Watercress Line

Wagon Group Report 19th June 2017

The highlight of Tuesday at Medstead was undoubtedly the loading of the Fergie tractor onto the two plank wagon B 726064. The crane grab load was first moved from this wagon to steel high fit B 481682, with grateful thanks to the P. Way team using the road railer. It could not lift the grab high enough to pass over the side of the wagons, but fortunately they were able to drop the sides and swing the grab out and in…….. with a couple of inches of clearance! Richard Bentley kindly shunted the two plank wagon and all the other vans connected to it out to the running line, and then moved it just into the yard so that the road railer could load the Fergie.


On the work front there was a lot of swapping around on jobs this week so no individual mentions. Chris S, Kevin, Keith, Clive, Rob, Richard, Brian, John D, Ian, David E and Dave continued work on the Tar wagon and several other tasks that needed doing. The SW Tar wagon wood timbers were worked on and the lettering and filling in of silver paint around the letters was continued.


Terry the bull (well we only have his head!) was mounted in the cattle wagon, ready for the July Gala weekends and the Queen Mary brake van S 56302 also had a second black gloss top coat applied to the verandas.


Dave V, David E and Ian J had a meeting on how to proceed with the “Gun powder” van W 105761 roof, and Ian continued his work on the BY S 653 chassis.


Malcolm reports he and Chris made and fitted the removable trims for the drop lights of three of the luggage door for the BY. They will complete the last door next week, and then move on to final tidying up and re-glazing the drop-lights.


John B, Adam, Paul and myself went up to Medstead Wednesday first thing, with a list of things to do ……… Fergie was chocked and roped down on B 726064, followed by chocking down and roping of the crane grab on B 481682.


The green sheets over the “A” and “AF” container were removed, and the “BR” canvas sheet was put on the “AF” container.


Palvan B 782114 had a minor repair to a bit of loose roof felt, and we applied some “customer” labels to several vans. SR van S 47777  now has a label “ARMY STORES LONGMOOR TO MARCHWOOD”, this being a request from Andy Crespin, one of the MHRPS early volunteers, who was behind the move of the van from the MOD at Marchwood to the Mid-Hants some 40 years ago. After driving steam trains in South Africa, Andy is now retired in New Zealand.


John B and Paul wrapped up Fergie in a temporary blue sheet, and this will be removed just before the Gala. Finally some appropriate chalk markings were applied to the sides of vans.


Meantime back at Alton, Mick and Ian had been working oiling the axle boxes on SR brake van S 56506, and cleaning and oiled the axle box springs also.


After a late lunch we planned to do some more derusting on the big crane DS 1580 runner, and picked up some implements and walked round the rake of wagons in the siding, and there was the big crane, not there! So it must have been at Ropley or Alresford ……… Wel,l as it was very hot this was a blessing in disguise, and after a few little bits of paint touching up on S 56506, we tidied up and headed off homewards


Saturday was Dillon, John D and Dave R at Medstead. The main activity for the day was oiling the axle boxes on the south side of the freight rake in Bennetts siding. Dillon and Dave were going along opening the axle boxes and sucking out the water and gunge, and doing a pad exam on the open fronted boxes, while John followed up with the oil can re-filling them with clean oil. By 1030 the first ten wagons had been done, when they ran out of oil. John and Dave took a trip to Ropley on the service train for fresh oil supplies while Dillon carried on emptying the remaining axle boxes.

Upon John and Dave returning it was decided to have a tea break and a bite to eat as the 26C temperature was draining them……… Feeling refreshed they resumed the oiling, completing all the wagons in the sidings – well excepting the roller bearing couple!


Chris Le Corney

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