Museum working party 19th Oct 2023

After two days of Easterly gales and heavy overnight rain the team assembled under clearing skies in Wharf Yard and carried out some housekeeping duties first. Allan Black, Charles Benedetto, Andy Sheffield, Pete Thomas and John Olsen moved boxes of tools and parts from under the newly painted frame for the Corris Mail Waggon and then removed it from the stands to stand on its side, releasing space for drying out of parts of wagon no.164.

John had noted several nuts were pulling up into the wood of the frame on no.164 as he prepared it for the Heritage Weekend, so decided upon a complete stripdown to establish how much rot there was. John and Andy removed the final long bolts, lifted the two rings of wooden slats off and then removed the vertical axlebox fixing bolts to allow the metal floor plate to be moved aside to reveal the frame. This appeared to be in good order but to access the underside for inspection will require the removal of the wheels, axleboxes and brake gear in order to turn the frame over.

The metal parts of the Corris wagon had been brought out of the Gunpowder Store prior to upending the frame to allow Charles to continue painting them with black Hammerite. Allan began chipping and cleaning the rusty seams of the Corris body and Pete worked on the wagon end door, working Neutrarust liquid into the seams where rust had de-laminated the metal; we hope this will penetrate the rusted metal and help arrest further corrosion damage.

Ann McCanna took our coffee order and we adjourned to the sunny platform for a chocolate biscuits, caffeine and chat in the company of Ann, David Broadbent and Tom Place.

Back on the work site the floor plate of no.164 was moved into the Gunpowder Store and one of our plastic wrapped sterling board wagon covers extracted along with a Hippo bag from the loft space to cover over the frame outside, keeping it dry for next week. The wooden slats are held together with angle iron straps at the corners and the retaining bolts were loosened off with the aid of some WD40, ready for complete disassembly later, then they were moved into the Store too.

The protective cover went back over the Corris wagon body and the freshly painted and rust treated parts carefully stored in the Gunpowder Store, leaving the site safe for visitors to the railway yard.

Photos by John Olsen

Weekly Exhibit

Last week we featured the nameplate from Sanford, the 0-4-0 W.G.Bagnell saddle tank converted into a brake van for use on the Penrhyn Railway. A comment was made that the works plate existed, and indeed both plates are in our museum.

Weekly Exhibit

The nameplate from Sanford, an 0-4-0 W.G.Bagnell saddle tank locomotive works no.1571 of 1900. It was purchased by Penrhyn Quarry in 1929 from Maenofferen Quarry. In 1956 it was converted into a brake van for use on the main line to Port Penrhyn.

Weekly Exhibit

As part of the focus on the slate industry, following UNESCO listing, one of the additions to our book collection is this booklet issued by J.W.Greaves & Sons Ltd. It describes the use of electricity in their slate quarries, both above and below ground. This includes powered inclines and surface rail, as well as driving machinery in the slate mills.

Weekly Exhibit

In May 2020 we featured the Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society limited edition medallions issued in 1974, entitling free travel for life members who upgraded to the then new rate of £40.

We are delighted to have received on loan from his family the life membership medallion belonging to the Rev. W.V.Awdry.

Museum working party Sept 21st 2023

The sun was shining on Wharf Yard this morning as the team assembled after very wet Wednesday in west Wales. The first order of the day was to turn the Corris Mail Waggon body over so that we can work on the sides and floor. Allan Black, Andy Sheffield, Pete Thomas, Keith Theobald and John Olsen were on hand to do the lifting and shifting. Keith drove the Bobcat with John as banksman and Andy on the strops arrangements.

The body was first moved out of the confines of the work space into the yard so that sleepers could be laid out to protect the paintwork as the turn progressed. By the time the first train departed the body of the wagon was safely turned over and atop a sleeper crib to bring it up to a comfortable working height. In another part of the yard the Corris Railways Clayton battery loco was unloaded from the trailer and set down on TR metals . Steve Thorpe squeezed into the cab to give it a quick test run back and forth; he enjoyed that from the grin on his face.

Coffee time was declared and we enjoyed coffee, biscuits and chat in the sunshine on the platform with Malcolm Phillips and John Alderslade, our duty attendant, who had kindly topped up the hobnobs supply.

Back across the tracks Keith, assisted by John, put four hooks into the barge board of the Weighbridge House ready to hang the banner advertising it being open over the coming Heritage Weekend. As all our wagons were marshalled in the goods train one of the TR wagons has been placed on the weighbridge; our thanks to the Outdoor Gang for that.

Pete put the second coat of red oxde on the wagon frame inside the Gunpowder Store while Allan and Andy made a start in knocking off the worst of the rust blisters on the Corris wagon body interior. John painted the Corris wagon brake operating arm, the drawbar and the two brake shoes with black Hammerite paint.

