carefully remove this section off the roof framework, upon removal it was discovered that the bent that we could see in the upper near side corner had been punctured and was allowing rain water to enter the internals of the bus frame, also an old repair that had been undertaken ages ago had been filled with body filled, this overtime had cracked and delaminated from the panel allowing rain water to enter the frame.

The biggest concern however was that the frame members were coated in a powdery substance, it seemed like the rear of the bus had acted as a vacuum cleaner and sucked up every bit of raod grime that was available and it had rested on every horizontal surface, we had concerns that this substance may have contained asbestos, so we had it tested and the results were that no asbestos was present so we used our shop vac and cleaned the mess up.

Once the panels were off the rear of the bus it became very evident that the decay was extreme, but it was confined to the lower sections only, in places the frame work was like Swiss cheese. So that is where we are at currently.
Our plan going forward is to complete the off side repairs and reinstall the external and internal panel work. While this is occurring we will carry the repairs to the frame work at the rear of the bus and then we will progress down the near side.

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Above: Here is the near side corner panel showing the extent of the decay, the decay was restricted to the lower parts of the bus frame.

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Above: Another shot showing the off side decay at floor level, it was just around the corner that the florin was found.

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Above: Another photo of the rear of the bus as can be seen the frame work above the belt rail is in good condition, and the rear cross members have also survived well.

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Above: Here is the near side door rear door mechanism showing the black dust that had settled on everything at the rear of the bus.

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Above: Cameron and John remove the rivets holding the rear curved section to the frame, the rear section required removal as it had suffered damage and needed to go to our sheet metal firm to be repaired.

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Above: The lap joint! We were concerned that there would have been extensive corrosion where the two dissimilar metals met, but the tramways had ensured that this would not be a problem by using insulation material to prevent electrolysis occurring.

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Above: John removes the two curved pieces of wood that the rear emergency exit door shuts against.

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Above: The large curved section is now on the ground awaiting transport to our sheet metal firm for restoration. This has been completed and the repaired panel is now at Newport awaiting refitting to AEC 560.

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Above: An image of the rear of the bus with the curved roof section removed.

My post would not be complete without a rail motor photo, (we like rail motors!) In 2015 we operated our longest heritage tour when we visited Murrayville and Yelta, we used Ouyen as our base. It operated over three days of the Queen’s birthday weekend, it was a sensational tour, enjoyed by all those that came along.

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Above: Here is the image that we take at the end of the line on the Murrayville branch with our passengers and our wooden station sign that we make for the occassion.

Well that is it from me for now, so I will see you next year in the next post, with more progress on AEC 560!

March 2016 will see the Steamrail Open Day occur, this year it is going to be held over the Saturday, Sunday and Monday, we will have a lot of exhibits available, so if you are free come along and say hello. Check the Steamrail website for more details.

Well, has it really been a year since my last post? My how time goes quick! Each year it seems that the festive season lurks behind some bush and jumps out to pounce upon us. It is a time for Christmas parties, family gatherings and catching up with good friends, then all to soon Christmas is over and the we are celebrating and welcoming in the New Year.

So on behalf of DERMPAV, I would like to extend our sincerest best wishes for the coming festive season to yourself and your family. We hope you stay safe and we look forward to you joining us next year as AEC 560’s restoration continues with its ultimate return to heritage service.

Regards
Colin Kelly
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Re: AEC 531 A Regal Mark III bus

Postby Guy_Arab » Tue Dec 22, 2015 11:48 am

I still have AEC Manuals available
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Re: AEC 531 A Regal Mark III bus

Postby system improver » Tue Dec 22, 2015 12:24 pm

Thanks very much Colin for your usual unbelievably comprehensive report. To me, it's like an early Christmas present. Congratulations to all your workers for their sensational job. Best wishes to all for the festive season.
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Re: AEC 531 A Regal Mark III bus

Postby Boff » Tue Dec 22, 2015 3:53 pm

Wow, just wow!

The dedication to this project is incredible.

It also shows why Victorian Passenger buses have a 20 year working life.

Thanks Colin!
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Re: AEC 531 A Regal Mark III bus

Postby AEC 531 » Mon Dec 19, 2016 7:23 pm

Hi All,

Well the festive season approaches once more, it is time to reflect back on the year past and give you all a brief description (or maybe a detailed description depending on your perception of my writings) of the works undertaken on AEC 560. In any case, I am back again to report on more progress in the restoration of AEC 560. So onto the report!

