Thursday, November 23, 2017
   
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THE ONGOING TASK OF RESTORATION

Visitors to the Museum, or to any collection of vintage machinery for that matter, cannot help but admire the gleaming paint-work and tip-top mechanical condition of collected machinery. It is sometimes difficult to visualize the often terrible condition things were in before being restored to as-new condition. Such was the case with the Fowler Locomotive (pictured here). Before arriving at the Museum the ex-Napier Harbour Board shunting engine had lain unused on a breakwater for five years completely unprotected from the ravages of salt spray and winds. Even while in working condition it was still washed over by the occasional wave, with the water getting into areas of the engine and the boiler, which itself never completely dried out. Consequently every part of the locomotive was showing signs of corrosion. This deterioration was particularly important in regard to the boiler because it remains the key item on any steam engine and must be able to operate safely at a given steam pressure. Later, once the Fowler was brought to the Museum from Napier, it was completely dismantled, the cab removed, boiler lifted off, the chassis lifted off, and the wheels and motion work dismantled.

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