Watercress Line

What larks!

21  August

On one of our last visits to the balloon water tank at Alton the water level indicator was installed and the tank capacity sign fixed near the access ladder. A float inside the tank attached to a cable will travel as the water is drawn off through the valve at the bottom of the tank. The indicator level will then move down the outside of the tank showing how much water has been drawn off and how much is left. A little adjustment was needed to get the correct buoyancy however as a trial partial fill of the tank showed. After a loco tender has been replenished the inlet valve will open on another float to refill the tank. The water level indicator is in place to show if there is any issue with the re-fill and that there is water for the next loco to use.

Now the work on the tank is completed the opportunity was taken to give the inside a thorough clean up of any debris. After sweeping the bottom of the tank it was vacuumed to remove the last remnants of dust and metal swarf - but don’t tell Alan’s wife that he can vacuum.

Departmental resources were swiftly moved to Ropley recently in order to deal with an on-going drainage problem which was causing issues with signalling and point operations at the station. There is a drain between the tracks which has a blockage due to failure of the pipework  and has been causing some flooding . This makes drain water from the treatment plant to flood over the track and has make the ground around some trackside equipment quite soft causing intermittent problems with operation. The S&T Department wished to replace some of this equipment and stabilise the ground so a diversion of this drainage water was required.

So, that’s the problem now for the temporary fix. Under a controlled line possession, an immersion pump was placed in the drain chamber in the tracks opposite the water treatment plant and hose was run between the tracks diverting the flow into another drain that runs in a different direction. A temporary electric power supply was run in from the picnic site to power the pump, which operates on a float system when the drainage chambers fills. A seal was placed in the chamber to prevent water entering the damaged pipework, hence why the chamber fills. After some testing and adjustments the system functions very well, and will stay in operation until a more permanent repair is made to the original drain by the PWay Department. What larks!

A more regular type of task of ours was the installation of a loco nameplate and loco number plate in the Old Goods Shed at Alresford. These were donations to the Railway and worthy of public display in a suitable location. The CALSTOCK nameplate was fitted to a back board, made in the workshop, to give the plate more reference to the type of background it would have appeared against when attached to a locomotive. The name is one of those associated with the West Country Class of locomotive and named after towns mainly in Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and Dorset.  A brief description about the locomotive was added in a separate frame to give visitors, not too familiar with railway history, some information about the provenance of these artefacts.

Bob Brooks

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