Watercress Line

CanPac Project Update

What do you think of our new colour scheme above for Canadian Pacific?!  Pretty in pink?! There’s no need to worry, this pink paint is merely an undercoat for areas that will be painted red in-between the locomotive frames.

Work on Canadian Pacific has steadily been progressing over the past few weeks and from a visual point of view it has really turned a corner.  The volunteers have been proceeding with cleaning the locomotive frames for many weeks now.  This is a not-too-glamorous task, but it is vital to allow the frames to be inspected and the volunteers must be congratulated for doing such a good job.  The end of the cleaning is in sight and as you can see, it is being followed up with painting.  The frames are beginning to look more like a finished product now, and this is especially satisfying to see.

We have had some work completed through Ropley’s machine shop for CanPac, something that will become increasingly common.  Replacement parts have to be manufactured from scratch from raw materials, a job that takes an incredible amount of time and skill.  Alfie, who is based in the machine shop is one of this project’s apprentices.  Alfie was heavily involved in manufacturing the parts from CanPac, which is very impressive considering that he has only been with us for a short space of time.

We now have five apprentices working on the Canadian Pacific project and as time goes on we’ll be looking at some of the things they have learned and produced.  As well as CanPac’s apprentices and volunteers, we also are about to begin a program to increase input into the project from even more people.  Work placements are about to start in Eastleigh, where we will be giving local unemployed people the opportunity to help us restore Canadian Pacific to working order, whilst getting some work experience for their CV and a reference to boot.  On Monday we met some candidates for the scheme to show them what they will be doing.  Rather pleasingly, one recruit has since found a job, but still wants to volunteer and be a part of this project.  This is probably our first volunteer we have gained who we can confidently say would not be on board if it were not for this project.

This week has been busy, getting everything ready for the placements.  Next week is going to be just as busy!  As well as the work placement programme beginning in earnest, we look forward to Becky starting with us.  Becky is our new Can Pac Project Outreach and Interpretation Officer.  Becky will be working exclusively on the project and an important role within this is to help us reach out to a wider range of people.  This will involve linking with wider communities and finding novel ways of encouraging people to take an interest in our locomotive and the work we do.

Also related to this project, during our open weekend we conducted our first tours of Ropley works, showing 116 people behind-the-scenes.  The tours were developed to show the level of expertise required to restore, overhaul and maintain our locomotives and carriages, and how we are looking to pass on these skills to new generations.  The tours seemed to be well received and judging by my sore throat by the end of the weekend, I think that I found plenty to talk about!  Thank you to Alfie for his help on Saturday and to David Mould on Sunday.

As you can see, there is plenty happening with this project and this is only the beginning!  We look forward to sharing more with you as the project progresses!

We still have to raise another £200,000 for the £1.5million CanPac project. The project will see not just the overhaul of 35005 Canadian Pacific but also 2 wooden Bulleid coaches. The boiler work alone is expected to exceed £100,000; so anything you can give will be gratefully appreciated, no matter how small you think it might be.

Please click here to contribute towards the fund via secure online payment.

Click here to download the appeal form.

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