Museum working party 24th Feb 2022

Charles Benedetto, Andy Sheffield and John Olsen tackled the removal of the lower halves of the axleboxes on one of the two foot gauge steel bodied slate wagons; work we started last week. Using a combination of heat, hammers and cold chisels the remaining nuts were released and the lower halves of the axleboxes freed off.

By the end of the morning all four axleboxes had been freed off and the sodden horse hair wadding removed to allow the water in them to drain away. The fixing studs were cleaned with wire brushes and coated with grease to arrest any further rust development. The wheelsets are now free to be swapped over with the correct pattern wheels held by the Bala Lake Railway.

Photos by John Olsen

Museum working party 17th Feb 2022

The Tywyn weather mojo must have worked overtime to deliver a bright and breezy morning for us here in Tywyn with all the stormy weather around; most welcome. The team of Max Birchenough, Andy Sheffield, Charles Benedetto and John Olsen were in the yard and ready to make the most of another dry start.

Wagon no. 146 was wheeled out of the Gunpowder Store and turned on the turntable to make working on it easier, with the first task being to put the new longer stainless steel bolts through the roof beam and zinc sheets so that they remained in register while we worked on the lower straps. With the bolts in place we removed the bolts and coach screws holding the roof to the body work over the doorway and offered up the newly fabricated (by Rob Frost) doorway roof strap, which fits under the zinc sheet. Aligning it with the zinc sheet edge we clamped it in place so that the positions for the fixing holes could be marked with indelible marker and a scribe, which could reach through the body side planks where the marker could not. With the positions marked the strap was un-clamped and put to one side ready to be sent to Pendre for drilling.

Deeming it a good time to break for coffee we went into the cafe out of the keen wind and were joined by Malcolm Phillips, Keith Theobald, and David and Mandy Broadbent plus dog. As the caffeine and biscuits circulated so too our diverse chatter that covered the disappointment of some that they would not be in receipt of the cost of living boost from the Welsh government due to their homes being in the higher rate bands. Max’s internet woes have finally come to an end as he received a replacement router that worked; though it was perhaps less than helpful of the company to inform him, over the phone, that he could track the delivery of the new router by visiting the website….. while he was still offline! Still on matters of the internet we discussed the benefits, and potential hazards, of smart connected devices; a boon to be able to tell the heating to switch on in a sudden cold snap, but beware hackers gaining control of the same devices. Keith’s adventures in tiling and the damage to the trees on NT estates by previous storms rounded out the break before we returned across the tracks.

We spun no. 146 through 1800 so that Charles and Andy could fit the modified lower roof strap (Andy had drilled two new holes to avoid the old ones that were blocked with snapped off screws). While they were engaged in this activity Max and John turned their attention to the bolts holding the lower halves of the axleboxes on one of the FR steel bodied slate wagons. The intention is to swap out the incorrect pattern wheels that are currently in place for a correct set from the Bala Lake Railway, who have a job requiring the wheels we have; so everyone’s a winner.

John had been applying penetrating oil over the past couple of weeks but the nuts were still resisting attempts to shift them so the newly acquired blowtorch got its first outing. Immediately after John had heated up the nut Max moved in with a spanner and hammer to start turning the nuts until they were free to move all the way to the end of the thread. Meanwhile John moved onto another nut to start the freeing up process again, the pair working like a well oiled machine to shift four nuts even as the sky darkened and it began to rain. Andy and Charles had completed their drilling and fixing operations and had sensibly retired into the dry of the Gunpowder Store in the company of Luke Ryan who was on hand to take some video of us working and progress on no. 146. Once the shower had passed over we performed a wagon pirouette for the camera to get the wagon facing the right way to be put away and pushed it back into the store. With the tools all put away John did a piece to camera about the historic wagon fleet and our role in keeping it in working order for use in special charter trains.

By close of play four roof bolts had been inserted, two axlebox lower halves freed off, one roof strap finally tied down, one roof strap marked up for drilling and a pirouette performed.