It was a bit of a squeeze to get the freshly painted metal work inside the Gunpowder Store as the brake operating arm was still too tacky to be taken out of the Workmate, but with a bit of shuffling it was achieved. The wagon cover went back over the Corris body to protect it from the elements and the site left tidy and safe for the Heritage Weekend visitors.

Weekly Exhibit

A short length of bridge rail from the Hafan Quarry extension of the Plynlimon and Hafan Tramway.

The tramway was built to serve the lead mines at Bwlch Glas and stone quarries around Hafan and opened in 1897. The tramway had a very short working life closing in 1899.

Museum working party 14th Sept 2023

The grey skies over Wharf yard had thankfully shed their rain as the team assembled for this mornings working party; we dodged another weather bullet there! Allan Black, Andy Sheffield, Charles Benedetto, Pete Thomas and John Olsen first had to ‘rescue’ our Corris wagon ironmongery from the covered wagon, no. 146, which had been marshalled into a heritage freight train on the middle road in preparation for the forthcoming Heritage Weekend.

The axleboxes, brake gear and drawhooks were all due for attention to remove rust and old paint. As Allan, Charles and Andy got tooled up to use the wire brush fitted angle grinders, John attached the replacement wooden ‘jaw’ he had made for the junior Workmate during the week, so that we now have two fully functional Workmates. Pete got on with painting the upper and outer faces of the new Corris wagon frame inside the Gunpowder Store, starting with the many fixing holes using the bottle brush to achieve 100% internal coverage. John made a start on sanding down the second Gunpowder Store door; working on the upper half with a sanding block and small wooden block wrapped in sandpaper to get into the grooves.

With the first, well loaded train, waved away, we stopped to have coffee with Tom Place and Ann McCanna, sharing the biscuits with David Broadbent, on duty as museum attendant for the first time since his recent health issues, welcome back David, and Keith Theobald who was attending to the ever present museum ‘paperwork’.

Back across the tracks Andy continued removing old loose paint and rust on the Corris wagon door with a combination of wire brush and hammer and cold chisel, Charles finished cleaning the drawhooks and Allan finished the inside faces of the axleboxes. Pete finished the first red oxide coat on the frame and John primed the bare wood his sanding had generated, leaving an interesting zebra pattern for the visitors to look at until next week.

It was a bit of a squeeze to get all the bits safely under cover in the Gunpowder Store but the site was left clean and safe at the mornings end.

Photos by John Olsen

Weekly Exhibit

The Winter Timetable for the Clogher Valley Railway in Northern Ireland commencing on the 19th September 1938. The railway was never a financial success, and in 1927 of a new Committee of Management was appointed by Tyrone and Fermanagh County Councils. To reduce costs, a diesel rail coach built by Walker Brothers of Wigan was introduced in 1932, and features in the timetable. In 1933 a diesel tractor from Walkers was introduced, which was designed to haul a coach or a few wagons. Despite best efforts, the railway closed on 31st December 1941.

Museum working party Sept 7th 2023

A very warm and muggy morning in Wharf Yard with rain showers lurking nearby. Allan Black, Charles Benedetto, Andy Sheffield, Pete Thomas and John Olsen began the session by emptying the contents of the floor of the Gunpowder Store, until it started raining! Clearing re-commenced after the rain moved on so that we could move the Corris wagon frame inside, safe from such inundations, to paint it.

With Rain still making a nuisance of itself the cover was left on the Corris wagon body and an early coffee break declared. We shared our table on the platform with David Broadbent and Ann McCanna before returning across the tracks.

To quickly get the second coat of red oxide on the base of the Corris body, Pete and Andy both worked on it, just in case a fresh shower popped up. Allan set up an axlebox cleaning station with a wire brush equipped angle grinder while Charles and John used the blow torch to persuade a stubborn nut to come off the brake lever so the arm could be completely stripped back to metal. The bolt still resisted being removed but a combination of hacksaw, hammer and drift finally removed the offending metal allowing Charles to continue his clean-up of the lever.

John cut a new piece of ply to fix the missing ‘jaw’ of a second ‘Workmate’ that Gerald Gudgings had obtained for us and marked up the holes for drilling out off site as they require a drilled rebate to allow the nuts to be below the wood surface; a job best done with a pillar drill. Andy and Pete moved from red oxide on the Corris wagon body to white primer on the top and outside surfaces of the frame inside the Gunpowder Store, using the patent bottle brush method to prime the many holes drilled through it.

The newly cleaned up Corris wagon metal parts were stored inside wagon no. 146 and all the boxes of bits and tools were returned to safe keeping in the Gunpowder Store, leaving the site safe for visitors.

Photos by John Olsen.