Watercress Line

Coronavirus / Covid-19 Update

Our priority during the Coronavirus / Covid-19 outbreak, and the railway's closure, is on meeting our running costs. We need around £75,000 per month. Without this income, within a relatively short period we will exhaust our reserves which are so important us for our long term plans.

Although these are difficult times for all of us, we are asking you to consider providing financial support to the railway. With your support, ideally through a monthly standing order, the railway can be in a safe and good position to move forward rapidly when circumstances allow.

The amount is up to you as everyone’s circumstances are different, but please give as generously as you can. One-off donations would also be welcomed.

Thank you.

Visit our donation page to make a monthly gift or donate a single amount.

You can also text WATERCRESS to 70085 to donate £10. Texts cost £10 plus one standard rate message.

Ropley Loco Wednesday Gang – 20th June 2018 - Love Me Tender, Love Me Do.

Not quite the longest day and driving through the low cloud and the November like mist, it was difficult to reconcile that Thursday was actually the longest day.  However, the day turned out well including the weather.

The White Board and a number of new items including restarting work on the mechanical overhaul of CanPac’s Tender Frames, something we had started on some months ago.  The Tuesday Gang from Eastleigh have done a good job of removing rust and years of grime and give most of the Frame a coat of paint.  More of that later.

Somewhere in the wilds of Ropley Shed, Colin and his team of oil pipe Wranglers were putting some finishing touches to their elegant pipe work.  After many months I should think that they will be glad to see the back of this particular task.

Les and his team are working on CanPac’s Bogie having finished the S15’s.  Les was hard at work truing up the Horns and Welsh Pete and Keith where taking yet more measurements, this time concentrating on the distance between the bearing surface of the inner=-wheel and the outer face of the tyre.  As with all these jobs, repeat measurement to ensure accuracy and therefore hopefully many years of trouble free running.

John assembled a small team to replace Brake Blocks on the Black 5.  Heavy work when you compare the weight of a well-worn old Block with that of a new one.  All went well and later in the day John was lighting a warming fire in the 5.

In the Wheel Drop our colleagues from the Boiler Shop were removing the Safety Valves from the Ivatt Tank and examining the Top Feed.

Another of the days tasks was to find a large cast iron water strainer that was in need of repair.  Being made of cast iron it needs specialist treatment so having found the item, put it on a small pallet for transport, many happy hours were spent trying to work out how to use the strapping device to provide tension the then clamp the two ends together using what looks like rather large staples. After some hours and much jollity, Pilot Pete found the instructions and so the fun came to an abrupt end.

Those of you that have visited Ropley in the last view weeks will hopefully have seen and improvement along the Yard access road where a small team, led by Michael, have been clearing clutter from the bank and from the undergrowth, have constructed a new barrel store from Pallets, having removed and replaced the Footpath Marker Posts and have started to paint the Yard Barriers.  More will follow including new fencing and another barrier on the path to the Harry Potter Bridge.

A number of people have asked me about the structures in the Car Park.  These are lifting frames constructed some years ago to enable the lifting of Tender Frames.  They were first used on the Standard 4 Tender Frames, have been used on Wadebridge’s new frames, will soon be used to lift CanPac’s Tender Frames and eventually the new build Frames for our own Standard 4.  After many years of looking rather weather worn they now have a nice coat of industrial looking grey paint.

The Medstead Wickham Trolley was in need of new Brake Blocks, another job that appeared on the whiteboard.  Although we have blocks in stock they are not drilled to take the brake pin and so Andy and John used one of the old blocks as a pattern, taking care with the cast iron.. 

Back to CanPac’s Tender Frames.  After clearing more items from the bank, loading new barrels of Oil on to the storage plinth and putting empty barrels on to the newly constructed timber structure, and looking for Cheltenham’s Spark Arrester, it was time to consider what actions needed to be in place to move the overhaul of the Tender Frames forward.  The inner frames are badly wasted towards the front, the front Brake Cylinder brackets are very thin and the Buffer Beam and Drag Box are in need of major work to repair both rust and shunting damage.  In consultation with Steve H it was decided that we would make a start on removing some of these offending areas.  Removing bolts that may have been in place for 70 years can be very difficult; however, the first two rows came out with a little help from a big spanner and an even bigger hammer.  The second row didn’t want to move so with some heat, large Stillsons and a length of pipe to give us mechanical advantage, they gave up the fight.  A very satisfactory start to this large task.

So we all went home happy, but as one old Sage once said, ‘I don’t see the point of happiness; you can’t buy money with it’.

Till the next time,

Dave – 2Jags

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