Watercress Line

Wagon Group Report 23rd May 2017

They had a good day at Medstead on Tuesday. Ian J and Chris S finally managed to remove the last big nut off the SW Tar wagon diagonal rod, and then Ian then moved on to making notes and taking measurements for future work he has to do on the BY S 653 chassis, while Chris joined John, Richard, Kevin and Dave painting the Tar wagon tank. While the rest applied the second top coat to the top half and ends of the tank, Dave kept a steady hand in painting the two black stars and number “95” on the sides.
Keith finished his piece of work on the workshop PMV replacement plank, and then managed to get the woodworking CCT country end doors closed in properly and secure, with two planks across the inside.
Just as they were packing up they saw the welcome sight of the 'new' P.Way road-railer arriving, which will enable them to lower the Tar wagon tank back into position soon.
The weather played a large part in plans for mid-week. With a good number lined up for Wednesday at Alton, the forecast was for heavy rain on that day, so Wednesday was cancelled. Instead Roger and I plumped for Tuesday, with others working on Thursday.
So on Tuesday we rubbed down the previously spot primed and undercoated areas on the sides and ends of SR brake van S 56506, and then proceeded to apply bauxite top coat. Following this we caught the 1200 train up to Medstead and after lunch and a chat with the Tuesday gang there, we came back to Alton on the 1327 bearing the pressure washer, hose pipe and a spare vacuum pipe ............ to keep the Thursday guys busy!
A bit more cleaning off and rubbing down in the veranda areas of the brake van and some more topcoat, and I applied some temporary plastic sheeting to an area of the roof which will need a bit of attention.........   
On Thursday at Alton it started dry if rather dull, and the tasks were quickly divided up.  John B volunteered to continue painting the large crane DS 1580 runner’s decking, firstly by scraping and rubbing down remaining small rusty areas at the London end and painted them with primer.  He then undercoated the whole of the horizontal areas. Elsewhere, Rob got on with lightly rubbing down the hand rails of the Southern brake van S 56506 and painted them with white gloss.  When Ian M arrived he was set to chip and scrape the large tool box on the south side of the crane runner, in preparation for subsequent spot priming and undercoating.
Back at the Southern brake van, Mick and Steve removed the life expired brake hose at the London end and cleaned up the end of the steel pipe which was badly pitted.  When the new pipe was presented up to the metal connector the 'jubilee clip' strap was just too small because the bolt had been cut off previously.  However, fortunately, that clip was just long enough for the other end of the pipe so the clips were swapped around and with a bit of manipulation the new hose was fitted in place.
So, onto the jet washer from Medstead, which was required for the SR brake van chassis. At first they had no fitting to connect the washer hose to the supply.  But then Mick noticed the fitting on the grounded body supply hose, so Steve cut that off and used it for the jet washer hose.  The latter, when de-kinked, reached the brake van and an electric supply was taken off the crane gang’s workshop van. Mick and Steve then took it in turns to wash and brush down the whole brake van under-.frame including the ends, taking care not to wet Rob's white paint.
The painting tasks were continued after lunch and the jet washing was resumed as well, and all was cleaned, brushed and rinsed including the outside platform areas and the brake cylinders. Towards the end of the day it started raining, and eventually there was more water falling from the sky than was coming out of the jet washer (!) ................ so they cleared up and left about 1600.

Saturday at Medstead, was Dillon and the two Johns, and dodging some very heavy showers........ First job was to get the Fergie tractor battery on charge after completely flattening it the week before.


Then John D sorted out some fine emery, paint and a brush and disappeared under steel Highfit B 481682 in Bennett’s siding. There he flattened back the paint on the vacuum cylinder that was rather scratched during fitting last week. Dillon and John B. trial fitted the brake push rods to the tar wagon south side, marking up where the pins had to be cross drilled. After drilling they were adjusted up and fitted with plenty of grease and new split pins, including the safety strap. The lever now travels exactly the same distance as the north side. The brakes are now operational although the lever still needs top coating with gloss black.


John D, having finished his painting discovered a perished seal on one of the vacuum couplings in the rake, and duly changed it. After a search of the workshop van, a small diameter hose was found for connecting the vac cylinder to the train pipe. This however was left till next time as he was unable to locate any jubilee clips.


After an early lunch, to avoid more rain, they decided to have another look at the tractor electrics, and were joined briefly by Eddie from the P-Way who knows a bit about electrics. They now know that some of the wiring is wrong as the ignition circuit is live whether switched on/off or even disconnected! With another band of rain closing in they decided to call it a day at 15:30. A mug of tea and a clean up of the mess room, then off homewards.
Chris Le Corney

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