Museum working party 29th Jun 2023

A bright and breezy morning in Wharf Yard and two team members were on site early to make the most of it; this morning extra hands Ian Evans and Robert Morgan turned out to join regulars Andy Sheffield, Allan Black, Pete Thomas, Charles Benedetto and John Olsen.

The first order of the day was to go round wagon no. 136 tightening all the nuts and bolts up, then Charles took up a wire brush fitted angle grinder to clean up a pair of drawhooks as the set we had prepared had been used to replace life expired examples on other wagons. Allan and Pete had the other pair of angle grinders to continue the de-rusting work on the ex GWR steel basket, while Robert, Ian, Andy and John set the new frame for the Corris mail waggon on the stands (recycled from the old wagon 136 frame) for wood preservative to be liberally applied by Robert and Andy.

Ian and John continued the patient dis-assembly of the Corris mail waggon frame, cutting off a final nut holding the frame together and the penultimate nut holding the drawbar in place. The new frame was turned over for the bottom to be treated and then a sleeper crib made to support the drawbar and cross members before the Corris solebars were knocked off each side, freeing the cross members and allowing the central cross member to be turned over for easy access to the last nut on the drawbar. John applied heat with the blow torch and Andy gave the nut its coup de grace to release the drawbar completely.

With the 10:30 train waved away coffee time was called and we took over one of the octagonal picnic tables under the canopy. Max Birchenough and Mike Green joined our coffee, biscuit and chat as the Slate Heritage Trail train was boarding its full complement of passengers.

Back on site the work of de-rusting and cleaning continued alongside the next dis-assembly job, removal of the Corris axleboxes. One solebar was lifted onto the new frame so that we could work at a comfortable height and John once more applied the blowtorch to the first rusty nut after the threads had been wire brushed; it didn’t shift despite the use of the club hammer on the spanner. But John was already heating the next nut and when that was given a whack it moved quite readily. In short order all the nuts were heat treated, including the first stubborn one and successfully removed without damage to the cast axleboxes.

Allan and Pete ceased their cleaning and applied a coat of acid etch primer to the newly exposed metal to protect it from rusting. Charles completed his cleaning of the drawhooks so that they can be painted next week and the, now free, Corris wheelsets were moved out of the way and the sleeper crib dismantled.

With the track clear no. 136 was shunted up onto the weighbridge and chocks inserted. All the metal work removed from the Corris frame were stored inside the upturned wagon body and the wagon cover placed over the ex GWR metal basket, leaving the site clear and safe for the Anything Goes gala over the weekend.

Photos by Allan Black and John Olsen