Watercress Line

Wagon Group Report 17th April

Well with Thomas week, or even 10 days, over Easter many of us were helping out there and wagon works at Alton and Medstead were accordingly scaled down. Last week however we were back in full swing.
It was another wet day on Tuesday at Medstead to start with. Despite this there was Richard, Rob, Brian and "old" David. Brian had bought some secondhand brackets in a couple of weeks ago to make another shelf for the workshop PMV. Rob and old Dave set about finding a suitable piece of timber and between them made some additional supports, and hey presto they have now more work space. 
After lunch Richard, Rob and Brian set about dismantling the former tractor corrugated covered shed area in the lower yard, which they had been given the OK to reuse as a timber store adjacent to the CCT. They took off the metal sides and roof which took some time as there were endless bolts, misc screws and a few nails for good measure. The wood work frame and the steel footings will be removed and dissembled next week, assuming the weather is OK.

Chris and Malcolm working on BY S 653 were pleased to complete four of the five curved panels in the Guard’s compartment. This was greatly assisted by using the first one they cut as a template. They also cut a trial piece for the remaining centre section, which just needs some minor adjustments.They still have to secure them.
A busy day at Alton on Wednesday. The weather forecast for the day kept changing ............... from dry, to wet, and then rain first thing and cloudy afterwards. The latter forecast prevailed and the rain had stopped by 8AM and it was cloudy the rest of the day. This was just as well as we wanted to get the first top coat on LMS van M 520771.
So the sheets over the van were removed and we set to giving it a light rub down ........... it previously having reached undercoated stage. There were two remaining planks on the north side door to replace and Adrian, Roger and Steve did these quite quickly. They had been undercoated two weeks ago as loose planks. John B, Clive, Bob and myself started the first bauxite topcoat, later joined by Paul and Roger.
There was lot of free timber arriving today! Firstly Adam rang to say his father's van was delivering some mainly 4x4 lengths, which we collected from the station forecourt, and John Q made two trips to Richard and Claire's to collect some more timber. So at various times of the day gangs were distracted and having to go back and forth (it keeps us fit) to the forecourt to transport back the timbers. This is partly to construct a timber store .......... which is now required for all the timber we seem to be aquiring!
M 514711 bauxite topcoat was completed by early afternoon, and John B and Daniel started topcoating black on the milk tank W 2960 lower areas. This, not having a sheet over it, had been too wet to do any painting in the morning.
Paul, Clive and I cleared out the remnants of rubbish from inside the dance hall brake van S 55506, and finally we fitted another sheet over the roof therof. 

Saturday at Medstead consisted of Dillon, Jim, Jamie, and somewhat later Jose, who overslept. Jamie, a little lost without the Rudd (currently down at Alton), removed the tarpaulin that had been over the Rudd, folded it up and put it away and had a little tidy up around the site.


Dillon and Jim set about replacing the small panel that had been cut out the end of the gunpowder wagon previously, thinking this would be the easiest one to do. In the end it turned out to be the trickiest one so far. This was cut to size and the recess dressed up before marking out and drilling. It was at this point Jose turned up, forcing them to have a tea break.


Looking for something for the young lads to do, it was decided to get them to oil the brake linkages on the brake vans B 953701 and S 56506, including the rocking shaft underneath that sits way up in the underframe. After filling all the oil cans and the two jugs the barrel was empty, so they were sent on a trip to Ropley for fresh supplies. It is getting closer to axle box oiling time again before the freight next runs at the end of July .


Jim and Dillon offered the plate up and bolted it into place on the gunpowder van, before taking it in turns at doing short runs of welding. This is where the problems started as some of the original panel was quite thin and just kept blowing holes in it (even with the amps turned right down). Rather frustratingly each time they tried to fill the holes they just got bigger! This resulted in a plan of welding a patch on the inside that won't be seen, then building up the weld on the outside. With the weld dressed a couple of small holes became apparent. These were welded again but not dressed as time was getting quite late and after tying the sheet down and packing away everything they called it a day at 1715.

Chris Le Corney

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