Watercress Line

Tally ho!

As usual I find myself thinking it is far too long since I last did a blog, my most sincere apologies!

Now that a certain Bulleid pacific has left the building, we have been really stuck in to the carriages designed by the same chap. While we are on the finishing straight (or at least manoeuvring through the final few corners) with Brake s4211, we have also really got stuck in on the second carriage, 1456. We have two tracks in the workshop, and the carriages are now separated on to individual roads. This has given us a lot more space to work around them, and we are really seeing the benefits of that added space.

On 1456 we have been working very hard on the under frame. A lot of our volunteers have been making a lot of mess and noise by needle gunning the metal under frame, to strip off the rust back to bare metal, so it can be painted up to black gloss. We have had a lot of help to do this from the wagon group who are based up at Medstead, a big thank you to them!

Chris Yates has been in redoing all the pipe work (steam heating and vacuum pipes), rebuilding the battery box mounts and doing repairs to the structure of the vehicle. We found that one of the cross-members of the under frame had rusted right through. Due to its position above one of the wheels, we strongly suspect that this was simply due to spray from wet rails being sent up by rotation of the wheel! The cross-member has been replaced. We are also about to re-rivet the truss rods, and re-weld the queen posts, as there had been significant wastage in these areas that only became apparent once the rust had been stripped away with the needle guns.

Our friends in the Wednesday gang have been doing a huge amount of work on the bogies, these are being striped down so the frames can be taken away, shot blasted and repainted. Once returned, the other parts will be put back on, with repaired or replaced springs and other items like brake gear.

On there is also a huge amount of work happening on s4211. The roof has had its seventh coat of paint (with at least one more to come); the interior is being finished off, including ceiling fittings like lights and ventilators in the passenger compartments, the internal and external doors, and the toilet compartment is now complete with flushing toilet. In the brake end I have been fitting out the guards compartment with its heater, hand brake and finishing off the ceilings. I spent a horribly dusty couple of days filling and sanding the ceilings so they were smooth – an utterly thankless task of the sort that once finished, there isn’t really much to show for it!

Gordon, Derek and I also spent most of a day down on Hayling Island, where we were working on the fourth of the Victorian carriages that has been given to the railway. This vehicle is in a serious state of deterioration, and we will not be saving it as is, but took many parts that will aid a possible restoration or replication of the vehicle in the future.

Ali Steele

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