Watercress Line

Wagon Group Report 14th March 2017

At Medstead on Tuesday Dave V reports progress on the usual fronts. David T continued with the south side of the workshop PMV. He has got the PMV into pretty good shape. 
Ian Johnson sorted out spring washers for the tar wagon bolts with a visit to Ropley, and then started to sort out the town end south side door of the woodworking CCT. This is currently stopping the van from being operational, as the doors are missing some locking mechanism.

Brian, Richard, Chris S, Keith, John D and Dave continued with the SW Tar wagon. Jobs completed this week included the final derusting and Vactanning of the chassis, more undercoating on the chassis, holding strap and end frame, and cutting and drilling the country end timber bulk to the same profile as the town end one. 


Chris and Malcolm fitted most of the Country End Boarding on BY S 653. They then considered fitting the next board up, but decided it would be quite fiddly ...... and best left to next week.


The forecast for Wednesday at Alton was not that good, and it was pretty accurate! Intermittent rain and drizzle.............  Mick, Steve, Adrian and Bob were busy all day on the ISO container – installing a framework around the door entrance for the insulation.


Clive, and I were undercoating the cable drums and sides of M 460001, this being carried out in the “dry” by making a tent of the sheets over the wagon. These are now ready for top coating.


Ray, John Q and I started to remove the vac cylinder from vanfit B 763661. The bolts securing the steel plate and the cylinder pivot on one side were removed quite easily, and the cylinder then should have slipped out on the other side ............ However the “other side” pivot was well and truly rusty in. Despite all our efforts with hammer, jacks, leverage, removing rust, applying oil etc the vac cylinder remained levitated in position........... So with some more oil applied, we left this for another day.


John Q and Paul started bolting down the “new” floor timbers on the vanfit, though leaving those above the vac cylinder to aid those in future removing it........... 


Saturday at Medstead started off a misty day, but the sun soon came out. John B and John D disappeared into the lower yard to do some gloss painting on the Fergie tractor, managing to paint inside the mudguards and part of the back axle. 


Dillon and Jim re-fitted the handbrake lever on the north side of the SW Tar wagon, which is now operational. They then examined the brakes on the gunpowder van. These were deemed to be ok but in need of some lubrication. Jose turned up, having overslept, so it was decided to have a quick tea break.


After tea, the two John’s returned to the lower yard where more gloss painting continued on the wheels. Dillon, Jim and Jose made a start on stripping the end panels inside the gunpowder van, managing to strip the Alresford end. The planks were marked up and almost all the brass screws are re-usable. 


Then it was hop on the service train to Alton to pick up some plywood, and have a look at the vacuum cylinder on B 763661. After some brute force and ignorance, and much scratching of heads, a plan was devised. After 20 min’s it was on the ground .............. well it must have been the oil soaking in since Wednesday that did it!


On return to Medstead they joined the two Johns for a late lunch. Afterwards the Johns again went into the lower yard and fitted the rear wheels to the tractor. They also managed to knock out a few of the dents in the bonnet. It was then pulled out of the shed for photos. The next stage is to finish the painting, then start looking at the dreaded electrics.


Jose finished the undercoating of the T&G planks in the BY left from last week. Jim and Dillon continued in the gunpowder wagon. Its slow progress chipping out the filler over the screw heads, but well worth it as most can be saved, as can most of the T&G.


On Thursday Dave V, Richard, Chris S, Brian and myself attended Roger Fletcher’s funeral at Woolton Hill. This is a village about 15 miles north west of Basingstoke. This was well attended by his family and friends. It is perhaps a bit sad that we are so engrossed in our works on the railway that we never seem to find out about all the hidden talents and interests that we have outside of the Mid-Hants. We never knew that Roger was an accomplished and keen guitarist, who played in bands, and even composed some music for a West End show! Rest in peace Roger.


Finally we had a sales stand at the Basingstoke and North Hants model railway show over the weekend, and many thanks to all those who visited us and made a purchase or two.


Chris Le Corney 

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