Museum working party 31st March 2022

A very chilly north east wind but bright sunshine for the team of Max Birchenough, Charles Benedetto, David Broadbent and John Olsen this morning. Wagon no. 146 was rolled out of the Gunpowder Store and rotated 180o on the turntable ready for today’s exercise of door fitting.

First all the slack nuts and bolts on the east, south and west faces of the wagon were tightened up, but those on the north side left slack to allow for adjustments. The bottom door fitted with only minor adjustments but the two upper doors required the hinges to be fitted first and we encountered our first hiccup, the hinge packing pieces are all individual and some shuffling was necessary to get all four fixing bolts through all of them; a process not helped by cold fingers. To warm up we adjourned to the cafe for morning coffee in the company of Mike Green, Ann McCanna, Di Drummond and Keith Theobald.

After refreshments we split the team so that two could apply a layer of black bitumenous paint to the FR wagon frame, as the primer alone does not confer good weather protection to the metal, while the other pair worked on getting the doors to fit. The painting team pressed ahead with no problems but the door team found one of the fixings for the lower door could not be fitted as the hole was round; it needed to be square. A search for a chisel of the right dimensions failed so John volunteered to attend to this as a piece of homework.

Further adjustments of the door aperture did achieve closure of the upper pair of doors, but not easily. It would appear that, with the lack of diagonal cross bracing in the original design, the door aperture is not square and this is leading to the doors binding. There was insufficient time to attempt a remedy as the clouds came over and it began to snow so that the FR wagon frame needed to be covered over, no. 146 rolled back inside the store and the tools rapidly put away.

Photos by John Olsen