Watercress Line

Wagon Group Report 23rd January

Well after a couple of weeks holiday in warmer climes it's a bit of a compilation of reports from Medstead and Alton and trying to precis bits together.


Saturday 6th at Medsted. Joining Dillon were Jim, John’s B+D and Hamish. After a good catch up over a mug or two of tea, it was down to business. John B and John D wandered off into the down siding with a step ladder checking and re-securing tarpaulins after the storms earlier in the week.

Dillon still had some outstanding maintenance items on the goods rake from last year, so he, Jim and Hamish set off with hammers and spanners etc. One vehicle had the vacuum release cord replaced, while several box vans and Conflat A had their brakes adjusted. 


After an early lunch, D,J and H returned to the maintenance on the rake, while the two Johns de-rusted the new stove pipe for the Queen Mary. Then at just the right time Jose text asking if someone could remove some pieces of brake rigging from the Rudd that had previously been red oxided and undercoat them. That way they could dry overnight ready for refitting in the morning.

As daylight was starting to fade and the temperature starting to drop, and the fact everyone completed their tasks at the same time, they called it a day.


 Sunday 7th. Jose arrived at 08:10 and had a cup of tea with the S&T guys until Jamie arrived at 8:35. They then began work by taking the brake shoes off the Rudd and undercoated the other parts of the brake arm. They also undercoated one of the brake shoes and touched up the other. Then moved these out of the way and started scraping the paint off the other arm ready for red oxide.. Jose glossed the other brake shoe, then they both started scraping down the country end of the Rudd. By the end of the day two sections had been primed and undercoated. They called it a day at 16:05 having achieved quite a bit, and feeling proud.


Saturday 13th Jan. A bit of a slow day on Saturday with just Dillon, Jose and Jamie present. First job was to unload Dillon’s car. He has lent the group his caravan table for their sales stand, which is now in the woodworking CCT (its the cleanest and most spacious area). He also had a bag of bolts for the gunpowder wagon. The bolts have been machined to look like rivets for when they start replacing the material that was cut out last year. Jose and Jamie carried on with their work on the Rudd, de-rusting and red oxiding various pieces.

Dillon put some trial fibreglass patches on the inside of the gunpowder van over some small holes in the bodyside. This was to give something to filler against. The rest of the day was spent chipping rust inside at the Alton end, almost clearing the first floor section. Although it was a dry day, it didn’t seem to get properly light. With both Dillon and Jamie having other engagements they finished off and left site by 15:45

Tuesday 16th. Medstead was cold but dry on arrival. However, they started off in the warmth of the S & T mess room, with a briefing from Brian on the Queen Mary (QM) stove pipe installation.  Thanks were passed to Bernie since he and some of the P Way team had kindly moved the QM out of Bennetts siding into the yard. This would make working on the QM much easier. A discussion followed on the QM stove, including supporting the top of the pipe where it passes through the roof, minimising ingress of rainwater and protecting the roof from the hot pipe. An early tea break then followed, after which Brian retreated home to stay in the warm!
Once outside, Kevin marked out and drilled the QM stove pipe support plate and fitted the pipe support brackets. (The brackets will be fitted with bolts to steady the pipe. The assembly will be secured inside the brake van cabin roof). John D and Richard worked on marking out the enlarged hole for the stove pipe in the roof of the QM. After the inevitable rough calculations, the pipe was aligned parallel to the cabin structure. The latter now being much easier to achieve with the QM on an even keel in the yard.  The pipe was wedged in place and the hole marked to an eliptical profile, extending approximately 15mm around the pipe. Kevin and John then enlarged the hole accordingly.
Keith undertook cutting out of rotten sections of plywood sheet on Palvan B 776446. The areas involved extended the full length of each north side door and from the door bottom edge up to the first horizontal brace; a depth of 6 - 9 inches. These sections have been temporarily refitted to keep the weather at bay, pending replacement by softwood sections. (Similar replacements will be made on the south side doors).
Chris finished re-fitting the door furniture to the country end sliding door of the guards brake area to BY S 653. He then spent a lot of time searching for suitable fittings for the town end sliding door, with no luck here, but they might try their luck down at Alresford with the Alresford Traincare BY. Malcolm spent a lot of the day repairing the woodworking CCT padlock hasp, as it had fallen out of the door, the wood having completely rotted away. It is secure now, but needs some further work.
Alton 17th Jan. Roger and Clive set to work on a flat area on the big crane DS 1580 which had been newly revealed now the the jib has been turned around. First they de-greased the surface then scraped and rubbed it down.  After brushing down they painted it with green primer.  Later they moved on to the milk tank wagon W 2960 to join Ian, and Pete and later John Q to scrape and clean mould off the underframes and wheel assemblies.  It was too windy to contemplate removing sheets from the LMS van to pressure wash the second end.
Earlier, John Q, assisted by Adam, worked on the London end window 'opening' of the mess cabin aka grounded van body.  They removed the existing boarding, trimmed the horizontal planking back to the steel girders to facilitate the fitting of a plywood sheet and secured it in place with plywood strips so that a sheet of perspex could be fitted later.
Mick spent the day reviewing the earthing of the ISO container with a view to producing a common earth from the fuse box and how to run it through the trunking.  Another gland will be required to carry this out.  When this is done the supply can be safely connected to the container circuitry.
Meanwhile, Steve located sufficient 4" x 4" to put together a third leg frame for the new bench in the container to support the middle of the working surface.  This involved measuring up and cutting out halving joints as before  assisted by Ian.  He then assembled the framework and drilled and screwed the joints assisted by Mick just before it was time to go home for the day.
Well I'm sure there are one or two reports I'm missing, but you can sort of get the drift of the ongoing works...

Chris Le Corney

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