Watercress Line


Brian reports on Tuesday 8th, a cold but dry day at Medstead with John D, Chris S, Richard and Brian.

Having discussed the attachment of the Town End steel plates for BY S 653 from before the Christmas break and locating suitable sized wood screws, Chris S and John got themselves organised and used some 120 screws of these and fitted all three panels. 

Brian, Malcolm, and Chris P discussed other interior work  on the BY, reviewing various items that have to be fitted, the Periscopes Mirrors, Air Vents etc, and after lunch they investigated the fitting of the latter. They have 4 that had already had been cleaned and painted some while previously. The attachment could not proceed very far as they needed some suitable no 6 bolts, plus they also needed to get a long ladder out and suitably secured to look at the roof again, and as it was getting rather cold decided to call it a day.

Malcolm and Chris P had decided to look at the jobs they could get on with inside the BY, as Chris is still working on the end caps for the roof. As a first step, they cleared out the Town End and stored most of the timber under the BY. In addition, fittings such as hand-rails, window security grilles, brake pipes and door bolts were put together into the Country End.
They came across three of the four floor plates which took the tread for each pair of luggage doors. If we wanted to keep them, two could be cleaned, painted and re-used; the other two would have to be reproduced.
The Guard’s compartment was also tidied and swept.
Their first job next week will be to finish off the interior boarding at the sides of the compartment where it joins the roof. This had been left open to ensure access for the roof repairs.
Wednesday at Alton started rather cold and frosty, and first there after me was Richard kindly delivering the hose attachment from Medstead to the recently repaired pressure washer... 
With the final shunts having previously taken place at Alton we were effectively in the first week of Butts "Bridgexit", not to be confused with other minor discussions taking place in Parliament. The effect on us was zero, as being January we don't normally see many Mid-Hants trains anyway!  
What we needed on a cold day was something to keep the team of 9 warm...and there it was outside the Mess Room... recently arrived S 57849, the ex LSWR and Bertram Mills circus bogie flat wagon! As a starter the floor timbers needed to come off, and as they were not secured down, they could be lifted up easily, in theory. The "only" downside was that the timbers were all secondhand wooden sleepers, and rather heavy. They were also covered in dirt and weeds, but John B and I prised them free and as others turned up we got a good system going to remove them from the wagon and stack them further down the siding. There might have been some mutterings and complaints about having to manhandle the 55 sleeper floorboards, but at least no one complained about being cold!! The bad news is we will have to put them back on, (excepting a couple beyond redemption), in due course...!
Just when they thought all the heavy work was done, we pinched barred the wagon a bit further down the siding, followed by the Dance Hall brake van S 55506 and Palvan B 782114 leaving a bit of space between each wagon. The last wagon on the siding Palvan B 776446 did not need to be moved as we had now got a working space between each one.

After lunch there was a lot of scraping of loose dirt and rust from S 57849, and this was followed up with the jet washer. The steel work at least looks a bit cleaner, and subsequently we can start attacking it with some more serious derusting.    
Steve sorted out some sheets from the sheet store and found a couple of reasonable ones.One had some small repairs carried out and was then put over Palvan B 782114. 

Saturday was a very productive day at Medstead, with 6 in attendance.Jim and Dillon spent all day on the gunpowder wagon, managing to get the two remaining lower panels cut, shaped, marked out and drilled. The first is fitted, bolted up and welded inside and out. The second panel is fitted and bolted up, but only welded on the inside...as it got dark.

John D and Hamish found another ventilator for the BY and this was duly removed and John started cleaning it up. Hamish and Jamie had a bonfire to get rid of some of the accumulated rubbish, before Hamish  warmed up and glossed the swan neck on the Presflo in red.

Jamie and Jose started attacking the bodywork on the Alresford end of the gunpowder wagon. The paintwork from the previous time had either reacted to something or just not taken as it was flaky and cracked. The decision was taken to strip it back to bare metal and start again..... it came up a treat.

Chris Le Corney

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