Weekly Exhibit

A photograph taken 120 years ago of a young David Jones working for W.H.Smith & Son at Machynlleth Station. The poster he is holding announces the end of the Boer War and is dated Monday 2nd June. David went on to work as a driver at Machynlleth Depot.

The war had such an impact on nearby Tywyn, that on the Coronation Day of Edward VII, 9 August 1902, a monument was unveiled in Tywyn to celebrate the safe return of seven people from the town who took part in the Boer War Campaign. Talyllyn Railway locomotive “Dolgoch” also carried the name “Pretoria” for a time.

Museum working party 23rd June 2022

A bright sunny morning was the perfect weather for Andy Sheffield, Charles Benedetto and John Olsen to complete the refresh of the splayside (no. 213) and incline (no. 117) wagons by applying the second coat of bitumenous paint to the floors.

John progressed the new part for the Corris mail wagon dumb buffer while Andy and Charles wielded the paintbrushes. The TR wagon inspector Tim Wilkinson did the rounds as we worked, passing all the wagons fit for running on the line except the Corris mail wagon due to the rot in the frame.

Our morning coffee was in the company of David and Mandy Broadbent, Ann McCanna and Mike Green, out on the platform with the sun beaming down.

Post coffee chat and chocolate biscuits the painting team moved on to touching up the covered wagon (no. 146) corner plates, as these had suffered some scuffs during storage, and the nuts and bolts, which needed to have the topcoat applied.

John completed the shaping of the new piece for the dumb buffer and left it in place pending anti rot treatment and then repainting of the headstock and both buffers.

The two slate wagons (no.s 164 & 101) have been shunted on to the Wharf Edge siding to join the covered wagon (no. 146) and we await one final shunt to release the two TR wagons and line up the heritage fleet in full view of the museum as part of our World Heritage interpretation display.

Photos by John Olsen

Weekly Exhibit

Point and signal lever plates from the signal box at Chattenden Magazines on the Lodge Hill and Upnor Military Railway.

Museum working party 16th June 2022

Ideal weather conditions to work outdoors this morning, but the first job of the day took Andy Sheffield, Charles Benedetto and John Olsen into the museum to retrieve the Giesl Ejector display from storage and assemble it on the ground floor for photography during the coming week. Having accomplished this with the aid of Frank Nolan’s ‘muscle’, the team went into the yard to the Aberllefeni Quarry counterbalance wagon.

This wagon is showing advanced signs of deterioration and was playing host to a wide variety of heavy metal and timber objects, most of which were not related to the wagon itself, and threatened to cause damage if not removed. The smaller items had already been removed, but it was a three man job to extract the remains of a slab wagon, possibly from Bryn Eglwys Quarry, and transfer this to a grounded metal wagon body. This allowed three cross timbers from a TR wagon to be removed as well, considerably lightening the load on the timber frame of the Aberllefeni wagon.

Our coffee break was taken in the hot sunshine on the platform in the company of Ann McCanna, Mike Green and David Broadbent, who is currently on very light duties.

Post coffee the tarpaulin was removed from the splayside wagon to allow the rusty patches on its floor to be cleaned up with wire brushes. Three men with angle grinders made smart work of this task and after the muck had been swept and vacuumed up, the floor was immediately painted with a coat of black bitumenous paint; taking care to catch all the little dimples that were very difficult to see against the bright light reflecting off the new paint. The tarpaulin was put back over the wagon in light of possible storms over the weekend and the site tidied up to conclude the morning.

Photos by John Olsen

Weekly Exhibit

The extensive brickworks of H. Birkby and Sons Ltd at Storr Hill, Wyke, Bradford was founded in 1869. It had eight individual brick kilns each fired by its own furnace. Clay was brought from an adjacent clay pit to the processing shed, or pug mill, by a 250 yard long, 18inch gauge chain-hauled plateway set on an incline. Each steel wagons had a forked bracket on the top which accepted the haulage chain. The flangeless wheels ran on lengths of steel angle, similar to the very earliest plateways. The works closed in 1982.

The photograph of the system in use is kindly provided by Adrian Foster.

Museum working party 9th June 2022

The grey skies proved to be an accurate forecast of this mornings weather in Tywyn. Charles Benedetto and John Olsen had not long uncovered the splayside wagon and setup the power supply to the two angle grinders when the first heavy raindrops began to fall. The wagon was covered over again and an early coffee taken to see if it would dry up; it did not, but we enjoyed the company of Ann McCanna and Mike Green with our coffee and biscuits while we waited.

