Museum working party 30th March 2023

The clouds were pretty ominous over Wharf yard as the team began to assemble and a brief shower zoomed over driving Allan Black, Andy Sheffield and John Olsen into the Gunpowder Store, but it quickly cleared and we set about moving the old floor plate of wagon no. 136, the three bar slate wagon, around to the scrap metal bins.

As we finished this job, and returned the flower pots to the platform trolley we had briefly high jacked, Charles Benedetto and Max Birchenough joined us for the main event of the morning. The cover was removed from the new frame for no. 136 and the two wheelsets moved onto the heritage siding beside it. Having built a temporary timber support crib we moved the frame over the wheels and laid out the axleboxes beside their pre-numbered positions. Taking one side at a time the frame was lifted enough for the axleboxes to be slid on and a single fixing bolt used to hold it in place; and repeat on the other side. That’s when Andy flagged up the very large gap between the axleboxes and the wheels, we’d forgotten the spacers. A rummage in the Gunpowder Store revealed the missing parts and we went round inserting them as necessary to get a lateral travel of 2-3 mm on each.

Time for a coffee break and we were joined by Keith Theobald, who was awaiting the delivery of 500 sleepers on a very big lorry, and Mike Green for caffeine chocolate biscuits and chatter.

Much refreshed we returned to the yard where the sun was now shining and divided up with Allan and Charles assigned the job of applying conservation wax to the old wagon frame that we have been conserving in the entrance way of the station and Andy, Max and John adding some of the other parts of the running gear of no. 136, the drawbar, and tensioning cross bars. The latter three threaded rods were liberally coated with evil green grease (EGG) where they pass through the wooden frame, partly as a preservation coating and partly to lubricate them as their multiple coats of paint made them a close fit. A generous oiling of the wheel bearings was followed by rolling the frame up and down the siding a few times to let the oil coat the rubbing surfaces, the cover was then replaced over the newly mobile frame and the site tidied up before we departed.

There will not be a working party for the next two weeks so we wish our followers a very Happy Easter.

Photos by Allan Black and John Olsen