Watercress Line

Due to the COVID-19 emergency the Watercress Line Mid Hants Railway is temporarily closed to the public. The safety of our staff, volunteers and visitors is our most important consideration. You will know that the Watercress Line relies on ticket revenue to cover its operational costs, which currently work out more than £75,000 a month. Without money coming in from running services, the railway is eating into its financial reserves to survive. If you can help, please click on the Virgin Money Giving link below which allows you to donate a single amount or pay monthly if you're able to. You can also text WATERCRESS to 70085 to donate £10, texts cost £10 plus one standard rate message. Thank you for continuing to support us during this unprecedented situation. We hope to be able to welcome you back to the Watercress Line soon.

Ropley Loco Wednesday Gang - 12th December – Christmas comes early in a Hampshire

It’s been a hectic few weeks at home and at Ropley, so I haven’t had a lot of time to take pictures and write blogs recently – but at last I have a moment.  We’ve had a couple of PCs go haywire and a couple of donated PCs arrived in the nick of time, so I’ve been repairing and configuring PCs, and lugging them about the site. 

The timing of all this couldn’t be better as the Tender Brakegear team have reached the point where there are about 80 holes to ream and 80 bushes to make for CanPacs tender, plus another few for Swanages tender.  To me, that’s even more tedious than watching 2,000 Windows Updates being processed, but Alan, Dave and Mike seem to enjoy it.  All three have done time in machine shops so the plan is to get them all passed to use the Harrison lathe, which will get our bushes made and increase our machining capacity.

The only little problem is that with every passing week, there’s less and less of CanPacs tender that we can eventually fit the brake rigging onto.   Dave-2Jags, Kieran, Pete, Colin, etc have been drilling out rivets for weeks now, removing wasted platework, and are well on their way to releasing the rear dragbox. By the time we get the brake rigging ready, there won’t be a tender chassis to attach it onto, so it will go into store.

No pictures to show for it, but we’ve been helping with 30506’s tender bogies in the last few weeks.  The rivets that secured the wasted diagonal beams have been drilled out, and the outer frames were given a clean and a coat of black paint.  This was closely followed by removing the bushes from the brake hanger brackets – a bit of practice for a job that needs doing on CanPac and Swanage’s brake hanger brackets.

The bogie men have continued with their seemingly-endless job of overhauling CanPacs bogie and trailing truck. In recent weeks they’ve been grinding the bogie horn guides to the correct alignment, and blueing in the newly machined and white-metalled axleboxes. 

Out in the yard, the new sand shed is finished and in place, and a newly reconditioned steam cleaner has arrived, thanks to Dave-2Jags efforts.  Just in time, as I hope to use it to clean up the inside frames of Swanage’s tender, to get them ready for painting.

This week we did a half-Wednesday, then made ourselves presentable for our annual trip on the Hampshire Unit to enjoy a Christmas Lunch at Alresford.  Our thanks go to Dave-the-scribe for organising the outing, to the Hammy crew, and to Elaine and her team for coping so well with us all.

A Merry Christmas to our reader.

Under Assistant Ropley Scribe

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