T 222

As mentioned in the previous blog post, the YVG had a generous donation towards the restoration of the only surviving operational ice refrigerated T van.

T 222 was built at Newport Workshops in February 1911 as a 6 wheeled ice refrigerated van with screw couplers. Throughout its life T 222 would have travelled all over the state of Victoria carrying meat and other perishable foods such as butter and fruit.

Above: As built T Van. Circa 1910. Photographer Unknown Below: Interior of a Ice refrigerated T van. PROV, VPRS 12800, Item RS1320

T vans were iced regularly at the Ice house in north Melbourne. The VR had a dedicated “ice road” where all the T vans would shuffle through receiving new ice as shown below. The reason for using salted ice, was that it lasted longer than your usual ice. So they could be taken up to Bendigo and return to Melbourne, and still remain cold enough to take perishable goods etc.

Above: T vans being loaded with salted ice 1958. Image sourced from victorianrailways.net Below: Blocks of salted ice being loaded into the Ice House at North Melboune Yard. PROV, VPRS 12800, Item H 5162

In May of 1933 it was again at Newport workshops for a period of approximately 3 weeks. In that time the centre axle was removed, and the screw couplers were replaced with auto couplers. After these modifications T 222 continued to travel the state carrying perishable food items. In 1974, T 222 was reclassified and renumbered HD 239 and at such time would have had its ice trough removed. The HD classification was the railways classification for wagons in non-revenue traffic and were used by railway departments as rolling stores and workshops.

Above: HD 239 (T 222) at Castlemaine. Circa late 1980’s. Larry McGrath

In the early 1980s, HD 239 (T 222) was acquired by the Castlemaine & Maldon Railway Preservation Society (Now the Victorian Goldfields Railway, VGR) and transferred to Castlemaine. Since arrival at Castlemaine the van was used for storing various signalling parts. February 2020 saw the donation arrive. On the 15th of Feb, T222 was transferred to Maldon for restoration, surprisingly with no problems. It wasn’t until August that works would start due to various reasons.

We had the van moved into a turntable road, so it was located closer to tools, power, air, etc. But this also allowed us to lift the van off its wheels. We decided to do this so we can needle gun and clean everything. It also makes the cleaning & painting of the wheels so much easier. At the time of writing, the under frame is about 50% needle gunned. Going to be a pretty tidy under frame for a goods wagon!!

We striped the corrugated roofing off, which revealed the ice hatch holes. We then cracked into rebuilding the hatch frames, then the hatch lids. The curve in the roof proved a challenge, but the new pieces were beautifully hand crafted. We think you will all agree, the new hatches look pretty sexy!!

We have also decided to re-stick both sides of the van due to many of the timbers being rotten. Many thanks goes to Shane Lennon for machining up all the new timbers to the unusual VR sizing. Once we receive all the paint, all the timbers will be primed and receive one topcoat prior to fitting.

Some more exciting news to share, we had an email a few weeks ago from our local fire spotter from Mt Tarrengower. He revealed that he purchased an ice trough from the railways 40 odd years ago, with the idea of using it as a Stock feed Trough. This never happened, so it sat upside down in his yard for 36 years. That was until September 2020. The trough has found its new forever home in T222.
The photo below on the left, is how the trough was found. And it’s last home for the last 36 years. The photo on the right shows the trough eyeing off its new home.

Stay tuned for more progress on the T van over coming weeks.

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