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 The old pages can still be viewed (C&W, Lineside, Station Maintenance, Traction Group) but are no longer being updated.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 there is also coverage of the restoration of brakevan LDS55625 on its dedicated page.

Carriage and Wagon reports are by David Bell unless otherwise stated. Thanks to all our contributors.

Carriage & Wagon October 10th 2019


The C&W volunteers split into 2 groups on meeting first thing at Okehampton station. Five members remained to work on the class 31 locomotive doors and DR special event rolling stock. The remaining 4 went to Meldon. As painting the Thumper car is virtually finished, work concentrated on the SR brake van LDS55625. DB started chipping rust on the North side together with Geoff Horner but having such a small area left in the middle of the frame Geoff was left to it and DB moved to the South side and started chipping away higher up on the body frame and grab bars. Meanwhile, John Davis decided that a first lick of primer on the new internal cabin woodwork was due. However, this was frustrated by insufficient paint of the right type to hand and so that will have to wait until some is procured by next week. Undeterred he spent his day applying filler to woodwork and then chipping rust off grab rails. Patrick Doyle trimmed various new bolts in the woodwork with the angle grinder, then joined in with the other 3 at rust chipping. The noise by then was almost unbearable and cease work at the end of the day was a relief on the ears.

By next week we hope that the "big shunt" has taken place and we will have the full team of volunteers available to work on the LMS brake van and the 08 locomotive in the workshop, together with LAB11 outside to supply power for lighting during the rapidly shortening daylight hours. However ....

Geoff Horner chipping away at the last of the rust, paint etc. in the area of the brake piping. By the end of day very little remained to do.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 10/10/2019


Patrick Doyle trimming bolts with the angle grinder whilst John Davis waits patiently with ladder ready to apply filler to the woodwork.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 10/10/2019


Patrick moves elsewhere with the grinder whilst John gets on with filling-in. The nearby bag wasn't at risk and survived intact!
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 10/10/2019


General view showing the freshly painted East end of the Thumper power car, now ready to be outshopped.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 10/10/2019



Station Maintenance October 2nd 2019


Actually we were in attendance last week as well, but so little of note was achieved that it wasn't possible to wring even one sentence out of it. Today we were at full strength, three. Of these, Tom Baxter managed to find himself a nice little job mucking about with an old generator, which eventually went brumm brumm very nicely. In fairness it will be a useful piece of kit, but it left the other two thirds of the team painting Oke Station's wooden stake fencing again. I (JK) had to leave early to return to planet Earth, so poor old Paul Vodden bore the brunt of it. When I left he'd undercoated about 10 feet of it, with just another 14 miles to go, so it's possible he didn't quite finish. This really is an enormous task. We were very chuffed when Alan Harris spent a recent Saturday working on it. Can anyone else lend a hand?

Carriage & Wagon September 26th 2019


[Our thanks to Geoff Horner who submitted the following in David Bell's absence]

Due to holidays, illness and other commitments a reduced team of five gathered today at Meldon. A sub-team of John Coxon, Nigel Green and Ron Kirby finished the painting of the East and West ends of Thumper 1132 and then carried on with the painting of the North side internal door trims and the underframe. John Davis continued cutting and fitting the plywood inner lining to the cabin of the SR brake van whilst Geoff Horner continued the task of chipping the rust from the North side underframe. In Alan Harris's absence on holiday one unsung hero also attended to the 'facilities' at the Meldon buffet! Finally we wish a speedy recovery to our usual correspondent David Bell after a fall whilst shopping in Exeter last week.

Station Maintenance September 18th 2019


A glorious, cloudless day, and unlike last week there was a little bit of progress to report, though none of it was pretty so we didn't take any pictures.

Useful Brownie points were earned by refixing a castor under one of the buffet cookers. Hanging on by just one of four bolts, and bent and unstable as a result, it must have been annoying the buffet staff for years, and took about 20 minutes to fix.

Repairs to the (bus!) ticket machine used by the Travelling Ticket Inspectors should also earn us a bit of credit, at least with Alan Harris, a former bus man who appreciates these things.

The effort to fix the marker lights on D4167 wasn't quite so conclusive, though progress was made. Otherwise it was back to the painting, and worse, preparation for painting. There's quite a lot to do.


Carriage and Wagon September 12th 2019


A very small team of volunteers on a fine Autumn day, due in part to sickness and holidays. Half the members remained at the station all day again to continue work on the DR special events rolling stock, including internal painting in the buffet coach.

The remaining three C&W volunteers spent the day at Meldon, in an unusually quiet workshop, fitting prepared cladding to the South side of the SR Brake van and chipping rust etc. on the North side. A warm damp Autumn morning resulted in heavy condensation on the bare metal of the underframe and prevented painting with primer. Apart from the sound of chipping and woodworking the only other sign of life was the running of the generator later in the day to provide some extra lighting and sharpen some tools on the grinder. Stalwart/unsung hero Alan Harris spent the morning across at the viaduct visitor's centre, then continued painting the underframe of Thumper 1132. It's doubtful if there will be a rush of volunteers to clean DR toilets whilst he is away for the next week or two!

Bolting-on the last two pieces of the jigsaw puzzle on the North side of brake van LDS55625 by John Davis. Seen from across a jumble of DRCIC equipment. An original Ashford identification underframe marking uncovered today revealed that it was originally plain 'S55625'.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 12/09/2019



Carriage and Wagon September 5th 2019


A small party of volunteers on a fine warm early autumn day, split between working at the station on DR rolling stock and at Meldon on the visitors area and DRSA rolling stock. Shortly after arrival at Meldon we were visited by DRSA Committee member Tony Hill, who delivered more of his finest home grown Devonshire oak for repairs to the buffer mountings on the West end of SR brakevan LDS55625. He showed great interest in the progress being made on the refurbishment of the brake van and other projects, taking the opportunity to ramble around the quarry yard in the sunshine, reliving his visits whilst in the employ of BR no doubt, in the then more halcyon days of active quarrying operations. In doing so it was noted that he tried his strength at moving, successfully, a forlorn open wagon to and fro on rusty rails which he happened to come across. We concluded that he enjoyed his most welcome visit!

Meanwhile Alan Harris worked across in the visitor's area and the remaining 3 volunteers worked on the brake van. Chipping rust and paint is about two thirds completed on the North side of the mainframe and internal cladding to the cabin complete apart from a few 'tiddly bits'.

