Museum working party 15th Feb 2024

A very grey and wet morning in Tywyn that precluded any work in the yard, to which end all the wagons remained covered over. Max Birchenough Charles Benedetto, Andy Sheffield and John Olsen worked inside the museum on general housekeeping and an important repair job.

It had been noted that the window winder operating the three fanlights over the big window facing Neptune Road had become very stiff and would effectively jam when they were only part open. John inspected the winder mechanism and the openers earlier in the week and found that they were not the problem, however he noted a lot of filings in the winder which indicated a likely problem in the conduit. This morning was the first opportunity to dismantle the winder and first section of conduit, that had two curved sections in it before the first opening mechanism, as John suspected this was where the PTFE conduit lining had failed and the operating wire was rubbing on the outer aluminium wall, causing the excessive friction and the filings.

Assisted variously by the other team members in between their cleaning jobs, John removed the inner operating wire and the first conduit section; extracting the wire from the rest of the system was very easy but it required much more pull to get it out of the curved conduit; case proven. Using spare conduit and operating wire left over from the installation, John began the repair by replacing the damaged conduit section, bending it in much larger radii than the original so as to minimise any future tendency for the wire to abrade the PTFE lining.

Having gotten a successful fit for the conduit between the winder and the first window opener, coffee break was called. We were joined in the cafe by Keith Theobald, Barbara Fuller, Ann McCanna and Tom Place, enjoying caffeine and chat with three different styles of chocolate biscuits. Yum.

Refreshed we returned to the museum to thread the new operating wire through the system and then set the open and closed positions of the windows before testing the operation several times. It was now time to tidy up; the tools were returned to their respective tool boxes and we cleared away the detritus of our industry ready for our next visitors.

Museum working party 8th Feb 2024

A rather grey, wet and dismal morning in Tywyn, but as we are still able to work inside the museum this week, it didn’t present a problem.

Max Birchenough, Andy Sheffield, Charles Benedetto, Pete Thomas and John Olsen picked up from last week with Charles ascending the scaffold tower to apply the micro crystalline conservation wax to the last display panel of locomotive nameplates. Pete made adjustments to an existing headboard mount so that it would fit a different head board, while Max continued his patient rust removal on the Chattenden and Upnor points indicator. John had been working on this during the week and successfully freed it so that we are not limited to just cosmetic restoration.

Andy had brought in his own paint brush to meticulously paint the frame of the large glazed panel just inside the platform entrance in fresh white. John made a simple fillet of wood to raise the Night Mail headboard by 3 1/2” so that it now matches the heights of the others around it on the beam upstairs. He also liaised with Ros who was conducting an overdue PAT test of all the museum’s electrical apparatus; one multi socket trailing block was found to be defective but otherwise we have a clean bill of health.

Ann McCanna came into the museum to check on numbers for our morning coffee and we joined her and Tom Place for our convivial chat, chocolate biscuits and caffeine fix.

Much refreshed we returned to the museum to tidy and clear away all the tools and scaffold tower, as next week we open for the schools half term holidays; the opening will be for two weeks so we will be hoping for dry weather so that we can work in the yard.

With the museum clear of obstacles, we left Ros to his work and finished for the morning.

Photos by John Olsen

Weekly Exhibit

The museum re-opens next Monday 12th February with the new 2024 Temporary Exhibition in place. The exhibition tells the stories of just some of the people associated with the exhibits in the museum.

One of the books on display is “The Talyllyn Railway Men” by the late Sara Eade, who was keen on social history of the local area.

Museum working party Feb 1st 2024

A cool bright morning greeted the team at Tywyn Wharf this morning; Andy Sheffield, Max Birchenough, Allan Black, Charles Benedetto, Pete Thomas and John Olsen were on hand to work in the museum.

Max spent a little time on the invaluable task of sticking white crosses at four different heights (small child, child, adult and feathered friends) on the two new glass screens erected outside the museum and cafe platform south facing entrances. These markings should prevent accidental collisions with the glass, which have been placed to protect the entrances from the prevailing south westerly rains. Pete and Andy drilled mounting holes in the newly fabricated headboard mounts and sanded them smooth for Pete to paint in white, ready for use on the first floor. Andy removed the donation box beside the platform door and cleaned the frame of the large glass internal window in preparation for repainting.

Max and Charles assisted John to bring the Chattenden and Upnor points indicator from the Gunpowder Store to the museum in order to return it to working order and de-rust and repaint it after many hard years out in the yard. Allan and Max took on the roles of chief rust knockers and lubricators. Charles once again displayed his lack of fear of heights by ascending the scaffold tower to clean and polish the brass nameplates on the third and final mesh panel. John bounced from job to job supplying tools, materials and verbal incentives.

We joined Ann McCanna and Tom Place in the cafe for or morning refreshments and were delighted to be joined by Ray Brooks, a now retired stalwart of the museum working parties, for coffee chocolate biscuits and chat. Ray brought a lovely 2024 calendar featuring the quarry Hunslets at work, for the museum; we hope to prominently display it near Rough Pup.

