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 - 4th July 2018 – Warm and Tender Love

Dave-2Jags started the tender puns last week with “Love me Tender” so it was off to Google to search for another song with “Tender” in the title – plenty of quantity, but not much in quality there!  So with “Phew, What a Scorcher” as the only alternative, I’m left with Chris Rea’s “Your Warm and Tender Love” as the only one worth listening to - it kind of fits with the sweather and the amount of TLC that can-Pacs tender is going to need.

I can hear the clamour for more news about Swanage's pipework but disappointingly, there’s nothing much to tell except that we installed the last bit of pipe last week. It’s just over a year since we started dragging out a tangle of bent pipe from the container and made a start on working out where it all goes.  Since then, we’ve cleaned, cut, annealed, repaired, soldered connectors on, bent and installed 121 sections of pipe onto the loco – all reasonably neatly.  And in case you’re interested, we've re-made 47 pipe clips and brackets along the way too.

Some bits are now labelled and back in store while the middle cylinder is replaced, and we still have another 39 sections to make when the boiler returns. And that’s just part of the lubrication system - there are other parts of the loco lubricated from oil-pots,  some from a mechanical lubricator, and the valve gear is lubricated by the chain-driven oil pumps in the oil bath.

Dave-2Jags and his merry men have set to work on Can-Pacs tender chassis.  Work in the last couple of weeks has focused on getting the spring bearers out.  These are hardened steel pads that support the tender on it’s springs, and were all siezed in their mounts.   The springs have all been tested and generally found to be OK apart from a bit of one of the bearers that has broken away and is stuck in one of the mounting holes. We’ll have to find a way of getting it out somehow.

Some sections of the inner chassis of Can-Pacs tender are in fairly poor shape, and will need to be cut out and replaced.  Steve made a start on gas-axing out a frame stretcher this week, but there's lots more of this to come. 

The bogie-men have returned to Can-pacs bogie and trailing truck which have a programme of work before they can be re-wheeled. This week Les was busy with the angle-grinder to make the bogie’s horn-blocks straight and true – possibly for the first time in 70 years.  Keith was assembling the side-control bits on the trailing truck, and making adjustment to the bits that secure the compressed side-control springs.  We know that most of our visitors see the two trucks as "just another set of wheels" and relatively unimportant compared to the big and glamourous coupled wheels. This impression is reinforced by constantly having to put their Hornby-Dublo trains back on the track when the bogie flops out.  Maybe we've done a little bit in these blogs to show how much work went into their design – which may not have been matched by the amount of attention given to their maintenance since construction.

The area alongside the shed has been receiving a lot of TLC lately.  The discarded loco parts and other debris has been removed and the oil drums now have a proper home.  Most recently the barrier has been spruced up, and Mike has made a start on a fence to make this area more secure and presentable, and to keep our young visitors from falling into the cow field.

That’s probably enough for now.

Under Assistant Ropley Scribe

Photo gallery