Watercress Line

Into Winter

21 November

A slight delay to Building Department Blogs recently due to IT issues, but hopefully normal publication intervals will now be resumed to keep our reader (if there is one) informed of what we get up to in between tea and biscuit breaks.

As we head into Winter we now have to take our chances with the weather on volunteer days, but we will continue to meet anything that comes our way to continue with the Departments to-do task list- there’s fortitude for you. Just as we tick one job off, two seem to take its place, but that’s what we are here for and to meet the challenge of keeping pace with them.

At Alresford, a team took advantage of a dry couple of days to tackle some deterioration on the Strongs of Romsey sign located in the picnic site. Some rot had occurred in the upper parts of the uprights and top cross member. This sign, similar to the one recently repaired at Alton, can be lowered to the ground on some pivot bolts in the upright posts. It was surprising how water had penetrated the grain in the top of the posts and caused rot to some 18 inches down. New pieces were spliced in and the top cross member replaced, now with a lead capping on the uprights to prevent the ingress of water in the future.

The donated gradient boards, originals probably from somewhere in the western end of the LSWR, that have been renovated (see before and after photos) have now been installed at Ropley in the gardens alongside the path leading to the Boiler and Carriage Shop viewing galleries. They nicely compliment the speed restriction sign already placed there and will add to the other railway artefacts that are due to be positioned along this route giving more interest to visitors- although the plants are very attractive as well. Further up the path, new panels of hairpin fencing have been erected around the exit path from the Boiler Shop viewing gallery for added safety and to finish this job - only started about two years ago!

In the workshop another set of window frames is starting to get underway for the signal box at Medstead as the existing ones have been showing signs of decay and need replacing. As with the others made for the ladies waiting room , these will probably be a fairly lengthy job, but a good one to start as the winter moves in and inside jobs become more to the fore. This is part of the overall project to overhaul and upgrade the box and its operational functions.

The smaller jobs around the Railway also carry on. At Alresford a new signal ladder board has been made and fitted to prevent unauthorised climbing on a signal post on platform 1. Some weather strips were added to the West Country Buffet store to give a better water run off to the entrance, and minimise those unpleasant drips down the back of the neck when going in and out. Another team took advantage of a fine day and laid an extension to the path that the Watercress Belle staff use for access, thus providing a safer surface. This is to be further extended for access to the set of carriages for maintenance purposes.

Bob Brooks

Photo gallery