Watercress Line

I can see a blue train

The saga of the slidebars continues…last month I wrote about the issues we had with the initial measuring of CP’s slidebars. After realising that something had gone very wrong with our measurements it was determined that the equipment needed some adjusting. So, after a quick trip to Ropley with the equipment where Steve Humby made the adjustments needed, we patiently waited for another visit from Andrew Forster. On 20th March, Eastleigh was filled with excitement for the third visit from Andrew, everything crossed that this time things would go smoothly. The adjustments that we had made did have some effect but there was some movement of the telescope in the mounting bracket. Luckily, the industrious volunteers at Eastleigh came up with a solution and work was quickly underway with the alignment.

I am happy to report that the measurements that we got on Andrew’s second visit were very much out. The right-hand and centre shims will need to be removed for some adjustment, so the front and back of the slidebar are level. This does mean that the volunteers will need to squeeze themselves into the confined space of the frame to remove the centre slidebar and shim. The left-hand side shim will be left as it is. For the horizontal measurements the right- and left-hand cylinders are out. There are several options to correct this but the easiest is to provide more generous clearance to the sides of the crosshead. Next job will be to remove the shims and machine the crossheads.

Last month the bogie and trailing truck were awaiting delivery to Eastleigh…this sounds easy! Not the case though, I was on the hunt for a hiab that could do the job. Most hiabs lift a maximum of 4 tons, however, our trailing truck weighs 5 tons and the bogie 6 tons…the hunt was on. Luckily, I managed to find a company that could manage the job and due to a cancellation (all down to Brexit!) things were on the move on Friday 29th March. The delivery of the bogie and trailing truck were to be completed in conjunction with a couple of other jobs. We recently sent some wheel sets to Arlington Fleet Services to be turned and these were ready for collection. Pick up of the wheel sets was the first item on the agenda except our lorry driver got lost in Eastleigh Works. I can safely say it is not easy directing someone across a large railway site when the only identifying features they can describe are the trains and their colours. It was hard not to laugh when the driver told me he could see a blue train, and could I work out where he was from that! Once the wheel sets were picked up it was off to Alresford, where a second set of wheel sets were picked up for delivery to Ropley. While at Ropley, the lorry crew helped to sort Swanage’s driving wheels, and these are now in the main workshop. Then the bogie and trailing truck made their long-awaited trip back to Eastleigh Works, with a bit more train spotting from the lorry driver. With the trailing truck and bogie now in Eastleigh Works we are just waiting for a date to use the overhead crane.

This month has truly been a comedy of errors, we wait to see what April brings for the team.

Thanks for reading, 

Becky (Project Supervisor)

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