A bright autumn morning greeted the team to Wharf yard this morning and no time was lost before Allan Black, David Broadbent, Andy Sheffield, Charles Benedetto and John Olsen shifted some heavy metal, namely the drawbar of the original Aberllefeni incline balance wagon. The rotting remnants of the original solebars were also moved to allow Allan and David to conduct a survey of the second balance wagon, which stands on the siding behind the water column.
The measurements and photographs will be used to make a set of drawings for a rebuild project that will see the original iron strapping, bearings and wheelsets being used to recreate the first incline balance wagon. Perversely the advanced level of decay of the existing vehicle makes it easier to understand how the wagon was constructed as the once hidden joints are now exposed by the crumbling timber.
Andy Charles and John returned to the current restoration of wagon no. 136 and applied further wood preservative to the frame and the slats. The frame was turned onto each side in turn to allow the lateral tie bar holes to be soaked in preservative, while the slats were each dunked in a bath of preservative for a few minutes to allow it to soak into the end grain before the holes were liberally soaked too. We were joined by Pete Thomas after his medical appointment and declared coffee time as Ann McCanna took our order.
Sitting in the warm sun on the platform we were joined by Max Birchenough and Keith Theobald for our coffee, chocolate and chat.
Returning to our labours Pete painted the bobbins that Max had de-rusted two weeks ago and then gave the long fixing bolts a fresh coat of black hammerite paint. Andy completed his wood preservative treatment of the slats and Charles and John began to clean the old paint and rust off the axleboxes that we will use on wagon no. 136; one of the axleboxes bore the imprint of the foundry that made them, Isaac of Portmadoc. Allan took the measurements away with him to prepare the drawings in a CAD programme at his home.
Photos by John Olsen