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 The old pages can still be viewed (C&W, Lineside, Station Maintenance, Traction Group) but are no longer being updated.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.

Note that many of the pics of brakevan LDS55625 published on this page are repeated on its dedicated page, with more besides.


Carriage and Wagon July 19th


Thanks to Geoff Horner for a couple of photos showing activity on the 2 current C&W projects:

John Davis signals the end of another day's work on the SR brakevan LDS 55625. Patrick Doyle and David Bell seem unimpressed.
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 19/07/2018



Thumper 1132 being repainted in the Meldon workshop. Nigel Green at work, Alan Harris supervising.
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 19/07/2018



Lineside gang June 9th 2018


Thanks to Tom Baxter for a few pictures of the lineside team's recent efforts:

Picnic at Halse Bridge - note the garden furniture
Photographer: Tom Baxter
Date taken: 09/06/2018



Alan Cocker demonstrates the Wickham replacement.
Photographer: Tom Baxter
Date taken: 09/06/2018



The long march home at Halse summit.
Photographer: Tom Baxter
Date taken: 09/06/2018




Station Maintenance June 2nd 2018


Whilst the usual unphotogenic SMT miscellania was carried out around Okehampton station, some of the team continued work on the CCT van 94691. More plating was added and small corrosion spots repaired with filler and sanded down, whilst Geoff Brookes prepared the roof for painting. Out of view, internal replacement of mains electrical fittings and complete re-wiring progressed.

Work progressing on CCT 94691
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 02/06/2018



Carriage and Wagon May 31st 2018


Thanks to David Bell for the latest report from the Meldon team:

Work continued replacing woodwork on the SR brake van LDS 55625. A long slow process, as the timber has to be cut to various lengths and widths, rarely ever the same, then rebated, using hand saws and wood chisels; finally treated with preservative before fitting.

Work sanding down the Thumper 1132 driving coach paintwork and repairs continued.

Meanwhile, we were requested (at short notice yet again) to find a replacement window panel and door drop-window for the recently vandalized Buffet Coach at Meldon Viaduct. Other tasks were cast aside and a team located suitable panels amongst the stored rolling stock that is beyond economic repair. (I think they came from Class 411 DMBSO 61742 - JK). It was a fairly straightforward job to lift the selected complete double glazed panel out, although very heavy; by drilling out the rivets holding the frame in. Once the thick coating of years of mindless graffiti had been removed from the glass, the panels were taken up to the coach for fitting by DRCIC staff.

Patrick Doyle working in the cool shade on LDS 55625
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 31/05/2018



Centre punching rivets for drilling
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 31/05/2018



Drilling out rivets
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 31/05/2018



Out it comes.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 31/05/2018



Station maintenance May 12th 2018


Work started on making repairs to the corroded panelling on the CCT van 94691. The internal space is partitioned and part has been allocated to the DRSA station maintenance team for use as a light workshop and storage area. It's more conveniently positioned than the GUV for tool storage etc., and those 'little' and 'not so little' jobs. As a bonus it is connected to the main electricity supply. The double doors, which were sealed off some time ago, have been reopened and the slam door handle/lock reinstalled using ingenuity and cannibalized items. Next step is to clear out years of accumulated junk, whilst an executive decision is awaited as on the external livery.

Meanwhile the Trackside Team set off on the Wickham trolley, and the gardening ladies were busy wherever green fingers were required.

Patching rusty panels on CCT van 94691. Plating cut and formed by John Coxon, drilled and fixed by Paul Vodden and then primed by David Bell. It's time we invested in a bigger brush.
Photographer: John Coxon
Date taken: 12/05/2018




Carriage and Wagon May 10th 2018


Latest on the C&W team from David Bell:

Our meeting at the station, prior to moving off to Meldon, was frustrated by a horrendous traffic jam on Station Road. Four of us who had made it to the station turned back and work was done on Lab11 plumbing system for an hour. By then the jam had cleared and we went to Meldon where the rest of the team was at work, having given up trying to get to the station. (I digress!)

Preparation work continued sanding-down the unpainted side of the Thumper driving trailer whilst Geoff Horner "did something inside", which was too dark to photograph! Meanwhile Alan Harris continued to make an excellent job of repainting repaired damage to the toilets in the Visitor Centre, caused by water, following an overwinter burst pipe and subsequent collapsed ceiling.

A couple of pics follow. C&W work isn't always glamorous.