At the end of 2015 we thought we knew the way forward, but that was soon scuttled, we had completed the off side frame repairs and had the bus jacked up with the springs on the rear off side axle removed. When we removed all the shackle pins, we discovered that the pins and bushings were all extensively worn, the same items in AEC 581 that we recovered from Bob Murphy’s buses in Guildford were in no better shape so we were in need of some reconditioned parts. The castings on the bus and the shackle arms were badly worn by the action of the spring while the bus was in service. In machining the casting back on its end surface to provide a flat surface and dressing the same surface on the spring block we created a void that we have filled with two sacrificial bronze washers, these will now wear instead of the castings, so when that occurs we can replace the washers not have to keep machining the castings back, so it should be happy days!

To acquire new shackle bushings we considered many avenues in the end we thought the best course of action was to manufacture new bushings and recondition the shackle arms. Out of all the remaining components, we had three good shackle pins, these were taken to our engineering firm and we asked that they manufacture the required bushings to the samples provided, but so they would be a snug fit onto the shackle pins. All the internal surfaces of the existing bushings had worn oval, extensively oval. To give you an example of how oval these were, in one direction you could move the shackle pin up and down about 4 mm while the other 90 degree plane it was tight.

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Above: Here are three photos, the first shows , the slack in the bush and the shackle pin, the next photo shows the opposite side and the last one is of the adjustment bushing in the front housing, the adjustment bushing is very worn.


Our engineering shop was more than capable of manufacturing these bushings for us and we took the opportunity to acquire enough to complete the near side when we get there, now they will only wear out in heritage service, this will occur even with us looking after the bus, but as they wear out we know that we can obtain replacements. The unserviceable shackle pins which were also worn extensively will be sent to the hard chrome shop and be re-chromed to original dimensions. All the grease holes and lines internal to the shackle pins were cleaned out with kerosene and then blown out with compressed air to ensure they were fully open to new grease.

The suspension repairs commenced in earnest, we needed to get the bus back onto its road wheels before we could recommence with the rear frame repairs. Max was eager to commence the rear frame repairs but it was not seen as desirable to carry out frame repairs with the bus twisted like it was whilst the rear off side wheel was jacked up.

It felt like progress was very slow as all the suspension components were manufactured and came back together, the shackle bushings were an interference fit into the spring loops on the springs, also into the casting on the rear of the bus. We placed the bushings in a freezer overnight to shrink them and the next day put them into their respective locations, using a piece of wood and a hammer to motivate them into the correct position. Once they warmed up they were locked in position, but the pins would no longer fit the holes. So we procured an adjustable hand reamer of the correct size and worked on the three holes until the pins snuggly fitted. Everything had been cleaned and painted and in late July we offered the spring back to the bus and after a day of extremely hard work the spring from the same location on AEC 581 was fitted to AEC 560.

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Above: Max using a protractor to ensure that the wearing surface is square to the bore before the new bushings are installed, the next shows the new suspension bush fitted to the spring loop. The shackle pin fitted into the new suspension bush, and lastly in the series another photo of the new bush fitted to the spring.

The following months we fitted the diff back on the spring and installed the brand new shock absorber, these had been purchased when it was discovered that there was no resistance to the piston moving into or out of the old shock absorbers cylinder. Once completed the brake drum was removed and the brake linings and linkages inspected these all looked brand new so we cleaned up the area and replaced the brake drum and installed the road wheels, by mid October it was back on the ground.

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Above: Here we see Jason closest to the camera pass John the various components as the spring is being installed onto the bus. The next photo shows the swing arms with the sacrificial washers in place, these have not been tightened yet to allow the front of the spring to be located. The next photo is a closer photo showing the sacrificial washers, I am holding up the show talking about our next task. Here are all the suspension components on the rear off side completed, note the new yellow shock absorber, the brake drum is off to inspect the brake stuff.

Although the suspension repairs took up a large part of the year, we know that when it is placed on the shaker plates for its roadworthy inspection it will be tight, whilst the pins, shackle arms and springs move freely in their respective planes there is no slog in them at all.

One other item that remained from the previous report and was completed in 2016 was the wire wheeling of the chassis rail and it being painted in our rust prevention paint this has occurred and the fuel tank cleaned internally and externally with it being painted externally, this has also been reinstalled.

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Above: Here we see the fuel tank sitting next to AEC 560 ready to be installed, the next we see the chassis painted in the silver ready for the tank to be installed, this has now been completed.


