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.

Friends of 80150 - 11 April 2017 - In the heat of the day ....

Since Chuck Berry’s death, I’ve been listening to a lot of his stuff – my favourite at the moment is “Let it Rock”.   I don’t remember it from 1963 (it was evidently No 6 in the UK charts), but it starts with:
In the heat of the day down in Mobile Alabama
Working on the railroad with the steel driving hammer

And goes on to tell the tale of a hapless bunch of P-Way workers. It ends with:
Engineer blows the whistle loud and long
Can't stop the train, have to let it roll on

And that dear reader, is why everyone involved in working parties on 80150 needs a valid Personal Track Safety (PTS) certificate.  Having got that bit of idle whimsy out of the way, Martin Orford and his helpers will certainly welcome any additional help – musical knowledge isn’t a requirement – but a valid PTS certainly is!

Since the last blog, a lot more has happened to 80150, and all of it good.. A big step forward was to get ourselves organised with a stand at the pre-Spring gala – partly to increase awareness, and partly to start on fund-raising.  This went really well, and thanks to some very generous donations of books etc we now have £532 in the bank – but it’ll need a bit more than that!

All the wooden covers have now been fitted to cylinder and valve ends, and various other orifices, so we’ve reduced the amount of water getting inside of components.  The working parties have also focused on cleaning and removing vegetable matter so that water isn’t retained in contact with metal surfaces.  In a lot of areas, rust has been scraped away, and the loco looks considerably better with a coat of paint or protective oil where its been applied.

The cab area has received a lot of attention as it’s been long exposed to the elements and to invasive plant-life.  The frames under the cab looked quite corroded, but now they’ve been cleaned up, the wastage doesn’t look too bad.  The bent bulkhead that supports the cab roof above the firebox has been removed so we can now consider repairing/replacing it, opening the way to possibly making a new cab roof to keep the rain out while the loco waits to get into the workshop.  The crew lockers have all been cleaned up, and the doors freed, and will soon receive some paint.  The surviving damper controls and reverser casting have already been painted so there is some tangible evidence that we’ve halted the deterioration of the cab area.

The pony truck has now received the same attention as the bogie, with surfaces cleaned up and oil poured in through the lubrication ports.  The lubrication holes have been bunged so that no further detritus can get in.

Now summer is approaching (“the heat of the day down in….”), it’s time to start on the jobs needed to make the loco moveable. We now have prototype wooden oil trays that have been trial-fitted to the two sizes of axlebox on the loco. We’ll need to make another 10 for a full set, and we’ll also have to improvise some oil pads to sit in the trays and wipe oil onto the axle bearings.  Now where’s that washing-up bottle and sticky-back plastic?  These don’t have to be good enough for the loco’s next million miles – just the 3 miles up to Ropley!

While all this scraping and cleaning has been going on, the railways management have started to talk to other railways about locating components that can be obtained for use on 80150.   We may be able to bring you some news of this in a future blog.  Your donations help to make this possible.

The July galas are fast approaching, which gives us another opportunity for PR and fundraising.  We have plenty of merchandise and some very smart 80150 T-shirts and greetings cards. We’d welcome your help with staffing our stand and explaining what we’re doing.

If you can help in any way with the conservation of this loco, and it’s eventual restoration, please contact Martin Orford at mhr.friendsof80150@btconnect.com

I’d like to join Martin in thanking everyone who has helped so far.  It’s quite a long list so I won’t include all the names – but you know who you are. That’s all for now.


Under Assistant Ropley Scribe, and occasional 80150 helper


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