A good start has been made to fitting replacement rebated and prepared timber to the far side of the SR Brake van LDS 55625. The roof has been finished and awaits a fabric waterproof covering.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 10/05/2018



John Coxon captured trying (unsuccessfully alas) to align slats on the damaged roll-up workshop door. There must be an easier (and less nerve shattering) way John, but we just haven't thought of one yet.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 10/05/2018




Lineside gang April 28th 2018


Recently there has been a welcome return of regular lineside vegetation and fencing parties, arranged and led on Saturdays and Sundays by Alan Cocker.

Andy Turner, Alan Cocker, Rosie and the Wickham at Crook Bridge (no. 589) on fence replacement working party.
Photographer: Tom Baxter
Date taken: 28/04/2018



Carriage and Wagon April 19th 2018


Short report and picture from David Bell this week, and subsequently a further half a dozen photos from Geoff Horner. Our rolling stock looks a credit to all concerned:

The main C&W team spent the day at Okehampton station finishing off various outstanding jobs on the DRSA owned shuttle rolling stock, ready for the inaugural run on the 21st. (See first photo below). Two other members went across to Meldon to carry out cleaning and electrical repair work at the Meldon Viaduct visitor's area, being told by said visitors that it was a pity having to work on such a lovely day!

The DRSA rake (RDB975046 aka Lab11, Mk2a FK S13146, LMS brakevan 731411) refurbished, washed, polished and ready to run
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 19/04/2018



D4167 final wash - Patrick Doyle supervising, John Coxon wielding the brush & hose, John Davis observing how it is done
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 19/04/2018



Nigel Green doing some final retouching on the LMS brakevan 731411.
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 19/04/2018



The team working on the LMS brakevan flooring seem to have a very top-heavy management structure.
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 19/04/2018



In case you'd forgotten, this is what the Lab11 saloon interior looks like.
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 19/04/2018



A compartment in the FK, S13436
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 19/04/2018



The corridor in the FK, S13436
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 19/04/2018




Carriage and Wagon April 5th 2018


Thanks to Birthday Boy for these notes and pictures:

A beautiful warm and sunny spring day and on arrival at Meldon our convoy had to be routed round a rail loading session. Thus answering the question as to what was happening to the rails pictured passing through the station last week - AI has a use for them elsewhere.

The early morning coffee break was an excuse for everyone to celebrate your correspondent's 79th birthday with the cutting of a home made cake. Very little remained!

Work then continued re-flooring the veranda on the LMS brake van, re-roofing the SR brake van and linking up the fuel pipes for the LAB11 generator; plus a bit of painting and scraping here and there. More mundane tasks were undertaken (Spring Cleaning), clearing out and cleaning the guard's compartment and kitchenette in LAB11, whilst the onboard generator ran happily on fuel drawn from the newly installed tank.


Rails being loaded (note the halcyon Dartmoor sky for a change!)
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 05/04/2018



Cutting the cake.
Photographer: John Coxon
Date taken: 05/04/2018



"Bend it first before cutting", John and Ron.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 05/04/2018



Geoff Horner looking pleased with progress.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 05/04/2018




Carriage and Wagon March 29th 2018


Latest from David Bell:

A very short notice request (David, there isn't any other sort - JK) to clean out the carriage formation for Good Friday's Meldon shuttle led to the C&W team becoming carriage cleaners for the first part of the day. Removing Christmas glitter from carpeting and seat fabric being the onerous part.

After a quick lunch, some members left for Meldon to install the repaired radiator for the generator in LAB 11 and various other painting tasks. By late afternoon the radiator had been fitted (by John and Ron under somewhat cramped conditions), filled and checked for leaks and the generator tested. We expect to have the repaired fuel tank filled next week.

Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 29/03/2018



Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 29/03/2018



Meldon March 22nd and 24th 2018


Our regular correspondent, David Bell, didn't seem very inspired by Thursday's fare, reporting "Regretfully nothing of note to photograph yesterday. Work on the various tasks continued albeit being cold with a fair bit of snow still lying about up there. The LAB11 generator radiator has been removed for repair and the fuel tank is painted and ready for filling. Replacement planking for the roof of the SR brake van is being prepared. Perhaps something more interesting next week when my hands aren't frozen and smeared with black paint - despite wearing gloves!

The stove in the LMS brake van was tested by Phil Hull and approved of by all and sundry "visitors" when smoke was spotted."

On Saturday a joint C&W and SM Meldon task force assembled, but first had the task of removing the Xmas decorations from the TtCT coaches at Okehampton, in preparation for use in the 'events' rake - a task apparently overlooked when the train was put away in December. This is railway preservation at its most satisfying.

