|Project Pay Bus
RailCorp's Office of Rail Heritage is committed to sharing NSW rail stories and conserving items like Pay Bus FP1 for current and future generations to appreciate and enjoy. To help achieve this, the Office of Rail Heritage is working in partnership with the RailCorp Training to train young RailCorp apprentices in skills which can assist in the conservation of heritage items.
The restoration of Pay Bus FP1 is the fourth heritage project to be undertaken with the assistance of railway apprentices since 1985.
FP1 is the only surviving example of the first fleet of Pay Buses to operate in New South Wales and is therefore one of the State's rare rail heritage items. Prior to the commencement of restoration of FP1 in 2008, extensive research was conducted - from metal testing, paint analysis, to sourcing components in the USA. The aim was to return FP1 as closely as possible to its original condition and appearance.
Commencing 2 June 2008 all members of the team underwent blood tests to test for lead levels.
In July, they started the engine and began component repair work.
In August, a 'doors closed' session for lead painted panel removal works was held. State Archive photos of the vehicle were sourced. Major corrosion was discovered in the body.
During September some of the apprentices were taught panel beating and oxy welding at TAFE. Subsequently that training was put into practice when the roof frame was restored and the side frames were constructed.
In October the restoration moved to the front end when the framework was cut away and new framework installed. The front wheels and brake gear were also restored.
November saw the Ford motor undergoing a top end overhaul with a number of new and replacement components installed. Auto electrical work was also carried out prior to the installation of replica head and marker lights, purchased 'off the shelf'.
In December, more side panels were completed and cold riveted back on to the frame.
January 2009 everything started to come together, and the restoration of the interior panelling began.
February saw the overhaul of the carburettor, petrol tanks, and the engine started up for the first time after its overhaul.
In March, the heritage petrol caps were fitted, and a volunteer custom-made the radiator cap by hand.
During April, the Pay Bus was taken on a truck to Silhouette Smash Repairs and went into their spray booth for painting.
The quarter windows were fitted with great difficulty, requiring a re-spray around the trim in May.
In June, the grill trim and chrome V8 ornaments were fitted. The Pay Bus was tested for water leaks in June. The builder's plate was fitted... a great moment for the team.
During the final fit out in July, the team made and fitted the curtains. The Pay Bus was washed and polished. Ready to go...