Whilst we had the very best intentions of getting the rear frame repairs completed, time made a fool of us again, these will have to be carried over to the next year. These will need to be the first job completed in the New Year so the external panels can be replaced on the off side.

The Jigsaw Puzzle
Although it does not look it, and I must say that it really is deceiving, an enormous amount of time, and I cannot emphasis that enough, was spent by one of our members on the bus restoration support crew in panel beating or cutting out the old metal and welding in new metal into these panels to remove all the dents, dings and blemishes. He then painted the rear of the panels to seal them and then sanded and painted the exterior section of all the panels. They do look magnificent even though the bus is not painted properly.

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Above: The rear upper panel of the bus was rusted and holed, after it was removed other defects were noted, with its compound curves we decided that it would be better restored by our sheet metal firm that has better machines and skills than we posses, here we see it sitting in its transport frame having been returned from the sheet metal firm after the completion of the repairs. Once the rear frame repairs are complete we can replace it. The next photo shows the bench where the panels are worked on, to rub them back to obtain a firm surface. Here are some completed panels awaiting undercoating and enameling on the rear. Lastly in the series is the rear of some of the panels enameled.

We commenced replacing the outer panels on the off side, we were going to start from the rear of the drivers cab and work in the same direction as the frame repairs were progressing. However when we referred to the photos that we had taken before we pulled the bus apart that the panels are installed from back to front and bottom to top. This would not be a problem normally but since we are intending to use a light application of silicon to seal each joint each panel needs to be applied directly onto the next.

The arrangement of the panels and the silicon seal ensures that each panel sits correctly over the next and prevents rain water being forced under a lap joint as the bus moves along or it is raining from above. Once the panels were identified they were put in place using our Cleco retainers most of the off side panels were fitted to the side of the frame work.

The Cleco retainers allow us to install a panel in its correct location and then minutely adjust it to allow it to line up with the existing frame holes for pop rivets and carry out the same function on the next panel. Once in their correct locations the rivets are then applied and we move on.

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Above: Here are some of the off side panels held in place by our Cleco retainers.


We found that all the panels on the rear had to be removed and this included those up to the rear near side door. With the panels off we found the decay in the frame work was massive it was like Swiss cheese at least we know that as we progress done the near side we can expect it to be in the same condition as the off side.

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Above: Here is the rear near side with the panel off the frame is badly decayed, which is evident. The next photo is of the same location but taken from the inside of the bus looking out. The next photo shows the near side decay looking back toward the rear of the bus, it is in the same condition as the off side was, so we can expect it to be in no better condition. The next shows the rear door trim and it is showing significant decay. Lastly in the series is the complete rear of the bus now we can get into the rear frame repairs, but nothing is likely until next year now.

AEC 507
We would like to acknowledge the donation by Philip Riley of AEC 507, this is a bob tail bus, it had been converted to a motor home. We moved it to our depot at Newport.

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Above: Is a photo of AEC’s 507 and 531 ready to go into deep storage while the building that is the 1910 extension receives some attention.

Steamrail Open Days
Steamrail held its open days over three days in March instead of two, it was great to see everyone come along to view the exhibits. But it was also fantastic to meet all those people that made the effort to visit the DERMPAV depot and say hello.

My Ramblings
At this stage of the restoration I can say one thing with some certainty, and that is, this bus preservation thing is not cheap. But then again, rail preservation is even more expensive so I guess it is all relative. The work on the bus never seems to end, and while we know there is a lot more to do the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel is not visible yet, so we slog on!

I would like to again acknowledge a person that wishes to remain anonymous who has again demonstrated their ultimate faith in our organisation and has again made a substantial donation of $1000.00 toward the restoration of AEC 560. This is a significant contribution! It heartens our bus restoration team and their support crew, it has again given the team a boost and galvanised the drive to get on with the restoration. It is amazing to understand that someone outside our organisation has such faith that DERMPAV will complete the restoration of AEC 560 and they have decided to support those aims with significant financial contributions. Our sincerest thanks are again extended to this anonymous person for those contributions.

