Watercress Line

Wagon Group Report 24th July 2018

Dave V reports from a very hot Medstead on Tuesday that most of the day was spent investigating and experimenting on the Mk 1 carriage (currently in No 1 siding) and BY S 653 roof. However prior to that Chris S, Brian, Kevin, Richard and he removed and stored the tarpaulins from the two "A" containers and the Fergie tractor in the freight train in Bennetts.

They then used a long ladder to see how easily the flaking paint came off the carriage roof on the south side and then moved the scaffold tower to the north side / country end corner. Various trials to remove the flaking paint and clean the good painted were tried. The purpose of this exercise is in respect of some Mark 1 roof painting we have been asked to assist with this summer. The scaffolding either side of the coach should be going up in early August.

Next it was removing the tarpaulin from the country end roof of the BY and taking out one of the planks which was split along most of its length to determine screw lengths and check the top of the roof support struts. These seemed to be in pretty good condition.

In between all this the leftover stock and tables from the Alton bus rally, the previous Sunday, were stored back in their allotted places.

Steve reports on Wednesday ... that while I was holidaying in Greece, the Alton gang soldiered on in "grease"!  Roger and John B made good progress wire brushing and scraping the metal uprights and hand rails on the north and south side of the 'Dance Hall' brake van, and later applied a coat of red oxide primer to the same.  
Elsewhere Steve and Bob secured off-cut plywood to the south side of the wood store to add rigidity and screwed into the upright previously glued on to the container.  The next job is to fix a tarpaulin to the side and front to protect the wood inside but also to enable easy access. Un-allocated  plywood was sorted out and placed into the store with the longer  lengths of wood.  Steve assembled the remaining table donated by our colleagues up at Medstead for the veranda work area, releasing the existing table for alongside the paint store.
Tidying up the veranda area opened up the window in the London end of the mess hut which made the fitting of the interior lining plywood by Mick, John Q and Adrian easier.  Lining the the grounded van body is now substantially complete, subject to some refinements including the surround around the Country end window above the worktop. The latter looks resplendent with its final coat Danish oil applied by John Q.
The gang still had time to do the Alton station staff a favour by fixing the lower door of the ticket office from catching on the ground.  Mick and John Q planed off the bottom edge of the lower door and re-fitted its upper hinge so that it opens and closes freely.
Jose arrived at Medstead on Saturday at 8 as usual (well excepting when he oversleeps!) and signed in ...and waited for Jamie who's alarm unfortunately didn't go off, so he was running late. After discovering this Jose went down the yard to open up and get all the oiling equipment sorted for the Dogfish at Alton. When Jamie turned up they moved all the equipment down to the mess room and had a tea waiting for the first up train to arrive to head down to Alton.
Arriving at Alton they informed the station staff and train crew of their intentions of working in the Meon siding. After the down train had departed they headed down  to the sidings and started by oiling the London end Dogfish and operating the mechanism to make sure it was all free and working. They then moved onto the next wagon where they found the centre wheel was still stiff, but with the crowbar managed to get it moving to the point that they could do it by hand which was a great improvement, although it is still very stiff. The outer two are very free and work very well showing that the oiling has worked. Moving onto the 3rd dogfish the outer two wheels moved with little to no resistance, whilst the centre one is non operational. After this success they filled all the axle boxes up with oil and headed back to the station to catch the next train back to Medstead. They then packed everything away and signed off at 15:55.

This coming weekend July 28/29th our freight train is running, and there will be rides available in the Queen Mary brake van S 56302 for a supplementary donation to the MHRPS. The freight is booked to do 3 round trips from Alresford departing at 1010, 1222, and 1415, departing Alton at 1115, 1320, and 1525. The QM veranda is a lot more air cooled than a passenger coach, and 200+ tons going up our 1:60 gradients sounds rather good!

Chris Le Corney

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