The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 1, Issue 7 (December 15, 1926)
Production Engineering — Part VII.: Operation of a Centralised Car and Wagon Shop, Otahuhu
Planning ahead is an essential function of management. It will be interesting, therefore, to explain the plan of production of the new Otahuhu car and wagon shops. These are specially designed to expedite repairs of carriages and wagons, and the building of all new carriages and wagons required for the North Island.
A glance at the plan reveals the workshops grouped on each side of what is called the “midway.” This midway is the central avenue of distribution of materials received either by wagons or lorries. An electric overhead gantry crane traverses the entire length of the midway thus facilitating loading and unloading operations. One end of each building abuts on the midway, and the other end of each building may be extended in length as required without cramping or disturbing the system of doing the work.
The buildings comprise three groups. The car shops, the wagon shops, and the supply group, constituting the stores, machine shop, blacksmith shop, mill and structural steel shop. These shops manufacture parts for the car shops and the wagon shops, and are located on the midway, as close as possible to the point of the greatest material requirements.
Passenger Car Repairs.
The car shops are in what is known as a transverse building. The two main departments are placed one on each side of a power traverser and pit and only one car goes on each pit or track in these shops. By this arrangement any one car can be put in, or taken out, without disturbing any other car. The plan of operation is as follows:—
A car due for repairs arrives at Otahuhu; after inspection to determine what repairs are necessary the car is placed on the classified track. When space is available for it in the shop, the car is shunted between the lifting jacks adjacent to transfer, table, and raised off its bogies. The bogies are run out and across traverser directly into bogie repair shop. When repairs are finished they are placed on the short tracks between the pits outside the shop until required.
The car on the jacks is lowered on to shop bogie trucks, pulled on to the traverser, and carried to the pit or track to be repaired and painted. If the car requires washing down it will be put into the “wash section” first and afterwards placed on shop pit. Once on the pit or track inside the shop, the car is jacked up, and then lowered on to four special trestles, the temporary bogies having been removed.
When the car is stripped all parts are distributed by electric trucks to the different departmental shops for individual attention.
The carpenters first do their work on the body of the car, then the painters, as under the present schedule plans. Painting completed, the process of assembling is started and the bogies are again placed in position. Final trimming and cleaning is done on the track inside the shop.
All subsidiary departments are housed separately from the main car shops, so that dirt, dust, etc., are kept away from the cars under painting operations.
A certain number of tracks in one shop are definitely assigned to new work, so that materials for erecting passenger cars can be conveniently stored. Steel structural work will be fabricated in the structural shop and underframes will be brought into position in the shop on their own bogies via tracks and traverser.
Wagons are not handled individually like cars but in rakes the complete length of the shop.
Wagons in the yard are sorted into “lights,” “mediums,” and “heavies,” making up a track length string of each class, on the basis that the whole track is to be cleared and reloaded with repairs that will all take the same number of days. One track for three day's job, one for four, and so on. On completion of repairs the whole track is cleared and a new string pushed in, leaving the string of wagons “just out” in the paint shed, for the final coat of paint and stencilling. After this they go to the “pass out” road. It will be noted that the shop is fed by pushing wagons in at one end and emptied by taking them out at the other.
On each side of the wagon shop are material storage facilities, as any method of expediting wagon repairs is bound up with having a proper supply of spare parts always at hand.
Electric capstans are provided so that, in the absence of the shunter, shops may draw tracks should occasion require it.
New wagon frames and all structural steel, will be delivered out of the midway end of the structural shop and lifted by midway crane and placed on track ready to enter construction shop, as they are delivered complete out at the other end. This method allows bogies and frames to be fabricated and stored ahead of erection.page 23