My post would not be complete without a rail motor photo, (we like rail motors!) We operate a monthly Rail Paddle and Plate event it generally runs on the second Saturday of the month but sometimes changes. Here we see a montage of photos from that event. We would like to thank Simon Etherton and the crew from Gold Bus who support our endeavours in Ballarat. We need more bookings on this event as all funds raised go into the restoration of AEC 560, 64 RM and keeping DERMPAV afloat. It is a unique and great way to spend an evening, with your loved on, a small or large group of friends. So if you can spread the word for us it would be both greatly appreciated and a great help to DERMPAV, you can see our adverts on Facebook and Twitter, many thanks in anticipation.

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Above: Here is our Gold Bus awaiting to transfer our passengers to Lake Wendouree from the Ballarat Railway station

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Above: Our customers enjoy a two course meal whilst on a two hour cruise around Lake Wendouree, Our Car Officer stands among the passengers answering questions about our 86 year old lady, The Begonia Princess commences its two hour cruise with passengers of Rail Paddle and Plate on Board. Our 86 year old DERM steps out into the sunshine. Lastly Keith Wightwick holds up a bottle of his local wine made at his vineyard and available on the ferry whilst enjoying the meal.

Well that is it from me for now. I feel I haven’t contributed much this year so hopefully next year will be a lot more productive and a lot better report. In any case, I will see you next year in the next post, with more progress on AEC 560! Feel free to comment if you want, we like the feedback!

Has it really been a year since my last post! My how time goes quick! I think Christmas is a time for Christmas parties, but more importantly for family gatherings and catching up with good friends, then all to soon Christmas is over and the we are celebrating and welcoming in the New Year, and then we are off again!

So on behalf of DERMPAV, I would like to thank you all for keeping abreast with the progress on AEC 560 and I would like to extend our sincerest best wishes for the coming festive season to yourself and your family. We hope you stay safe and we look forward to you joining us next year as AEC 560’s restoration continues with its ultimate return to heritage service.

Regards
Colin Kelly
Secretary
DERMPAV
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Re: AEC 531 A Regal Mark III bus

Postby CCCC » Mon Dec 19, 2016 9:54 pm

Just found this one for sale , cheap buy .http://www.trucksales.com.au/buy/privat ... 0&pss=Year
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Re: AEC 531 A Regal Mark III bus

Postby AEC 531 » Tue Dec 20, 2016 8:19 am

Hi CCCC,

Thanks for the advice of the notice, we had not seen it.

The party is asking $6000.00 firm, that is very expensive for a two door Regal mark III, given that it cannot be driven due to a water leak. The water leak is probably from the sacrificial plates on the engine being corroded and leaking water. Having stripped AEC 560 and seeing the repairs that were needed to a bus we thought was in good order, I would definitely suggest an inspection to anyone before purchase, read my posts above for what to look for. These buses are a lot of work not only to restore but we believe to keep on the road. Keep in mind also, that they have not operated on the VicRoads network now for nearly 40 years retiring in 1980, the roads network is now far busier and alterations may need to be made under the guidance of an accredited VicRoads engineer to make the bus compliant. At least they have an enclosed drivers cab. I guess the best piece of advice I can give is buyer be ware.

Once again many thanks for pointing out the sale.

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Re: AEC 531 A Regal Mark III bus

Postby AEC 531 » Tue Dec 12, 2017 9:35 pm

Hi All,

The festive season approaches once more, it has been my practice at this time of the year to reflect back on the year past and give you all an overview of the works undertaken on AEC 560. So I am back again to report on more progress in the restoration of AEC 560. So onto the report!

I am going to do things a little bit differently this year, I think I will write the report, then at the end, post all the attached photos with their captions underneath. Let me know if you think this is better or if the other way is better? So go and get your cup of tea, make yourself comfortable, settle in, as we as we move onto the report!

At the end of 2016 we needed to complete the frame repairs to the rear of the bus, so we could then replace the off side panel work. In order that Max could complete the rear frame repairs, he required the external panels removed off the near side of the bus from the back door to the rear of the bus. When these were removed it became apparent that the bus had been in more than a few accidents. On the near side there were many previous repairs or patches and these over time had caused the body filler to crack and let the water in causing the frame work to decay as badly, or worst than the off side frame work. The near side frame work is in much worst condition than the off side, so now we are worried! Removing the bump strips on the near side proved to be annoyingly stubborn, enter Max with a hammer and chisel and they were off with broken bolts to boot.

