Watercress Line

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Ropley Loco Weds Gang - 31st October 2018 - Catching up

I’ve been away for a while, enjoying wildlife in Tanzania, so this is a bit of a catch-up.  I started the day with a leisurely stroll around Ropley, taking pictures of all the things that seemed to have changed during the last month or so.

The most obvious was the excavation work to create Ropley North Yard.  The existing headshunt/siding is being extended, and a second siding will be installed alongside. There’s evidently been a regular push-pull working to take loaded Rudd wagons full of excavated chalk up to the site of Butts Junction for disposal.  The sidings will give us storage space for the stock presently located at Alton while the bridge replacement is completed.  Incidentally, the term Rudd is the “Fishkind” that refers to 21-ton low-sided ballast wagons. 

Another noticeable change was the Black Five – it wasn’t there!.  It had been taken down to Alresford for shipment to Margate where it will be housed in a nice dry warehouse until it returns to Ropley for overhaul.   It will have its old shed-mate Bittern for company.

On my walk back from the sidings I dropped in to the carriage shop – partly to discuss a PC that had packed up.  The two Bulleid coaches had exchanged positions and the one now nearest the door was ready for the roof to be canvassed.  A Mk1 is also receiving attention and the roof had been stripped to bare metal for painting.

As I returned for tea break (just in time), I found Dave-2Jags, Mike and Jim constructing an over-sized rabbit-hutch from an old stillage and some heavy plywood.  This will be the new store for loco sand and will be forklift accessible. By the end of the day they had the roof on and I last saw them installing roofing felt and doors.

Out in the wheeldrop shed, the boiler has been removed again from S15 30506 so that a new ashpan can be constructed. Meanwhile Sam and Matty were preparing the boiler for it’s hydraulic test and it’s out-of-frames steam test.   Back in the workshop, Aussie John and Andy were cleaning up bits of 30506’s motion, which had been re-bushed and are ready for fitting. 

Nearby, new volunteers Scott and Ken were painting heat-shield panels from the Class 50 diesel. I’ve not encountered them before, so welcome chaps.

Les and the bogie-men now have wheels in CanPac’s trailing truck.  Wooden supports keep the wheelsets in the right place while a bit of piano wire provides a centre-line. The latter was being adjusted while I watched and I imagine the next step will be to fit the axleboxes.  There was a brief diversion to fit the cotter into CanPac’s bogie side-control so the position for the retaining pin’s hole could be determined.  This took a considerable amount of persuasion to drive it in, and even more persuasion to get it back out again.

In the yard, a gang was at work removing wasted parts of CanPac’s tender chassis. The buffer beam was already off and work was now focussed on removing the rear dragbox.  It’s been a while since I’ve seen the heavy air-powered drill in use – perhaps the mag drill couldn’t lock onto the uneven surface.

The gang working on Swanage/CanPac’s brake rigging have been busy in my absence.  Alan has been using the newly acquired floating-head reamer to ream out the holes in CanPac’s brake hangers to get them to a uniform size and restore them to being circular rather than egg-shaped. 

I spent a few minutes under Swanage’s tender to check the state of the paintwork around the holes where the brake-hanger pins go through. I think it’s going to need a bit more than kero to make it fit for a coat of red paint - we’ll try a wire brush next week.  Steve had asked me to remove the temporary delivery pipe that had been fitted under the tender for use as a water bowser.  I think I have located it but it needs checking first, and we’ll need to find or replace the bit that belongs there.

Lastly, one of our PCs is on the blink.  If you have a surplus PC that’s reasonably modern and capable of running Windows 7/10 (ie capable of 4Gb memory and a decent CPU), please consider donating it to us.  You can contact me via mhr.friendsof80150@btconnect.com

Under Assistant Ropley Scribe

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