Tony Hill (right) and Geoff Horner with a sample of the oak for the remounting of the brake van buffers.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 05/09/2019



Station Maintenance September 4th 2019


The same team as the previous week was in attendance. They started the day by clearing vegetation growing in the drainage channel above the Okehampton station entrance canopy. A blockage had been causing water to back up and cascade over the main entrance.

We couldn't hope for it to remain this exciting all day, and in the afternoon Paul Vodden painted part of the platform 2 canopy, Tom Baxter installed a key safe in a top secret location and Jon Kelsey prepared for undercoating a tiny fraction of the endless low quality wooden fencing which surrounds the station.

Paul Vodden and Tom Baxter on top of the Okehampton station entrance canopy clearing the drainage channel.
Photographer: Jon Kelsey
Date taken: 04/09/2019



Close up of the drainage channel job partially done. The amount of vegetation can be seen in the uncleared section in the background. The white cable in the foreground was the connection to a CC TV camera which had been laid in the drainage channel. Dangling from the weatherboard are fairlylights which we don't think are original.
Photographer: Jon Kelsey
Date taken: 04/02/2019



Station Maintenance August 28th 2019


There was a 50% increase over the usual SMT Wednesday head count, and the three of us tackled a selection of jobs which seemed appropriate to such a grey and dreary day. Paul Vodden prepared the end timbers of the platform 2 canopy ready for painting, then addressed various fixtures and vehicles with a brush and soapy water. Jon Kelsey used the pressure washer to attack mouldy paintwork on fencing and the Ferryvan. Tom Baxter repaired the strimmer and then set about using it to clear the path to the GUV, as if anyone would want to go there. We ground to a halt early when the occasional showers became a continuous downpour. Eat your heart out, Bluebell Railway.

Carriage & Wagon August 15th 2019


A small team of volunteers today. Work was concentrated mainly on the Thumper 1132 power car. The painting is nearly complete, apart from the east end which has been prepared for painting. Further work will be delayed for a week or two whilst DB 977335 "Rocket", located at Okehampton station, is spruced up, having remained partially painted in blue livery for several weeks.

The remaining volunteers continued chipping rust and old paint on the North side of SR brakevan LDS55625 mainframe and fitting more interior woodwork. Removal of the buffers at the West end is envisaged in the not too distant future, however .....

Carriage & Wagon August 8th 2019


A reduced number of C&W volunteers today. Two members remained at the station all morning to clear the underside of the platform 3 canopy of cobwebs, dust etc. They were rewarded for making a good job of it with free coffees from the Buffet!

The remainder spent the day at Meldon top coating the Thumper 1132 power car, removing more windows from redundant stock, working on the interior woodwork and rust chipping on the North side of the mainframe of the SR brake van LDS 55625. Geoff Horner made a good job of repainting and labelling the steel filing cabinets which are used to store smaller tools and expendable items.

Carriage & Wagon July 25th 2019


Probably the hottest day of the year greeted the C&W team, but on arrival at Meldon a cooling breeze blew through the workshop.

Julian Pope and Terry Bridgeman remained at the station to repair the cooling system on the DR carriage stock, whilst Alan Harris set off for the Meldon visitors' area to clean the WCs and do some remedial work.

The top coat was applied to the cab front and North side of the Thumper power unit. Next week should see the external paintwork completed, apart from the rear end.

The fitting of internal lining to the SR brakevan continued, along with paint and rust chipping on the mainframe North side.

The fire grate for the stove in the LMS brakevan disintegrated and so a new one was purchased but needed a bit of fettling to make it fit. A tricky job as cast iron is rather brittle.

More windows were recovered from redundant rolling stock. Exhausting work as the interior of the coach was like an oven.

John Coxon and Nigel Green applying topcoat to the Thumper power car in a nice cool breeze
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 25/07/2019


Ron Kirby applying the finishing touches to the North side of the Thumper power car
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 25/07/2019


Long awaited completion - a view of the South mainframe of the SR brake van 'resplendent' in primer finish!
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 25/07/2019


Cutting out a sheet for the internal trim of the SR brake van cabin. Partick Doyle wielding the power jig-saw.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 25/07/2019


Paul Vodden removing reluctant window trim screws in stiffing heat
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 25/07/2019


Not a C&W topic but of interest perhaps. Alan Cocker (DRCIC) overhauling 2 sets of automatic wheel flange greasers. They will be fitted to a couple of the sharper curves down the main line and are actuated (squirting grease onto the inner surface of rails under pressure from a reservoir) by treadles operated by the train wheels. Hopefully they will reduce the flange wear on the locomotives and rolling stock.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 25/07/2019


Carriage & Wagon July 18th 2019


A fine warm day made working conditions at Meldon ideal.

The main effort was centred on the power car of Thumper 1132. The undercoat to the front end has been completed and more top coat applied to the North side. Unfortunately the power unit is still unserviceable awaiting attention.

LAB11 currently in service on the heritage shuttle is in need of a refresh, now looking a little shabby, but will have to await replacement by the Thumper unit. The Mk2 coach which is standing in for the FK S13436, is not popular with passengers on the shuttle during the hot summer weather. The latter, now in pristine condition, is a very popular heritage train attraction but still awaits brake testing at Meldon. A heritage shuffle is required!

More progress was made on the SR brake van. The cabin inner lining process continued and the South side of the main frame has now been completely chipped down to the bare metal and primed. The next step is to complete the North side, then repair the buffers at the West end.

Carriage & Wagon July 11th 2019


A smaller than average group of volunteers was greeted by fine weather at Meldon. Taking advantage of this, 2 C&W members worked in the Buffet Car area reinforcing the decking fence posts with heavy brackets. In such an exposed position the elements have taken a heavy toll on the woodwork over the years.

Work continued on the power car of Thumper 1132, preparing the front end for painting and coating the underframe and running gear on the North side. The latter was carried out by our painting machine Alan Harris, who has returned to the fold after a spell in hospital and a week or two of recuperation.

The remaining 3 members spent the day partially fitting the plywood inner cabin skin on SR brake van LDS55625 and the usual rust and paint chipping on the frame on the South side. Next week should see completion of the latter.

John Davis and Patrick Doyle cutting out plywood sections to line the SR brake van cabin.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 11/07/2019



Carriage & Wagon July 4th 2019


A beautiful summer's day made volunteering at Meldon very pleasant. At last the repair of the buffet tables and chairs at the visitor's site reached the top of the 'waiting to be done' list. After preparing the timber on the flat bed saw two members went across to the site. They were still hard at it when it came to cease work.

