Watercress Line

Ropley Loco Wednesday Gang – 18th July 2018 - That Fence is getting very ‘offensive’

Another very warm Wednesday might account for the reduced numbers again this week, but just maybe it was the thought of trying to dig more post holes. But more of that later.

As I was arriving, Dave and George were on their way to Medstead to pick up the van for a trip  to Leatherhead to collect some cast railway signs that have very kindly been donated by Alan.  Hopefully some photos in the next Blog.

Iain has again been busy on the Forklift, bringing up some cast iron billets that are used for make piston and valve rings and also a new spring for the S15.

Much of the current activity is focused on CanPac’s Tender Frame and large chunks of the wasted inner frames are gradually being removed.  This involves either removing bolts or burning out and drilling rivets.  Colin, Ben and Kieran assisted at times by Pilot Pete, attacked the frames with hammers, drifts and wedges and during the day made good progress in removing the brake brackets that sit between the inner and outer frame.  They then started drilling out rivets that attach the inner side plating to the front drag box.  All the fitted bolts holding the spring rubbing plates were drilled out last week and the Tuesday Gang have continued with removing the brake cylinder brackets.

The Wraggle Taggled Pipe Wranglers of old Ropley Town, sounds like a folk song, have now turned their attention to the brake gear of both CanPac and Swanage. Trolley loads of tender pull rods were being liberated from various storage points and assembled at the front of the shed.  However, the search for brake pins was less successful although it is likely that most of them will need to be replaced anyway.

When using the 110v Magdrill the supply was tripping.  Morley was later seen investigating the pump below the Wheel Drop which seemed to be the source of the problem.  Whilst in the Wheel Drop, I took some photos of the progress on the S15 and noted that a Tender has arrived, although the wrong way around.

Keith was continuing to work on CanPac’s bogie and on several occasions was seen lying on his back with hammer in hand.  And yes, he was accused of sleeping on the job!

Back to that darn fence.  Last week we dug out and concreted in the ‘large strain posts’, but  attempting to drive in wooden support posts into the hardened ground along the yard access road was less successful.  Bob had made a driver which under normal circumstances would have worked well, however with the current dry conditions wood into ‘concrete’ doesn’t go!  I decided to hire a petrol Auger.  Well even this made very little impression on the hard ground and so after several attempts we gave up, drank more tea, and talked about our next move.  Watch this space, or should I say this fence?

During the day we were visited by a small group from Australia lead by Colonel Graham Fleeton.  It was a great pleasure to show them around the Yard, the Carriage Shop and the Boiler Shop.  I hope they went away with a good impression of the Mid Hants Railway.  I understand their visit will be featured on the Battlefield History Tours Website in Australia.

I was looking at the 1932 Bradshaws and noted that there were 6 trains a day and only 2 on Sundays on our railway.  Also looking at the ticket receipts for Ropley for the same period there was little through traffic.  I think one could say ‘a local destination for local people’.  Now where have I heard that before?

Till the next time,

Dave – 2Jags

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