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 - BOLSO, Bungs and Buffers

It’s time for an update on BOLSO as I’ve not written a blog since mid December and a lot has happened since the last one.  But first, why “BOLSO”? Well, like me, Martin has short-sighted banjo-playing friends, and to a short-sighted banjo player, “80150” looks a lot like “BOLSO”. The name seems to have caught on.

Our outline plan for the next few months was formally submitted to the Railway’s management and we now have formal support from both the Company and the Society.

The “Friends” have grown in number so there are now some new names who turn up to working parties (Paul and Steve) and some helpers (George, Graham and Mike) who are quietly making bits and pieces – particularly wooden covers, bungs and scrapers.  Some of the covers and bungs have now been fitted, with more on their way.

The first few working parties concentrated on un-seizing the bogie – and more recently, the pony truck.  After considerable research, Les created a penetrating oil, based on vegetable oil, and this has been poured down into the side-control gear using the holes designed for lubrication pipework. On each subsequent visit, more oil has been added with the hope that this will help set it free.

The visible surfaces on the side-control gear have also been given a good scraping, with mixed results.  The pony truck and the part of the bogie that sits under the bunker have come up quite well, but the part of the bogie that sits under the cab floor is in pretty poor condition due to years of ash, coal-dust, rain etc.

We held a working party on 6th Feb with the goal of installing the overhauled buffers onto the loco.  Richard B had kindly arranged with the P-way gang to have the buffers taken down to 80150, and for P-way and Alresford Traincare to help with the Road-Railer crane and the 08 shunter. This first involved moving 80150 about 100ft towards London, so the Road-Railer could reach it from the adjacent siding. Martin had gone underneath and oiled all the axle journals beforehand, and when the shunter moved it, it went quietly as a mouse – to everyone’s great relief.

With some terrific teamwork, the buffers were all on within an hour or two. The buffers were probably the first components to be attached to 80150 in the last 50 years, so everyone was smiling.  Thanks are due to a long list of people from P-Way, Alresford Traincare and Ops for making this all go smoothly.

The loco was then pushed back to it’s original resting place, all without incident, and we amused ourselves with fitting some covers onto the cylinder and valve ends. The studs need a die-nut to improve the threads, then we should be able to get the other covers on.

With the spring gala approaching, the “Friends of 80150” will have a stand in a warm and dry in the Education Room at Ropley – mainly to raise awareness amongst our visitors but also to sell a few items of merchandise. If you can donate any items that can be sold on the stand (eg books, videos etc) or if you can help with staffing it, please let us know. There is a box in Ropley mess if you want to drop anything off for sale on the stand.

You can contact us at mhr.friendsof80150@btconnect.com. 


Under Assistant Ropley Scribe

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