Watercress Line

But no butts.

The water butt plinth at Medstead station was completed and the mortar set for the return of the water butt ready to collect this winters rain. The butt was completely drained during that long hot spell in the summer, causing a more arduous watering operation for our stalwart gardeners but who manged to maintain the usual brilliant display against the odds.   

In the workshop a setting-out board has been made to manufacture replacement windows ‘in house’ for various jobs where we need to have new windows installed and where repairs are no longer an option. A sheet of plywood was painted white and on this was drawn a full scale outline of the windows and frames that will be constructed during the  winter months. This method reduces construction time and also creates a consistent end product for installation where exact  size is necessary, and is also considerable saving on out-sourced frames. Currently, various windows and frames are now under construction with three teams working on them, the first ones being for the lamp room and ladies waiting room at Medstead.  

The hot sunny spell in the summer really aged the already faded and peeling paint on the front porch at Ropley station. In order to beat the winter forces of nature a small team tackled a re-paint before the worse of the weather struck. The team also did some repair work and painting on the windows on the same south side of the building. This should prevent the water ingress that has caused a few problems recently when the rain has been blown by strong winds.

Following a little contretemps between a delivery lorry and one of the gate posts at the entrance to the platform area at Ropley, a team has been removing the broken post and excavating a hole to install a new one. The incident also damaged the short length of spiked fencing that runs between the post and the machine shop wall. This had to be taken back to the workshop for some welding and straightening to be done, but it was given a repaint whilst it was there before re-fitting. It was just one of those distractions that take us away from the normal work schedule.

Also at Ropley, reasonable weather has made progress on the laying of granite setts to progress steadily. This also enabled the replica, but full functioning, concrete coal bunker to be erected on the slab area inserted in the setts- construction of which by members of the PWay Department can also be seen on their new(ish) blog. This feature provides an authentic look to the station as to how coal was stored for use in the open fireplaces in waiting rooms and station offices. When visitors come to the Railway during the colder months they are welcomed by blazing coal fires in the stoves and fireplaces in the station waiting rooms, giving a cosy feel. This is true especially younger visitors for whom such a feature is now not a common sight and they can actually see the source from where the warmth is given off.

Bob Brooks

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