Eventually we got to Meldon and cut overgrown vegetation, cleaned the station and improved some of the signage. More of the same will follow on future Saturdays. By the time I thought of taking a picture there wasn't really enough light for a mobile phone photo, but you get the gist from the following:

Coxon, Baxter, Vodden, Brooks and Horner, all miraculously doing something useful at the same time, with Caesar hiding and Kelsey shaking the camera.
Date taken: 24/03/2018


Carriage & Wagon Team March 15th 2018


More from our C&W correspondent:

Undaunted by frequent rain showers, John Coxon and Ron Kirby persevered and managed to mount the generator fuel tank onto Lab11. However, the replacement welded-in bottom plate has altered the size of the tank slightly and one of the pair of refuelling pipes wouldn't fit onto the existing underframe mountings. It was decided to blank this off as being redundant and mount the tank with the remaining pipe. The tricky part of making up the copper-piped fuel lines remains for another day.

Once the work on the fuel system is completed, the radiator on the Lab11 generator will be removed in order to repair a steadily worsening coolant leakage.

Meanwhile work on replacement floor boards for the LMS brake van continued, requiring some dexterous open air work with a router. In the workshop the screech of sanding on the Thumper and hammering/scraping of the de-rusting team on the SR brake van continued unabated all day.

Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 15/03/2018



Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 15/03/2018



Carriage & Wagon Team March 8th 2018


Thanks to David Bell who sent us the following notes and pictures of today's efforts:

A fine day so it was decided to refit the repaired diesel fuel tank [i.e. for the generator] onto LAB11. Lots of planks, poles and effort lined the tank up into the cradle which suspends it below the carriage underframe. Unfortunately the positioning of a modified type of fuel gauge on the tank required cutting out of part of the heavy steel suspension bracket. We therefore, ran out of time and the final heave and shove will take place next time - weather permitting. Other work, chipping rust on the SR brake van LDS55625 and painting the Thumper 1132 underframe continued.

Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 08/03/2018



Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 08/03/2018



Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 08/03/2018



Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 08/03/2018



Lineside Gang February 17th 2018


At last, after over two years of DRSA volunteers wanting to do some cutting back, and following an initiative by one of the DR permanent track and general purpose staff, 4 PTS trained volunteers (and dog!) under the COSS (Controller of Site Safety) departed Okehampton at 0915 after a safety and general brief of the intended work, in the Wickham trolley and trailer. The site was just west of Bow Buttersland Farm level crossing in the engineering possession between Crediton & Okehampton.

Here everyone worked hard on a perfect fine day, clearing trees cut down and logged by Alan Cocker and John Wills, feeding their branches to a bonfire. Leaving a tidy site, the team returned in the afternoon to Okehampton with a full trailer of firewood.

Evidence that the DR permanent staff are also currently undertaking tree clearance and long reach flailing from their road railer was noted eastwards from Okehampton, having now nearly reached Sampford Courtenay.


Photographer: Sue Baxter
Date taken: 17/02/2018



The work party at Okehampton prior to leaving for site - Tony Hill, Andrew Turner, John Wills, Alan Cocker, Sue Baxter and Rosie.
Photographer: Tom Baxter
Date taken: 17/02/2018



The Gardening Ladies February 10th 2018


Ann Rochester and Mavis Goff working on the beds on Platform 2, in conditions much worse than the picture suggests. The rest of us happened to find sheltered jobs.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 10/02/2018


Carriage & Wagon February 1st 2018


A total of 11 volunteers braved the elements at Meldon today. David took a few pictures:

John Coxon and Ron Kirby setting up the flat-bed saw ready to rebate planks for the SR brake van sides
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 08/02/2018



John and Ron trying a part-finished plank for size
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 08/02/2018



Veranda flooring on the SR brake van at one end almost completed. Patrick Doyle cutting off protruding bolt heads.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 08/02/2018


Station Maintenance January 27th 2018


Some typical Okehampton weather just about failed to deter a few hardy souls who turned out for a day of miscellany, like putting all the sacktrucks and barrows back on the platforms after their winter exile, and clearing junk out of the Ferryvan. The horticultural team cut down a tree. We were pleased to welcome a new recruit, Steve Brown, and hope we didn't put him off too much.

A couple of years ago the 1 in 77 gradient sign was broken in mysterious circumstances (could it have been hit by a digger?), and has now been repaired, thanks to the cast iron welding services of CS Engineering in Crediton. It's had a coat of paint, and has been put up again. Pic below.

