Watercress Line


With me making a rare Tuesday appearance at Medstead we had a team of 6 (including Dave V, David E, John D, Ray B and Pete Cutler) working on the next Mark 1 coach roof S 21236. This was the worst one we have seen ... so far! Notwithstanding this, with team work (well slave driving actually was what I was advised!) and the honing of recent experience ... after the usual scraping down, sanding, dusting, we managed to get the first coat of roof paint on before lunch, and the second one on later in the afternoon... this completing this coach roof no 4. Well not a 25 year guarantee, but it meets our remit of a short/medium term improvement.
We had a back up gang ready for Wednesday to finish the off at Medstead, if required. The forecast for Wednesday morning however was a bit wet, and this turned out a reality, so a good job we completed the roof on Tuesday. 
Accordingly John Q and Mick spent the day at Alton upgrading the facilities in the Mess Room, aka grounded van body, by installing two rows of plush seating the likes of which have probably not been experienced by any fixer of wagons on the railway previously!  Modifications were made to accommodate a range of posteriors and all have been securely fixed to the walls of the cabin.  
Meanwhile, Steve E arrived late to find that the others had removed the wood from the store due to a lot of rain getting in.  Bob and Adrian decided to drill holes in the plywood floor to drain the considerable pool that had accumulated. Close inspection revealed that a greater amount of water was getting in from the roof of the workshop ISO container than had been expected. It was decided to install some temporary roofing felt across the store and up on to the container roof without delay, with a baffle at the top to deflect away the rainwater. 2 x 1" treated timber and felt cut to size was provisionally fitted. The plywood sheets and timbers were then re-packed.inside.
John B, (with a knee problem preventing working), came along at lunchtime for a cup of tea and have a chat, so he said ... but they think he was checking their work to maintain standards. It was nice to see him, and they think they passed inspection.

Saturday at Medstead started with just John D and Jamie. Although there was now a replacement coach roof waiting in the siding, the roof thereof looked in not too bad a condition, so after a cup of tea they decided to concentrate on the Gunpowder Van. Jamie made a start underneath the frames, with the black gloss topcoat paint while John D derusted the two London end wheels. After preparing the wheels, John D gave them a coat of red oxide hoping they would dry in time for an undercoat later. Dave R arrived a bit later and pitched into the black glossing with Jamie.

After lunch, Dave R and Jamie carried on painting under the Gunpowder van. Dave R undercoated the previously Red oxided wheels.

John D checked the axle boxes of the wagons in Bennetts and returning and rummaging around in paint store found just enough Buckingham green paint to finish top coating the doors on the woodworking CCT.

The day finished with a very welcome social visit from John B (he's drinking a lot of tea this week!), so a cup of tea and a chat was enjoyed before leaving at 16.00.

Sunday saw Josie and Jamie at the yard at Medstead. After the usual cup of tea they set off down the yard and gathered some tools to finish adjusting the brakes on the low sided wagon M 460001 (well it was an oil tank wagon before it arrived on the Mid-Hants as a "chassis only" in 1975). After a bit of hard work and effort they managed to get all the shoes adjusted.

After rummaging around the paint store they managed to find a tin of black gloss which allowed them to finish the underframes of the gunpowder van, and after a relaxing lunch brake they went back down to adjust the milk tank brakes, which didn't take too long. After which they then packed everything away and watched the trains go by ... leaving the yard at about 15:30.

Chris Le Corney

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