Others continued work either preparing surfaces on Thumper 1132 for undercoating or finishing top coating around the internal door trims on the North side. The top coat on the South side has been completed.

The usual team fitted more internal woodwork on the SR brake van LDS55625 and continued external paint etc, chipping. The oak buffer blocks on the Western end have revealed, after drying out, that they too had rotted. LDS55625 is full of surprises!

Patrick Doyle pauses from work inside the SR brake van. One of the new ducket seats can be seen. The glazing on the two duckets has been fitted and most of the internal woodwork has been prepared for painting and awaits fitting the internal wall plywood lining.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 04/07/2019


Phil Hull and Patrick Doyle chipping rust and paint. Note the guard's stove on the ground awaiting attention. Chipping and priming the North side of the mainframe is almost complete.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 04/07/2019


A buffer at the west end of the SR brake van, showing wood rot, The other buffer is in a similar condition.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 04/07/2019


John Coxon applies primer to Thumper 1132 power car.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 04/07/2019



Carriage & Wagon June 27th 2019


A hot sun, with a strong cooling wind through the opened doors of the Meldon workshop, made pleasant working conditions for the C&W. Nothing spectacular was carried out but some of the team, thanks to fine weather, were dispersed on jobs outside which included the Thumper 1132 driving unit. These included repairing drop windows and doors, using recovered parts from the defunct Thumper set. The opportunity was taken to recover a few extra windows before vandals manage to break them.

Indoor work continued completing more of the topcoat finish to the Thumper power unit sides, preparing the ends for painting and continuing the under-frame painting. The usual dedicated team of three continued with fitting interior woodwork on the SR brake van LDS55625 and yet more rust, gunge and paint chipping.

Not to be forgotten, is the usual weekly task by a volunteer (unsung hero) to trek across, in all weathers, to check and clean the toilets in the visitor's area.

The braking test on the FK S13436 coach and repair to the Thumper 1132 power unit by Julian Pope are still awaited and it is hoped will be completed soon. The former test will require a touch of shunting, which normally takes a bit of time to organize. Oh for the long gone days of having a Station Pilot!


Carriage & Wagon June 20th 2019


A bright day with frequent heavy showers greeted a reduced number of volunteers at Meldon. Undeterred, three members spent most of the day under FK S13436 replacing seals in one of the air brake cylinders. A difficult job working underneath the coach, dismounting then dismantling a heavy item; but at least it was dry under there! Hopefully, subject to brake testing, the coach will rejoin the heritage set at Okehampton next week.

The motor unit of Thumper 1132 failed during the English Electric Weekend and was taken up to the workshop for attention by Julian Pope this week. The opportunity has been taken to complete the topcoat painting and the black coating on the under-frame.

Other members were busy making a repair to a passenger door on the Thumper driving unit, building a seat in the cabin of SR brake van LDS55625 and rust and paint chipping on the main frame on the South side.

A trio of happy volunteers under FK S13436 seemingly pleased with a successful day's work. Or were they merely happy that they were dry whilst the photographer was getting a soaking in the rain!
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 20/06/2019



Nigel Green applies top coating to the Thumper whilst Geoff Horner, standing in as painting machine in Alan Harris's absence, paints the under-frame and running gear.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 20/06/2019




Carriage & Wagon June 6th 2019


A fine warm day for working outside. The majority of the C&W team stayed behind at Okehampton station to valet the Thumper 1132 which had been moved down from Meldon this week, under its own power thanks to Julian Pope, ready for the English Electric weekend. The remaining few members worked either in the visitors' area at Meldon making good plasterwork and other jobs, or rust and paint chipping on the SR brake van LDS55625.

A rarely seen view; the vacant space on the North side of the workshop, left by the outshopped Thumper 1132 motor section, with just the SR brake van LDS55625 at the far end. Working conditions on the North side of rolling stock parked here are rather cramped and require additional lighting most of the time.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 06/06/2019



Carriage and Wagon May 23rd


A fine warm day greeted 10 regular volunteers, plus Julian Pope our expert motive power and rolling stock engineer. Pressure to complete the repainting of the Thumper power car in readiness for the English Electric Weekend focused work in that direction. Julian has been working on the power supply in readiness for an engine start, the first in 2 years. Today, he discovered that part of the switch gear appeared to have been vandalised whilst the unit was parked outside. A replacement item was "borrowed" from the other, now semi-derelict Thumper power unit. However, the engine could not be started, despite charging the formidable bank of batteries, due insufficient power stored in time to do the job. Further battery charging and work on the electrics will continue during the next few days. Unfortunately the only means of battery charging is a small portable generator which cannot be left running unattended.

Meanwhile painting the first top coat continued, out of the way, on the North side of the Thumper. A team of three worked on brake van SR LDS55625 making and fitting wood trimmings inside the cabin, refitting handrails, grinding off newly fitted bolts to length and chipping rust and paint on the main frame.

Julian checks that charging current is flowing whilst Terry Bridgeman takes an interest. There be 90 volts and an awesome lot of amps in there!
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 23/05/2019


Replacement DC heavy duty switch being fitted. For the technical minded, the tall black cylindrical item in the centre of the panel is the DC current reversal switch, which in an emergency can be hand operated in order to reverse the train.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 23/05/2019


Back from a holiday in Scotland, John Coxon stands absorbed in the electrical work that is going on. A touch of "Need to Know" perhaps, as before long he hopes to be driving the Thumper!
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 23/05/2019


At the end of day. Julian and Terry discuss working together over the next day or two. The pressure is on.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 23/05/2019


Cutting wood for trimming the interior of the brake van cabin. John Davis with large saw. Note the new brake pipe couplings waiting to be fitted on SR brake van LDS55625.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 23/05/2019


Carriage and Wagon May 16th


Not much activity today with several of the regulars on holiday, but Geoff Horner sent the following showing the current state of the FK S13436.

