Watercress Line

Wagon Group Report 4th September

Dave V reports from Medstead they had a good day again on Tuesday.

Clive D and Richard applied the first top coat of green gloss paint to the south side of the workshop PMV, managing to complete about three quarters of it. John applied black gloss to the sole bar and surrounding areas.

Chris S fitted the two cast iron nameplates to the Tar wagon, and he and Dave then managed to complete the first of the dummy end timber bulks. The photos show the cutting necessary and a trial fit.

Chris and Malcolm completed the last two drop lights on BY S 653, including re-glazing. The exteriors of the last two luggage doors were painted with aluminium primer. The drop light which will be fixed was successfully trial fitted to its non-standard door. They have also replaced the hinges ready to re-install the last two doors next week.

Steve reports from Alton on Wednesday…”The weather forecast wasn't good and it turned out worse than promised! Un-deterred Adrian and Rob set to work continuing to prepare and paint the big crane DS 1580, but soon the rain came on and frustrated their efforts.  

Meanwhile a dry Steve and young Ben, assisted by Ray, sorted out the materials in the ISO container  with a view to clearing the north wall ready for building the shelving. They just about managed to get everything put back before it all got wet.  Just then Dave Taylor paid a visit (from his new home in Portishead) looking relaxed and well, and cheerful despite having been told he could have had his free car service back at home, rather than having driven it to the garage in Farnham!  

Ray and Ben volunteered to go down to Medstead by train to collect a new 2 section ladder.  When they came back the rain was full on so, assisted by Steve, and under the cover, they de-greased and cleaned up the several cast iron signs originating from the crane, ready for re-painting. 

While this was going on Adrian led the discussion with Mick about a future paint store outside the north wall of the container suggesting it be built around two metal shelving units previously supplied by Richard and Claire.  A sheet of steel on the scrap heap was cut to size by Rob using an angle grinder to provide a stable base. The rain didn't show any sign of abating so it was then decided to pack up and call it an early day.”

Saturday saw Dillon, Jim, John D and John B at Medstead. After a cup of tea, it was down to business. Both the Johns had the less than glamorous task of removing bolts from the gunpowder wagon roof. This sounds easy, but after many years of corrosion, working above head height, and in a tin oven (yes it was rather hot on saturday), it was far from easy.

After reports of problems with the brakes on the cattle van during Thomas week it was decided to take a look. Jim did a lot of walking backwards and forwards with tools and equipment between the workshop van and the cattle wagon which was down in Bennett’s siding. It was decided to drop the vacuum cylinder out and have a proper look. On opening it up it was found to have a twisted rolling ring and the gland seal was a rather tight fit. Dillon showed Jim how to fit the rolling ring properly without a twist by using the molding line. Then it was off to Ropley to use one of their Colchester lathes to open out the seal housing. Thanks to Paul for allowing the use of the machine.

On Return to Medstead they caught the two Johns having lunch and joined them. Feeling suitably refreshed the latter two returned to the ‘tin oven’ while Jim and Dillon re-assembled the Vacuum cylinder, then with a struggle in the heat managed to fit it. Using a jack to raise the piston rod then operating the release valve the cylinder operated freely. This now requires a proper vac test before next use.

Operating the cattle van handbrake it was found the brakes needed adjusting and one shoe needed replacing as it had “flanged” and the safety strap had worn over half its thickness away. This completed D+J cleared away, washed up and called it a day at 1730.


Chris Le Corney

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