Museum working party Jan 19th 2023

It was very wintery in Tywyn this morning with hail showers mixed in with sunny spells all stirred together by a chilling north wind.

The team assembled in the relative warmth of the museum (the heating is off as an economy measure) but Allan Black, Pete Thomas, Ian Evans, Charles Benedetto and John Olsen started this mornings activities out in the Gunpowder Store. As a part of a new temporary exhibition Ian wanted to see if the concrete sleeper, made by the Southern Railway and used on the Lynton & Barnstable line, would fit into the display cabinet. Our first task was to roll wagon no. 146 outside as the storage location was inaccessible otherwise, then move a heavy cast iron piece of pointwork to one side before we could finally measure the sleepers length; alas at least 10 cm too long to fit. Back went the pointwork and then in came no. 146 again.

More wagon moving ensued in the museum; we laid down protective boards to allow us to roll the Bryn Eglwys slate wagon back up onto its display plinth as the work above it was now complete.

Allan and Pete received a sketch plan of the stand for the second slate milepost that Russell Hatt had identified as a potential hazard as it was not secured in its position. John had also prepared a pile of all the necessary timber and left them to crack on with the job.

During the week a sheet of 12mm plywood had been delivered and stored in the museum ready for use in mounting the Centennial and Sesquicentennial headboards. Laying the ply on the floor Ian and Charles propped it up off the floor while John fetched a long straight length of timber to act as a guide for the circular saw from the Gunpowder Store. Having cut the first piece of ply it was taken upstairs and offered up to the beam on which it will hang, then drilled for the fixing bolts. John and Charles then clamped it in position before drilling into the beam and securing the ply in position. As a second piece of ply was needed to completely clad the beam the scaffold tower was moved so that John could unscrew the conduit that carries the wiring for the pair of Tyers token machines; at least that was the plan. Unscrewing came to an abrupt halt when John found a star headed screw not the expected Pozidrive head. He declared it coffee time.

In the warmth of the cafe we were joined by Mike Green and Gerald Gudgings for our coffee, chocolate Hobnobs and chatter.

Suitably refreshed we returned to the museum and a star head attachment was located in the Makita toolset allowing the conduit to be detached from the beam. Another piece was cut off the plywood sheet and offered up to mark it for the cut to shorten it to length. Three fixing holes were drilled and countersunk before it was test fitted and marked up to cut a piece out to fit around the boxing of a perpendicular beam. Finally the piece was clamped in position and Charles drilled one fixing hole into the beam and threaded a bolt through; the other holes were not drilled as we need self tapping screws to use in the restricted space available; a compromise forced by the strange hybrid metal and concrete construction of the beam.

Ian and Gerald made use of some offcuts of timber to fabricate a double ended wheel chock for the Bryn Eglwys slat slab wagon as it was free to roll on its short length of track.

Meanwhile Allan and Pete had finished fabricating and assembling the milestone stand and just required the L shaped cup hooks to provide the final functional elements, whereon the milestone was placed in its proposed position in front of the FR coal wagon.

Gerald and Ian ran Henry around on both floors to remove the sawdust from our labours and the tools were stowed away to prevent anyone tripping over them.

Pictures by John Olsen