Museum working party 7th Oct 2021

The Tywyn weather mojo just about got its act together this morning as the team assembled under grey, but mercifully ‘dry’ clouds, and took the covers off the chassis of wagon no. 146. Max Birchenough, Charles Benedetto and John Olsen were on a mission to get the brake gear back in place and working.

The first task was to don protective gloves as we would be re-acquainting ourselves again with the evil green grease (EGG) to provide a layer off protection against corrosion and to ease the movement of nuts on the threads of the long fixing bolts. There was a short bit of discussion about how the various parts went back together as one of the operating arms appeared to be fouling a wheel flange, but the parts could not be assembled in any other way due to the asymmetry of their manufacture. We were treated to some very kind words by David Ventry commenting on our efforts maintaining the historic wagons, who mentioned something about coffee time just as the first train of the day needed waving away; we didn’t need a second reminder!

We were joined at our platform table by Kes Jones and Frank Nolan, museum assistants, John Alderslade, duty volunteer attendant, Dave McKeever, Llechfan floor cleaner for the day, and Mike Green, amicus curiae. The rustle of the biscuit tin quickly summoned Marshall Andy Sheffield along the platform to inspect and test the contents as fit for consumption. Our idle musings touched upon the burgeoning cottage industry of 3D printing that could make just about any model railway article required in pretty much any material, so long as the price was right. We posited that this technology might just repatriate some of the jobs currently residing in China, at the end of a long and increasingly fragile looking supply chain. On a lighter note we ‘rejoiced’ in the advent of Windows 11, the Windows software to end all Windows software, or was that Windows 10? Ann McCanna stopped by to say hello and Andy came back and refused a second biscuit, shock horror, until it was pointed out that they were chocolate covered Hobnobs at which point one was quickly tested.

Refreshed by our chocolate caffeine and chat we resumed our re-assembly of the brake gear, inserting new split pins and tightening up the many nuts to ensure nothing would fall off in the future. This was when we noted that the bearing housing beside the brake gear had a lot of air between it and the frame. Having tightened up the, very, slack bolts on this bearing housing we checked all the others and found them to be in a state of self loosening too; but our efforts to tighten them were hampered by another quirk of this wagon – mixed imperial and metric bolts. Fortunately Andrew Wilsons sets of spanners and sockets, that he bequeathed to the museum, were both imperial and metric so we could use the right tools for the job. The second train of the day was waved away as we were screwing the floor planks back in place, ready to put the covers back on. With the tarpaulin rope tied off and a steel plate placed on top to stop the wind whipping the whole lot off we finished work for the day.

By the close of play three men had put two brake pads and arms back onto one brake actuating arm and managed to keep the EGG off our faces.

Photos by John Olsen