1938 Planet #1

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Lake View and Star Planet #1


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As described in "Mine and Quarry Engineering" January 1938

In 1938 F.C. Hibberd & Co. Ltd, Park Royal, London supplied a four wheeled 70 bhp unit to Lake View and Star Ltd., Western Australia. This unit was the first rail traction unit to have incorporated in it, a Atlantic oil engine, built by the Atlantic Engine Co. Ltd. (builders number 2011).

The four cylinders each have a bore of 6 inch, a stroke of 8 inch, and a continuous rated output of 70bhp is developed at 80rpm. Fuel is injected by means of a C.A.V. Bosch pump. The maximum rating 82 bhp.

Compressed air for starting was supplied from a 1 1/2 bhp two stroke, petrol engine mounted in the cab of the locomotive. A Reliance Radiator is carried at the front of the bonnet and behind it is the engine driven fan. A pressure gauge for the lubricating oil circuit was located close to the driving position.

The torque is transmitted from the engine crankshaft to the three speed gearbox through a cardan shaft, flexible coupling and multi-plate friction main clutch. Constant-mesh gears are of the straight-tooth spur type, and all gear changing is accomplished through external or internal dog clutches. Of case hardened, nickel chrome silver, the wheels are mounted on shafts carried in ball and roller bearings and all gearing is enclosed and splash lubricated. A single hand lever with gate change controls the speed selected, but the constant-mesh spur gear has a separate hand lever. The drive from the gearbox output shaft is taken through bevel gears to the jackshaft and thence via rods and flycranks to the axles.

The mechanical portion of the locomotive is built up on a heavy plate frame structure which carries the engine directly. The wheels, of 28inch diameter are spread over a base of 4ft 3inch, the length over the buffer beam is 14 ft, while the maximum width is 5ft 6inch, and the height is 8ft 3inch. In working order the weight is 12 tons and gives a factor of adhesion of 4.5 against the tractive effort on bottom gear. At 3.2pmh the tractive effort is 6,000lbs, at 5mph it is 4,225lbs, and at 8.7mph it is 2,420lbs.


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The 1937 Planet as it is today at the Kalgoorlie Mining Hall of Fame - Photos kindly supplied for use by Alf Atkin. 

The above report described the 1937 built Planet locomotive as purchased new by the Lake View and Star Goldmine. As the 1937 locomotive proved itself to be most satisfactory a second Planet to the same pattern as the first was ordered in 1938 becoming builder number 2150. Notably these units were of the very first, "Rod Driven" locomotives built by F.C. Hibberd. The colour scheme carried was Bright Yellow. Originally Black and Yellow stripes were applied at the full face cab end and on the buffer beam at the radiator end. The final scheme carried was all over yellow with the exception of the running gear. 

The loco was provided with electric light for night shift operation, although this was uncommon during the 1970's. Although 3 shifts were operated in other aspects of mining, surface railway activities were generally limited to day time shifts. 

It was also fitted with a 'Raised Shoe" on the cab roof to activate flashing light crossing signals where the railway crossed over a public road on its way from the Lake View Shaft to the primary crusher. The standard coupling system used was the link and pin type. Trains consisted of one locomotive and 8 all steel six ton gable bottom ore trucks built by Malcolm Moore of Melbourne. When loaded, these little locomotives with 48 tons of ore trailing, set out from the loader to the crusher across the uniquely goldfields landscape at speeds no greater than 16kph (10mph). 

In the early to mid 1970's, a mining recession, inflation and a poor price for gold on the world market, combined to bring about the demise of major mining operations at Kalgoorlie. The 1938 planet was the first of the last 3 operating diesel mechanical locomotives to be taken out of service and set aside in the loco depot area.

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The 1938 planet stowed at LV&S

In 1975 Kalgoorlie Lake View Pty, Ltd ceased gold mining operations. Plant and equipment was put up for tender in mid 1976 and some items were still being sold in 1979.

WALRPA was at this time in its formative years, and the opportunity was taken to tender for the 1938 Planet and several of the ore hoppers. The 1937 Planet was eventually to become a display item at the Kalgoorlie Mining Hall of Fame

On the 2nd of August 1976, the Kalgoorlie Mining Associates advised that they were prepared to sell the Planet for $500 including all spares.

Purchased by founding members of the WALRPA, the ex Lake View and Star, 1938 Planet locomotive, and the accompanying equipment, was delivered on the 18-9-1976, to the then main WALRPA depot, on a farm near Mt Helena.

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Enroute to Mt Helena

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Loco Record

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Proud Owners of the newly delivered Planet  

L to R - Ron, Neville, Ken & Lindsay Watson, Charles De Bruin & David Whiteford

 Considerable restoration work was done on the engine at Mt Helena before transportation to the new railway at Whiteman Park on 11th August 1983. It moved under its own power for the first time in September 1985 and in 1986 was hired by Roberts Construction for use on the loop line ballast trains.


Ex Lake View & Star 1938 Planet #1 in original condition at BBR

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Working a trial freight with JOA tank wagon

At VWJ station in June 1989 on a mixed train

With LV&S hoppers, at Mussel Pool platform with the Pingelly Shelter behind. 

Planet #1 and hoppers LV 8 & 9 are "Classified" by the National Trust (WA) as the only remaining example of a goldmine surface train in Western Australia


During 1991 the Planet was extensively rebuilt. The old Atlantic motor having packed it in. The No. 4 cylinder and liner badly scored. The ground shaking thump of the slow revving Atlantic never to be felt again.  


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The new engine is trialled in the planet

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Awaiting the car body to be finished, planet assists with the boiler removal from Ng 123

The replacement engine is a 3 cylinder G.M. two stroke engine from ex WAGR - Track Machine 713. The work involved replacing cylinder liners, installation of the engine in new engine mounts, new radiator, coupling of the fluid drive to the old planet final drive, install electrical start mechanisms,  removal of the old air start equipment and petrol engined compressor , Heightening of the cab (to allow a driver to stand properly in the cab) and engine compartment to allow much higher mounted engine to be fitted. Repositioned the fuel tank under engine bay car body.

 It Re-entered service on the 11th of August 1991.

Today the Planet locomotive is the mainstay of the BBR diesel fleet, as it is easy to use and economical on fuel. All conversions made, were carried out with a prospect to returning the locomotive to its former self if the unit was ever to become unusable. At this stage that seems unlikely as it soldiers on most reliably

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