Ruston Proctor No: 40909 is a 8 N.H.P S.C. Double crank compound Traction Engine manufactured by Ruston, Proctor and Company of Lincoln England. The Engine is now in well deserved leisurely retirement at Dardanup Heritage Park, Western Australia.


This engine was dispatched from the Lincoln works of Ruston Proctor to H.V. McKay Australia on 31st March, 1911. and was used as their demonstration engine for quite a time. It operated at 180 p.s.i. After some years she was purchased by J.P Doherty for work in his Grange Road, Fairfield Quarry. The working pressure was reduced in 1928 to 120 p.s.i as some repairs were needed. This was done in 1932. Upwards of 100 new firebox stays were fitted by Messrs George and George and the engine was then allowed to work at 160 p.s.i. She was brought to Dardanup Heritage Park in August, 2000 and is now finally undergoing a full restoration.

Restoration timelineEdit

  • August 2010 Restoration now started, but we have a long way to go. We are looking for a boiler feed water pump for the engine. We now know that there are a number of other engines of this type in the Eastern States. The engine has the overhead and inclined valve mechanism. Most Rustons engines seem to have valves that are of a side mounted design.
  • 20/08/2010 a lot of steam cleaning and sand blasting today by Ray. John is working hard on the tender and put red oxide primer on all the cleaned parts. Max has done a lot of plate repairs to the tender, which was pretty holey!. Bob making tea.
  • 25/08/2010. Work proceeding, cleaning, sandblasting and primary painting.
  • 27/08/2010. Checking the crankshaft and the eccentric straps. They all look reasonable but the little ends in the crossheads are worn out and we will have to have new ones made up. Investigating the possibility of putting the engine on rubbers, so that we can drive her around with out damaging the bitumin in The Park and on local roads. We need to have a new chimney stack base cast up.
  • 13/9/2010 The main boiler and gears now in England for major works to be carried out by The Hunslet Steam Company.
  • 1/9/2010. Dick is now on the team and was a big help, but I must have worked him too hard; he is off on holidays.
  • 4/10/2010. Most of the parts have been cleaned up and a coat of primer applied, but we still have to clean up the 'travelling wheels', the front axle and the two 'fore' wheels. Dismantled the Menzel XD lubricator to-day. All looks well.
  • 26/10/10 Collected the newly cast smoke stack saddle today from Eccles Foundry in Perth. It looks good, Just have to wait for the smoke box to come back so that we can fettle and fit it. Ray and I are currently working on the rear wheels trying to clean them up and remove the rust under the inner joining plates. A hard noisy job upsetting the rest of the blokes working nearby. Dick turned up for the Wednesday afternoon get together of the workers and a beer. I had better get him back to work. Jill would like to see her in steam for her 100th birthday. Might not be to the day but possibly in her 100th year.
  • 31/10/2010. Ray had sand blasted the fore axle assembly, so a whole team got to work on dismantling it this Sunday.The fore wheels came off fairly easily. However removing the top casting from the bottom casting was not easy. Many were the varied suggestions on how it should be done; and a lot of time wasted. However we all had a great day and good comraderie prevailed. In the end we got some small movement and Ray soon had it apart. I resisted the urge to say "I told you so; if only they would listen...." We now have to remove the fore axle from the fore carriage pan.The pin throught the bottom casting and the fore axle needed 100 tons on the press to shift it.
  • 30/11/2010. Good news; work is well under way on the boiler at Hunslet's works. Eccles Foundry have a lot of castings ready for us; so after things began to slow down we are on the move again. Our goal is to have the engine in steam during her 100 birthday year; but there is a mighty long way to go yet!
  • 17/12/2010. Has any one guessed what the machine from Greenlee is? See last photograph.
  • Hunslet's have the throat plate out and will be making a former for the new one. Various testing has been done. The original barrel is in good order and will be retained. We are still working or getting all the rust out from under the centre plates of the rear wheels. Ray is doing a good job; I mostly just assist!
  • 24/01/2011. Work has slowed down! However Ray has done a lot more work on the rear wheels (or travelling wheels as Mr Ruston calls them). There was a lot of build up of corrosion under the inner centre plates that took a lot of removing. All I did was get a load of rust in my eye, which was painfull. The front wheels are with with South West Splicing ready to have solid rubber tyres applied. Chris still has a lot of machining to do for us, but he is still too busy on more urgent jobs. Comunication with England is slow (despite electronic mail) and we have not heard from Hunslet's since November; this is disappointing and frustrating to say the least. How hard can it be to answer an e-mail? Meanwhile a lot of other jobs are going on at Dardanup with a new shearing shed going up. This will be equipped with old overhead shafting and shearing stands and powered by a Lister stationary engine.
