Watercress Line

Wagon Group Report 24th April

At Medstead on Tuesday they had a good day...... On the SW Tar wagon, Ian J and Clive D removed the final big nut from the top of the diagonal rods. This one like the others had fought all of the way but in the end was no match for the blowtorch and big spanners. Clive continued with cleaning up the threads, removing the diagonal rods and derusting, cleaning, greasing and priming as required.
Meanwhile Ian transferred to the woodworking CCT door and managed to complete the fitting of the locking mechanism. This needed new metal plates to be made so that the fixing brackets could be bolted on rather than screwed as the wood was too rotten to hold screws! Ian will now do the same to the other door.  
Back on the Tar wagon Keith and David E made a start on the top end timbers. Trying to work out what the correct curvatures on these has been very difficult, so after discussions over tea/coffee, they are going to try and lower the tank into its correct position before fitting the end timbers so that they can make them correctly. The difficulty with doing this is that eight of the sixteen bolts each end that hold the big frame on have their heads recessed behind the end timbers underneath the tank. Consequently when the  end timber is in place and the tank is lowered onto it, they wont be able to get to the bolt heads! They have a couple of ideas on how to stop the bolts turning.
Richard and John, lightly sanded the tank and spot painted all the rust spots with red primer. It looks quite colourful at the moment, but they will stick with over painting it silver.
Dave V spent his time helping the others and measuring up and sorting out some scaffolding poles. They are looking to get some scaffolding erected to work on the BY and gunpowder van roofs and the tar wagon tank top.
Malcolm and Chris first went to Lightwater, to collect some donated timber........... this meant they were much later than usual getting to Medstead. They then fitted another couple of the boards for the walls and did some investigation on the four curved blocks supporting the end of the roof. The roof boards are nailed into them and they are bolted to the curved angle iron frames with csk head coach bolts; mostly badly wasted. On first inspection, some of the blocks seemed sound but the badly corroded coach bolts had split the blocks in two, assisted by wasted roof nails. The best approach is to replace them; particularly as the end of the roof is more likely to suffer from damp problems over time.
As they progress further down towards the Guard's compartment, hopefully they won't have to replace all the blocks. They have to bear in mind, though, that the new roof mails will need some sound timber to go into for a permanent job.  The Town End roof will need similar attention.
With a number of people helping out at “Thomas” and Easter hols, it was fairly quiet at Alton on Wednesday, with just Mick, Bob and myself. Well that makes it easier to organise, than a more normal 10 or so! M 460001 with cable drums is complete, and there were a few more bits of paint touching up on vanfit B 763661 we found........ Anyway Mick and Bob completed the internal painting of the ISO container ply sheeting. Meantime I did the lettering and numbering on 16 ton mineral wagon B 264632, which is used by the crane gang appropriately as a coal bunker for the steam cranes at Alton. It was about 3 years ago that we started a bit of a repaint on the wagon, but never quite got round to doing the lettering and numbering .......... until now. Also the axle boxes were emptied of water, and oiled.
Saturday at Medstead saw Jose, John D and Dillon in attendance. During a cup of tea and a chat to discuss the days plans, John B turned up briefly with some seals for the vac cylinder Dillon is overhauling before disappearing again.
John and Jose went down to the lower yard to see if there was anything else they could do on the Fergie tractor, before returning to the upper yard. Dillon set the gas axe up, and Jose helped him strip the vac cylinder from box van B 763661. This has now been transported to Dillon’s home workshop for overhaul. John D set himself up with a palm sander and started the laborious task of sanding the tongue and groove for the roof of the gunpowder wagon.
After an early lunch John went back to his sanding. Dillon took some measurements for the steelwork required for the body and roof repairs, and Jose carried on chipping away at the rust.
Chris Le Corney

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