Watercress Line

Building Department Season change

Well autumn looms yet again, leaves on the line and all that. The Building Department seamlessly moves on to other tasks season to season - well we think so, although the form of dress changes as the cooler weather makes itself felt. At least we are spared some of the shorts seen during the hotter spells.


At Alresford we have started to address the dilapidation to the structure of some of the original concrete Southern Railway lineside huts that are located down the headshunt. A few of the concrete pillars have started to get quite bad as regards corrosion of the reinforcing steel bars and  that has caused the concrete to spall. We have constructed some wooden  moulds to the same profile as the pillars in order to shape the new concrete to match. It is not a straightforward job to pour the concrete into the moulds as we have to build from the bottom upwards and vibrate the mix in sections in order to get a strong casting. The moulds will  have to be braced against the huts in order to get a good sharp finish to the surface and to bond with the existing structure. Releasing fluid will be applied to the inside of the moulds to ensure easy removal after the concrete has set. As this job needs to be done in stages it will take a few weeks to achieve completion and hopefully be completed before any significant frosts occur.


At Medstead work on the replacement of the country end foot crossing boards has been completed, with new frames and boards now in place. This looks a lot smarter (until passing trains add their contribution to the finish) and should give many years of safe level passage across the tracks. Being close to our workshop base helped to get this job done quicker as we did not have to move supplies to another site and we had other facilities more to hand.


Also at Medstead, the handrail to the new flight of steps to the lower yard has been installed and paving slabs added to the sides in order that the banks can be built up. In due course it is being planned that a new wall will be built to replace the existing wooden sleeper wall supporting the embankment ,which is looking well passed its ‘use by date’


For Ropley, signs are being made in the workshop for the Miniature Railway to better direct visitors to the ‘Ropley High Level’ station where the trains run from. The larger sign will be fixed on posts just outside the station limits facing the mainline so passengers can see that as they approach from Alresford. The smaller sign will be positioned on a post in the main station near the footbridge and will have a smaller detachable sign underneath to indicate when the miniature railway is open. The style of the signs is in-keeping with the overall format of other such structures around the Railway and will blend with the heritage look we aim to achieve.



Bob Brooks

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