Photos by John Olsen

Museum working party 10th Feb 2022

The Tywyn weather mojo was in good form this morning with sun on offer as the team assembled in Wharf Yard. Max Birchenough, Andy Sheffield, Charles Benedetto and John Olsen wheeled wagon no. 146 out of the Gunpowder Store for part 2 of its roof restoration. But first the van had to be emptied of the accumulated tools and fittings so that someone could actually get inside it as the fixings that held the ridge strap in place had to be removed (the second half fits under it). Then there was a visit to the museum to fetch out a pair of step ladders to reach the top fixings.

With a safe position secured, John did the honours undoing the nuts and setting them to one side before the team lifted the second roof sheet up into position. There followed the game of ‘to you, to me, to Wharf edge, to Pendre’ as we made the small adjustments to get the bolts to thread up through the all the holes, or down in the case of the endmost bolts through both roof sheets and the roof strap. Only then could the nuts and washers be put back in place to hold things in position. It should be noted that we have encountered another of those little ‘the bolts too short’ issues for the four bolts that go through internal angle irons, as well as the roof beam and all the layers of the roof, hence those downward bolts to get those holes aligned.

This seemed like a good moment to break for morning coffee and we made our way into the warmth of the cafe, for although the sun was shining it was a pretty chilly morning. As we crossed the threshold we beheld Mike Green tucking into his morning repast and joined him to continue our banter fest over coffee, shortbread and a variety of biscuits. Our chatter kicked off with the history of car making in Coventry before Mike revealed that he was now the Bionic Man, having been fitted with a pacemaker, and he was now feeling a lot better than of late; and his banter showed it! We discovered that the TR has a new person in charge of Health and Safety and Efficiency, before winging it with the history of early attempts at flight.

Much refreshed we returned across the tracks, where Keith Theobald came to inspect progress and chat about relevant matters whilst taking our photos. As we attempted to fit the third roof strap, that holds the bottom of the zinc sheet in place, we re-discovered that two of the fixing coach screws had snapped off in the holes during disassembly all those years ago (before COVID kicked off). So we only had two functional holes and getting the four holes through the roof strap and zinc to align with them was proving to be a headache. After much pulling and pushing the misalignment was still there and we reluctantly concluded that original holes through the strap were too tight to allow proper reassembly. As our drill set was not up to the task of opening out the holes Andy volunteered to take it home and use his better equipped workshop to do the job. The tools and remaining parts were put back into the Gunpowder Store before we heaved no. 146 back under cover and closed the doors on the mornings efforts.

By the close of play four men had gotten one half of the roof in place, but not yet secure, as we inched towards completing the rebuild.

Photo by John Olsen

Museum working party 3rd Feb 2022

The Tywyn weather mojo was a bit tardy this morning, not driving the rain threatening clouds up the valley until mid morning, but it did keep us dry. Andy Sheffield, Charles Benedetto and John Olsen were on site to continue our re-assembly of wagon no. 146, the covered wagon.

Having rolled it out of the Gunpowder Store, the law of levers was applied to help lift the end metal straps just enough to thread the coach screws through into the frames and then tighten them up; all except one! That screw just kept on turning so clearly the internal timber had rotted a bit too much. Our first thought of using a longer screw was quickly discarded as there was barely 1/2” of wood left to screw into. The longest bolts we have are 100 mm but this isn’t long enough to go through the strap the frame and still have enough thread to put a nut and washer on; a longer bolt will have to be sourced during the week. Having gotten the straps more firmly attached to the frame we tightened up the bolts into the planks prior to adjusting the height of the longitudinal roof beam so that its top was near flush with the top of the curved plank. This adjustment was necessary before attempting to put on the zinc roof plates. To assist the lifting operation we employed a long wooden beam and a chunky screw clamp; lifting the east end first as it had the smallest distance to rise and tightening the angle bracket bolts to hold it in alignment.