We had another, what are we doing this for moment! When we realised that the back of the bus had been acting as a vacuum cleaner and had not only sucked up all the dust, but also brought with it the water and road grime which settled on the rear frame work. It was all sitting on the rear frame work, causing it to decay to such an extent that the Titanic would be proud to call it its own. Should we put it in the scrap bin or should we continue, after weighing that question up we decided to continue, but it was by only the slimmest of margins. It really was disheartening to see how much decay was present, the photos do not do it justice.

It looks and feels like we have been doing nothing over the last year, just frittering away our time. But I can tell you that the back of this bus is a real cow. We needed to do it properly to ensure we do not have to come back in the future to carry out further repairs. The further Max worked on the rear frame work the more work he found needed to be done, it was just unbelievable, manufacturing the new door supports as the old ones had become completely rusted out, then resetting the uprights, rehanging the rear door to ensure that it rolls back and forward without jamming or catching on the refurbished frame work. It was never ending!

Although Max works very quickly, being an artisan in his craft we found that none of the parts in the rear of the bus are standard with the parts used in the off side. This was caused by a lot of the compound curves built into the rear of the bus. It is here that the rear of the bus frame has the near and off sides tapering in from the roof line, then they both curve around so that the sides flow onto the rear surfaces, then the whole lot tapers down to the bottom of the bus. Remember also that the roof curves over to join the rear side of the bus. Max found he had to manufacture a lot of specialised frame members these had compound curves in them so the rear external panels could follow. A lot of these frame members were virtually non-existent from decay requiring Max to cut patterns out of stiff cardboard. The new section was then constructed to these forms, this allowed the new sections to be constructed accurately with them just requiring fitting to the bus. As they were fitted the decayed sections were removed.

During the off side repairs we have made a decision to replace the electrical wiring in the bus. This came about when we discovered breakdowns in the insulation in the saloon wiring, after inspecting a few other random locations we decided to renew the wiring. We commenced with the off side saloon wiring. I removed all the old wiring, the insulation had turned brittle and was breaking off as the wiring came out of the electrical conduits, it was also observed that some insulation on the wiring had broken off and the conductors were visible. Some arcing was also observed in places, all in all it is a good thing that we are rewiring the bus. The wiring we are installing is high grade Radox wire, it is all the same colour. Being rail motor people we decided to take AEC’s electrical drawing and give all the wires, numbers. The AEC drawings only dealt with the electrical work on the frame as they were then bodied elsewhere in our case by Martin and King they then installed their wiring. So moving forward we have created a wiring diagram that encompasses both the original factory wiring and the body wiring fitted later. So after the new wires were installed, the wires we were given wire markers so we know where the wire originates and ends. We have also marked them on the schematic and wiring diagrams.

The Warhead
As the power to stop is more important than the power to go, while the external panels were removed we decided to remove the brake reservoir and the controlling valves and send the unit out to a brake specialist for renovation, to ensure that the unit is fit for purpose. Our brake specialist asked for the whole unit, but after separating the control unit from the reservoir he returned the reservoir to us, we have internally cleaned it, inspected it internally and repainted it, it will then be returned for reassembly of the control unit.

Theft
It was unfortunate, but in October persons unknown decided that the three preservation groups at Newport were fair game for scrap recovery. On the first time all three groups were broken into but only Steamrail lost anything, they then returned either the next night or the following night and removed more equipment. Brazenly they returned during the day, on what appears a foraging expedition, then over the next three days, they returned one night and removed some small core wire from the rear of our shed, this prompted us to improve our security measures, this caused us to cease work on all our projects and concentrate on this activity. This took us two months to complete finishing in early December.

So, here we are looking like we have done nothing, we hope that in the new year we will be able to have these repairs inspected by our Vic Roads Accredited Engineer and signed off. Then we can apply our rust prevention paint, replace the off side exterior panels and then remove the remaining exterior panels on the near side. Then we will probably wonder why we are doing this again.

2017 also presented a few challenges to DERMPAV which were not associated with the bus, these also consumed our attention and lots of it, so even though we were very active throughout all these processes It really feels like we have done nothing, where in reality a fair amount of very difficult work has been completed. It is unfortunate that we can now see our deadline of March 2018 approaching but we know that this has become an unrealistic goal. So instead of giving another date we will announce to you all when it is finished, but I guess you will get to see that through these posts. One redeeming factor is that as we turn the corner and head down the near side we will already have the experience from the off side to fall back onto with all the connections of outsourcing firms to complete work more quickly than previously achieved.

We still have some work to complete the rear bus frame repairs before it can be inspected but hopefully this will occur early in the New Year. We are hoping that 2018 is kinder to us than 2017 was, also that I have a much larger report to regale you all with next year. Here are some photos of this years activities.

