Museum working party 28th April 2022

After our Easter break the team assembled on a sunny dry morning to re-assemble the modified and re-painted upper doors of wagon no. 146 and hang them in place.

Charles Benedetto, Max Birchenough and John Olsen were joined by Andy Sheffield later in the proceedings. The upper pair of doors has a similar design problem to the bodywork of the wagon, i.e. no diagonal crossbracing, so they can easily ‘droop’ on the hinges, fouling the lower door. The hinges themselves needed packing washers to carry the weight and adjust the vertical position so that the upper doors did not foul the lower door when being closed. With some gentle persuasion, followed by physically holding the doors in the correct position, the many bolts could be tightened to retain the correct attitude.

This was when we found that one of the short odd shaped metal straps that hold the doors ‘rainstrip’ in place, could not be moved sufficiently far to allow the door to be properly closed. In the past this had been ‘solved’ by carving part of the upper edge of the door away with a chisel but with time marching on we had no desire to expose fresh wood and then have to re-paint it with primer, undercoat and two topcoats. The offending metal strap was reduced in width with an angle grinder and the cut edges filed smooth to achieve the desired fit; this now only requires touching up with black Hammerite.

We took our morning refreshments in the cafe in the company of Ann McCanna and Mike Green before returning to attend to further minor issues. One of the roof straps had required new holes to be drilled in it and rather than leave the old holes as potential rust pits we filled them with black Milliput. A second more pressing issue was to substitute a bolt for the coach screw that secured one of the end metal straps to the wagon frame, as the screw was no longer holding tight. Andy drilled the hole through the frame in short order but unfortunately the 130mm stainless steel coach bolts we had were just too short to go all the way through the wagon frame and thick metal strap; and would have fouled the transverse frame rod to boot. John opted to buy a length of 12mm studding rod to use instead.

The structural work is thus pretty much complete with just cosmetic work, such as shortening the protruding bolts and painting them to match the bodywork, to complete.

Photos by John Olsen