Watercress Line

‘We will never give up, we will never surrender’

Things have been slowly progressing in Eastleigh and the volunteers have started to work on the fiddlier aspects of the restoration. They have been working on sorting out the lubrication pipework, which has been a more complicated job than we thought. The lubrication system was labelled when it was taken off the engine, something that was supposed to help us when putting it back in place. This has not been the case in certain areas. Even looking at the plans for the loco has caused us to draw a blank in some cases, but we will not be beaten!

The volunteers have also started to assess the cladding. We are a way off the cladding being needed but dare I say it we are making a plan of what will need to be replaced (not something you hear of around here). Unfortunately, Canadian Pacific spent a number of years outside, victim to the British weather, and this has meant that the cladding has deteriorated away. The volunteers have been cleaning, assessing and painting any cladding that could be reused. Even some of the more deteriorated parts can sometimes be saved, and Malcolm has been working on saving some of this (see photos). The words of Winston Churchill, ‘we will never surrender’, feels rather fitting at times to describe this restoration of Canadian Pacific.

CP’s boiler tubes and elements were delivered from Eastleigh to Medstead in May, as we are unable to store them in Eastleigh any longer. A group of volunteers from the Thursday gang at Ropley tackled the enormous task of unloading the 6 tons of boiler tubes and elements off the lorry. The following week three volunteers from the Ropley Weds Gang and myself took on the task of moving the boiler tubes into storage. A task we quickly regretted after the first boiler tube but we persevered. A big thank you goes out to the Wednesday and Thursday Gang who helped in the task of moving the boiler tubes and elements.

A group of the Eastleigh volunteers since May have been ‘invading’ Ropley once a week to clean and paint CP’s tender frame. It is not the most glamorous job but they are working hard on this task that will allow us to move onto overhauling the frames and in some areas see how much has deteriorated (see photos). Work has progressed on CP’s bogie and trailing truck at Ropley, and we are aiming to put this back on the loco as soon as possible.

While the mechanical restoration has slowed, work on the boiler has come on leaps and bounds. Our new boilershop manager Sam Rowbotham has been pushing CP’s boiler restoration forward and Andrew Netherwood is now employed by the project as a contractor. This has meant that we have seen a lot of developments on CP’s boiler over the last month, such as the tube plate being riveted. The machine shop made countless thermic syphon stays/bolts which were then fitted to the thermic syphons, completing another job in their restoration. Work has also been taking place on boring out the tube plate holes ready for the boiler tubes to be fitted – although we are a long way from that at the moment. The backplate is ready to be welded onto the boiler and this has been started. Once this is completed we can start removing the foundation ring and think about building the inner firebox. We have a lot of work to complete before we have a finished boiler but it is moving in the right direction.

Thank you for reading

Becky, Project Supervisor


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