Watercress Line

Wagon Group Report 24th July 2017

It was a red letter day (or rather a red solebar day) at Medstead on Tuesday, Dave Vella advises..
Clive D and Brian applied red topcoat to the SW Tar wagon No 95 sole bars and around the lettering and numbering. Kevin cleaned and greased another set of springs but couldn't get to the last two as the red painters were in the way. Instead he applied black gloss to a number of nuts and bolts and to the country end buffer beam area. Meanwhile Dave undercoated the town end buffer beam area. Richard made a start on cleaning up and painting the two large SW Tar wagon cast iron plates that fit on either side of the solebars.
Elsewhere, Keith finished securing the woodworking CCT end doors, and then marked up the next two pieces of timber for the Tar wagon end supports. After lunch Keith and Dave took the two pieces to the Carriage and Wagon shed at Ropley, where a very kind Gordon cut them to shape. If the Building Group saw is out of action for too long, Gordon has offered to cut the remaining four pieces ……….. so we can then finish the wagon. Keith also made a start on making some roof supports for the Gunpowder van.
Well after overnight rain, Wednesday was supposed to be cloudy and dry at Alton. It was certainly cloudy, but there was a drizzle which stopped and started all day long! This made painting a bit frustrating…….as just when surfaces dried, down came the drizzling again!
Anyway Mick, Steve, and Bob carried on with the roofing plans between the grounded van body and the ISO container – although at one stage it looked like they were making surf boards for Steve!
Adrian, John B, Roger, Ian and myself meantime were derusting and attempting to prime/undercoat the crane DS 1580 runner and a “load spreader”. Roger had promised to complete painting the end of the crane jib this week, but on discovering this was now 20 feet or so in the air (in preparation for an annual boiler check) ..…. he changed his mind!
A warm welcome to Pete Reeves from Portsmouth, who joined us for the first time and spent most of the day chipping away at rust on the crane. We look forward to seeing him again, next month.  
By the end of the day however, we did manage to do a bit of painting on some vertical surfaces that were sheltered from the drizzle.
Saturday was just Dillon and John D at Medstead. The plan of attack for the day was the re-fitting of the vacuum cylinder on the box van B 763661. The vac cylinder was slid from the cradle on the trolley down into the four foot, then the van rolled over it. Using two long pieces of 3x2 and brute force and ignorance, the cylinder was slowly ramped up into position. The fixed bracket was cleaned up and greased, then the kettle called from the Mess room.
After a short break the cylinder was lifted up the remaining few inches and slid into the bracket. The second bracket was then fitted and bolted into position. With a very heavy rain shower it was decided to stop for a prolonged lunch. When the rain subsided it was back to re-fitting the brake arm and pins. They now need a piston rod sleeve and a narrow vac pipe to connect the cylinder to the train pipe.
As time was cracking on and the rain reappearing, and John having to leave early for his hot date, everything was packed away and locked up, then a quick inspection of the goods rake in the siding before the weather closed in again.
Don’t forget the freight (or goods as some prefer!) is running next weekend 29th/30th July. Starting at Medstead at 1030, it goes down to Alton, does two round trips to Alresford and ends up back at Medstead at 1530. For a supplement you can ride on the Queen Mary brake van and sample close up the sight and sounds of a heavy freight working up the 1:60 gradients..........
Chris Le Corney

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