Repaired gradient sign at Okehampton.
Photographer: Jon Kelsey
Date taken: 27/01/2018



Carriage & Wagon January 25th 2018


Thanks again to David Bell for these images of today's action.

Patrick Doyle and John Davis cutting floorboards for one of the verandas on the SR brake van. The flooring of the cabin has been completed to a high standard.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 25/01/2018



The undercoating, on the first side of the Thumper to be renovated, being finished off by Ron Kirby.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 25/01/2018



Alan Harris (taking a break from newly appointed Ticket Inspector) painting the under-frame and running gear of the Thumper.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 25/01/2018



John Coxon cleaning out the guttering on the Thumper prior to painting more of the roof.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 25/01/2018



Cutting timber for a replacement floorboard in the LMS brake van.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 25/01/2018



John Davis contemplating the remaining stack of timber for work on the brake van still to to be done.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 25/01/2018



Class 31 Weekend preparation Jan 14th 2018


A group of C&W volunteers, herded by Julian Pope, turned out on a Sunday to clean up the rolling stock for the forthcoming Class 31 Weekend. DB 977335, the generator coach Rocket, needed it the most, not having been washed since it was painted in winter 2012. A few pictures:

Photographer: Jon Kelsey
Date taken: 14/01/2018



Photographer: Jon Kelsey
Date taken: 14/01/2018



Photographer: Jon Kelsey
Date taken: 14/01/2018



David Bell posing in the driving cab of Rocket.
Photographer: John Coxon
Date taken: 14/01/2018



Carriage & Wagon January 11th 2018


More from David:

Patrick Doyle removing 70 year old floor retaining bolts with great effort and eventual success.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 11/01/2018



John Davis measuring the cutout for the 5th floor board.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 11/01/2018



Patrick Doyle and John Davis cutting floorboards.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 11/01/2018



Carriage & Wagon January 4th 2018


David Bell has become a regular photographer of the Carriage & Wagon team's activity (and occasional inactivity) at Meldon on Thursdays. This week Sue Baxter was also there with her camera:

60831, the driving trailer from Thumper 1132, in the workshop having its roof repainted. The coach on the left is class 117 DMU centre car 59520.
Photographer: Sue Baxter
Date taken: 04/01/2008



The body sides of 60831, the driving trailer from Thumper 1132, being prepared for repainting.
Photographer: Sue Baxter
Date taken: 04/01/2008



Modifying a safety platform stanchion.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 04/01/2008



Alan Harris applying stove paint in the refurbished LMS brake van 731411. Alan has completed all the interior paintwork so far.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 04/01/2008



No batch of pictures of the C&W team is complete without at least one shot of them having lunch. Here they are, hard at it in Lab 11.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 04/01/2008



Carriage & Wagon December 21st 2017


LDS 55625, with Patrick Doyle dusting off. Note new tanalised timber drying out.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 21/12/2017



Patrick Doyle proudly contemplating the first new paintwork on SR brakevan LDS 55625 - red oxide on the floor.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 21/12/2017



John Coxon and Ron Kirby working on the roof of Thumper 1132. Geoff Horner patch painted the sides today.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 21/12/2017





Carriage & Wagon December 7th 2017


In dimpsy Meldon workshop light, the newly-arrived timber for LDS55625 being measured by John Coxon and Ron Kirby, and stacked by John Davis
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 07/12/2017




Carriage & Wagon November 16th 2017


Thanks to David Bell, who has sent in some pics of another Thursday session at Meldon, with entirely unnecessary apologies for the picture quality:

Geoff Horner working filling in corrosion damage on Thumper 1132, Ron Kirby (our newest C&W member - welcome Ron) in the background sanding down paintwork.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 16/11/2017



John Coxon sanding down paintwork, Ron Kirby in the background doing the same, and Geof Horner about to start sanding too - if he can find a sander that works!
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 16/11/2017



The BR(SR) brake van 55625 was stripped of woodwork paint, using a blow lamp, prior to being moved into the workshop. The rotten wood has been removed (mostly on the hidden side), and the new timber is on order. What a shame it doesn't have its wagon plates.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 16/11/2017




Carriage & Wagon October & November 2017


Stock has been reshuffled at the Meldon workshop, providing the first daylight view of the LMS brakevan in its bauxite livery. The workshop now contains the SR brakevan for major timber bodywork, and the Thumper driving trailer for a refresh. Some finishing and interior work on 731411 and the Mk2 FK will continue in the open. The C&W team is also helping repair the vandal-damaged droplights in the Polar Express stock.

