Work in Progress - DRSA volunteer activity

This page showcases the activities of the DRSA's volunteers. It supercedes the various departmental pages which were linked to the Activities section. The old pages can still be viewed (C&W, Lineside, Station Maintenance, Traction Group) but are no longer being updated.

Can I please remind volunteers, especially team leaders, that this page relies heavily on your contributions.

Carriage & Wagon April 20th 2017


Work is under way on the FK, S13436, renewing flooring and preparing it for an external repaint. Sharing the workshop is the LMS brakevan 731411, which is being prepared for repainting in bauxite, having had its woodwork renovated. There's also been some progress on the SR brakevan LDS55625, reported on its own page.

LMS brakevan, with woodwork repairs complete, being prepared for painting.
Photographer: Philip Wagstaff
Date taken: 20/04/2017



Carriage & Wagon Feb 10th 2017


New timber on LMS brakevan 731411. In the background is FK S13436, being repainted.
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 09/02/2017



Our thanks to Geoff Horner for this photo showing the completion of the replacement boarding to one side - the south - of the LMS brakevan 731411. The CWT has completed the replacement of a couple of rotten floor boards in the cabin. After much debate about livery, the 'FK' S13436 has had one coat of Mid-Brunswick Green applied to the whole of the south side and partially to areas of the north side, plus the black to the two ends and areas of the under frames. Unfortunately the confines of the shed and the location of the trestles etc meant it was not possible to get a decent photo of these areas.

Station Maintenance - January 2017


The repainted booking hall
Photographer: Paul Martin
Date taken: 30/01/2017



Since Christmas, the main project has been the refurbishment of the Okehampton station booking hall in time for the Sulzer Weekend, though the usual mission creep meant we didn't quite achieve that. The painting is now mostly done, and it will look much improved for the Sulzer event, though there will still be some jobs to do afterwards. In particular the noticeboards need to be revamped.

Paul Martin has masterminded it, and done a fair bit of the work, along with John Coxon, David Bell and Andy Turner, with Baxter and Kelsey providing odd bits of help. Thanks to all concerned. A lot of work has been accomplished in a short time, and the first impression of the station much enhanced.

In other news, the wooden wheeled station barrow is now back on display, having had its superstructure painted last summer, and the axle assembly stripped and painted this winter. You may notice that one of the wheels is still unpainted. The original paint was applied on top of a sort of bitumen coat, and it took so long to strip there was only time to do one wheel this winter. There is some evidence that the barrow is original to Okehampton station. The axle and one of the axle brackets was found to be stamped 'S.W.R.'. Does anyone know more about it?

The old BR Barnstaple sacktruck which languished for several years, rotten and broken, in the upside concrete building over the Klondyke Road bridge, has been rebuilt with the worst of the rotten wood replaced, though it still doesn't enjoy 100% good health.

The repainted station barrow and rebuilt Barnstaple sacktruck.
Photographer: Jon Kelsey
Date taken: 29/01/2017



'S.W.R.' stamped in the axle of the wooden-wheeled station barrow.
Photographer: Jon Kelsey
Date taken: 01/01/2017



Carriage & Wagon - December 15th 2016


Geoff Horner has sent in the following pictures showing the state of the various current C&W projects, with (entirely unnecessary) apologies for the state of the light in the workshop.

The FK, S13436, has received an undercoat on its south side.
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 15/12/2016



Another view of S13436 in undercoat. We await a decision about its new livery.
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 15/12/2016



Class 117 DMU centre car 59520, in the workshop for refurbishment and painting.
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 15/12/2016



Timber being replaced on LMS brakevan 731411
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 15/12/2016



Another view of the new timber on 731411
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 15/12/2016



Carriage & Wagon - September 23rd 2016


For the last few weeks the C&W team has been working on the paintwork of some of the Polar Express stock. Geoff Horner has sent in some pictures of the current state of play.

