Watercress Line


Malcolm reports from Medstead on Tuesday. Dave V, Chris P, John D, Richard, Kevin and Malcolm were racing to complete the BY roof in time for the torch-on felting on Wednesday. It was only 3°C in the morning with a bitter wind but, thankfully, warmed up a bit in the afternoon. The job was mostly completed but were are still a few areas which would benefit from some wood strip infills before the caulking is done. They finally left at 16:30, as the sun was starting to set. 
Wednesday started off cold and frosty, but the sun came up at Medstead and it got relatively warm by the afternoon... Adrian, Roger, Steve and I carried on from Tuesday on the BY roof... filling in gaps in planks with wood strips, planing them down and caulking. This was followed by the torch on roofing felt to the London end of the BY, this completing the bulk of the felting, excepting tidying up the overhanging edges and ends. The Alresford end of the BY roof had been completed the previous week. 
Following this we put the sheets back over the "A" and "AF" containers in Bennetts, making them hopefully snug for winter. Sheeting them over adds several years to the repainting schedule compared to a vanfit left unsheeted... and there is a lot of lettering and numbering on the containers! 
Meanwhile at Alton the Wednesday attendees were greeted by mixed weather. John B, Paul and Ian set about rubbing down the sides of BR vanfit B 772824.
Inside the mess room John Q was met with the (not unexpected) failure of the duct tape used to cover the joins in the ceiling panels. A few possible solutions relying on the tape’s adherence to paint were tried and left on test to see if they can withstand the inherent dampness of the van. Painting the walls commenced with 3 coats of emulsion paint.

Saturday at Medstead was a reasonably good day for Dillon, Jim, Jose and Jamie, although Dillon forgot his overalls, boots and Wagon Group Committee meeting notes! Luckily Jim had spare boots and HV gear in his car.

After the customary mug of tea and catch up, Jose and Jamie made a start on the underframe of BY S 653 from where they left off a few months ago. Chipping away at the rust, then sanding  back in the confined area above the London end axle wasn’t easy, but they managed to get a coat of red oxide on by the end of the day.

Dillon and Jim set up in the gunpowder van with a straight edge and G clamps. Just as Jim got going on the disk cutter, Dillon had to go off to the Committee meeting. Upon his return it was time for lunch!.

Later in the afternoon they managed to get the next panel trial fitted, then drilled and bolted up in readiness for welding on the next visit.

Dillon tried an arty shot of the goods rake with the low sun glinting off the rails...
The scaffolding contract erected for the BR mark 1 roofs has now finished, and the scaffolding was removed on Saturday. During the 12 weeks we managed to repaint 7 coach roofs, and latterly the roof repairs and torch on roofing felt to the BY. Overall the weather was very kind since the beginning of August, but there is no point in retaining the scaffolding longer ...with the autumn shorter and damper days.  

Chris Le Corney

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