Nigel Green applying the last of the top coat needed to repair the graffiti damage of late last year whilst Terry Bridgeman replaces the vacuum brake pipe to the west end having previously done the same at the east end. Once the main vacuum cylinder has had its overhaul the FK will be ready to return to service.
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 16/05/2019



Carriage and Wagon May 9th


A fine brisk day greeted the C&W team who welcomed Paul Vodden, normally a SMT member on Saturdays. Work started on applying a first topcoat to the South side of the Thumper power car. The repaired door for the guards compartment is now back in place having required a minimum of "fettling"' once mounted, making a perfect fit. More chipping rust and paint removal on brake van SR LDS55625, together with work on the cabin interior and fitting some intricate weather proofing woodwork to the sides of the cabin continued. Spring cleaning was in the air and various tidying up jobs were carried out, taking up the kind offer by the DR(CIC) to use their freshly delivered skip. We seem to generate a large amount of empty paint tins and wood off-cuts. The latter make useful kindling elsewhere.

Coffee on arrival. A time to allocate work to be done - and perhaps a brief moment, "To speak of shoes and ships and candle wax ..."
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 09/05/2019


(A Proper Job) Ron Kirby and Paul Vodden buff the edges of the new metalwork for a perfect fit.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 09/05/2019


Nigel Green applies the first topcoat to one end of the Thumper.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 09/05/2019


John Coxon picks out window frames whilst applying a first topcoat to the other end of the Thumper.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 09/05/2019


Finishing off a wooden "widget" for the side of brake van SR LDS55625 with the band sander, the latter kindly donated a few months ago.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 09/05/2019


Non-ferrous items being sorted out by Phil Hull ready to take to the scrap yard, as part of our Spring Clean.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 09/05/2019



Carriage and Wagon May 2nd


Fine weather greeted the volunteers at Meldon. Lab 11 had been moved from the station up to Meldon so that David Trant our 'on-call' diesel engineer could sort out the on board generator, which refused to start last weekend. His professional expertise soon had the air in the fuel system cleared. Thank you David!

The remainder of the the C&W team arrived in dribs and drabs, following individual debriefings at the station on the results of the recent Trackside Safety Test, held by Graham Isom. A somewhat depleted team, due to absence on holidays, set to on the various ongoing tasks which included fabricating a cowl to fit the stove pipe on brakevan SR LDS55625, relaying some of the flooring in the cabin due to shrinkage of the new tanalised timber and chipping more rust and old paint from the underframe on the South side. Alan Harris, armed with large tin of black paint started painting the underframe on the South side of Thumper 1132 power car.

The "Chinese Hat" cowl for LDS55625's stove pipe, having been constructed, has the 3 attachment straps drilled and fitted.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 02/05/2019


Chipping rust and old paint is a tedious job at best. Therefore, a splash of red oxide paint, as work progresses, is a morale booster.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 02/05/2019


Alan Harris hard at it with a paintbrush as usual.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 02/05/2019



Carriage and Wagon April 18th


[with our birthday wishes to our regular C&W correspondent David Bell]


A beautiful warm sunny day, of which the C&W volunteers took full advantage by working outdoors where possible. Three members remained at Okehampton station all day to carry out essential repairs to the roof of LMS brake van 731411 which had become partially detached along one side.

The remaining members celebrated your correspondent's 80th birthday with slices of home made cake at Meldon before starting work; little remained by the end of day.

Work on the paintwork on the North side of S13436 (FK) was started, sanding down and finishing off preparing the odd blemish for repainting. Meanwhile painting internal door surfaces continued on the South side of the Thumper 1132. The remaining 5 members busied themselves on brake van LDS55625, working on internal cabin timber cladding, chipping rust etc. off the North side of the frame, painting the running board brackets and then refitting the boards.

A depleted group of C&W volunteers devour birthday cake before starting work. Apologies for the blurred shot, the photographer was laughing! [For the eagle eyed, the decoration depicts an ex LSWR class T9 locomotive. These are fondly remembered as reliable, long lived and much admired workhorses in the Okehampton area until the early 1960's. Mr Drummond made exceedingly good cakes.]
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 18/04/2019


Ron Kirby sanding down the FK S13436 in perfect weather.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 18/04/2019


Having finished undercoating the South side of the Thumper 1132 power car, Nigel Green paints the internal door trims.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 18/04/2019


On the SR brakevan LDS 55625, Phil Hull mounts the new running boards he has fabricated onto the freshly painted brackets. Note the circular plate on the frame which states that the van had an "Interim Repair" in 1973. Only 2 coats of paint appear to have been applied overall since it was built in 1948.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 18/04/2019



Station maintenance April 6th


The SMT has purchased a pole saw for dealing with problem vegetation like the branches which overhang the GUV. The day's main activity was a training session in which we learned how to get the saw stuck up a tree. We eventually got it back down again, after a lot of mucking about with ladders, ropes and a long handled pruning saw. Damage was confined to credibility. Elsewhere there was a bit of seat painting and museum wall plastering, but the team was rather small.

It was nice to watch a sensible train on heritage services after the extravaganza of the previous weekend. It was also good to see Richard Westlake out and about again after his recent health issues.

The station maintenance team's nice new pole saw stuck up a tree.
Photographer: Jon Kelsey
Date taken: 06/04/2019



The team recovering the pole saw.
Photographer: Jon Kelsey
Date taken: 06/04/2019


Carriage and Wagon March 28th


A beautiful warm day greeted the 10 C&W volunteers at Meldon today. Unfortunately Geoff Horner could not be with us as he was in hospital having tests; we wish him well and a speedy recovery. [Geoff is OK and was home by Sunday, we're pleased to announce].

A problem starting the LAB11 generator, after being topped up with the remaining stored fuel, led to the discovery of a significant quantity of water condensate in the fuel system. This was revealed after time consuming tests at various points. After the water was drained from the feed pipes and main fuel tank all was well.

Meanwhile a new partial topcoat was applied in warm sunlight to the South side of FK S13436 which had been vandalised with graffiti late last year. The coach was also given an internal spring clean and one double glazed window removed in order to rid it of serious internal condensation. This was done, as in the past, by converting and resealing it back into the frame as a single glazed unit; a simple cost effective expedient! As part of the Heritage Set FK S13436 will be moved to the station next week in readiness for the start of the summer season's trains.

Work on carriage doors, drop windows and the buffet coach continued whilst a team carried on with resurrecting brake van LDS55625. De-rusting the steel running board brackets on the South side was completed and special primer applied. More woodworking on the Eastern veranda continued, whilst undercoat was applied to all the carriage door trims on the South side of the Thumper 1132 motor unit.