The first carriage resplendent in 'PE Blue'.
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 22/09/2016



Alan Harris applying a few finishing touches.
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 22/09/2016



The second carriage being prepared for painting.
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 22/09/2016



A start made on the paintwork on the second carriage.
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 22/09/2016





Platform ticket machine - August 30th 2016

Last winter we acquired some redundant desks and cupboards from Devon County Council, for use in the museum and at Meldon. We were extremely grateful to John Caesar's Met Office colleague Paul van der Linden who helped with transporting the furniture from Exeter in his Land Rover. Paul must have seen something he liked, as he subsequently started volunteering at the railway.

Paul has taken on the task of restoring the platform ticket machine which has been languishing at Meldon. The hope is that we will be able to set it up on Okehampton station dispensing souvenir tickets. Having fathomed out how it works, and identified the problems we need to overcome, Paul has resprayed the casing. Here are a few pictures of the work done so far.

The ticket machine under investigation on Paul's bench
Photographer: Paul van der Linden
Date taken: 26/06/2016



The ticket machine's innards
Photographer: Paul van der Linden
Date taken: 26/06/2016



The ticket machine after spraying the top coat.
Photographer: Paul van der Linden
Date taken: 28/08/2016




Station Maintenance July 16th 2016

Today's best news was a visit from Geoff Brookes. Geoff went for major surgery to his leg a couple of weeks ago, and none of us expected to see him for a while yet. It seems the operation was a complete success, and Geoff is already taking long walks, and keen to get back to the railway. This seems a good opportunity to point out to those who haven't noticed, the condition of the bamboo-coloured fencing on platform 2. We seem to have miles of the stuff, and Geoff, assisted by David Bell, has painted most of it recently. See pic below.

Tom Baxter was gainfully employed reinstalling a lamp at the end of platform 3 which had been broken by others. In a mere 7 months we have repaired and re-erected it. Now it's even green, rather than plastic grey. There's no limit to what we can achieve. Other pic below.

David Bell spent the morning weeding around the platform 2 entrance, which now looks much tidier. David wondered why he was bothering with the bike stands as no-one ever uses them, and 5 minutes later they were occupied by 2 Dutch visitor's bikes.

Jon Kelsey started preparing the nice old wooden wheeled platform 2 barrow for repainting. All being well the inappropriate modern repairs it has received recently will be hidden when it's finished.

Some of the smartly painted fencing on Platform 2
Photographer: Jon Kelsey
Date taken: 16/07/2016



The lamp repaired and reinstalled. Don't look too closely at the paintwork on the speed limit, or the absence of it on the post.
Photographer: Jon Kelsey
Date taken: 16/07/2016


Carriage & Wagon July 14th 2016


Geoff Horner has sent in some photos showing progress on 4CEP Mk1 TSOL 70273. Work has started on the first top coats of rail blue and rail grey, and the white lining. It's going to look pretty impressive when it's finished.

70273 at Meldon
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 14/07/2016



70273 at Meldon
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 14/07/2016



70273 at Meldon
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 14/07/2016



70273 at Meldon
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 14/07/2016




Station Maintenance June 25th 2016


Geoff Brookes and David Bell pressed on with the endless fence painting, and further titivation of Bryn's room. The rest of the gang headed over to Meldon to press on with the SR brakevan - details on the LDS55625 restoration page.

Station Maintenance June 4th 2016


Geoff Brookes and David Bell had another solid day's painting the fence at the back of Platform 2, which is starting to look very smart. John Caesar pushed on with preparing "Bryn's room" for opening as a museum annexe.

For the rest of us it wasn't our best day, though not for want of trying. Tom Baxter, Geoff Horner and Jon Kelsey went to Meldon to remove an axlebox bearing from the SR brakevan, failing miserably through deficiencies both of equipment and understanding. On our return, desperate for achievement, we put up a P2 exit sign which has lain unused in the GUV for years (pic below).

New exit sign for the Platform 2 ramp
Photographer: Jon Kelsey
Date taken: 04/06/2016



2 halves of a cast iron lamp post from Bude, recently donated. We also have the lamp fitting to go on top. We don't think it is from a railway, but when restored it will make a nice period piece.
Photographer: Jon Kelsey
Date taken: 04/06/2016



Carriage and Wagon May 2016


Our thanks to Geoff Horner, who has submitted the following photos showing the C&W Team's progress on ex 4-CEP Mk1 TSOL 70273.

