Watercress Line


Dave V reports from Medstead last  Tuesday that Kevin and John D continued derusting and painting the Gunpowder Van chassis. Keith made a start on replacing the door and repairing the door frame of the paint store. Dave, helped by John, Kevin and Chris S, moved three large sleepers over to provide a more secure base for the wood store. They will tuck under the rail and sit lower than the current small blocks. A start was then made digging out for the central sleeper.
Chris P and Malcolm fixed the BY S 653 roofing felt down at each end, using contact adhesive. They feel it is a reasonably neat job even though there wasn't much overhang at the Country End... They left the bottom corners free until the rest of the felt at the “eaves” is fixed down. They plan to insert a hardwood section on the non-running side Town End corner as there is nothing left to nail the felt to. Chris S was working on tacking down the felt, and encountered a clearance problem over the non-running side Town End luggage doors. Keith was however able to cut back the timber with his oscillating saw, to give additional clearance.
The weather for Wednesday was quite warm (well for mid November anyway!), so Clive, Ray, Bob, Steve and I set to lightly rubbing down the undercoat and subsequently applying a 50/50 mix of bauxite top coat and undercoat to vanfit B 772824. This went on quite nicely, and by lunchtime we had completed the painting, leaving the afternoon for it to dry.
Roger, Ian and Roger cleaned off green mould from vanfit B 760337... largely the Alresford corrugated end, and after lunch a start was made scraping down the sides, filling and sanding. Roger scraped down rust patches on the Alresford corrugated end, and then primed them. 
Meantime John Q and Mick and later Bob were working inside the mess room, painting and other bits and pieces. Steve and Ray fitted bolts through the hinges on the door of the wood store in place of the temporary screws. They then considered and measured up for the south side where it was thought a flexible covering that could be rolled up would enable easy access.  Fortunately, an old tarpaulin previously used for covering wagons, was handy, and this was cut to rough size ready for fitting.  Steve finished the day by applying another coat of wood preservative to the outside of the store.  

By close of play the paint on B 772824 was pretty well dry, and we replaced the sheet over it. It needs another top coat, but this is dependent on the weather being above 10C, which it may not be for some time...

Saturday was a very productive day at Medstead. Firstly, a very warm welcome to new members, father and son team of Mark and Alex. After the customary mug of tea, they were given a quick tour of the yard and a wander along the rake in the down siding, including a visit inside the QM brake van.

Dillon then sorted them out with hammers and chisels, chipping hammers and wire brushes, and gave them a quick run through on what was required on the underframe of the BY S 653. Mark and Alex spent the whole day underneath and made great progress chipping away at loose rust before sanding the underframe back, and applying a coat of red oxide on bare metal areas.

Ian J made up a load of vac pipe mounting brackets for the BY. 

Jose and Jamie went to have a look at the ‘D’ container whose end door had a tendency to drop open. As a temporary fix, the pins were inserted before the eyes were bolted up tight, meaning the door will not open now without a spanner. The boys then gave a coat of ally primer to the wood for the door frames to the paint store. Dillon meanwhile put chalk marks along the inner roof of the GP van as to where the derusting/red oxiding can progress to from a previous request from the Tuesday gang.

Dillon, Jamie and Jose then drilled and fitted a series of countersunk bolts on the north side door frames of the Gunpowder van, along with about 50 dummy rivets on both the north and south sides and the Alresford end. While the lads started packing away, Dillon finished off some of the seam caulking. Hopefully this will keep out some of the weather over winter.

By the time they’d had a mug of tea, it was dark... Both Mark and Alex said they would be back, so they can’t have put them off too much!

Chris Le Corney

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