Watercress Line

Paths, doors, signs, tanks, benches…

Recently some of the chaps in the Building Department have been undertaking some tasks in support of the re-signalling scheme at Medstead station They have laid a path base of ash and topped with paving stones to create a safe walking route to the new temporary signal box on the downside past the foot crossing. This is now being extended to create a path to the down starting signal in conjunction with some troughing being installed for feeds to new point motors and signal motors. No doubt we will be asked to be involved in more tasks for this project as it moves along by the S&T Department, using our expertise- little do they know.


We have also been taking the opportunity to catch up with some of the more maintenance type of jobs that are a necessary part of our remit. Currently we have been renovating some of the ‘ No Unauthorised Access…’ signs that are displayed around stations to restrict visitors from some operational areas of the Railway. We have also painted up some of the cast ‘Shut this Gate’ signs that are fixed to some gates to ensure safe circulation around stations and crossings. Another maintenance job has been to replace the hot water tank at Alton station, as the old one had got excited and split its seams and was leaking in the store room. We need to get these things done when we can in order to free our time for some of the larger projects we have lined up later in the year- more on those soon.

A workshop job that has been on-going the last few weeks is the construction from scratch ( well wood actually) of a new external door for the shop at Ropley. The original has got to the point where further repair is not an option and a new one to match is the only way to go. The herring bone style outer panels at the bottom were quite tricky to do, with some careful measuring to get the angles and cut right for a good watertight fit, but the painstaking approach has produced an excellent product. A photo taken from underneath as it was being worked on the trestles gives a bit of a restricted view of this. The door will be treated and coated with aluminium primer before painting up to a gloss finish to ensure a long shop life- pun. We hope to be able to re-use the original glass if we can get it out of old door intact.

The Halls Distemper sign mentioned last time has now started to be put up on the lineside at Ropley. The posts were dug into the embankment, not without a little difficulty, as subterranean rabbit holes meant that firm earth turned into voids unexpectedly. These then had to be back filled and tamped down to give solid support to the posts. Some nice sunny weather accompanied the task and the sign and the on-going work attracted a lot of interested pointing and waving from passengers in passing trains. Some finishing off work will be done to make the site more attractive and easier to maintain.

Lastly for this blog, and just to complete the benches story, the LSWR donated benches have now completed their renovation. Two have been placed in the Education Room at Ropley- where they are reported to be popular with children on school education visits, and the third one now graces the downside waiting room at Medstead where it adds an authentic feature as well as additional seating.

Bob Brooks

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