Mike Ireland does final prep work to weld repairs at east end.
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 12/05/2016



Nigel Green and John Coxon preparing welded repairs at the west end for painting
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 12/05/2016



Nigel Green hard at it.
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 12/05/2016



Attention to door locks
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 12/05/2016



Work on new electrical trunking
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 12/05/2016



Work on new electrical trunking
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 12/05/2016



If 47828 is left here for too long it might get painted green.
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 12/05/2016



Station Maintenance April 16th 2016


The last 2 Saturdays have seen a healthy turnout of volunteers. New member David Bell joined us on both days, and we were pleased to see former regular Mark Williams today. Mark and John Caesar worked on the display in 'Bryn's Room', the former training room adjacent to the museum, (so called because the ex Met Office mannequin who models Arthur Westlake's uniform was apparently called Bryn).

Geoff Brooks has spent the last couple of Saturdays fitting shelves under the worktop in the shop store room, enabling the space to be used much more efficiently for storing books. We're grateful to David Bell for donating the timber for the shelves.

David, John Coxon, Geoff Horner and Jon Kelsey spent the day at Meldon rebuilding rotting buffet picnic tables. Naturally they were in worse condition than we first thought, so progress was slower than expected, but one is finished and one is half finished with two more to do, and we did start with the two worst. With some warmish sunshine and steady numbers travelling on the trains and visiting the buffet, Meldon seemed a pleasant place to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Carriage & Wagon - Jan/Feb 2016


Our thanks to Geoff Horner who has again submitted a few photographs of recent C&W activity, shown below. All except the last one show the work on the privately owned TSO 70273 - a Mk1 carriage from an ex SR 4CEP EMU (Class 411). It is being prepared for use (with tables fitted in the saloon) with the air braked 'heritage' set.

David Clegg & Nigel Green getting down to bodywork preparation and applying some grey undercoat. Lighting is not at its best in the shed at this time of year!
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 21/01/2016



Alan Harris getting to grips with painting the underframe. More challenging lighting.
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 21/01/2016



Alan Harris working his way round the underframe.
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 18/02/2016



C&W members Patrick Doyle (at door), John Coxon and John Davis (foreground) getting to grips with the door sliding window gear.
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 18/02/2016



Grey undercoat now complete for half the carriage length. The safety guard rail and barrier is part of the H&S equipment DRSA has bought with the help of a grant from Okehampton United Charities. Nigel Green is demonstrating how difficult it is now to fall off!
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 25/02/2016



Not really C&W's domain, but the Wickham trolley has had new aluminium roof panels fitted and just at the moment is the vehicle most likely to be seen moving around the railway!
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 25/02/2016


Horticulture - November 21st 2015


A bunch of the flowers picked regularly over the summer for the buffet, from the wildflower patch by the Ladies entrance maintained by the horticulture team.
Photographer: Sue Baxter



New recruits for the horticultural team.
Photographer: Jon Kelsey
Date taken: 21/11/2015



Station Maintenance - October 17th 2015


Today's highlight was the new Okehampton platform 2 running-in board frame. We were prompted to replace it when the rot in the old frame was a little too apparent in some well-publicised pictures taken at the museum reopening. Erecting it was a bit nerve-wracking, as it involved wrecking the old one, but it went surprisingly well, though it's probably a good job we got it out of the way before next week's H&S training. Thanks, but we don't need anyone to point out that the frame is a slightly different shade of green than the rest of the sign. Tom Baxter says the frame colour is the correct one.

Today unfortunately signalled the end of the SMT being able to use the DRSA shop as a temporary workshop, as several members of the shop team were hard at work and should have it in service quite soon.

Messrs Baxter, Caesar, Brookes and Coxon looking suitably pleased with the new Okehampton running-in board frame
Photographer: Jon Kelsey
Date taken: 17/10/2015



Getting there. The DRSA shop is starting to take shape.
Photographer: Jon Kelsey
Date taken: 17/10/2015



Carriage & Wagon report - October 1st 2015


Geoff Horner is putting the other team leaders to shame with his second report in as many weeks. The first picture, taken a few weeks ago during a momentary pause in the activity in the Meldon workshop, shows a couple of the welcome new faces amongst our volunteers.