By this time Max Birchenough had joined us, bringing tales of loss of broadband and a morning spent trying to get it back with the aid of the Helpline staff. We decided the poor chap needed coffee, chat and chocolate biscuits, so downed tools for our break. We were joined in the warm sunshine on the platform by Di Drummond, Frank Nolan and Keith Theobald who had been busy tidying up the museum after the mammoth sorting operation that has sifted through Sarah Eade’s bequest. Our idle chatter encompassed such delights as fellow passengers with laptops hogging the communal table top, or worse, precipitating drinks into laps by carelessly shoving it across the table. The all pervasive nature of these mobile devices is unfortunately accompanied by their downsides, such as satnav errors and unwanted ‘noise’ in the Quiet railway carriages. David and Mandy Broadbent joined the happy group at a socially safe distance, the next table, and David reported on his examination of Sarah Eade’s stamp and stamp related collection; some items will enter the museums collection others should go to the county archives or indeed the Welsh National archives, such is their rarity.

Refreshed, and with the clock ticking on Andy, as he had a cat feeding mission to fulfil at lunchtime, we returned across the tracks to attempt to raise the west end of the longitudinal beam, which went surprisingly well despite the larger gap to be made up. With everything ‘within tolerance’, well very generous tolerance, we retrieved the first zinc roof panel from the Gunpowder Store and lifted it up into position; a bit of “to you, to me” and four bolts went through the correct holes. The zinc sheet was then capped with the roof strap, in the correct orientation first time, and loosely secured as this operation had revealed another short bolt problem for the four bolts that secured the angle bracket to the roof beam and up through the zinc, ho hum; but the good news was that the holes all lined up. The lower roof strap required a flip over to get the two central bolts threaded through the body timbers, zinc sheet and the end holes to align with the existing screw holes; the ends were then secured by coach screws. Nothing was tightened too much as we are still missing the second lower roof strap for the doorside of the wagon, currently in Pendre works for replacement of wasted metal, but enough progress for photographic purposes as the TR’s resident movie maker Luke Ryan was on hand to record our efforts for posterity. We attempted a pirouette on the turntable for the camera but were foiled by the turntable locking mechanism that had seized in the locked position and as time had run out we rolled no. 146 back into the Gunpowder Store for another week.

By the close of play three men had adjusted and secured four end straps, tweaked two roof brackets and attached half a roof to the wagon body.

Photos by John Olsen

Museum working party 27th Jan 2022

The Tywyn weather mojo got wind that the working parties were restarting as the latest Omicron wave is now receding and delivered a dry morning with sunshine in time for coffee. The team assembled amidst the puddles of overnight rain and after a bit of a catchup chinwag, Max Birchenough, Charles Benedetto, Andy Sheffield and John Olsen did a fair impersonation of Thunderbird 2 rolling out of its silo with wagon no. 146, sadly minus the stirring music.

The walls are all in place but not all of the bolts holding the walls are, as there had been an underestimation of the number of long bolts required. Before Christmas John ordered a further batch of A4 marine grade stainless steel, this time in chemical black finish as the bolts go through black painted strapping, and they were cheaper than the shiny ones! Andy and Max did the honours of putting in the new bolts while Charles and John sorted through the box of metal parts, all labelled, and the painted wooden door parts, all labelled, and began to assemble the three doors.

Andy needed to drill out a new hole in one plank as the repairs to it had plugged the original hole, but with the drill and 12mm bit, the job was as good as done. John investigated the coffee making facilities in the Guards Room as the January shutdown of the cafe was likely to have led to one or more ingredients being used up; no milk. He went to the Coop to correct this situation and declared coffee time upon his return.