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Above: Top Max makes the final adjustments to the replacement section that was required from decay, Max shows the removed part and the decay involved reaching the decision to replace the part with new this is the first section of cant rail replaced on the near side.

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Top: John and Glenn offer the wheel arch back to the bus only to discover that there is insufficient material on the wheel arch to allow it to be attached to the frame of the bus.
Middle: A view from inside the bus showing the wheel arch in position.
Bottom: Adjustments are always necessary in this business and here we see the wheel arch after having had extra metal rolled and added to the end.

Here is more decay from around the back of the bus.

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Above: All Photos show the decay that was located in various parts of the bus, some had sections so badly corroded that they were missing, or fell out as the panel work was removed.

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Above: Max manufactures the template that will be used to fabricate the new metal sections for the frame.
Middle Top: Max makes the sparks fly as the new steel sections are modified to the shape of the bus frame work.
Middle Bottom: Max tries the template against the new steel section to see if further modification is required.
Bottom: The finished off side and near side rear frame work sections, both were different to each other.

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Above: Here are some of the repaired panels after repair they are painted on the rear to prevent decay in the future.
Bottom: Here is our panel master, he has repaired the various panels on the off side and painted them so they are ready to replace he is currently working on the rear panels.

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Above: Here is me removing the old wiring and installing the new.

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Above: here is the rear door step cavity with the step well missing, it was badly decayed and came out in two pieces, it will need a complete rebuild before it can go back in again.

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Above: The cross threaded fitting discovered on the warhead, this will be repaired at the brake specialist.
Below: the warhead ready to go to the brake specialist.

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Above: Max checks that the new section is correctly located before welding it in place. All the components are tacked in place, then they are rechecked to ensure everything is correct then the long arduous process of welding in the repairs commences, these will be checked twice to ensure everything is completed before the panels are installed.
Middle Top: Here are some of the repairs tacked in position.
Middle Bottom: Max commences the long task of welding up all repairs to the back of the bus.
Bottom: Here are sections that have been welded up so far, after welding the frame has to be checked to ensure that it has not moved during the welding process.

My Ramblings
At this stage of the restoration and I estimate that we are about a third of the way around it. I can say one thing with some certainty, and that is, this bus preservation thing is not cheap. I am glad that I am not doing this out of my pocket. But then again, rail preservation is even more expensive so I guess it is all relative. The work on the bus never seems to end, and while we know there is a lot more to do the light at the end of that proverbial tunnel is not visible yet, so we slog on!

It is without a doubt that the storage of these buses outside is detrimental to their longevity, I can say with some confidence that if we had not got to AEC 560 in probably another year it would have probably decayed to point that would have made it an unviable restoration project. Many times we have looked at AEC 560 (and we had another one of those moments this year) and wondered if we had bitten off too much as a restoration project.

So I guess the message is if you have a bus make sure it is stored under cover to immediately arrest any further decay.

My post would not be complete without a rail motor photo, (we like rail motors!)

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Above: 58 RM rides the turntable at Warrnambool during our West Sidings Tour, Photo by James Brook. The next day the members from the Bus and Coach Society of Victoria who were on tour dropped in at the Warrnambool station to say hello and meet us and 58 RM. It was good to see everyone.

Well that is it from me for now, so I will see you next year in the next post, with more progress on AEC 560! Feel free to comment if you want, we like to receive your comments and read what you are thinking, it can be bad good or indifferent we don’t care we just like the interaction!

My how time goes quickly, another year has past since my last post! Christmas is a marvellous time. A time for family gatherings and catching up with good friends, then all too soon Christmas is over and we are celebrating and welcoming in the New Year, and then we are off again!

So on behalf of DERMPAV, I would like to thank you all for keeping abreast with the progress on AEC 560 and I would like to extend our sincerest best wishes for the coming festive season to yourself and your family. We hope you stay safe and we look forward to you joining us next year as AEC 560’s restoration continues with its ultimate return to heritage service.

Regards
Colin Kelly
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Re: AEC 531 A Regal Mark III bus

Postby Boff » Wed Dec 13, 2017 11:45 am

Wow, I cant say i have ever seen that level of work go into an old Bus.
Id be very surprised if the drawings and schematics you have created don't lead to DERMPAV being approached to restore other AEC's!

Love your work and look forward to the next installment.

