Watercress Line

Wagon Group Report 18th April 2017

Medstead weather on Tuesday was fine and warm all day. The first job for Ian, Clive D and Richard was transfer of some recently delivered 8in x 4in timbers for the SW Tar wagon into the woodworking CCT. Dave E, having assisted with the timber moving, recognised the roof profile templates hanging in the CCT should be suitable for manufacture of the replacement curved roof bearers in the gunpowder van. This, Dave subsequently confirmed by overlaying the templates.
Ian and Clive then continued releasing of the large nuts on the country end of the Tar wagon tank diagonal restraining bars at their upper ends. This was followed by the same attention to all four diagonal bars at their mountings on both sole bars .............. to enable the restraining bars to be subsequently removed for easier and safer access to the remaining partially released nuts. Ian, having removed one CCT door bolt mechanism, took it away for fitting of new bolts/screws.
Richard undercoated the previously red oxided areas of the tank wagon sole bars, working on opposite sides and ends to Ian and Clive as they progressed with their work. Jose set about the 12v conversion of the Fergie assisted by John D who also applied another grey top coat to the bonnet.
Malcolm reports on BY S 653. They had a bit of a struggle fitting the top board (South side) which runs into the Guard's Compartment but managed in the end. They also machined another top board – (North Side), doorway to Country End; but will be finally fixing it next week. This just leaves the opposite (South Side) doorway to Country End and the last few top boards on the Country End.
The wagons (B 763661 and M 460001) at Alton were not required for the Thomas event in the end ............ so this gave a bit more time to complete some additional works on Wednesday. Arriving first, I applied a coat of varnish to the timber sides/doors on van B 763661, as an experiment to see if this makes the paintwork last longer. Although it will be some 5 years or so to verify if this has worked or not made any difference at all!
As the P.Way Wickham trailer was still out of action and we still had the vac cylinder from B 763661 lying on the ground, with passenger trains running it seemed a good opportunity to get this up to Medstead.......... for Dillon to collect on his next visit. So Mick, Adrian, Bob and myself manhandled it over the tracks, and then rolled it ..... until we could get it on a barrow on the platform. Then loaded in the guards brake area and on the 1050 to Medstead. Here we offloaded it, put on a barrow and trundled it round to the yard.
Back at Alton we did some additional cable drum securing on M 460001. By chance there happened to be some old cables by the grounded van body, and we threaded this through the centre spindle holes of the cable drums and secured underneath the wagon. So we now have securing the cable drums ........... the ropes, enhanced wedges on the wagon floor and these cables. Having seen the cable drums swaying around on the wagon in motion, it is reassuring that we have enhanced their securing still further!
Bob and Mick at Alton applied a white undercoat to the inside of the ISO container and  finally we put a sheet back over the Blue Circle presflo PF 29.
Just Jose and John D were in attendance at Medstead on Saturday. Jose started the morning by rubbing down the handbrake lever for the Tar Wagon, then giving it a coat of red oxide. John D undercoated the butterfly and V brackets on the wagon ready for a top coat of black gloss later in the day.
John D started sanding the Gunpowder van's roof tongue and groove but after inspection it was noted that there was quite a lot of rotten wood, especially on the tongue parts.  They then made a joint effort to remove all the screws from the Gunpowder side panels, saving all the screws for future use. The timber from the side panels is also variable in condition, and it was decided to leave the timber for for further inspection.
The locos passing (including “Cheltenham” running again) on the Thomas trains did seem to take a particular interest in what they were doing. They were sure their eyes were straining to see what they were up to!
They finished the day with a top coat of black gloss on the parts undercoated in the morning. After a cup of tea and a chat and of course, watching the passing trains, they finished at 17.00.
Chris Le Corney

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