After coffee the team convened a meeting to discuss a proposed new system for assessing power tool competency drawn up by John in consultation with Liz Porrett so that we meet our obligations under the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) legislation of 1998. After questions pertaining to the scheme had been addressed it was agreed to adopt the procedures once John had produced all the forms covering the various power tools that we use during the working parties. A wider safety discussion of yard working then followed where issues of safe working and safe site access were aired. As some of these required input from the railway John agreed to consult with Liz for answers to certain questions and consult with the other museum Trustees over an additional item.

The meeting was concluded at around noon and we returned to the museum to finish off the mornings jobs and do a bit of tidying up as the electrical department were working on new wiring.

Photos by John Olsen

Weekly Exhibit

Recently donated to the museum is the Talyllyn Railway locomotive headboard commemorating the Coronation of King Charles III.

Museum working party 25th Jan 2024

Grey skies and rain were in the offing, but the team were in the warm and dry in the museum again this morning. Ian Evans boosted our numbers together with Andy Sheffield, Allan Black, Pete Thomas, Charles Benedetto and John Olsen.

First order of the day was to take down the scaffold tower and move it out from behind the Oakeley coal wagon, then empty out the afore mentioned wagon of all the wooden nameplate patterns, stamp collections and sundry signalling equipment. The scaffold tower was then re-erected in the wagon to enable polishing of the next batch of brass name and makers plates and take down all the wooden nameplate patterns to be dusted.

Andy and Allan got handy with the paint brushes while Ian and Charles were our daring ‘young’ men on the flying trapeze polishing the brass. Pete was given a padlock to replace the temporary nut and bolt that was securing the ‘Can you power William?’ interactive to the stairs; and found that the hole was too small. Cue a session with the drill to open out the hole to receive the new padlock. John was kept busy shuttling between various jobs and in the quiet moments fetched a couple of head boards out of the store room ready for part two of the morning.

With the brass shining, but not yet waxed, and the wooden patterns dust free, we adjourned to the cafe for our morning coffee where we were joined by Jane Thornton, Malcolm Phillips and Mark Tibbutt who were engaged in TR archiving. Chocolate biscuits, coffee and chat flowed freely.

Just before we returned to our labours Ann McCanna and Tom Place joined us for their coffee and biscuits.

Back in the museum Ian and Charles polished off their job, and the scaffold tower was moved out of the wagon to beside the next display of brass nameplates for next weeks cleaning. The wagon was then re-packed, somewhat less randomly than before, with space still to spare for a few more items.

Allan and Pete cut out and assembled six new head board mounting brackets, sized to fit the two head boards John had brought out. John was then able to begin shuffling the existing head boards on display to accommodate another that commemorated 40 years of the Railway Letter service and discuss display options for four recent head boards with Ian.

With no visitors imminent we were able to leave our tools and other works items out ready for more work next week.

Photos by Allan Black and John Olsen

Weekly Exhibit

The 1931 edition of the Upnor – Lodge Hill Railway Regulations also known as the Chattenden & Upnor Railway.

Museum working party 18th Jan 2024

Another bright crisp, to the tune of -3oC, morning in Tywyn today as the team assembled inside the museum to continue our winter works. Today we had to bear in mind that the museum will be open on Friday afternoon at the request of Mike Green’s family, Mike having been a volunteer attendant for the past few years, so nothing could be left out where visitors might trip over it.

Pete Thomas, Charles Benedetto, Andy Sheffield, Ian Evans and John Olsen looked into the NE corner of the museum where the scaffold tower had been erected previously and found it was missing. It had been used and then stowed back under the stairs, so we had to bring it out and re-assemble it, again! With the scaffold secure Charles ascended to bring some TLC to the brass name and works plates. Pete had fashioned a very nice brass collar to clamp around the stair balustrade upright behind the ‘Can you Power William’ interactive, to permanently replace the (one time use) cable ties to secure it. A test fitting revealed that a bit of fettling was needed and he set to work with hacksaw and file.

Andy and John got on with replacing a missing strap from one of the big signs we use to advertise that the museum is open at the end of the platform; a casualty of the recent stormy weather. Ian was released to conduct his swapping over of the temporary exhibition for this years model. Pete finished his adjustments and then clamped the interactive in place with a temporary bolt pending the fitting of a suitable padlock so that future access to the understairs area will be much easier.

We took our coffee break in the cafe where we were joined by Tom Place, Ann McCanna and Keith Theobald.

Refreshed we returned to the museum where Charles continued his cleaning and polishing, while the rest of us began to tidy away the tools and Workmates etc as Pete ran Henry the hoover round both floors. John took the opportunity of the open cabinets upstairs to clean the glass inside and out and re-hang the Coronation head board back in C12 and Andy took time out to clean the salty grime off the vertical rising door in preparation for Fridays opening.

Photos by John Olsen

Weekly Exhibit

Last month we featured the nameplate from “Nantes”, the French Company Corpet & Louvet locomotive, works No.936 of 1903, used at Waltham Iron Ore Company. Here is the works plate from the locomotive.