Early signs of Spring at Meldon. A forlorn private owner, non DRSA locomotive. [For the record it's a Hudswell-Clarke type PLA, built in 1952. See the S103 entry on the Stocklist page]
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 28/03/2019


Phil Hull grinds rust off the last of the brackets.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 28/03/2019


Phil admires the partially finished product.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 28/03/2019


Nigel Green rubbing down the undercoat on the internal door trims on Thumper 1132.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 28/03/2019


Patrick Doyle screwing down floor boards in the Eastern veranda of brake van LDS55625.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 28/03/2019


John Davis assisting Patrick, providing him with whatever he needs, including advice!
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 28/03/2019



Carriage and Wagon March 21st


A warm dry day on which a team, led by John Coxon, set out for the Buffet car 69310 in the viaduct visitor's area. A lot of awkward grubbing about underneath was required to get the water and plumbing back in order and either to fix or identify various other unrelated problems discovered during the process; some remaining to be sorted out.

Meanwhile another team worked on the LMS brake van 731411 repairing the veranda safety doors, ready for it to go back into service on the heritage train at the end of the month.

The remainder of the C&W volunteers worked on the brake van LDS55625 chipping and priming external metalwork and stripping old interior paintwork.

[David said there wasn't anything riveting to photograph, which was handy as he'd forgotten his camera].

Carriage and Wagon March 14th


A high, cold wind and driving rain did not deter a full turnout (11) of C&W volunteers. Work started on undercoating the South side of the Thumper power unit 1132 and the replacement internal surface wood work was completed on the guard's compartment door. Meanwhile a team set to, on the SR brake van 55625, removing corrosion on external steelwork on the South side, internal paintwork removal in the cabin area and renewing external cladding on the North side. Our painting machine Alan Harris (wearing ear defenders) yet again found a warm but noisy place of work, this time in the generator compartment aboard LAB 11; sprucing up the interior paintwork.

Nigel Green, John Coxon on stage and Terry Bridgeman in the background apply undercoat/primer to the Thumper 1132 power car.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 14/03/2019


Paint rollers are used for the large flat surfaces, whilst brushes are used to pick out frames and edging.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 14/03/2019


The replacement woodwork on the Thumper guard's compartment door has been completed by Ron Kirby and the locking mechanism refitted. It now remains to be seen if the door fits back in place - before finishing it off!
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 00/00/0000


Your correspondent, Phil Hull and Geoff Horner, armed with scaling hammers, attacking over 70 years of corrosion, paint layers and gunge. One day ....
Photographer: John Coxon
Date taken: 14/03/2019


Geoff Horner, using an electric wire brush, below a stack of off-cuts and the few remaining planks left for refurbishing the brake van. (Other builder's merchants are available).
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 14/03/2019


John Davis scraping off old paint on the Eastern veranda of the brake van.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 14/03/2019


The screech of the flat bed saw continued unabated all day.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 14/03/2019





Carriage and Wagon day out March 6th


Despite heavy rain a group of DRSA C&W volunteers visited the Bodmin & Wenford Railway. We were greeted and shown around work in progress in the engine shed and workshop by various cheerful and enthusiastic volunteer staff; of whom some had a long history of volunteering on other heritage railways. The scale of the work and the facilities available were most impressive; resulting in an enjoyable day out meeting like minded, enthusiastic supporters.

On our departure we were waylaid for a chat amongst the puddles, by Jimmy James (far left), a volunteer and editor of the Bodmin & Wenford Railway Magazine.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 06/03/2019




Carriage and Wagon February 28th


A day of showers confined the C&W team indoors.

Work continued sanding and preparing the North side of the Thumper 1132 power car for painting as well as repairing the wood work of the inner shell and locking mechanism of the guard's compartment door. The seemingly endless woodwork replacement, together with paint, gunge and rust removal, continued on the SR brake van 55625. However, the odd splash of new paint appearing here and there, albeit grey and red oxide primers, are positive signs of progress.

Geoff Horner, feet resting on the stove-pipe, chips away at the heavy corrosion on the running board brackets. It is not as comfortable as it appears! Phil Hull has fashioned and painted the replacement boards. The originals had rotted away almost completely on this side.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 28/02/2019



Ron Kirby at work on the guard's compartment door. Meanwhile Thumper 1132 power car on the right awaits a lick of undercoat.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 28/02/2019



Ron cleaning up the door locking bar, regretting that he forgot to photograph the door before dismantling various parts!
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 28/02/2019



Carriage and Wagon February 21st


A warm, dry day made life easier for the C&W group and some outdoor tasks were accomplished. Firstly, a team tackled the repair of the damaged paintwork on carriage FK S13436 caused by the graffiti and subsequent removal.

Meanwhile, others went across to the Buffet coach area to asses the work and materials required to repair the picnic tables, which sit exposed to the elements all year round. Needless to say the opportunity was taken, for a few moments, to stand and admire the magnificent view of the viaduct and reservoir dam - offered in the bright sunshine. Either a class T9 locomotive from Bude or a Bulleid pacific on the down Atlantic Coast Express trundling across the former would have made "picture perfect". (However, I digress!)

Back in the workshop sanding down the Thumper 1132 power car continued, whilst on brake van 55625 paint stripping using the heat gun was carried out on the veranda area woodwork at the West end and hand rails on the North side. Rust removal and a coat of primer on the East end buffers was completed. Finally, more external timber replacement cladding was fashioned ready to be fitted to the North side.

Carriage and Wagon February 14th


A beautiful day greeted a smaller than usual C&W team at Meldon. LAB11 was so warm inside at 10 a.m. that there was no need to start the generator and switch on the heaters for our initial coffee session. By lunchtime it was even warmer in the saloon and the generator was run down to conserve fuel!

A trio attacked the sanding down task on the North side of the Thumper 1132 driving trailer whilst work continued on the repair of the guard's compartment door. The replacement skin has been fitted, together with the handles, hinges and grab bars; making a vast improvement so far.

Meanwhile Alan Harris basked in the sunshine, perched on a ladder, fitting CCTV security cameras.

Old paint, grime and rust has been removed from the brake van buffers at the East end and a first coat of primer applied.


With three sanders on the go it will soon be time for the primer/undercoat
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 14/02/2019



Alan Harris in the warm sunshine fixing the CCTV camera warning signs.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 14/02/2019



A special zinc primer has been used on the re-installed buffers on brakevan LDS 55625
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 14/02/2019



The zinc primer being applied to the north side guard's ducket on LDS 55625
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 14/02/2019



How many DRSA volunteers does it take to clear sawdust from under a flat bed saw?
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 14/02/2019




Station Maintenance January 19th


SMT today had a minimal presence. In fact only one attendee up until midday. A slightly unfortunate start with a 'warranty claim' from last week. Despite best efforts last weekend the Gents Urinal Cistern contrived to spring a leak in the joint between the bottom of the cistern and the existing pipework. A colleague's valiant attempt during the week with some sealant he had available failed as it turned out to be water soluble! It did however result in an attractive white trail down the wall and puddle on the floor. So first job was to attempt an alternative. A lot of Plumber's Putty plus considerable tightening of the joint later appeared to have the desired leak tight effect. Until next week maybe?