  • March, 2011. Work is progressing steadily on the boiler. Alan, of Hunslet Steam Company, and his team have made the new throat plate and have it bolted in position. The next job is to remove the old back head and make a new one.
  • Yesterday was the Gary Brookes Memorial Day. The weather was very kind to us and we all had a great day. The 1903 Marshall was hitched up to the tractor pull sledge and she had a good go. However as the safety valves are set at 100 psi she ran out of puff fairly soon. A compound steam engine needs to run at a lot higher pressure than that to work well. Never the less the visitors gave us a round of applause for the effort. The Ruston had better put on a much better display!
  • April, 13th, 2011. Communication with Hunslet is now much improved and I get regular updates from Alan and Richard; two of the men actually doing the job. Hunslet's are continuing to make steady progress. The throat plate and the front tube plate have now been riveted in. The new firebox has been made . A new back head has been cut and is about to be formed up on the templates. A new section has been welded in to take the smoke box as well as new bottom sections to the hornplates. Work on the gears could start very soon. June is the date promised by them for completion; we will just have to wait and see.
  • Meanwhile at Dardanup Little John and Ray have the travelling wheels ready to have the rubber tyres put on. More castings could be ready any time from Eccles Foundry in Perth. I am continuing to research what type of pipework we should have for the water and steam lines. I am a little unsure of this as to whether they should be steel, copper ar a mixture of both.The whole project is slowly, but inexorably, moving forward.
  • July 1st, 2011. Alan, Richard and Stuart at Hunslet have finished the main boiler work and had it in steam up to 20 to carry out the sealing. The main hydraulic test should be carried out soon. We may get her back in Western Australia in September 2011. (We had been promised three months for the work to be done).
  • The repairs to the cylinder block and the gear work should all have been done by now. A new spark arrestor has been made and Geoff Hopkins has made and delivered a new copper cap to Hunslet's.
  • July 24th. The hydraulic test has been carried out at 270 p.s.i. This is great news.
  • August 4th. By now everything should be packed in the shipping container, including 36 m of soft, thick wall copper pipe, some for us and some for another engine in Echuca. The wheels have not yet been rubbered here in Bunbury, but with luck they may be done beore the container arrives in Dardanup.I doubt we will get her in steam for her 100th birthday, but I am sure we will get some smoke up the stack before the end of 2011. Geoff Smith has joined the Ruston team and he has been busy. He has a lathe at home and he has already made new shafts, spindles and bushes for the Pickering governor. Now he is making a new set of big end bolts.Max has done some clever welding repairs on the smoke stack parts and the bottom casting for the forecarriage. Geoff and I have spent a fair bit of time cleaning these up so that the welding repairs can not be seen.
  • We are all much anticipating its return. I have been trying to get the workshop bay cleared of all infernal, internal combustion engine rubbish that has, over the last twelve months, encroached onto my plot that I am trying to reserve for external combustion devices. However any clean or open space seems to be an immediate attraction for less well enlightend individuals who seem to delight in spreading hydraulic and engine oil all over the place.They are a mucky lot!
  • 27th September, 2011. The engine is now back home. The work done by Richard and Alan at Hunslet Steam Co, England is first class. The boiler inspector there hydraulic tested it to 270 psi and has signed it off to work at its original pressure of 180 p.s.i. Of course this is subject to a final inspection here in W.A when the rebuild is completed. It will then have to be tested again by our W.A boiler inspector. We were lucky to have had some great support from officers of the National Traction Engine Trust whilst it was in England and once we were able to e-mail Richard and Alan directly communication from once side of the world to the other was greatly improved; and removed a lot of stress and anxiety.
  • The work in England was extensive. This included a new firebox, new backhead, new throat plate, new smoke box and rings, new 14" sections to the bottom of the horn plates due to wastage at the foundation ring. A new large compensating gear was made along with three new pinions gears and the matching bevel gear. Some welding was carried out to the internal wall separating the high and low steam pressure chambers above the valves faces in the cylinder block. Coming back with the boiler was 36 metres of thick wall copper pipe (unavailable in Australia), a spark arrestor and a very fine copper cap and various other bits and pieces. Half of the pipe is for Warwick Turner in Echuca who has a very rare smilar engine. However his was made as a three speed sprung variant. The copper cap and spark arrestor will be used as part of the final fitting out ceremony when ever that may be.
