Watercress Line

A Shed Load of Work for the Building Department

12 June 

What a difference a bit of sun makes. We have been able to get to our outside jobs on a much more regular basis throughout the past few weeks and made some good progress on a number of fronts. Even some of our workshop jobs have been able to be taken outside to work on in pleasant open air conditions- the winter palour has now gone from many faces and a healthy tan is evident.

At Alresford we have poured the concrete to form the base for the new shed for the ASSET team. This was completed in a morning, including a tea break and with some energetic formation shovelling and mixing, and was another step forward towards the construction phase.The roof and floor panels of the shed were given a coat of aluminium primer before erecting to help give added protection and the wall panels were coated in black preservative whilst they were in ‘ flat pack’ form on the ground so we could work the coating better into the joints. In addition we attached damp proof membrane to the floor bearers to ward off water penetration from underneath. We want this thing to last.

When everything had dried and the base had cured sufficiently a small team set to to erect the panels, you can have too many cooks on a job like this so three was just right. To enhance the strength of the structure we used screws rather than nails and also added some additional supporting wood to stiffen things up. It just awaits final fittings and guttering to finish the shed off and also another coat of wood treatment in black, which makes it look more like a ‘railway’ shed. Another team will now start to create a level step outside of the door and to lay setts in similar form to those being laid at Ropley. This should make the front area more attractive and in-keeping with the rest of the station.

Also at Alresford another team that completed the work on the repairs to the concrete huts in the headshunt transferrred their attentions to the Belle siding platform. This is beacuse there was some definite springing and sway in both the top planks, steps and in the support posts as things had started to feel the effects of rot. This team seem to like working down that bit of the line but we will let them out again when they have finished. The Traincare and Belle staff now seem quite happy that things feel a little firmer underfoot and not like standing in a small boat on the water. They then moved on to preparing and fixing a wooden rafter and plywood over-roof to the leaflet store container in the station car park- no photos I’m afraid as the work was done mid-week and it couldn’t really be seen from ground level when your photo correspondent was there on Sunday. This will give the roof a curved surface to enable a better water run off in wet weather. A torch-on roofing felt will be applied in due course when the Department expert is available- perhaps photos then.

At Ropley we managed to get another few sessions on the sett laying in between other tasks and the area laid is slowly creeping down the slope towards the car park gate- see previous blog photos. This activity creates quite a bit of interest from visitors waiting for trains on the down platform and is a good opportunity to speak with them about the work that the volunteers do. The team are tucked away for the most part to the side of the walk-through route of this area so they don’t get in anyone’s way whilst the work continues.The job is a bit like a large jigsaw puzzle as we have to select setts of the right size and depth to fit into the pattern- there’s a little more to it than you might think at first glance.


Bob Brooks

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