Watercress Line

Wagon Group Report 9th August

Dave V reports they made the usual steady progress on Tuesday at Medstead. Following the Freight running weekend Dave, Chris S, Kevin and Richard put the sheets back over the “A” and “AF” containers on the Conflat A’s, and Kevin removed the bulls head from the cattle wagon.
Clive finished the second coat of red topcoat on the SW Tar wagon and made a start on the white lettering. Richard continued with the two large cast iron signs, and after taking some stick from the guys has asked that Dave reports they are 75-80% completed and he hopes to finish them next week!
Meanwhile Keith continued with end timbers, helped at times by Chris S and Dave. He has now moved to the country end. Kevin applied black top coat paint to the town end buffer beam area and touched up a few more areas with paint and grease. Chris, Dave and Keith trial fitted one of the horizontal rods.
Last week Malcolm forgot to submit a report on BY S 653…….they were able to finish bolting on the non-running side doors, and adjusted them to make a better fit on closing, and continued on with re-fitting the interior boarding.
This week they completed the interior boarding, fitted the leather straps to the windows; fixed new pads to cushion them when they’re raised.Next week plan is to fit the new window retaining trims. This just leaves one retaining stud to find for the leather strap……….
At Alton on Wednesday, the rain started earlier than forecast and got steadily heavier.  Steve was delayed by road works so when he arrived Mick and John B were painting the 'saddle' for the roof between the ISO container and the grounded van body with aluminium primer. When finished this had to be left under the presflo, out of the rain to dry.  John B wire brushed down the London end buffer beam and buffers on the big crane DS 1580, ready for priming in drier weather.
While, Mick and Steve were discussing the options of waterproofing the roof panels and the gap between the two, the rain came on continuously to prove the need!  As John B had finished what he could do, without getting drenched, they all decided to have an early lunch.  Lunch on the station platform was brought to a swift close by the arrival of the train.  After lunch they set about painting the 'saddle' with grey undercoat. This was carried out in the dry inside the ISO container.
The inclement weather then brought the proceedings to an early close.
Thursday at Alton was slightly drizzly from time to time, although the forecast was mainly dry! But Adrian, Ray, and myself made good progress on the big crane DS 1580.  We had a lot of prepared areas in undercoat stage, so we set to with some black top coating. This all took pretty well, although the horizontal area in the well where the crane jib sits got slightly damp before it had dried. It looks slightly dappled here currently, but we wanted to top coat on that area before the crane jib is lowered and makes it difficult to paint with a large hook lying thereon……..  Ian mean time was doing some cleaning off and priming on the crane, and giving the container roofing saddle construction a second undercoat.
Saturday at Medstead was a day of maintenance for Dillon and Jose, which didn’t start according to plan....the first three wagons on Dillon’s list had disappeared (no doubt on “Thomas” duty at Ropley). Next on the list was van B 881711 with very stiff brakes, which was quite an easy job with oil, hammers and a couple of spanners. Following this was the steel Highfit B 481682, just needing a vacuum release cord. Shoc open B 725540 also required a release cord and the brakes adjusting on the Alresford end to take up excessive free play. Van B 782114 needed a release cord, and was also noted a split pin missing on the release valve. A temporary one was fitted as they didn’t have any of the correct size in stock.
After a quick tea break, Jose red oxided two of the roof hoops from the gunpowder wagon that were de-rusted the previous week. Both of them then went for a look at the brakes on the two plank B 726064 as they had been noted dragging on the Alton end the weekend before. They were found to be seized up, strangely on one end only. This involved taking the rigging down a piece at a time, cleaning all the faces with an angle grinder, polishing all the pins and bores, before refitting and moving on to the next piece. This was a very time consuming job, and a large thunderstorm with hailstones almost the size of marbles didn’t help either, with Dillon and Jose diving for cover underneath. The water started dripping through the floorboards, so it was a very quick dash to the next wagon for shelter!
After the storm had passed the work resumed, with now a very free braking system. All the vehicles worked on (and a couple of others) had a very good dousing of oil on all the brake rigging. Finally after packing the tools away and a quick mug of tea they shut up shop at 17:10.
Chris Le Corney

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