Tony

(Who also loves Rail Motors and misses RM55 chugging up and down the SGR)
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Re: AEC 531 A Regal Mark III bus

Postby AEC 531 » Wed Dec 13, 2017 9:54 pm

Hi Tony,

Many thanks for your kind words and your support. It isn't just the drawings but the patterns and jigs that we have created to enable us to restore AEC Regal Mark III's. They are an old bus and to maintain them in heritage service you need another one that can operate as a running mate, and back up if you will, for the one carrying out the heritage service. This is where AEC 531 will come in and be restored after AEC 560, once completed it will sit at the DERMPAV depot and can be called upon in the event of a mechanical failure to carry on with the tour. If we intend to use two buses on tour then we better start looking for a third one. But at the moment we will start with one.

I am glad you like rail motors it is a great past time, I remember them when they were working out of the Spencer Street Rail Motor Depot running the Sunbury's. Bacchus Marsh's and Werribee's, in today's environment they would not be able to cope, unless there was a fleet of them! Ohhh! now there is a thought! Unfortunately for reasons that I dont understand the SGR has now been relegated to history and who knows what will happen to the rolling stock that is still there.

Once again many thanks for your support.

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Colin Kelly
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Re: AEC 531 A Regal Mark III bus

Postby system improver » Thu Dec 14, 2017 9:50 am

Colin, I can assure you that the progress in the last 12 months has been substantial, despite your concerns. The rear of most buses, including steel framed buses, is always the most damaged and the most time consuming to repair. But once done, you have literally turned the corner. Please pass on my congratulations to your dedicated team of workers.
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Re: AEC 531 A Regal Mark III bus

Postby Boff » Thu Dec 14, 2017 10:27 am

AEC 531 wrote:Hi Tony,

Many thanks for your kind words and your support. It isn't just the drawings but the patterns and jigs that we have created to enable us to restore AEC Regal Mark III's. They are an old bus and to maintain them in heritage service you need another one that can operate as a running mate, and back up if you will, for the one carrying out the heritage service. This is where AEC 531 will come in and be restored after AEC 560, once completed it will sit at the DERMPAV depot and can be called upon in the event of a mechanical failure to carry on with the tour. If we intend to use two buses on tour then we better start looking for a third one. But at the moment we will start with one.

I am glad you like rail motors it is a great past time, I remember them when they were working out of the Spencer Street Rail Motor Depot running the Sunbury's. Bacchus Marsh's and Werribee's, in today's environment they would not be able to cope, unless there was a fleet of them! Ohhh! now there is a thought! Unfortunately for reasons that I dont understand the SGR has now been relegated to history and who knows what will happen to the rolling stock that is still there.

Once again many thanks for your support.

Regards
Colin Kelly
Secretary
DERMPAV



You are most welcome Colin and thank you for sharing.

As a former Bus driver in the late 80's I drove a few AEC's and Leyland's along side the more modern Volvo's and they where surprisingly good to spend a shift in, As a 14 yr old I traveled on Railway buses to Kew (Harp road) which where from dim memory old AEC's and to find restored examples brings a special kind of happiness in an otherwise busy world.
The old Bus they run at Puffing billy's "Thomas" days also brings much joy and smiles to the younger generation so the work you guys do brings an element of wonder and joy that spans the generations unlike anything else and that is a precious and unique gift.

Tony
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Re: AEC 531 A Regal Mark III bus

Postby AEC 531 » Thu Dec 14, 2017 10:07 pm

Hi Tony,

I do not remember the AEC's in service at all, although by their destination scrolls they seemed to have operated in and around places that I would have visited when I was working, but I just have no memory of them. A couple of the other members that are working on the bus remember them.

The bus that operates in the Puffing Billy Thomas Days is a bobtail AEC Regal Mark III No. 592, it is the same as 560 only a bobtail, 560 still has its two doors and will seat 41 people.

It is interesting when the younger generation view the rail motor when we have it out, to see the funny looks we get. We had it open to the public at Ouyen one time, and a grandmother and her granddaughter came on board, the grandmother tells the granddaughter that these were the trains that took them to the city. They would stand on the platform and first hear the distant whistle then over the horizon came the headlight and finally like a familiar old friend it pulled up in the platform to take them on. We here these experiences often and we hope this will happen with the bus once it is going again.

Once the bus is finished the guys working on it will move on to become the drivers and operators of it under DERMPAV's management system.

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