Watercress Line

Coronavirus / Covid-19 Update

Our priority during the Coronavirus / Covid-19 outbreak, and the railway's closure, is on meeting our running costs. We need around £75,000 per month. Without this income, within a relatively short period we will exhaust our reserves which are so important us for our long term plans.

Although these are difficult times for all of us, we are asking you to consider providing financial support to the railway. With your support, ideally through a monthly standing order, the railway can be in a safe and good position to move forward rapidly when circumstances allow.

The amount is up to you as everyone’s circumstances are different, but please give as generously as you can. One-off donations would also be welcomed.

Thank you.

Visit our donation page to make a monthly gift or donate a single amount.

You can also text WATERCRESS to 70085 to donate £10. Texts cost £10 plus one standard rate message.

Carriage workshop blog, December 2019

First out of the gate

So there we have it, the race is done, and we have a winner! MK1 CK 16083 takes it by a nose (or more likely, a couple of months…) from its bitter rival, Bulleid carriage 1456, to win the race to completion in the carriage workshop stakes.

Having (I don’t think) done any work on the MK1, I feel no scruples in congratulating the chaps on a job well done. The carriage first came in to the workshop a couple of years ago, having not run for a decade or so and being in a rather sorry state. Some dismantling work was undertaken immediately, but the major work didn’t really get into top gear until our two live in contractors, Rob and Ian joined the team. It being the first time they had worked on a railway carriage, it’s very much to their credit that the overhaul has turned out such a splendid end product, which will certainly be the jewel in the carriage fleet (until Bulleid 1456 rolls out…I’m not competitive, honest!).

The overhaul has been quite comprehensive, with a full refurbishment of the bogies, repairs to the metal structure of the carriage and also major work on the interior. The classic MK1 disease of rotten crash pillars and toilet compartments was in evidence and dealt with, along with a fair amount of work on the roof to stop it leaking. Most of the window units required removal to repair rusted sections of metal around their apertures, before the aluminium window frames were reinstalled and the interior could be refitted.

We don’t have many carriages with compartments on the railway, as we have relied more on carriages with an open layout such as the classic MK1 TSO, so the all compartment CK (three third and four first class) will be an interesting and nicely contrasting addition to the fleet.

I hope you get the chance to have a ride in this vehicle soon. I think I’m correct in saying it will be out during Santa Specials and our Christmas Leave event, and then obviously as part of the main running fleet once the season starts up next year. Well done to everybody involved who worked on it, really nice job!

Back on the Bulleid carriages (phew!), 1456 is REALLY looking the part now. The first coat of gloss paint is on the exterior, and as I write being rubbed down ready for its second and final topcoat. We will be having it sign-written into Southern Railway livery very soon, but I’ll save including a photo of it in gloss paint until that’s done.

Inside the carriage, work continues fitting it out with all the fiddly bits! There’s more beading going in, and the seating has been finished off with the final armrests and cover panels. The final few ceiling panels in the vestibules have also gone up, allowing the final light fittings to be installed, which makes a nice change from wires dangling down to tickle the heads of the taller members of the team.

The toilet compartments are now panelled and the fittings are going in, including some rather funky (if I do say so myself) shaped pieces of timber to provide a skirt for the sinks. We’re in a really exciting phase of the restoration of the carriage, and in the not too distant we will have another very special addition to the carriage fleet here at the Watercress line.

Finally, and as usual I can’t quite believe it’s already this time again, I hope you all have a very merry Christmas, and come and have a ride on some of our lovely carriages during the happiest of new years!

Thanks for reading.

Ali

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