Paul Vodden arrived midday and progress stepped up a gear with work proceeding rapidly on manufacture of the new protection boards for Bridge 609. Interesting discoveries during the work were that the Victorians who manufactured the bridge had a variable approach to their measurements. The space between the stanchion uprights all being slightly different. So a certain amount of extra cutting and fitting was needed and also to clear the rivet heads, the bridge being of riveted construction. However in defiance of Victorian values we will be using smart zinc plated metric sized coach bolts to secure the new boards.

Paul Vodden at work on the new protections boards for bridge 609.
Photographer: Tom Baxter
Date taken: 19/01/2019


This image gives a clear idea of the function of the protection boards.
Photographer: Sue Baxter
Date taken: 19/01/2019



Carriage and Wagon January 17th


A bright cold day greeted a full turnout of the C&W team (11 members). Therefore, with a pool of ingenuity and muscle to hand, we had no excuse for delaying refitting the buffers onto the SR brake van 55625. This task was accomplished within about an hour, without cuts and bruises, leaving your correspondent to remove the rust, grease and old paint on them; then paint them in due course. Meanwhile, painting, woodworking and scraping continued elsewhere on the van both internally and externally.

Work continued on internal painting and sanding down on the Thumper 1132 driving trailer, including repairs to the Guard's compartment door.

Regretfully just after lunch we were advised to cease work and clear our cars from the site as there was a possibility that we would be blocked from leaving. A coach from the visiting rail grinding set was being loaded onto a road trailer and it was feared that the vehicle might become bogged down during the manoeuvring process involved.

The team prepare for the heavy lift. The buffer had to be lifted and rested on built up supports in stages due to the weight and risk of slipping.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 17/01/2019


"Right", said Fred. "With a heave or two ..." - John Coxon and Terry Bridgeman guide the buffer onto the retaining bolts whilst Ron Kirby lifts the supporting ladder.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 17/01/2019


Buffer aligned by John and Terry whilst Phil Hull stands in the background looking intrigued (impressed perhaps?).
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 17/01/2019


Your correspondent tightens up the bolts whilst the others prepare the other buffer for lifting.
Photographer: John Coxon
Date taken: 17/01/2019


Geoff Horner gives Ron Kirby a welcome hand on lifting whilst John Coxon and Terry Bridgeman fit the buffer on.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 17/01/2019


Final tightening of the nuts.
Photographer: John Coxon
Date taken: 17/01/2019


Job done! Geoff Horner muses whilst Terry Bridgeman checks the retaining nuts.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 17/01/2019


Ron Kirby discusses the next step with John Coxon, having cut the replacement outer skin for the the Guard's door to shape with the angle grinder.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 17/01/2019




Station Maintenance January 5th/12th


With David Bell producing weekly, well illustrated C&W volunteer reports, coverage of the Station Maintenance 'action' looks a bit threadbare in comparison. In our defence, the SMT tasks aren't as photogenic as the C&W ones, and I can confirm from bitter experience that not all of them set the pulse racing.

The highlight of last Saturday was the replacement of the urinal cistern in the gents bog. I'm not making this up. In a commendable attempt to save water, someone had put railway ballast in the old one, and it broke. John Coxon and Tom Baxter fitted a new one. Eat your heart out, NRM.

We also moved all the sack trucks, trolleys and planters back into position on the station, from their winter refuge out of reach of the festivities. How many other preserved railways do that every year? John Caesar did some stuff in the museum, John Coxon wallpapered D4167's cab, and the website editor did yet another bodge on the same rotten wooden gate.

The previous week Paul Vodden was the only one to do any work. The timber panelling which augments the railings on bridge 609 was rotten and damaged, a potential hazard. Paul stripped it off and cleaned up the area ready for new replacement. The job would have been easier if DRSA still had a hacksaw.

Paul Vodden preparing to fit new timber to bridge 609. It will reduce the large gap between the bridge girder and the lowest railing.
Photographer: Sue Baxter
Date taken: 05/01/2019



Carriage & Wagon January 10th 2019


A bright cold day to start with. While the sun shone the remains of the graffiti on FK S13436 were removed, whilst a replacement electric heater was mounted, rewired and tested (to the satisfaction of the C&W luncheon club members), in the saloon of LAB11 later. An identical model that it replaced lasted only one year.

Meanwhile work continued on the Thumper 1132 driving trailer sanding down on the South side, applying undercoat on the North side and grey topcoat in the guard's compartment. A plywood under inner skin has been fitted to the detached Guard's door and an outer skin of aluminium fashioned ready for fitting.

Work continued on paint and rust removal on SR brakevan 55625 whilst oxide primer was applied to some of the internal veranda ironwork framing. With the use of planks, C&W ingenuity, brute strength and a portable work bench it is planned to remount the two buffers next week.

With aid of a special thinners Ron Kirby and John Coxon scrub off graffiti in the sunlight - the latter soon disappeared as forecast!
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 10/01/2019


Ron Kirby sanding the plywood skin the guard's door. The aluminium cladding lying nearby having been tried for a good fit.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 10/01/2019


John Davis using a heat gun and scraper on the handrails of the brake van, whilst in the background Nigel Green applies grey undercoat to the thumper.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 10/01/2019


Patrick Doyle basks in the warm glare of floodlights while applying red oxide primer.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 10/01/2019


Patrick Doyle displays a patch of scraped metal on LDS 55625.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 10/01/2019



Carriage & Wagon January 3rd 2019


A fine cold frosty day greeted the C&W team at Meldon. However, a warm Lab11, hot coffee and a round of kindly donated mince pies set the scene first thing on arrival and we were all relieved to see that no further graffiti had appeared on rolling stock over the Christmas break.

Work was concentrated on the Thumper 1132 driving trailer. Alan Harris, the C&W painting machine, spent the day in the warm confines of the guard's compartment dispensing a copious quantity of light grey gloss, whilst others sanded down external panelling along both sides. Initially Ron Kirby continued with the repair of the guard's compartment door and then helped out with woodworking elsewhere.

