Watercress Line

No veneer in ‘ere

The Days Out with Thomas event saw the Building Department teams undertaking tasks away from the main public areas over the 9 days but we normally plan jobs for this type of event that can be carried out in the workshop and some other non-public areas to keep up with the work schedules.


The platform trolley from Alton we have been working on, having received the attentions of the painters, has now started to have the wooden slats replaced on the frame. Solid oak has been used this time to replicate the original type of construction, none of yer laminate or soft wood. Soft wood was used last time and also the slats were effectively butt fitted so water ponded on the decking and it greatly reduced the working life of the trolley. The slats are now spaced to allow rain water to pass through and allow the wood to dry out quicker. The current refurbishment should see a lifespan of decades, and it also acts as another quite comfortable platform seat in good weather. Another hardwood trolley deck has also been put togther using hardwood, this time for the renovation of an original GPO mail trolley for Alresford station.


Also, in the workshop, we continued with preparing fence panels, posts and gate ready for moving to site at Northside Lane foot crossing to form a kissing gate on the upside of the track. It’s about 4 years since we installed one on the downside but it seems a much shorter time than that - the years passing more swiftly these days it appears. This job will require a larger than normal team approach to get all the heavy items and equipment down to the site, which is relatively remote. The ground will need to be levelled first to ensure we can get the posts and fence panels alligned and we started that on one of the infrequent dry days we have had recently. The cast iron warning signs being refurbished to replace the ones currently in situ are coming along and will give a more traditional look to the crossing than the current modern version aluminium ones which are looking rather shabby. A ‘new’ railpost had to be cut and drilled to take one of the signs as one of the current modern aluminium signs is only attached to a farily lighweight post, and the cast iron signs are blinking heavy to say the least. The newly installed one on the downside looks the business now and really makes walkers take notice of what to do at this point.


On a fine day we took the the posts and chains to Alresford to install the fence behind the excavation for the new shed at the side of the path to the picnic area. The posts were put in using an awl to create the holes near the edge of the drop so as not to disturb the ground to much. The posts were made from steel box section already in stock and the chains were some that had been donated years ago- and stored for such an occasion. A bit of touching up of the paint was required after installation but the feature adds a little decoration and also a safety barrier around the steep drop.


Bob Brooks

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