  • We are now fitting the new cast chimney base. The front wheels have been rubbered locally and we should get the travelling (rear wheels) next week. We have a lot of work to do; but it is great to have it all back home.There is no way we will have it in steam in its 100th year, but we will get some smoke going up the chimney before 2012 comes around.
  • November, 2011. The travelling wheels have been rubbered thanks to South West Splicing and are now back. At last we have the axle boxes back with new bushes and they are now in place and we will soon try fitting the rear axle. This is not any easy job. The next task will be to assemble the compensating gears. The new main outer spur gear has to be centred over the main centre casting and then drilled to take the mounting bolts. We are still waiting for some welding repairs to be done to the main forecarriage mounting. This is preventing us from finishing and fitting the front axle and wheels.The steering gear has been fitted. Slowly, very slowly we are making progress, but it is very frustrating at times waiting for suppliers to even answer e-mails and complete the work they have undertaken for us.
  • 4th March, 2012. Gary' Brookes Memorila Day. No chance of having the engine in steam, but we did have many people coming to have a look at 40909. Some good progress has been made. Barry is now on the job as the painter and is doing a good job. All four wheels have been painted as well as the front axle assembly which is now fitted. The hornplates, spectacle plates, cannon bracket, axle brackets and various other bits and pieces have all been painted.
  • We had waited for over a year for someone to repair (F.O.C.!!) the perch bracket and valve chest cover. In the end I just had to get these parts back. I eventually found another concern, Ormarc Engineering, and the job was done in a week. When we were finally able to fit the rear axle we found that the compensating spur gear would not mesh with the compound gear on the second countershaft. This was a major blow and a big set back. There was an error made in calculating the diameter of two new gears for the compensating assembly in England; they were simply too big a diameter.To overcome this and after consulting many people in England and here we decided that we would have to lower the rear axle by 7.8mm to get a good fit.
  • Firstly we had to scrap the new bushes we had made and fitted, bore out the axle brackets in order that we could then fit thicker walled bushes to allow for the eccentricity of the bores.This took a long, long time to work out and organise.The line boring was done by Steve Martin of Martin Engineering of Bunbury. It was good to see a highly skilled man at work, but it was with baited breath that we had to wait for three or four days before we could go for a trial fit. It was all spot on.
  • Due to the new firebox, throat plate and back head we now have to shim the rear axle componets to get the right end float and matching of all the gears including the second countershaft. It is at last looking a bit like a traction engine and just may be we will get steam up this year; who knows. We are still waiting for all the motion parts to come back from the first machining company; we have been waiting over a year for this. Time we got them back and delivered them to brothers Dean and Scott at Ormarc Engineering.
  • 5th July, 2013. Work continues; we may actually be nearing the end of the beginning and about to start the beginning of the end.  Apart from the ashpan all the various parts are now back on the engine. The next job will be to seal all the various joints and do the numerous gland packings; preparatory to carrying out a hydraulic test.
  • 20th August, 2013. Only 50 p.s.i but she finally moved under her own steam today. A few leaks and adjustments to attend to and then we will have another go.

18th February, 2014. Work slowly progressing. We have had her up to 180 p.s.i several times now. We have fixed a few leaks and made a number of adjustments. We have driven her around the yard three or four times. On a few occasions we had a sort of steam lock up. We have been unable to work this out so we have removed the valve chest and made a check of the valve timing. We did some more research, checked the drawings again and then reset the timing taking in to account lap and lead. We have never been able to get the injector to work so we have sent this away for it to be serviced and a new set of cones to be made. We are still awaiting the return of the injector before we fire her up again. The engine is also fitted with what appears to be 'an after market' water pump. We are not happy with the reliability and performance of this and so we have decided to wait until we can refit the injector and can be confident that we can comfortably maintain the boiler level as it should be.

Progress photos - Image gallery Edit

Photos of Ruston Proctor no. 40909 & Other interesting exhibits at the Dardanup Heritage Park, e stern Australia Add your photos here;

See alsoEdit

References / sourcesEdit

External linksEdit

  • Dardanup Heritage Park official web site
  • Please add any links to photos of the museum and/or of this engine here !
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