He and Max emerged from brewing the coffee to find David and Mandy Broadbent, plus faithful hound, on site to join us in the warm sunshine. David is recovering from a heart attack so has a doctors note freeing him from heavy duties but it still allows him to come and join the banter over coffee, cake and his contribution of shortbread biscuits, delicious. Inevitably our discourse covered who had had a heart attack and how many before moving onto lighter non medical matters like the rather rudimentary storage conditions of the local archive to which a car load of Talyllyn Railway documents had been added mid week. We then bounced onto the ever popular COVID restrictions and the latest scandal to hit the Prime Minister. This led to politicians blagging free rides in tanks and why couldn’t we, the general public, get a free ride in a tank; well we have paid for them!

Refreshed we returned to the wagon where Andy and Max got some of the hinges ready for remounting by cleaning them up and painting them while Charles and John hit a problem with the third door, the holes just wouldn’t line up with the straps and hinges. A forensic examination of the two short planks revealed that during the repair of a split in one plank it had been labelled on the outer face rather than the inner one; end result the inside face was beautifully, but incorrectly, painted. Flipping the plank over allowed all the holes to line up, ho-hum, just another day in paradise. Charles sanded and primed the true outer face and this was left to dry for next week. John dug the roof straps out from the darker recesses of the Gunpowder Store ready for the next major job, which is to re-attach the roof sheets.

By the end of play numerous bolt substitutions had been made, three doors had been ‘assembled’, two doors actually bolted together, one missing bolt hole drilled and no. 146 returned to the shelter of the Gunpowder Store.

Photos by John Olsen

Museum working party 16th Dec 2021

The year is waning and the Tywyn weather mojo is flagging a bit, but it still managed a dry, if overcast, morning for the last working party of 2021. We were a much reduced duo this morning as we lost team members to other ‘duties’, but Charles Benedetto and John Olsen had a year end goal in sight, the fourth side of wagon no. 146.

Hauling the wagon out of the Gunpowder Store was just about manageable and it wasn’t long before one of the new end angle pieces had been aligned with the bolts and secured with finger tight nuts to start building the East wall. We had almost reached the reached the top plank when Ann McCanna turned up with a bag full of her special mince pies and Max Birchenough arrived to take pictures of the progress and join us for coffee.

With Sue Benedetto and Keith Theobald on site John handed a bottle of mulled wine to the cafe staff to be heated up as a winter warmer with our festive nibbles. Sue had brought bara brith and John cinnamon flapjacks to go with the mince pies, and chocolate biscuit selections supplied by Max; a veritable feast. We raised our glasses of hot mulled wine to toast the efforts of the working party through the year and then got on with the chatter as Mike Green swelled our numbers. Our discussions encompassed possible COVID effects on Christmas, exporting our carbon costs (if we didn’t mine it then it can’t be ‘our’ carbon) hence why buying Russian coal is so much worse for the climate than keeping our own mines going. Did you know that next year marks the centenary of the Great Western Railways absorption of Cambrian Railways? This event upstaged the slightly later, but more famous, ‘Grouping’ in 1923; you learn a lot at our little chinwags.

Refreshed by the wine, and high on the sugar, we hardy pair returned to the task at hand and cracked on with fitting the second new end angle. This had one hole misaligned by nearly 1 cm so a bit of work with a chisel and file was necessary to extend the hole through the plank to allow the bolt to be threaded through. Then the two outer straps were added in short order as, miraculously, all the holes lined up and that allowed us to attach the topmost plank, completing the side. But we went one better by installing the angle strap inside the wagon to firmly join the longitudinal roof timber to the east wall; though this required both of us to push up on the beam to lift the rib enough for the holes to align. Tired but victorious we then eyed up the challenge of getting the wagon back inside the Store, over the small but significant hump where rail gives way to concrete. We gave it a big shove and surprised ourselves by very nearly sending the wagon careening into the pile of wagon covers and boxes of bits!

By the close of play six planks, two straps, two angles and one angle strap had been attached by two determined men on a mission!

So we close our year with best wishes to you and yours for a happy and safe Christmas, ready for whatever the New Year throws at us.

Photo by John Olsen

The working parties will restart on Thursday Jan 6th 2022, COVID permitting.

