Watercress Line


Dave V reports from a cold Medstead on Tuesday that they all made a trip to the lower yard and erected a frame over the remaining wood stock to hold the tarpaulin clear of it, and moved the scaffold tower over to the SW Tar wagon ready for cleaning the top of the tank. David T and Brian put timber blocks under the wagon tank to stop it rolling, and David then continued working on the south side of PMV S 1851 .......... sanding flaking paint off the wood and derusting the metalwork. Brian moved on to derusting the metal end frame removed from the tar wagon, while Richard and John continued derusting the chassis. This is pretty much completed now and is just awaiting Vactan application.

Chris P and Malcolm came to Medstead on Wednesday, rather than their usual Tuesday, and it’s Chris’s turn to do their report .......... It was cold but as there was no wind, and as it was sunny, it was not too unpleasant. Theycompleted the final bottom board on the Alresford end of BY S 653 and fettled the others, so as far as they are concerned they are ready for painting. They went on to measuring up the T&G cladding required for the Alresford end, and then had a dismantle and clean up of the table saw, which now adjusts more readily.


Early Wednesday at Alton it was pretty........... well pretty cold and pretty frosty, and the coldest night of the year it transpired. I’m sure the forecast was not that cold a few days earlier. The water in the kettle was frozen solid. John B and I struggled to to undo the sheet ties on B 763661. Difficult to do with gloves on, and difficult to do with frozen fingers with gloves off........... Anyway we succeeded, and others started to drift in as the sun rose over the horizon and warmed us up. Fortunately as at Medstead there was no wind chill.


We rubbed down the timbers on the London end of B 763661, and applied a second undercoat. Adrian rubbed down the corrugated end and spot primed some rust patches, before undercoating subsequently.


The north side doors had a rub down, some wood hardener and filler applied, sanding down, ali priming and a start made on undercoating. A useful aid was a hair dryer, giving a bit of heat! Mick and John B were busy replacing a rotten plank on the south side, not helped by the van being double skinned on the inside, and indeed rather full of spare (and heavy) BR Mark 1 doors, among other heavy lumps of unknown bits and pieces. John found and inserted bolts into the new plank repair.


By lunchtime it was almost pleasant and we sat outside, (well we have not much choice!), in the sun on the picnic chairs................ 


Steve, Bob, and subsequently Mick carried on with ISO container insulation. Mick and Roger screwed a batten to the floor for sections one and two of the wall panels.  Bob and Steve measured and cut to size insulation for the first section allowing for overlap, and while they held it in place Mick stapled it to the battens that had been glued to the wall. Subsequently the ply sheets will go over these.


Saturday was a bit of a slow day at Medstead, but progress was made. Johns’ B and D spent most of the day working on the Fergie tractor, fitting the carburettor, throttle linkage, choke linkage and connecting up the governor. Doesn’t sound a lot, but this involved removing the dashboard, the fuel tank and the battery tray. Not being happy with the way the dashboard was mounted they removed it again and changed the position only to find it was correct the first time!


Dillon set too with the gas axe, freeing the long bolts that hold the timber baulks down on the SW tar wagon, while Jose undid the nuts. These were worked back and forth until free. They were left on the ends of the bolts both for safe keeping and safety.


Play was then interrupted by the arrival of the black 5 on the Santa Specials with the class 33 on the back. John D dropped his tools and came running with his camera, eventually followed by John B who wondered where everyone had gone!


Dillon set Jose up with the angle grinder with the wire brush attachment, tackling the inside and the threads of the tank retaining strap, and had a play with the handbrake mechanism on the tar tank wagon, on the side where the rodding was removed previously. It was quite badly rusted and very stiff. A bit of brute force and ignorance got it moving, and a liberal dousing with oil soon sorted it.


The two John’s joined them, and they ali wood primed the five pieces of T&G from Wednesday in the Alresford end of the BY. Jose started cleaning up the brackets from the tar wagon in the warmth of the workshop van, while Dillon cleaned off the loose paint and rust off one of the horizontal rods. With fading light and dropping temperatures they called it a day at 15:30.


Meanwhile however in his workshop at home Dillon started on the overhaul of the vacuum cylinder from steel open B 481682.


Chris Le Corney   

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