Watercress Line


Well it's been a few weeks since the last Wagon Group report, not that any work has stopped, just holidays, and other activities have got in the way... It would be good to say there have been lots of enquiries as to what's happened to the reports, but that would be exaggerating. Well, to be precise, one enquiry would be exaggerating also...
Notwithstanding the clear demand, on the off chance that some potential Specsavers client might accidentally open it, here goes.
Up at Medstead we have now completed the repaints to 7 mark 1 coach roofs, and the last one S 4600 was completed on 3rd October and remains in the scaffolding in No 1 siding. The current intensive spoil train operations between Ropley and the Butts precludes a coach shunting swop over at Medstead. It's good to see freight operations taking precedent over passenger stock for a change!
One of the side benefits of the scaffolding at Medstead is that BY S 653 is on No 2 road, adjacent to the scaffolding surrounding No 1 road, so we can get some good access to the south side of the BY roof. Our carpenters Malcolm and Chris, and many others have been busy working on the roof, and repairs to the T&G planks have been carried out. Having replaced the two ends roof hoops in recent weeks, last week Chris and Malcolm screwed down the boards down at the country end. This took longer than expected but they were pleased with the final result. The boards follow the original curve of the roof now.
In the meantime, Dave Edwards, Dave Vella and John D were hard at work cleaning out the old filler between the roof boards at the country end. They also made very good progress securing boards with new screws or dowels as they went along. Brian also made good progress grinding off over-length bolts. Richard continued creocoting the CCT Workshop steps. 
Wednesday was very misty as Roger picked me up from Alton, but when we got to Medstead it was sunny all day and got quite warm. Roger, Adrian and I started scraping out more loose caulking from the south side, country end of the BY, and Ray and Steve swept down the middle and north side. Following this, joined by Pete, we all started applying caulking to the gaps in the roofing T&G. It was soon clear that would run out of the original 10 tubes of caulk we had, and we got a supply of 25 more.
After lunch we finished caulking up to the extent of the secured down T&G (about half way along the roof), and tidied up before wending our way home.

Bob reports from a very foggy Wednesday morning at Alton (well they should have come up to sunny Medstead!). Mick started on the electrics in the mess room, and after applying his usual magic repaired the faulty trip switch, meaning power was restored and they could actually stop stumbling around in the stygian gloom as the fog swirled around them. Bob meanwhile, with the aid of his iPhone torch fixed some additional battens in readiness for the fixing of the remaining insulation sheets and ceiling panels.
Clive and Ian meanwhile set about sorting the rapidly accumulating detritus on the ISO container workbench, to create some work space on it. Eventually the sun broke through and Clive and Ian moved outside and started removing green mould from one of the BR vans. They were later joined by Daniel who pitched up at his usual time...late. 
Meanwhile, Mick and Bob finished attaching the insulation across the ceiling and sealing the joints with the old magic tape, after having removed the cable trunking. A timber strip was cut and fitted  and glued onto the internal metal framework abound the door to enable a flush fit for the cable trunking. Thereafter another two ceiling panels were cut and fixed. That leaves four panels to be fitted, along with some additional screwing not those already fitted. Thereafter the panels joins will need to be sealed with gaffer tape before painting.
Satisfied with their days work Mick and he trotted off into the sunset around four o’clock, and having got halfway down the platform realised they had forgotten to take any photos...

Although it started off wet, Saturday turned out rather nice for once and great progress was made on the Gunpowder wagon W 105691 at Medstead. After the usual mug of tea and discussion, Dillon, Jamie and Darren headed off down the yard to work out a plan of attack. With the rain it was decided to work inside to begin with. At this point the rain promptly stopped, and the clouds started to break up, meaning they could go all out.

Jamie started drilling out and making good the ill fitting panel from last time, and bolting it up. While Dillon was sorting out extension cables and the tools needed, Darren measured up and cut a new corner piece to size, then cut out the  corresponding rotten piece. Dillon then marked out the next two panels ready for cutting, then roughly cut the first one out. Jamie was given a little tuition on the angle grinder, and he then cut out the second panel.

Dillon then decided to carry on with some more de-rusting on the south side sole bar just as Dave R turned up. Dave carried on with the de-rusting and started red oxiding the areas he’d cleaned. Jamie drilled and bolted up the panel that Darren had cut in the morning, then Dillon followed with the welder, welding in the new piece and finishing off from the previous week.

They all felt it had been a very productive day.

Well this coming weekend sees the Autumn Steam Gala, so out will come the Wagon Group sales stand on the up platform at Medstead, along with our tours of the yard. The freight train will be doing one round trip of the line each day, starting from Alresford at 1222. The Queen Mary brake van S 56302 will be carrying passengers on the freight, for a supplement, and we look forward to seeing you.
Chris Le Corney 

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