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Wagon Group Report 11th November

Yes it's been 6 months or so since the last Wagon Group blog, and as some people seemed to be missing it on social media, and we are unable to work on wagons in the current November lockdown....it gives a bit of spare time to contemplate such missives. It does take some time and effort to pull together the news and pictures and do the captions. This is then submitted to Alresford and is dependent on the availability of a volunteer to collate the input to the website. It is not an instantaneous upload, and can be frustrating when subsequently the right caption is not applied to the right photo, or indeed a photo appears the wrong way up!


So a bit of a catch up on the past 6 months. Obviously we had to stop work back in March, but our Medstead teams were able to recommence in June.  At Alton however there was a Covid issue with us using the MHR public toilet facilities on platform 3. We were however permitted to restart wagon works at Alton in September, alongside the design and start of implementation of a toilet/wash room shed in the yard ... which when completed will negate us having any requirement to use the MHR customer facilities on platform 3. In the interim we are using the SWR facilities on platform 1, which is what we used to do before the MHR facilities were installed about 10 years ago...Anyway our toilet/washroom shed itself has been installed, and we will hopefully start fitting it out, assuming we can return to work Covid wise in December.  


Notwithstanding all the Covid problems this year, we have managed to make good progress on a number of fronts. At Alton currently LMS vanfit M 517317; and BR vanfits B 772824, B 760337 are completed and are waiting shunting out for Fitness to Run exams.


Work has started on BR Meat B 870073. Timber for the 4 new doors has been delivered. David Edwards has made these up at home, where they are currently in second undercoat stage. Aside from the doors the remaining timber and steel work on the van is in reasonable condition. The vacuum cylinder will need overhauling, and there is currently no vacuum pipe, so this will have to be made. This unique BR Meat van will be finished in it's original BR maroon livery. I understand there is some doubt about the current wagon number after it's years of BR internal use, so the number might change slightly in the light of evidence and what the owner decides. 


Up at Medstead the comprehensive long term overhaul of BY S 653 has been completed, and a tribute to all those who have worked on it, it looks splendid. It was used for the Real Ale train in August, and subsequently was fitted with a generator for use with the successful Winter Train of Lights test train.


Work continues on the GW Iron Mink W 105761, with Dillon’s steel work repairs to the roof, and the sides/ends are currently in grey undercoat, and new wooden  roof hoops have been made.


Jamie has taken on board the overhaul of low sided B 726064 to a high standard, and this is nearing completion. It’s “load” the Fergie tractor is also having a repaint and some mechanical in the yard, led by Jose.


David Taylor has been in the lead in the overhaul of the “Queen Mary” brake van S 56302, replacing some rotten T&G, and the repainting of the whole vehicle is complete. It to now looks great.


Maroon CCT S 1765 has had the underframes derusted and largely painted, but requires some T&G timber replacement and repainting.


The model railway PMV S 1995 has come up from Alresford for some tlc, and as well as needing repaint, there are some ”T” shaped steel work sections on the sides which are corroded, and Ian Johnson is welding in replacement sections. Some T&G needing replacement here also. Dillon has taken the vacuum cylinder home for his usual complete refurbishment.


BR vanfit B 763661 is also in the yard, and needs a fair bit of work …side timber repairs/replacement and attention to the floor and roof. We need to work out the funding and way forward for this for this... LMS van M 520771 has a rotten north side door, and this has been removed, prior to a new wooden frame and timbers being constructed. The cattle van S 53845 is also in for a couple of rotten plank replacements and repainting.


Finally a wood store has also been completed in the yard, and steps are being constructed to make a safer route to/from the paint store.


Chris Le Corney

Photo gallery

  • QM brake van, BR Shoc open B 725540, and low sided B 726064 (waiting lettering and numbering) are shunted at Medstead.

  • LMS van M 517317 at Alton.

  • B 760337 at Alton.

  • Meat van B 870073 under restoration at Alton.

  • LMS van M 520771. Rotten door removed at Medstead.

  • Rotten timber on the cattle van S 53845 at Medstead.

  • Replacement timber for the cattle van.

  • New roof hoops for the "Gunpowder" van W 105761.

  • The restored BY S 653 was used for our sales stand in the Carriage shed at Ropley, and beyond is the railway's other BY under restoration.