1942 LMS brake van 731411, freshly painted, at Meldon
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 02/11/2017



Mk2 FK S13436 looking very smart outside Meldon workshop
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 02/11/2017



Three quarters of DRSA's rolling stock outside the workship at Meldon, and all a credit to the Carriage and Wagon team.
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 02/11/2017



Nigel Green putting a few finishing touches to the interior paintwork of Mk2 FK S13436.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 02/11/2017



Geoff Horner making a fine adjustment to one of the PE coach doors, supervised by John Coxon.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 28/10/2017



Around Okehampton Station, July/August/September 2017


Geoff Brookes and Greg Bennett have spent a large part of the summer gradually repainting the Okehampton platform 3 station building. It has made a huge difference. Their project had a boost in late July when the C&W team spent a couple of Thursdays painting the inside of the canopy.

Meanwhile, John Coxon, David Bell and Jon Kelsey have been replacing some of the rotten timber which formed the base of the window frames and window sills on the footbridge.

The repaired footbridge woodwork.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 11/11/2017



The new paint on the Okehampton canopy. The section near the platform edge will have to wait until we can arrange safe access.
Photographer: Tom Baxter
Date taken: 10/09/2017



The new timber in place on the footbridge
Photographer: Tom Baxter
Date taken: 10/09/2017



Kelsey and Coxon pondering the damage they are doing to the footbridge
Photographer: Tom Baxter
Date taken: 12/08/2017



Geoff Brookes painting the Okehampton canopy, with Greg Bennett as safety man.
Photographer: Jon Kelsey
Date taken: 26/08/2017



John Coxon and Jon Kelsey preparing new window frame/sill timber for the Okehampton footbridge.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 26/08/2017



Patrick Doyle painting the canopy, with Geoff Horner steadying the ladder. With a large team, two ladders and two platforms, rapid progress was made.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 20/07/2017



The C&W team slummed it at Okehampton Station for a couple of Thursdays in July, blitzing the paintwork of the canopy. By a million to one chance, they were having a break when Paul was out and about with his camera.
Photographer: Paul Martin
Date taken: 20/07/2017




Carriage & Wagon June 1st 2017


Our thanks to David Bell who has sent in a couple of photos showing good progress on both our brakevans.

Geoff Horner watching paint dry. Nigel Green has put the first coat of the new bauxite livery on the LMS brakevan 731411.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 01/06/2017



Patrick Doyle grinding out rusted-in bolts in the SR brakevan LDS55625, with John Davis pausing from stripping out decayed interior woodwork.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 01/06/2017



Just after posting the above, some photos on a similar theme arrived from Geoff Horner:

Nigel Green at work on the LMS brakevan 731411
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 01/06/2017



Nigel Green again, painting 731411. We have a photo of it in engineer's service in 1971 in this livery.
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 01/06/2017



General view of the SR brakevan LDS55625 showing work proceeding with stripping the rotten woodwork.
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 01/06/2017


Station Seats May 20th 2017


Last year, through the good offices of Tony Hill, DRSA repatriated 4 Southern Railway seats, purchasing them from Dunster and Crowcombe Heathfield on the West Somerset Railway (see News Item 08/11/2016). Repainting them from GWR to SR livery was a welcome sheltered outdoor job for sunny winter days, and three are now complete apart from lettering. The fourth, requiring some remedial woodwork, isn't far behind. Despite the impression given by the photographs, most of the work was carried out by Geoff Brookes and Greg Bennett.

Jon Kelsey and Tom Baxter with one of the seats now resplendent again in Southern green. The seat is turned to face the Bude bay siding for photographic purposes!
Photographer: Tony Hill
Date taken: 20/05/2017



Tom Baxter at work on the ironwork of one of the seats
Photographer: Sue Baxter
Date taken: 15/04/2017



Jon Kelsey making a new slat for one of the seats
Photographer: Sue Baxter
Date taken: 15/04/2017



Station Maintenance miscellany April/May 2017


David Bell has submitted a few photos taken at odd moments during recent SMT work sessions. It's not true that John Coxon does all the work.

Tom Baxter watching John Coxon discovering that the pressure washer is broken.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 06/05/2017



John Coxon relocating the Platform 2 stop sign.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 29/04/2017



John Coxon fixing the leaking roof of the booking-in point on Platform 3
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 09/04/2017




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.