The remaining members worked on the SR brakevan 55625 preparing and fitting side panelling, priming recently de-corroded metalwork, whilst Phil Hull gave the long running board on the North side a first topcoat before it is refitted; finishing off with a couple of odd jobs here and there.

Nigel Green on the South side of the Thumper working bottom upwards with a sander.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 03/01/2019


A camera-shy John Coxon caught whilst concentrating on sanding down the North side of 1132.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 03/01/2019


Alan Harris painting in the warm comfort provided by the floodlight. His hand moves so fast it's just a blur.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 03/01/2019


Rebating a drip sill for the SR brake van 55625 by hand.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 03/01/2019


More woodworking activity. Not quite sure what Phil Hull was doing!
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 03/01/2019


North side of the brake van with freshly primed running board supports which were originally heavily corroded. John Coxon sanding in the background whilst enveloped in a cloud of dust.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 03/01/2019


Threads on the brake van buffer retaining bolts being cleaned out then oiled.
Photographer: John Coxon
Date taken: 03/01/2019




Carriage & Wagon December 6th 2018



Strong winds and rain met the team at Meldon today. A first task was to try and remove yet more mindless graffiti on both sides of FK S13436 before it dried hard.

Work on the Thumper 1132 motor trailer 60150 continued, sanding the North side and working on the badly corroded door of the Guard's compartment, which has been removed onto a work bench.

Replacement of the cladding to the South side of the SR brake van 55625 was started, whilst more rust chipping and paint removal continued on the underframe on the North side. In addition the steel plates to be used on the spacer for the buffer with the broken spring were cut out.

The heavily corroded outer steel skin being cut away from the Thumper's Guard's compartment door by Ron Kirby
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 06/12/2018



Fitting the rebated drip-sill on the SR brake van
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 06/12/2018



Cutting out steel plates for the spacer on the damaged buffer. Note the insidious graffiti in the background
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 06/12/2018



Trimming off the jagged end of the broken buffer spring so that it sits squarely against the spacer when compressed
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 06/12/2018



The spring with offending broken jagged end removed
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 06/12/2018



"Oh my back!" John Coxon rests after a long awkward session with the angle grinder
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 06/12/2018



Alan Harris squeezes out the last drop of grey topcoat in order to continue painting the interior of the Thumper's guard's compartment
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 06/12/2018





Carriage & Wagon November 1st


Work started immediately on the Thumper 1132 power car. Loose and flaking paint on the roof has been removed and repainting begun. One guard's compartment door is in a sorry state and work has started to see what can be done.

Meanwhile work continued on the SR brake van 55625. The running board on the north side has been renewed completely and received a first coat of paint before re-fitting. The cabin door at the west end is in the process of being repaired and re-hung. More removal of flaking paint was carried out in veranda roof spaces; tiring work using a heavy cumbersome power driven wire brush.

The workshop space heater was overhauled and the fuel injection system cleaned out. A vital periodic task if the machine isn't to become a flame thrower!

The existing power connection between LAB11 and Mk2 FK S13436 is substandard and work to replace the electrical power take-off couplings and cable is in hand. The same applies to the electrical connection on LAB11 used to feed the workshop, which is currently a maximum rating of 13Amps and will be upgraded to 32Amps. This will obviate the need for 2 separate cables to supply the workshop and overhead lighting.

Patrick Doyle watching John Davis removing the hinge pins on the brake-van door
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 01/11/2018



John Davis inside, knocking out door hinge pins
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 01/11/2018



Carefully following the instruction book lying under his knees, Terry Bridgeman services the space heater
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 01/11/2018



John Davis wielding the cumbersome power wire brush
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 01/11/2018



Carriage & Wagon October 25th


Almost 100% C&W turnout on a fine Autumn day at Meldon. We were pleased to find LAB11 shunted 'expertly' into position outside the workshop (by trainee Class 08 driver John Coxon) - and the power car of Thumper 1132 parked inside the workshop, ready for its overwinter refresh. The LAB11 generator was started immediately with the intention of warming it up, prior to a long overdue oil and filter change later in the day, which was completed without any problems. Being a fine day, we were able to complete a few unfinished external painting jobs on the Thumper driving unit.

Internal woodwork replacement on the SR brakevan 55625 continued and the headstock is ready to have the buffers re-fitted next week; subject to available muscle power! Meanwhile a start was made on removing the old damper on one of the suspension springs. This is proving difficult as it was discovered that the locking nut on all eight dampers had been locked to the thread on the spindle with a small weld.

Allan Harris putting some finishing paint touches to the driving car of Thumper 1132
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 25/10/2018



The headstock of the SR brakevan ready for the buffers to be fitted. More rusted-in bolts being drilled out in the background.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 25/10/2018



John Coxon, Terry Bridgeman (belated welcome to DRSA/C&W Terry!) and Geoff Horner in earnest discussion regarding the best way to remove welded lock-nuts.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 25/10/2018



A lighter moment as John Coxon hides from the camera - much to the amusement of Terry.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 25/10/2018



Thumper movements at Meldon, October 19th


The pre-Christmas shunt took place on October 19th, and the two Thumper 1132 carriages were swapped out and in to the shed. Geoff Horner took some photos of the action to bring members up to date on progress on the Thumper.

The freshly painted Thumper 1132 driving trailer emerging from the workshop.
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 19/10/2018



The newly painted Thumper 1132 driving trailer in the sunshine in the Meldon yard.
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 19/10/2018



The three Thumper cars: left to right, the un-worked on power car, the unused centre car and the newly repainted driving trailer. 3 shades of green!
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 19/10/2018



The power car going in to the shed to become the next C&W project. The lighter green patches were applied to hide a recent graffiti attack.
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 19/10/2018



The Thumper power car in the Meldon shed.
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 19/10/2018



Carriage and Wagon October 18th


A fine cold day, but a chilly wind greeted the C&W workers today. As the summer shuttle service has finished we were told that the DRSA owned Heritage stock would be moved up to winter quarters at Meldon this week and, in addition, that the power car of Thumper 1132 would be brought up for an overwinter refurbish; work on the driving unit being complete apart from a few odd jobs. Morale rose with the prospect of a warm mess room in the form of LAB11 and the powerful on-board generator to run the workshop lighting and more power tools at the same time. Work continued all day on the SR brakevan 55625, with a minor diversion of labour to repair the roll-up door damaged by last week's high winds.

