Watercress Line

Wagon Group Report 20th February

Not a good start to the day with on Tuesday, with sleet and lots of rain at Medstead. Plans to sheet over one of the vintage carriage bodies at Alresford were accordingly postponed.
Old David arrived to have a meeting with Keith to finalise the steps for the CCT. Following that, in the dry, David V with Keith and Old David started to have a sort out in the PMV works van, various items were disposed of and other collected as items to sell at the next Model Railway event in March. This work made a significant difference to the amount of working space.

At the other end of the van Brian and Richard put together a shelf from some discarded timber and fitted a couple of supports for this. Again items collected over time were discarded and others put on the new shelf
to make a much more working space. 
Chris and Malcolm started off by stripping the table saw for cleaning, as it had become very difficult to raise/lower the blade. Resisting the urge to start building an ark (it was raining hard!), they finished off and fitted the convex door jamb in the BY S 653 Town End sliding doorway.
They also spent some time re-visiting the issue of the timber hoop sections that rest on the curved metal roof supports, and decided that most of them are OK, and any work required would best be tackled when the roof refurbishment is done, anyway. This is because easier access would allow better assessment of their condition and easier replacement if required. The only exception to this are the hoops at the Country End which were seriously rotted. Next week they will, hopefully, create a better template and produce a new set of hoops in advance of the rest of the roof work.
Early arrival Roger at Alton on Wednesday got stuck into cleaning off the north side of the milk tank with wire wool, and was joined shortly after by Pete in weather that started dry, but became progressively wetter and colder as the day went by. The whole tank has now been rubbed down but the residue needs to be washed off with the jet washer.  They also tried hard to remove the black horizontal stripe along the north side, but despite two applications of paint remover it was resisting stubbornly...

John Q and Adrian started on the edges of the original doors on the southern side of the grounded van body mess hut which were cleaned up by removing metal fittings and wooden beading. Plywood sheets were then cut to size with Mick's help to fit over the doors on the inside. Adrian cleared a space in the container to put the pedestal drill which could then be transferred  from the grounded van body.
Mick continued upgrading the electrics in the grounded van body, such that there are now two fuse boxes for the lights and he prepared to fit sockets in the kitchen area for the kettle etc.  The result of this activity will be to improve the safety of the wiring and to free up a second socket near the door for extension cables to be run outside.
Bob and Steve have now essentially finished the work bench in the ISO container by completing the fixing down down of the top, adding a strengthening bar between the legs and fitting a shelf and backing board.  It is now ready to take metal-working and woodworking vices. The container was cleared out and, at last, looked like a workshop.
Thursday at Alton was certainly a lot brighter and drier than Wednesday, but still pretty cold. I started applying paint stripper to the north side black horizontal stripe on the milk tank, and Bob assisted also after doing some work inside the ISO container and resecuring a bit of the roof structure between the ISO and grounded van body.
I think we found the missing ingredient on black horizontal stripe removal ..... it's called elbow grease (!), but there is still a fair bit of work to complete the north side.  
Clive and Paul dried off some bits of the big crane DS 1580, and then we went up by train to Medstead with the sheet for the Blue Circle presflo. This was installed over the wagon, which was now down in the yard. By good fortune the next up train was running late and we managed to catch that and get back to Alton, within an hour of leaving, for an early lunch.
Afterwards Paul and Clive undercoated their dried off areas on the big crane, whilst more elbow grease was applied to the south side milk tank black stripe...  
Saturday at Medstead, for once, was a beautiful day. Jamie and Jose started off opening the three brake vans for airing out. BR standard brake van B 953701 had a sticking cabin door at the Alresford end. Someone had obviously found that out before, as the outer handle was laying on the veranda, revealing a rotten cross beam on the door! Also found was the stove door handle laying on the floor. Dillon found a suitable bolt and fixed it. The stoves were then lit in both this van and the Queen Mary, due to it being rather cold and damp the previous week.
Darren started sanding the north side of the Rudd and he and Jamie subsequently did some painting thereon. 
Dillon had a look at the vac brakes on the Blue Circle Presflo, which had been found to be non operational. The linkage was quite free, and both cylinders still moved freely, and the train pipe held vacuum. After investigation and some rectification work, it now needs a vacuum test.
As time was drawing on, all tools were packed away and the fires checked in the brake vans. The Fergie tractor was covered over with a tarpaulin.
Just time for a quick cup of tea before shutting up at 17.30.

Chris Le Corney

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