With rain still falling it was time for plan B, which entailed measuring up for a new piece of timber to replace the rotted end of the dumb buffer on the Corris Mail Wagon and beginning to cut it to size. While Charles was engaged on this job, John measured up for new mounting brackets in the museum and sourced suitable lengths of wood from our stock in the north wall storage area and then cleaning off the old wood glue and MDF before cutting each piece to length.

The morning wound up with the rain still persisting but some progress made on the new part for the Corris Wagon and the brackets.

Photo by John Olsen

Weekly Exhibit

A timetable from 50 years ago for the Isle of Man Steam Railway covering the line from Douglas to Port Erin. This was the first year of operation of the line following the five year period that the railway was leased to Lord Ailsa. During the lease period, passenger services to Peel and Ramsey were withdrawn in 1968 and never re-instated. The Port Erin service operated in 1972, 1973 and 1974, but ran on only the south part of the line in 1975 and 1976. Services to Douglas were restored in 1977. In January 1978 the railway was nationalised, marking the end of the independent Isle of Man Railway Company.

Museum working party 2nd June 2022

A bright sunny morning in Tywyn on the Queens official birthday and the start of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations. Max Birchenough, Andy Sheffield and John Olsen were on hand to remove the cover from the incline wagon, no. 117, and begin coating the floor with black bitumenous paint.

John returned to the Corris mail wagon as the rotting wood had largely dried out. After removing the loose flaky wood with a wire brush the soft wood was treated with hardener to help exclude any further water penetration. While this was left to harden John then turned his attention to the splayside wagon, no. 213, as rain earlier in the week had revealed that there was still a low point in the floor that was not being drained by the holes he inserted last week.

The first train of the day was double headed by No’s 3 and 4, with the latter carrying the museum’s Queen’s Coronation Headboard; we paused in our labours to take photos.

By coffee time much of the incline wagon floor had been painted and the site of a new drainage hole had been cleaned up with a wire brush ready for drilling.

We joined Ann McCanna and Mary Sheffield at their table on the platform and were joined by John Alderslade, duty attendant, Mike Green and Neal Chapman for our coffee, biscuits and chat.

We returned to the tasks in hand and completed the painting of the floor of the incline wagon, which we left uncovered to let the paint dry more rapidly. With a new hole drilled John primed the bare metal with grey acid etch primer and then treated the last unpainted nuts and bolts on the covered wagon, no. 146, which is currently on the Wharf Edge siding.

Photos by John Olsen

Weekly Exhibit

With the Jubilee celebration this week, we look back to a previous age where Manning Wardle locomotive No.1382 was named ‘Jubilee 1897’ to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. It was built for the Cilgwyn Quarry at Nantlle, and later moved to the Penrhyn Quarry Railway. In 1963 it was loaned to the Narrow Gauge Railway Museum and after a short time back at Penrhyn in 2017, it was transferred to Aberystwyth, and has now been sold by Welsh Slate to the Vale of Rheidol Railway.

The object shown is a new replica works plate, cast to remember its time at Tywyn. The photograph taken by J.J.Davies shows the locomotive at Wharf Station in 1964, prior to moving into the museum.

Museum working party 26th May 2022

The weather was 50:50 this morning as Andy Sheffield, Max Birchenough , Charles Benedetto and John Olsen assembled for the mornings activities. In the absence of wagon no. 146, which was still sitting in the siding at Brynglas following Don Newing’s ashes interment last Saturday, the team tackled three other wagons.

Andy got the job of finding all the bits of the FR slate wagon that had not been painted with black bitumastic paint last week, Charles and Max used wire brushes in the angle grinders to clean the light rust off the already stripped floor of wagon no. 117, the incline wagon, prior to priming with acid etch primer and John baled out wagon no. 213, the splayside, before drilling two drain holes in the floor.

By coffee time Andy was satisfied he had found all the last specks of sand coloured primer and covered them, Max and Charles had cleaned off the exposed metal of the incline wagon and given it a thorough clean with brushes and then white spirit and John had bored the drainage holes, wire brush cleaned the floor area immediately around them in the splayside wagon. Both wagons were covered over in case the low clouds decided to rain on Tywyn.

The appearance of Mike Green at Wharf heralded coffee time, which was taken in his company in the cafe, as it was blowing quite hard outside.

Post coffee the rain had stayed away and Andy had to retire for a previous engagement. John applied primer to the new drain holes in the splayside wagon and then handed the brushes on to Charles and Max to apply to the incline wagon. Casting a critical eye over the FR wagon John spotted more than one area of sandy speckles and applied more bitumastic paint to the frame, especially the hard to see and reach places on the underside. The incline wagon was covered over to allow the primer to fully cure in the dry and the worksite tidied.

Photos by John Olsen.