Watercress Line

Wagon Group Report 6th February

A bright and sunny Tuesday at Medstead welcomed, Dave V, Richard, John D, Kevin, Keith, Chris S, Brian, and Rob a little later on.

First job was to find SR van S 47777 in Bennetts which had been reported with door not locking at the top properly ... well it did lock until the van had a recent trip down to Ropley to extract some bits of firegrate therein. After some attention, the door now locks at the top. 
Chris and Dave continued with fitting the hardware on the workshop CCT door, although they were missing some of the original bolts, and spent time trying to find them without much luck!  Keith continued with the CCT workshop bench modification for the whole day, it's beginning to look a lot better.

Meanwhile with Rob arriving at tea break in time to fit a foam fire extinguisher on the Queen Mary brake van. The steel fixing brackets were provided, so it was a relatively easy job of finding the most suitable place, drill out the holes, assemble, and paint the retaining nuts and bolts. 

On the Queen Mary BV chimney installation Brian with Richard, Kevin and John with all contributed to the various bits that were coming together. The largest  job left is the manufacture of the pattriss on the roof.
Chris and Malcolm decided to improve the work done two weeks ago to re-fit the hasp on the Workshop CCT. This ended up taking most of the day, however.  There is still a small amount of finishing off to be done next week but they are pleased with the job overall. The two replacement boards are a very tight fit which should help with keeping the rain out. The new ply sheets arrived for re-cladding the BY Guard’s compartment, and this was transferred to the BY.
Early birds John Q and Roger opened up at Alton on Wednesday.  John Q worked on glazing the grounded van body new (well first) mess room window, cutting and fitting a frame to the opening created last time, and priming.  When the paint was dry he fitted a pane of glass so that those inside could check on those working in the container.  Just when they were wondering who would be first to inadvertently poke a length of timber through it Mick conjured up a wire mesh screen from somewhere, and John fixed it before he left.  Paul pressure washed the Alresford end of the LMS van M 514791 as far as it could be revealed. It was too windy to remove the sheets.

Elsewhere, Roger and Steve checked over the stove in the crane PMV which Colin Chambers no longer wanted...  While Roger was figuring out how to un-install it Steve dashed off to buy some WD-40.  The nuts, bolts screws and joints were sprayed and allowed to soak.  Using makeshift pipe wrenches they managed to lift the stove pipe from the stove and unbolted the stove from its concrete mounting.  Where the pipe protrudes above the roof it has a steel plate adjacent to the roof, and above that a conical shaped steel shield and at the very top a loose metal flap.  Clearly the easiest way to remove it was to lift it with a crane.  But where can you get a crane at Alton?  Instead it was thought safest to clear the roof opening and pull it it down into the van.  Unfortunately, the steel plates resisted hand cutting and an angle grinder was required, but all the needed power cables were being PAT tested at that moment in time. So the chimney remained to be removed on Wednesday...

Mick and Adrian continued work on the electrics.  Adrian buried the supply cable that runs into the ISO container, thus removing a significant trip hazard.  He then helped Mick who was finishing off the earthing and building a plywood box around the junction box near the floor.  Mick primed it white to blend in. Then later he fastened the supply cable inside the grounded van body that runs down from the trip switch.  

When Pete arrived he cleaned and oiled the brake linkages on the Presflo PF 29 wagon. Using gentle manipulation with a crow bar he managed to get the linkage to move the brake blocks away from the wheels. 
It didn't rain as originally forecast, but got noticeably colder in the afternoon and the team didn't hang around!
On Thursday morning John B, Ray B and I successfully removed the stove chimney from the crane PMV, by sawing off a few bits of the roof T&G, this allowing it to drop down inside. This and the stove were removed for safe keeping.
John started removing the black horizontal stripe on the south side of the milk tank W 2960, and Ray and I did some cleaning off of the aluminium insulation. It's a long job,but the bits we did have come up quite well.
Ray and I removed the sheet from the Presflo, in preparation for possible use during the February Gala weekend 9th/10th/11th. The Wednesday efforts on the brake linkages seemed to work well, and the cylinder pistons could be levered up and they dropped down again. 
After lunch we went up to Medstead and pasted some "customer labels" on vans in Bennetts, and chalked on shunters destinations, and thence headed homewards.  

A very soggy Saturday at Medstead greeted Jose, John D, Hamish, Jim, John B and Jamie and Dillon. After the customary mug of tea it was down to business. Jim and Jose helped Dillon transfer sheet steel from his car to the gunpowder wagon, to replace those rusted areas cut out last year.

John D and Hamish, later joined by John D spent some time fettling the stove pipe on the Queen Mary brake van. Later the stove was given the “Jose” style christening with a lovely roaring fire. Once the fire had been roaring away for a while, JD climbed the ladder to make sure the roof plate wasn’t getting hot.

Jim and Dillon disappeared under the cattle wagon with the angle grinder, cutting off and replacing three badly worn bolts on the north side brake hangers.

Jamie and Jose carried on with their work on the Rudd, initially indoors with the heater, while the oldies worked outside in the cold and wet! With what daylight there was fading and the cold returning, it was decided to pack away early...

So leaving aside removing sheets from containers in the freight rake, that's our preparations done for the Pre Spring Gala 9th/10th/11th Feb. The freight will, I understand, have two short rakes working between Alresford and Ropley. No Queen Mary brake van rides on the freight this time. The QM will however be up at Alton doing rides around the station area and the Meon loop, with the 03 shunter. Looks like the operational stove on the QM will be very useful this weekend ...
Don't forget to come and visit us at Medstead also, for our sales stand (get your new 2018 limited edition "Crowleys Brewery of Alton" 4mm model van here), and yard tours.

Chris Le Corney 

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