Museum working party 4th Aug 2022

The skies were distinctly dark and threatening this morning in Wharf yard but luckily cleared to blue skies by the time the full team had assembled. Allan Black was back with Andy Sheffield, Charles Benedetto and John Olsen to progress the rebuild of wagon no. 136 (the three slat slate wagon).

With the cover off the frame the first task was to turn the frame over and then to select the drawbar that fitted best out of the two available. With this achieved the selected bar was centred up and the frame marked for the channelling of the timber. John was volunteered to use the circular saw to cut across the frame members before Allan and Charles chiselled out the unwanted wood. Andy took an angle grinder fitted with a wire brush to the drawbar, as its long period in storage had allowed rust to perforate the paint. John hammered away at more rusty patches on the splayside wagon door with the welders hammer in between holding the drawbar for Andy to work on the sides.

Coffee was called after we have waved away the second train and we joined Di Drummond and Keith Theobald in the bright sunshine on the platform.

Returning to the wagon frame our next task was to get the old wagon floor out of the Gunpowder Store and lay it on the frame so that the approximate position of the bolt holes for the axleboxes could be marked up. There were two sets of axleboxes in the store and the first set had been cleaned and painted but the bearing brasses were badly worn and no longer parallel; clearly these could not be re-used without further work. The second set was retrieved and although in better condition some of the brasses were loose and all had significant wear, again more work would be required on these in addition to cleaning and re-painting.

That turned the teams attention to the available wheelsets, which had been standing out in all weathers for three years and showed varying degrees of wear to the axle stubs and rims; these too would require workshop time to fettle them.

The old floor plate was returned to the store and the frame turned over after the rebates had been treated with wood preservative so that a second coat of preservative could be applied to the inner faces and underside before the cover was put back on.

The drawbar and tools were put back in to the Gunpowder Store and site tidied before the end of the session.

Photos by John Olsen