Watercress Line

Building Department November Up-Date

At Alton the contractors employed to re-paint the toilet block recently completed their work and the building once again looks very smart and a credit to the scene at Alton Station. With a good run of weather it was finished just in time for the Autumn Steam Gala, with the paint nice and try and not still tacky- not good for the visitor experience. In the past the Building Department have undertaken various stabs at trying to keep the building looking good but in reality it has proved a little beyond our resources to get the whole place decorated at once and this was a good opportunity, using station raised funds, to get the job done. Station staff are looking to do an internal re-paint during the non-running period and their assistance certainly helps spread the load on keeping up with maintenance at Alton.

Workshop jobs recently have mainly concentrated on producing the final batch of round top fence panels to complete the run on the path to the Boiler Shop viewing gallery entrance at Ropley for when that opens for visitors. Due to the spacing and alignments involved the panels have not followed the standard type and variations have meant a little greater brainwork (a rare commodity these days) to be applied to get the correct size and shape. This final burst of fence panel work will mean that we shouldn't have to undertake any more fabrication of this item for the forseeable future and which means we can alter the metal frames in the workshop used as a former for fencing. This will result in a little more space in the workshop for other tasks but the frames can be brought back into use if required but in a more flexible form.

The Thursday team have been assisting with the Medstead Goods Shed project by sanding, priming and undercoating the lengths of architrave and skirting for the internal cladding. Shades of déjà vu here from when we were doing similar for the waiting shelter build for Ropley.

Another workshop job, following the successful replacement of the shop door at Ropley, is a new door for the disabled toilet at the station. Making a bespoke one from scratch is quite intricate - not like factories that turn them out by the hundreds on computerised jigs. In conjunction with the ASSET team from Alresford we have been renovating some of the information signs for the station that need repainting and re-lettering. As the rest of the station is looking very smart some of these signs that hadn't been touched for many a year were in need of some TLC. We have also transported the GPO mail trolley from Alresford to Medstead -yet another station artefact that was showing the ravages of time and weather. This will form a renovation job to be done as and when over the winter period to fill in the wet days inside with the stove warming nicely - deep joy.

We are currently chewing the fat- planning and surveying- the laying of a replacement water pipe to the signal box at Ropley from the main feed to the station building. This will run in a trench to be dug through the entrance area to the Education Room- past the now planted floral feature. This feature now gives an added bit of colour to this area and will be the centre piece of the entrance after it is laid with granite setts following the water pipe work.

Bob Brooks

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