Watercress Line

P-Way Report January - March

January eventually started for us on the 7th and we carried on with our tree clearing and bonfire activities. This time our work area was around Boyneswood Bridge so that made it easy for a few return trips to Medstead for tea and cakes to ease us back into things. The next day was more of the same and also a delivery of sleepers to Alton in preparation for some major sleeper replacement activity at the London end of the station. The following week was interrupted by snow at Medstead and further eastwards but that had all largely gone by the Tuesday so we were able to get out in our Wickham trolley to assist in some bridge surveying work.
 
The cold weather has stopped us from doing any serious trackwork but we have been busy clearing the bank area at Ropley around the ex Kings Cross footbridge and in the new car park area. There has also been various site clearing activities taking place. The end of February had us out putting up the usual temporary speed limit signage for the Steam Gala around Butts Bridge, and also transporting some of our stored track panels back to Medstead for them to be broken down into sleepers and rails. The rails have been cut to length for use as car park barriers at Ropley.
 
Our resident "technical department” at Medstead has been doing some fettling work on the second Wickham and it now has a see through window fitted to replace the previous wooden one. A minor repaint has also happened and someone was overheard remarking that it was finished in Crimson Lake as per LMS. No wrong again! It just red lead primer, as you can see from the picture.
 
March started off for us with 2 days of replacing chair keys with panlocs to complete the run from Ropley up as far as the flat bottomed track – to give an idea of how many panlocs we fitted there are 2 every 2 feet or so. The middle of the month this writer had to go away on holiday again this time in Arizona, during the course of which the Grand Canyon Railway was visited and journeyed on – a most impressive 65 mile trip. The  sign picture, taken at the train depot at Williams, caused much amusement to the reporter’s wife. Back from 33 degrees C to 33 degrees F was a bit of a shock but it was now Thomas prep time with new banners to put up. We also have now a new task in our weekly routine and that is to lubricate all the points on the line so if you are around any of the stations on Mondays or Tuesdays you will see some of us trying not to oil ourselves in addition to the trackwork.   Not looking good so far!
 
 
Richard M

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