Museum working party 2nd May 2024

The skies were grey over Tywyn this morning but no rain fell so working outside was not curtailed. Alas we were down to just Charles Benedetto and John Olsen this morning, as other commitments depleted our ranks.

The first job was to finish treating the new timber for the Aberllefenni counter balance wagon; last week we did the frame and sides leaving just the floor planks to do. The first coat was achieved before the first train departed so we used the intervening time to record the pieces of the old Corris mail waggon photographically with a tape measure in frame to allow future measurements to be taken. The rebuild is utilising a standard TR wagon frame that is of a differing cross section of ~ 5×4 inches whereas the condemned frame was ~ 7×4 inches, so it is important to record these changes. Measurements of the metal plates and rods were also taken as a prelude to having new ones made as the rods were very wasted where they had been in contact with the timber of the frame and the internal reinforcing plates will require new smaller versions to be made.

Having waved away a lightly loaded train we collected David Broadbent from the museum and Max Birchenough from control for our coffee and biscuits in the cafe. In the absence of Andy there was a ‘run’ on the chocolate Hobnobs.

Returning to our labours we gave the floor timbers and second dousing with wood treatment and then returned them to the dry of the Gunpowder Store. Uncovering the kit of parts of wagon no 164, the ex TR two bar slate wagon with brake, we removed the nuts and washers holding the four corner straps on the upper set of bars and knocked the rusty bolts out. Removing the straps revealed that the ends of the cross bars were badly rotted and disintegrating and there was also evidence of rot in the longitudinal bars to a lesser degree. It will require removal of the paint on the longitudinal bars before we can establish if they can be saved or not but the cross bars are beyond further use.

Having covered the wagon back over and put away all the tools, we left the site tidy and safe.

Photos by John Olsen