Watercress Line

Ropley Loco Wednesday Gang - It’s the Ides of March again!

First the important news – I have a house full of kitchen fitters and heating engineers.  A glance at the calendar reminds me that it will soon be the Ides of March according to the pre-1752 calendar (Rome decreed that we wind the clocks forward by 11 days in 1752). So perhaps that’s when stability will return.

The “morning briefing” revealed no great surprises, except that the writing had got even smaller in an attempt to get everything onto the whiteboard (Hint: theres a larger whiteboard in the mezzanine). So we picked the tasks we fancied, and sullied forth with joy in our hearts and a fleece under our boiler suits.

First, an update on a couple of previous items.  The hardened spring bearer pads for Wadebridge’s new tender are going to be modified, but we’re waiting on a tool to do the job.  The bent bits of metal that Paul and I produced a couple of weeks ago have now been fashioned by Alex into what someone described as an “armoured hole” . This will go in the bottom of Canadian Pacific’s smokebox, giving access to the middle cylinder.

The Wadebridge tender gang disappeared again, providing peace and quiet to the rest of us.  As every grandparent knows, it can be too quiet, so I went to find out what they were up to. The answer was “moving Tinkerbell”. 

I don’t get an answer like that very often, so off I traipsed, and in turns out that “Tinkerbell” is the miniature steam locomotive that’s been cluttering up the carriage shop for the last 5 years. It’s now been re-homed to a storage container, using a “transporter wagon” – a similar method to that used on the Leek & Manifold Railway.

 Fresh from re-wheeling Swanage’s trailing truck, Les & Co (sans Les) prepared to re-wheel Swanage’s bogie. Some careful work was required to bring the wheel-sets into the area where the bogie resides, and then to clean up the journals.  They are now ready for the axleboxes to be fitted and will be rolled underneath the bogie frame when new springs arrive.

Last week, Paul and I left one of Cheltenham’s connecting rod bushes to be fitted, after two failed attempts to get the threaded holes in the rod and the bush into alignment. Oddly, this job was waiting for us so we tackled it again with more alignment marks, new techniques and every idea we could think of.  None of it worked! We’ve started to think that the bush rotates slightly as it’s pressed in, so after another two failed attempts we resorted to offsetting it and hoping that this caused it to end up in the right place. Success at last! 

We then went on to re-bush the coupling rods for Thomas. These went in reasonably easily until we got to the last one – with much the same result as we had with Cheltenham’s rods last week.  We left that for Mark to finish as he needs them on the loco ASAP.  I’m starting to suspect that these bushes were designed to have a plain hole in the bush and that we need to research the drawings and make some new bolts with un-threaded ends that will locate more easily.


Under Assistant Ropley Scribe


Cake roster for the next few weeks:
29 March             Colin Morris & Alastair
5 April                  Graham & Derek
12 April                Steve & Keith

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