Watercress Line

Wagon Group Report 11th April 2017

Despite the weather they had a good day at Medstead on Tuesday. A few outstanding odd jobs were tackled until the weather improved a bit... filling in around the sleepers under the track ready for the new set of steps for the wood working CCT; moving some buffers around; removing a cable run from across a door of the woodworking CCT etc.
Ian, Dave, Keith and John then set about getting the woodworking CCT side doors to close properly. These have not been properly secured for some years and the doors had swollen and jammed. After forcing them open a lot of wood was planned off the hinge ends, two lines of bolts had their ends angle ground off, lots of rust on the surrounding metalwork was removed and holes were drilled in the doors to miss the nuts on the above mentioned bolts.  The doors now close in properly. A set of  locking bars was obtained and a start made on fitting them.
Keith did some more work on his profiles for cutting the timbers for the ends of the SW Tar wagon. He discovered that in addition to all the other difficulties encountered that each side of the tank end is a different curvature! He found this out when he reversed his template to check... and it didn’t match the other side! Clive D removed rotting wood from around the diagonal rod on the tar wagon, and Richard second undercoated the big fixing brackets.
A bit messy for Malcolm and Chris on BY S 653, but they ended up feeling quite pleased with themselves. They started by screwing the non running side boarding to the Guard’s Compartment partition with brass screws. On the Country End wall, they removed the two remaining curved packing pieces at the top so that the metalwork could be brushed down and Vactanned. This was later undercoated as well.  In the meantime, they palm-sanded, repaired and primed the surviving packing pieces, and also made a replacement packing piece and primed it with aluminium primer.
They fitted the next two broad boards on the end wall, but didn’t fix them as they felt they would need access to the metalwork to remove the rusty bolts holding the curved roof packing pieces. Some of these are completely rotted away.  The boarding can be fixed in place once the rusty bolts are removed. Finally, they fitted and fixed the last board on the running side boarding (doorway to Guard's compartment). This required final cutting to size and machining a rebate
The forecast for Wednesday at Alton was good, and this week it was accurate... We wanted to complete low sided M 460001, the cable drums and vanfit B 763661... so with a gang of nine it was all hands to the pumps with a list of about 25 things needed doing before close of play. Even the ISO container lining gang joined in!
It would be a bit tedious to list everything we did, but it included completing the floor on B 763661; creocoting the cable drums and floor of M 460001; lettering and numbering; and oiling axle boxes. We also removed the sheet from presflo PF 29 and checked the brake gear was still free, as last year it had seized up.
By 1600 hours we had just about completed everything – excepting chalking the oiling dates on the solebars, as we could not find any chalk readily available!
Saturday was an unusual day on two fronts, firstly it was rather warm and sunny, and secondly there were 8 in attendance at Medstead; Dillon, Jose, Jim, John’s B+D, Jamie, and the welcome return of Dave R and Darren. The two John’s and Jose spent all day in the lower yard on the tractor tinkering and gloss painting. A start was made on the electrics, with Jose seeming quite knowledgeable.
Jamie started off cleaning out the holes for the south side brake rigging on the SW tar wagon, then cleaning up the butterfly and giving a good coat of red oxide.
Jim and Darren started chipping away at the life expired filler around the bottom of the gunpowder van. The extent of the corrosion was greater than first thought, so it was decided to cut out the rotten pieces. Dillon used the gas axe to remove some bolts holding the rotten battens in place. Three of them were only poor at the bottom, so only the lower portions will be replaced. Dave R and Jim helped in taking one of the rotten beams down to expose the holes in the roof (the source of the problem) ... and were on fire duty as the timber was tinder dry and kept catching light! The second beam was left in place as a pattern for future reference. The roof is in a poor state, and will require plating too.
Chris Le Corney

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