After a stormy Wednesday the sun was once again shining on Wharf Yard as Max Birchenough and John Olsen began moving old wagon wheelsets closer to the Gunpowder Store as a prelude to removing the historic wagons from Wharf Edge siding at the end of the running season. Pete Thomas and Charles Benedetto joined the ‘shunting’ session as Allan Black got ready for the mornings work.
Special bimetal hole cutting bits had been purchased to make the bolt holes in the steel floor plate of wagon no. 136, following Andy Sheffield’s plan. Pete and Allan got the drill fitted with a hole cutter in the drill press, that John brought in, and began to bore with liberal applications of cooling lubricant. Charles was on painting duty applying the grey primer to the wooden slats and Max continued his painting of the axleboxes and bobbins with black Hammerite. John wielded an angle grinder, fitted with a wire brush, to remove more rust and flaking paint from the door of wagon no. 117, the incline wagon.
The arrival of Ann McCanna signalled coffee time and we took our ease on the platform in the warm sunshine. We were treated to a Victoria sponge cake baked by Max’s wife Linda, which was universally lauded.
Returning to the work site Charles continued painting the slats as Pete and Allan were on the home straight cutting the boltholes. Max moved onto red oxide primer for the FR slate wagon axlboxes before taking up the derusting job on the wagon door. John assisted Keith in moving the parts of the Aberllefeni quarry incline counter balance wagon that had been painted by the Tracksiders out of the ballast dock before Outdoor Week could bury them in fresh stone.
John applied wood preservative to the battens that hold the new weather strips on the Gunpowder Store doors, which had proved their ‘mettle’ by keeping the wind and rain from blowing under the doors during the week. The morning concluded with all the holes cut, all the slats primed and all the axleboxes painted.
Photos by John Olsen