Museum working party 9th Dec 2021

After its recent poor showing in letting Storms Arwen and Barra soak Tywyn, the Tywyn weather mojo pulled a proverbial rabbit out of its hat with a lovely calm and sunny morning in Wharf yard today.

But all was not well with the big sign on the Neptune Road face of the museum for John observed that it had acquired a banana-like bend of its western end due to the savage gusts out of the NW. Thus together with Max Birchenough he set about putting matters to rights; this required tools from the Gunpowder Store which led to him spotting Charles Benedetto idly chattering in the yard with Tim Wilkinson. Our third errant team member got his marching orders and joined us out on Neptune Road to re-hang the sign post de-bananaing, which is when we discovered that half the fixing holes did not correctly align with their ‘corresponding’ wall plugs. A bit of judicious opening out of the holes in the sign allowed it to be securely re-hung; with two new fixings at each end to curb any future tendencies to ‘go with the wind’.

Ann McCanna called us to coffee in the warmth of the cafe together with Sue Benedetto and treated us to her ‘Christmas Distilled’ cake, a delightful confection that included mince pies and cranberries – totally moreish but we kept one piece back for Keith Theobald as he joined us partway through our verbal meanderings. Naturally encounters with the wind featured in our discourse with Charles describing how some G scale wooden wagons were unseated from the rails by lesser winds than Arwen and Barra had thrown at us. Keith revealed that he had found the missing keys, not down the back of the sofa but actually suspended from the underpinnings of the sofa; how they managed this gravity defying transition without the aid of a dog or cat remains a mystery. With Andy Sheffield absent, all the members of the team felt obliged to eat the chocolate covered Hobnobs with his name on them, taking one, or more, for the ‘team’.

Refreshed by our chat, chocolate and cake we returned to our current project, wagon no. 146, which we hauled out of the Gunpowder Store under increasingly grey skies. This morning we attached the two vertical straps to the western end of the wagon, joggling the planks to get all the holes to align well enough to tap the coach bolts through and tighten up the many nuts. Getting the top plank in place allowed Charles and Max to secure the end wall to the roof beam with the angle strap, stiffening up the whole assembly. John ground off the square shanks from some more coach bolts ready for further work on the east end of the wagon. We were in the process of wrapping up the mornings activities when the first rain drops began to fall and quickly heaved the wagon back into the protection of the Store before collecting up the tools and stowing them too.

By the close of play three men had attached two straps, secured one top plank and rectified the wind damage to our museum sign.

Photos by John Olsen

Museum working party 2nd Dec 2021

The Tywyn weather mojo was on top form this morning, to atone for its ‘sins’ last weekend, and the team assembled early(!) in Wharf Yard to continue the 3D jigsaw puzzle that is wagon no. 146. Charles Benedetto, Andy Sheffield, Max Birchenough and John Olsen pulled the wagon out of the Gunpowder Store and reviewed our progress – two sides on. That was the good news, the less good news was that to fit the West end long angle plates, that had been painted many moons ago, many of the bolts had to come out again to be turned around, including the ones that helped join the top of the metal ribs to the vertical part, which were absolute swines to get all three holes aligned. Now as we all know square pegs do not make for a good fit in round holes and the metal ribs all have round holes, unfortunately the stainless steel coach bolts have square shafts…. The answer was to grind away the unwanted metal with an angle grinder so that the bolts could be turned round, and so began the game of musical bolts; John modified them and the rest of the team manhandled ribs and planks to re-insert them, with the assistance of the rubber headed mallet on occasion.

We were getting into our stride when Ann McCanna turned up to start decorating the Christmas tree and dragooned Charles and Andy to shift one of the red boxes for her to stand it upon. Shortly thereafter they returned and Ann was not happy, she had been rushed to get here this morning to do the honours, and someone had already assembled and decorated the tree. As none of the gang were responsible for usurping Ann she went away to get our coffees for us. Mr Green cast his expert eye over our endeavours and pronounced the coupling hook to be on upside down, a matter attended to with a Coventry precision hammer applied to the split pin by our resident Daimler engineer Andy; sorted.