Alongside our newly refurbished ex LMS brake van, the ever smartly turned out Phil Hull (L) joins new C&W members John Davis (2nd L) & Patrick Doyle (back) as C&W stalwart Dave Clegg (seated) demonstrates how C&W go about their days work.
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 27/08/2015



The second picture shows DRSA member Julian Pope's ex 4-CEP TSO 70273 (once part of SR EMU unit 1530) which is now in the C&W shed at Meldon being prepared for next year's services. The roof has been cleared of the old loose and flaking coating ready for the application of a coating of bitumen paint. At the same time preparatory work clearing the under frames of rust and applying a coat of anti corrosion primer has started.

Ex 4-CEP TSO 70273 - once part of SR EMU unit 1530.
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 01/10/2015



The third picture shows DRSA member Peter Spokes' ex Class 423/2 4-VOP driving trailer 76398 (SR EMU unit 3905 and part of the only 4-VOP unit in preservation) waiting to come into the shed. If all goes according to plan this vehicle will, after refurbishment, also form part of next year's trains.

Ex Class 423/2 4-VOP driving trailer 76398 - once part of SR EMU unit 3905.
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 01/10/2015



The remaining 3 photos feature some of the rolling stock to be found in the Meldon yard.

DRSA owned FK S13436 in the autumn sunshine at Meldon.
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 01/10/2015



Three quarters of the DRSA's fleet forming the 'vacuum rake': ex LMS Goods Brake Van now looking very tidy, FK S13436 and Lab11 at Meldon.
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 01/10/2015



Nothing to do with DRSA's C&W team, but this is the new Polar Express livery.
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 01/10/2015



Carriage & Wagon update - September 21st 2015


Thanks to Geoff Horner for the latest from the C&W team, as follows:

The ex-LMS brake 713411 is being finished off, the second pair of veranda gates having been made and painted. Some last minute problems with the door lock mechanisms on Mk2A FK coach 13436 are proving difficult to put right but are gradually being dealt with.

Julian Pope's ex 4-CEP EMU TSO 70273, earmarked for inclusion in next years '08' hauled air-braked set, is now in the shed and work has started on its refurbishment with about 50% of the of the loose flaking roof coating removed.


Station Maintenance - September 20th 2015

For the last few weeks, work by the now rather diminished SMT has centred on preparing the 2 rooms on Okehampton's platform 2 which DRSA now leases. Apart from some of the external woodwork, they have now been repainted, thanks to a solo effort from our painting machine Geoff Brookes, taking a break from the endless Okehampton footbridge repaint. Tom Baxter and Jon Kelsey made a meal of changing the locks but got there in the end. Quite a lot of second hand books and other odds and ends have arrived, and we await instructions from the 'shop committee' before proceeding further.

We're grateful to Dave Trant, who attended Mary's farewell barbecue last week and just happened to bring his welder (as you do) which he put to good effect repairing the Okehampton footbridge handrails. Yesterday Tom Baxter cleaned up some of the paintwork, and pondered some strange effects at what the bridge's Victorian builders would no doubt have called the handrail/brickwork interface.

Flushed with the success of the Meldon Viaduct running in board, John Coxon and Jon Kelsey are now building a new frame for the Okehampton board, whose rotten wood featured embarrassingly in press photographs of August's museum reopening. The frame members have been cut, and the Brookes machine primed and undercoated them yesterday.


Station Maintenance - August 22nd 2015

After the excitement of the preparation for last week's museum reopening it was back to the mundane stuff. John Coxon, Tom Baxter and (eventually) Jon Kelsey turned out and repaired guttering, measured up the Okehampton running in board for future refurbishment, and unblocked drains. This railway heritage work is heady stuff.

