Watercress Line

Up and Down the Line 6th November

Following the completion of the yard steps at Medstead, the team working on that have moved their attention back to the laying of the setts at Ropley station in the area outside the Education Room entrance. As we planned, this job will fit around other projects that are on the work schedule, as it is possible to work in a small area at a time and leave the site safe for normal pedestrian movements through the main routes. It is now planned to insert cross rows of setts to break up the proposed tarmac area into smaller sections to give a more attractive surface. The grill outside the staff entrance door is being replicated outside the Education Room entrance door and set into recesses with stone chippings to facilitate drainage.


Also at Ropley a team has started work on re-building the wall around the ash dump in the yard. This was necessitated due to the back wall collapsing at the top when ash was being moved about. However, it gives us the opportunity to create a stronger wall which will be slightly higher and hopefully prevent the ash pile from over-spilling onto the area at the back of the dump. This the enables this area to be tidied up and possibly planted out and also the fence panels are then not encased in ash –which doesn’t do the paint much good.


A bit further down the line at Alresford- we get about a bit- the repairs to the concrete huts has started on site with the wood formers being fitted around the pillars. The loose concrete has been removed in order that the new pour will completely encase the steel reinforcing rods. It’s not an easy site to get at to mix concrete so the job will progress slowly as regards that, but also to allow the concrete to set and to allow the formers to be moved from one pillar to another.


In the workshop at Medstead work has started on renovating an engineering trolley that has been donated to the Railway. Although the Building Department don’t have a particular need for this type of thing an enquiry with the loco shed came back with a positive response for it to be installed there for the moving around of the more heavy bits of kit. In order to pass on something that is fit for use we are taking the trolley apart to replace some of the wood and bolts and to generally give it an MOT. We won’t be giving it any warranty but it should give many years service and hopefully reduce the strain on some backs during manoeuvring of parts.


Part of the workshop is currently being taken up with various pieces of furniture and fittings that have been removed from the SI’s office at Medstead for painting. The office itself is also to be given a total internal repaint (a little overdue) and is being undertaken mainly by the Medstead station maintenance team, who are also making steady progress on the external painting of the station buildings- well done chaps.


Another piece of furniture in the work shop is a donated original railway clerks high chair that has begun a restoration in the workshop. It looked rather a sorry sight when it first landed with us, but we are not daunted but such things and it was tackled with woodworm treatment initially to prevent further infestation, although there did not appear to be any recent activity. The basic construction is sound apart from a couple of joints that need to be re-glued, probably caused back in steam days by station staff tipping backwards on it on quiet times in between trains, a risky activity due to the height of it. This is a primarily wet day project and should occupy a few chaps inside in the warm with the stove going when its unsuitable to continue with outside tasks.


Bob Brooks

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