We sat out on the platform in the bright sun and were joined by Keith Theobald and Mike Green. Before starting in on our coffee chat and chocolate we stood in quiet reflection for a minute as a mark of respect for Don Newing, a longtime museum volunteer and trustee who had just passed away. As Andy had cancelled his German Christmas Market holiday he was in need of an extra boost and was allowed to break into the dark chocolate Hobnobs; that put a smile back on his face. Subjects for discussion included arrangements for the Carol Train and past winters that were exceptionally cold; we all admitted to remembering the big freeze of 1962/3 but there was a general shaking of heads for the one in 1947….. For the benefit of youngsters out there we would routinely wake up in the morning and have to scrape the fantastical shapes of ice crystals off the insides of our single glazed windows before getting the coal fires going; domestic central heating was still only available for the well heeled!

Refreshed by our calories we returned to our re-assembling and succeeded in getting most of the West end planking in place and locating the brackets that secure the roof beam to the ends but we will need a supply of longer bolts to complete the work around the door as the bottom half of the ribs was much thicker than remembered..…

By the close of play four men had re-attached five planks and two end angle plates and rolled one semi complete wagon back into the Gunpowder Store.

Museum working party 18th Nov 2021

The Tywyn weather mojo may have been stuck in dull mode but it was anything but for the team as they assembled in Wharf Yard. Andy Sheffield, Charles Benedetto, David Broadbent and John Olsen were about to put Humpty Dumpty, aka the covered wagon no. 146, back together again!

But first David joined Keith in the museum to assess the stamp and first day covers section of Sarah Eade’s bequest. With the chassis of no 146 standing on the wagon turntable the four iron ribs were attached paying attention to the orientation of the wagon, which was facing 180 degrees from its normal direction in order to fit the brake lever within the tight limits of the Gunpowder Store. The ribs all had identifying tags on and were erected in short order, just pinching up the new stainless steel nuts and bolts (purchased to alleviate the rusting problems suffered by our stock so near to the sea) to allow easier fitting of the timber panels. The panels all came with identifying text and numbers on them, so we started with S5, as shown in John’s photos of June 2018 (!) when the van was disassembled for fettling. All seemed well until S2 and S1 were added and too many holes just didn’t align properly; a re-assessment of the last rib to be bolted in place came to the conclusion that it was 180 degrees out of synch with its kin (even tags can be misleading). Once turned around the top pair of boards could be secured much more easily and the top roof spar, that linked the ribs, fitted in place.

Ann McCanna and daughter Wendy turned up to provide our morning refreshments and as a treat they bought us real coffees and flapjacks too; we were being spoiled! We were joined at our platform table by David and Keith, Charles’ wife Sue and friend and last, but definitely not least, Mike Green. As Ann and Wendy had been sorting through Winston’s study they brought some offerings to give to us, Charles particularly liked the Roald Dahl book of rail safety; at least as sane as any HSE document. Our chatter took in the results of Davids examination of Sarah Eade’s philately, which was not only extensive but contained many rarities, and her idiosyncratic history of Tywyn volumes, including the fabled volume 3, of which no trace has yet been found.

Much refreshed by our coffee, chat and, yes, chocolate biscuits too, we returned to no 146 and began to attach the panels on the north side, the door side, and noticed that we had mislaid a hole! One panel lacked a hole due to it having split as it was removed and during the repair the hole was completely filled to make a stronger job of it, but the hole needed to be drilled out anew; with time marching on we opted to leave that job for another day. The final job of the morning was to bolt the bottom door hinge plate in place using M10 fittings just to confuse everyone who had hitherto been using M12 nuts and bolts. Having cleared up the work site we rolled wagon no. 146 back into the Gunpowder Store for safe keeping until the next working party.

By the close of play fifteen panels had been re-attached to four steel ribs to the satisfaction of one and all.

