Watercress Line

Crate expectations

13 September

The ‘crate’ on the dock at Medstead station was completed just in time to host a private corporate event held on the Railway. The piece nicely covers the old tank on the dock and provides an authentic looking replica of the type of load the crane would have dealt with in the past when freight was handled in such locations. Additional items such as lifting eyes and lettering were added to finish the structure off. The shot of the crate nearing completion with the crane in the foreground could have been taken any time during the 1950’s or earlier. The spiked fence around the dock was re-painted as well, not only for the private event but as part of the routine up-keep that we try to maintain along the Railway. This really makes the dock more attractive when it is open to visitors during galas and the like.

Post the Thomas event we were able to return to work in the station areas and to continue with the landscaping of the new shed at Alresford station. The run of setts and path edging was extended at the front ready for building the retaining wall with concrete slabs around the excavation to help in limiting erosion from the chalk sides. Good weather on Sundays has helped this project move along on a more regular basis. The station ASSET team are to plant suitable foliage to assist in covering the sides more decoratively.

In the workshop the new oak shelving unit to go behind the counter in the West Country Buffet was oiled and assembled ready to take down for installation. This was done when catering operations allowed, as the old shelves needed to be taken down before the new unit is fixed to the wall and they were required for continued sales purposes. Work continued in the workshop on the bench seat and high coffee counter for the other end of the refreshment room and all the finished components were taken by truck and train to Alresford for construction on site. The new wall unit looks very well, and stocked with a range of beers etc is much more attractive to customers at the counter. The components for the bench seat were put together during the week with volunteers coming in on different days especially to work during non-opening hours. Cushions for the bench will be made in a railway moquette to finish the seating in a suitable attractive fashion. All will be revealed nearer completion as we had to keep the area fairly covered and fairly respectable for customers whilst the job was in progress.

Various other maintenance jobs have been tackled and completed to repair buildings as defects have come to light including re-felting of the roofs to both the leaflet store at Alresford and the PWay office at Medstead were completed and hopefully drier conditions will be experienced this winter to come. Several water leak issues in tanks and pipework have also had to be investigated and repairs- in some rather dark, dusty and cobwebby places- have been made.

After several weeks of preparation in the workshop we finally assemble and installed a new hose wheel for train watering at Alton station. This is a part rebuild of a fire hose reel and was fixed to the fence near a water supply form the station store. This hose will enable train and station staff to water most of the carriages without having to go down on the tracks as often to use the ground hose supply. A reel handle will be added in due course when made in-house. All was tested and no leaks were detected and a good flow was achieved- it even reaches the flower tubs more conveniently.

Another cast iron sign is in the process of renovation in the workshop. This will be erected at Medstead station on the up-side of the foot crossing to replicate the sign on the down-side. It designates the fact that the crossing is not a public right of way, which allows the railway to close this off for operation running, but is of community benefit when open.

Bob Brooks

Building Department

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