Watercress Line

Wagon Group Report 24th January

Well it’s been a pretty cold week on all the working days, but overall we still had 20+ hardy souls working outside at Alton and Mdstead.


David T reports from M on Tuesday. With a hard overnight frost and temperatures no more than 3C or 4C it was not possible to paint or Vactan. However other jobs were done.  Ian J finished off the pipe work on the red PMV.  Brian and  Richard were in the 'warm' and have installed half of a new ring main in the woodworking CCT.  David T removed some rotten timber and fitted some new on the south side of workshop PMV S 1851.  Dave the Elder, Keith and Chris S drilled and fettled the new timbers for the SW Tar wagon No 95.


Chris and Malcolm spent some considerable time re-fitting the first bottom board across the country end of BY S 653. They thought they had already done this but, presumably, the timber had absorbed some humidity and expanded a bit!There was a considerable interruption when the new T&G cladding for the BY country end was delivered. It took quite a few trips to get it all down to the BY and neatly stacked inside, which reminded them they are no longer in the first flush of youth! But it did warm them up...............


A cold, frosty start to the day at Alton on Wednesday. Too cold to do any painting, but Steve, Mick, Bob, John B and Adrian progressed further round the ISO container with the internal wooden framework and insulation.
On vanfit B 763661, Adrian derusted the final corner section of the under frame and brushed off dust from the remaining areas waiting priming. Then he started lightly rubbing down the undercoats on Alresford sides/ends – in preparation for future top coating. John Q and I cut “new” floor boards for the centre section, and loosely fitted them. Clive applied some Creocote protection. Ian M cleaned down the springs and oiled them.
John B, and Roger levelled off the area of ground between the ISO container and the grounded van body – although they to dig through the permafrost first. They then did some readjusting of the steps to the latter, with the addition of an additional step, as it is now perched higher off the ground than before.
By the time the ISO team left about 1615 they had glued upright battens all along the south side plus floor bracing for same, fitted two sections of insulating also on the south side plus horizontal bracing.  Horizontal bracing was also fitted to the end.  One section of plywood was measured, trimmed for fitting to the south side into the corner to match same on north side to facilitate future fitting of the rafters.  A further plywood sheet was measured and cut for the end wall, but time ran out before it could be fitted.

A rather bracing -6 degrees greeted Dillon, Jose, Jim and John D on Saturday morning. John started off measuring all the lettering on the SW Tar wagon. Jose did some red oxiding and undercoating on the butterfly and handbrake lever from the Tar wagon, along with various nuts and bolts. Jim started fitting parts of the brake gear, first doing a trial fit and measuring where to drill for the split pins before refitting and greasing.


After a cup of tea and a warm, Dillon and John went down to Alresford to replace the London end vacuum hose on LMS van M 517317.


Back at Medstead after lunch, John disappeared into the lower yard and de-rusted the inside of the tractor mudguards. As it was too cold to do any outdoor painting, Jim, Dillon and Jose removed the “compost” that was once a wooden floor in the “gunpowder” van W 105691. There was very little in the way of wood remaining...........  It was noted that the corrosion on the body sides corresponded with the very soggy soil/wood flooring. Upon climbing up a ladder they noted approximately 60 holes in the roof that obviously had screws or bolts in at one time, and this is no doubt the cause of the water ingress!


After packing away and another mug of tea to warm up, they called it a day at 16:15.
At home Dillon is overhauling the vac cylinder for steel open B 481682.
Chris Le Corney

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