Photos by John Olsen

Museum working party 11th Nov 2021

The Tywyn weather mojo was most definitely stuck in grey mode as the team assembled in Wharf Yard for the morning fun and frolics, but at least it was dry. This overcast morning Charles Benedetto, Max Birchenough and John Olsen were joined by Tony Baker and, in a non working capacity, by Andy Sheffield (no wonder his boots were so clean!).

Our mission was to shunt the wagons down the heritage siding alongside Llechfan hedge to allow scaffolding to be erected for the roof repairs of the Gunpowder Store. The biggest obstacle, a pile of 2 foot gauge track panels, had been shifted across the yard the previous day, but there still remained the issue of fouled flangeways. John and Max shifted the mud, muck and plants out of the way so that we had a chance of moving wagons without generating hernias. The first moves were to roll the wagon wheelsets to the end of the hedge, re-railing two wheelsets that had been parked on the wagon turntable. The cover was removed from the incline wagon so that it wouldn’t be damaged by being dragged along the hedge, which has been allowed to grow a bit too much laterally. This was swiftly followed by the chassis of no. 146 after it had been de-cloaked, but it was reversed onto the wagon turntable and left there out of the way. The incline wagon was rolled down to the wheelsets, followed by wagon no. 101 and the Corris mail waggon; but even as eager hands were laid upon wagon no. 164 John called a halt to proceedings. Wagon no. 164 has a brake on it and the handle was on the hedge side so it would have become horribly snarled up in the hedgerow; it needed to be turned but to do that the chassis of no. 146 had to go into the Gunpowder Store.

We had our coffee break a little earlier than usual in order to observe the two minute silence marking the ending of the First World War and settled around one of the tables on the platform. Ann McCanna arrived not long afterwards, expecting to take our coffee orders, but finding us already supping and chatting. This mornings discussion forum re-visited dental matters as Andy had just had a filling done and had been charged a princely sum for it; he then discovered that there are different grades of ‘Denplan’ (much umbrage). We also needed to explain to him what ganja was:- marijuana, weed, wacky baccy; he has led such a sheltered life. Finally we delved into history in response to one of his questions, but a contentious part of history that will not be revisited in this missive. Mike Green arrived clutching his hot chocolate and little sponge cake but he had barely enough time for a couple of mouthfuls before 11 o’clock and Ann marshalled us along the platform edge to observe the two minutes silence, reflecting on all those killed and wounded in war.

Refreshed by our repast we returned across the tracks to move the tools and other clutter that was blocking the way of wagon no. 146 chassis into the Gunpowder Store. In short order we were ready to heave the wagon over the threshold off the rails and onto the concrete, only to be thwarted by the wagons brake lever that protrudes a long way and was about to crash into some of the wagons metal ribs. A bit of adjustment of the ribs and other bits of wagon metal work allowed a second attempt; success, sort of. The wagon needed to be slewed over somewhat so John demonstrated what was possible with the aid of a long lever, swinging the leading end across by 6 inches allowing the wagon to be rolled into place clear of the doors. Now the way was clear for no. 164 to be brought onto the wagon turntable and rotated, or not. For a still unknown reason the turntable is ever so slightly off centre and when rotated clockwise it fouls the rails at one end, bizarrely rotating it anti clockwise does not lead to fouling; so it was all the way back again and then a further 180o to complete the turn. Now the wagon passed along the hedge with minimal contact and we had but one more to shift, the splayside wagon, and it was going to go ‘through’ the hedge no matter which way it faced. But with plenty of hands and momentum on our side it too reached its allotted position on the siding.

We had one more task to achieve and that was to clear up all the stuff we had ejected from the Gunpowder Store. The tools were transferred into the museum, as we will require them for some winter work therein, but the other bits and pieces were fitted around, or laid upon, the chassis of no. 146.

By the close of play five wagons had been moved along the heritage siding, one wagon had been taken for a spin on the turntable and one wagon chassis had been parked in the Gunpowder Store.

Photos by John Olsen.