Watercress Line

Ropley Loco Weds Gang - 20th September - Cake Starvation Threatens Again!

During a TTI turn last weekend, our reader from Greece turned up on the train, complaining (very gently) that he hadn’t seen a blog for a while.  Well, that makes a grand total of 2 readers following our every move (including Mrs Trellis)!

It’s not that we’ve lost interest, it’s just that Dave’s been busy with his TV work, I took a week out to go to a very wet Swanage Folk Festival (it’s the Purbeck micro-climate, you know), and I returned to spend a whole Wednesday fixing computer and network problems. Thankfully, this week I was able to get back to a Wednesday in the workshop.

The bogie-men were continuing in their quest to get CanPac’s bogie axlebox horns correct to the nearest thou, probably for the first time since it was built 75 years ago.  Yesterday, the horn stays were being checked – they go underneath the axleboxes.

The tender chassis gang are a bit stuck at the moment as they don’t have a tender chassis to work on, so their efforts were divided between helping Ollie with preparations for painting 30506’s chassis, and taking a day trip to Dunstable to collect some bits.  As it happens, I worked in a GM factory in Dunstable for about 10 years in the 1970s – it would be interesting to see what has happened there.  It was also the place where the LNER branch from Hatfield joined the LMS branch from Leighton Buzzard – an anomaly which required a loco change back in the 1960s.

Matt and Mark spent most of the day under 30506, so Dave lent a hand, humping bits about and steam-cleaning a couple of springs.  We were very short-handed for a Wednesday so Dave and a few of the others also spent the morning shovelling out the pit, lighting fires etc. This may have been the first time on record when the shed staff complained about having too few volunteers – it’s usually the opposite.

Paul and Stu had done some work on pipe clips for Swanage’s lubrication system, and possibly soldered some connectors onto various bits.  Stu and I picked up from there, and soldered on some more connectors, at one point under the watchful eye of a group of escorted visitors – some of whom claimed to be silver soldering experts.  They seemed to think we were doing it right, which was quite encouraging.  I’d scrounged a pipe bender through one of the local re-cyling groups and we had a go at using it to shape the ends of some of the pipes that deliver oil to the leading axleboxes.  It took a bit of fettling to get anywhere near the right shape, but we managed to get a couple connected up.

I took a walk up to the Carriage and Boiler Shops and got a few pictures and some help from Andy,Gordon and Ali to explain recent progress – pictures below.

Lastly, word must have spread about the excellence of the Wednesday Gangs cake-baking, and the imminent expiry of the cake rota.  I’m hoping that yesterday’s footplate rider is coming to our rescue

Another blog in a couple of weeks – got to keep our reader in Greece happy.

Under Assistant Ropley Scribe


Cake rota for the next few weeks:
27 Sep             Welsh Pete & Aussie John

4 Oct               Cake starvation threatens again!

Photo gallery