DRSA's hydrodynamic response team of John Coxon and Tom Baxter redirecting guttering to prevent damp getting into the Platform 2 disabled toilet.
Photographer: Jon Kelsey
Date taken: 22/08/2015



Carriage & Wagon - August 22nd 2015


C&W always seem to be doing more interesting stuff than the rest of us. Thanks to Geoff Horner for sending in the following report and photos describing the team's work over the last few months:

In order to enable GLL to offer brake van rides the C&W team has been refurbishing the DRSA owned 1942 ex-LMS brake van 731411. Initially this was expected to be no more than the fitting of safety gates to the East end veranda, and a freshen up of the internal and external paintwork where necessary. However the discovery of previously undetected areas of rusting and rotting has meant that all the floor timbers to the West end veranda have had to be replaced along with some sections of the external panelling. With the additional repainting this necessitated, the job has taken about 3 1/2 months instead of the 3 - 4 weeks originally planned. This just goes to show that you never know what will be found when working on vehicles which are over 70 years old.

Floor removed
Photographer: Geoff Horner



Floor frames exposed. John Coxon, Pat Lennon and Dave Clegg in evidence.
Photographer: Geoff Horner



New floor being fitted
Photographer: Geoff Horner



New floor
Photographer: Geoff Horner



Side panelling repairs
Photographer: Geoff Horner



Work in progress. New recruit John Davis being supervised by Dave Clegg.
Photographer: Geoff Horner



Nearly ready.
Photographer: Geoff Horner




New Volunteers - August 2nd 2015


It's pleasing to report an influx of new volunteers recently. Joe Hawkins has joined the ticket office, fitting in nicely and seeming to enjoy the experience. More recently, John Davis joined the Carriage and Wagon team on Thursdays at Meldon. Yesterday, locals Alan and Maureen Harris came along for the first time. Maureen brings retail and admin experience and made a start in the ticket office, whilst Alan joined in with the SMT work and was still painting Okehampton footbridge when the rest of the team went home. Welcome to all of you.

Horticulture - July 2015


The splendid floral displays at Okehampton station are the work of DRSA's horticulture team of Ann Rochester, Mavis Goff and Sue Baxter, who can be found hard at work most Saturdays. Here are couple of recent pictures of their work.

Garden in a ballast box on Platform 2
Photographer: Sue Baxter
Date taken: 04/07/2015



The new wildflower patch near the Ladies
Photographer: Sue Baxter
Date taken: 27/06/2015



Lineside Maintenance June 2015


The team of 4 volunteers, Sue Baxter, John Wills, Peter Wills and Andrew Turner was out and about with the 2 professionals, Alan Cocker and Andy Webb. The location was around mile 191 before North Tawton viaduct and there was an inquisitive audience looking down on the hard workers. A decent area on both sides of the track was cleared, but there is so much more to do. The cows enjoyed the show and it was another enjoyable day out. Andrew Turner's pictures give a nice idea of the team's activities.

Photographer: Andrew Turner
Date taken: 24/06/2015



Interested spectators
Photographer: Andrew Turner
Date taken: 24/06/2015



John and Peter Wills, with audience.
Photographer: Andrew Turner
Date taken: 24/06/2015





Carriage & Wagon (Lab 11) March 10th 2015

Another two steps further forward today. The carpet is laid in the saloon, just needing some last lengths of trim at the edges to finish it off. One side has acquired its name and ID panels, with the other to follow shortly. The latest pictures are in the Lab11 Gallery


Station Maintenance March 7th 2015


Unseasonable weather and the prospect of trains running soon brought a couple more team members out of hibernation. Whilst Geoff Brookes remained at Okehampton painting the footbridge, Mark Williams, John Caesar, Tom Baxter and Jon Kelsey headed to Meldon. Mark and John helped John Coxon prepare Lab 11 for service in a few weeks time, whilst Tom and Jon worked on various station signs.

On return to Okehampton we were met by Simon Jeffery delivering the next 7 of his excellent replica bridge plates.


Station Maintenance January 3rd 2015


Grateful thanks are due to John Coxon and Andy Turner for becoming honorary members of the SMT for the day, and helping PM and JK. Tasks for the day were a tad mundane, involving some post-PE repairs and tidying up in the Okehampton buffet, in preparation for its re-opening on January 9th.