Museum working party 7th Mar 2024

A bright sunny morning with a cool Easterly breeze greeted the team this morning in Wharf Yard, perfect weather for the mornings activities. Andy Sheffield, Charles Benedetto, Pete Thomas and John Olsen had wagons to uncover and shunt around.

The first job was to clear the way for the covered wagon, no. 146, to come out of its winter quarters in the Gunpowder Store, which involved shifting some of the newly arrived Aberllefenni counterbalance wagon timbers and removing the Chattenden and Upnor points indicator. Then the three bar slate wagon, no.101, was rolled off the wagon turntable to allow no. 146 to be dragged out into the morning sun.

With the possibility of a photo charter requiring some of the wagons next week the team removed the yellow covers from all the ‘runners’, no. 117, 213 and 101, leaving no. 164 still under wraps as it is partially dismantled for repainting. The movement of no. 146 allowed further re-arrangement of the contents of the Gunpowder Store to allow John to uncover the shelves on the north side to check on the location and labelling of a pair of ex TR side chairs for switch rails; both were present and correct. The cover went back over the shelves and the sterling board wagon covers were neatly stacked in front of them.

Coffee time was declared and we took our seats inside the cafe out of the cool wind, where we were joined by Max Birchenough and Malcolm Phillips for our chocolate biscuits, coffee, chat and lemon drizzle nibbles.

Much refreshed we tackled the next stage of the yard work, shunting the wagons to release the two ‘runners’ from behind no. 164; the slate wagons were run down the siding, after the flangeways had been cleared of the muck that the recent rains had washed into them, and then no. 146 followed. This allowed no. 164, the two bar slate wagon with brake, to be moved across onto the wagon turntable just outside the Gunpowder Store as this is the optimum position for us to work on it.

The neatly folded yellow bags were stowed inside the Store and a start made on transferring the end door of the Corris Mail Waggon, the trestles and Workmates and the various tool boxes back from the museum, as it will soon be open seven days a week. We shuttled the items across and quickly filled the floor space so recently vacated by no. 146, but with everything removed from the museum we could do the final clear up and hoovering of the floors.

The wagons are now ready for their mechanical inspection and the museum is clear of any tools; ready for normal service to resume.

Photo by John Olsen