Jon Coxon and Ron Kirby attempt to release the screw coupling between the Thumper and brake van with the aid of copious squirts of WD40. Meanwhile Alan Harris applies a few colourful touches of paint to the braking system.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 18/10/2018



Alan Harris takes a break from painting and 'supervises' John Coxon tidying up a Thumper compartment.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 18/10/2018



C&W versus the elements. Ron Kirby fixing the door with even larger screws! Geoff Horner holding ladder whilst supervising.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 18/10/2018



Carriage and Wagon October 11th


A team of 10 C&W volunteers braved Autumnal rain and wind today. Work on rubbing down the first topcoat on the Thumper and applying the second coat continued apace and it is satisfying to see it looking very smart once again. The remainder of the team worked both on the inside and outside of the SR brake van. The stack of timber planks shown earlier has now diminished considerably. Thanks to the kind donation, by DRSA Committee member Tony Hill of a 1.25 inch thick plank of finest Devonshire oak, the two plates for the buffer beam have been fashioned for a perfect fit. Working on oak made a satisfying and pleasant change from pine.

Grinding out yet another 70 year old rusted-in bolt on the brake van. Ron Kirby rubbing down the first topcoat on the Thumper whilst, in the far background, Nigel Green prepares a paint roller for the final topcoat. (The chair in the picture was replaced, shortly after the photo was taken, with a pair of newly purchased steps).
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 11/10/2018



Your correspondent proudly displays one of the pair of oak plates now fitted on the brake van headstock. Protective steel plates will be fitted next, to avoid damage by action of the compressed springs, before the buffers are replaced. One of these prepared plates can be seen on an upturned buffer below the headstock.
Photographer: John Coxon
Date taken: 11/10/2018


Station maintenance September 22nd


David Bell also reported from Okehampton this week:

Three intrepid members turned up. Despite strong cold winds and constant rain, the walkway onto platform 1 was cleared of luxurious weed growth by Paul Vodden who, having got a good soaking, finished the job and went home cold and wet a little early. Meanwhile, several jobs were undertaken in the CCT. The two pictures below show:

- The immaculate high gloss white paint finish given to the interior of the CCT 94691, by Geoff Brookes our usually solar-powered painting machine. With a bit of imagination it conjures up an image of the interior of a military ambulance train "operating theatre"!

- The photographer stood outside, in wind and heavy Dartmoor rain, for H&S reasons, whilst an angle grinding session took place. One regular C&W Thursday member has taken a shine to working in the CCT and is depicted in the process of making a sheet steel, hand ash removal shovel for the brake van stove; the latter being a vital survival facility for the guard on days like today. The shovel was handed over to the guard in time for the last trip of the day to Meldon.

The freshly painted interior of the CCT, 94691.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 22/09/2018



A stage in the manufacture of an ash removal shovel for the brake van stove.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 22/09/2018



Carriage and Wagon September 20th


A mini C&W team of 5 today, the low number not being due to a reluctance to turn out in gale force winds and heavy rain. Painting the first topcoat on the Thumper continued whilst the main effort centred on replacing woodwork on the SR brake van LDS 55625, both internal and external. Chipping rust on the buffer-less head stock was finished and a coat of red oxide paint has smartened things up. Surface cleaning and examination of the brake piping at one end has been carried out and all seems well, although a new coupling hose will be required.

A buffer, condition as removed. The buffer is resting on its head and as a result has pushed the spring, partially revealing it.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 20/09/2018



Scraping off accumulated dirt, old grease and rust from the brake piping at one end of the SR brake van. Not for the squeamish! Once the buffers are refitted the next "heavy lift" task will be to replace the 8 perished rubber sandwiched dampers attached to the springs; one of which can be seen.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 20/09/2018


Carriage and Wagon August 23rd


A small team again today but a lot accomplished. The first task attempted was to remove the 2nd buffer on the SR brake van after successful removal of the first last week. Three nuts came off easily, the 4th took some ingenuity and a little physical exertion, perforce a requisite of the C&W team. When the buffer came off there was some dismay as the internal heavy coiled spring had been broken in the past and had caused some damage to the internal guide tube; perhaps the result of the perceived historical heavy shunt mentioned previously. However, undeterred, work continued chipping away the corrosion on the head-stock to prepare it for a coating of anti-rust paint next week. Hopefully, we can either weld the spring (unlikely perhaps) or source a replacement.

Work continued on the external planking on the SR brakevan 55625, both on one side and on the cabin door area, whilst the roof of Thumper 1132 received more paint and filling-in and rust removal continued on the cab front.

After work ceased a refurbished drop window grip bar (removed from scrap rolling stock) was taken across to the station and fitted to the Mk2a FK S13146 carriage, after several attempts at repairing the original item in the past failed.

Patrick Doyle and John Davis marking out the cut for the last replacement plank on the side of the brake van. Ron Kirby in the background painting the Thumper's roof.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 23/08/2018



Head-stock showing corrosion after removal of 2nd buffer
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 23/08/2018



And with a heave by Ron Kirby .... The slight droop of the buffer head pictured should have provided a clue that something was amiss with the spring.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 23/08/2018



More teamwork.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 23/08/2018





Carriage and Wagon August 9th


Yet another fine warm day with an even smaller team than last week. Two members stayed at the station initially in order to repair a drop down carriage window. This entailed warning the trolley PW maintenance team, who had gone in the Up direction, that a line-side carriage door may be opened and ladder placed near the track to do the work. The brake van was raided to provide a good old fashioned red flag, as no charged battery lamp could be found to place on the track as an advanced warning. In the event it was not needed as the repair was carried out with door shut. A long trek down the line to recover said red flag concluded the episode.

Meanwhile back at Meldon it was discovered that an attempt had been made to force the entrance door lock. Ron Kirby dismantled the damaged mechanism and made a good job of fashioning a very professional looking protective metal plate, pop riveted to the steel door. Ron is now the expert C&W locksmith!

Other work on producing planking for the SR brake van and chipping rust continued, whilst work started on preparing the Thumper 1132 power car front end for priming and undercoating. Undercoating on both sides of the Thumper is complete and work stated on painting the internal faces of all the doors.

Other odd jobs, which included sorting out a recent kind donation of various useful hand tools and mounting an electric grinding machine onto a workbench - no more blunt chisels and screwdrivers.

John Coxon preparing the Thumper 1132 front end for a face lift
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 09/08/2018



More tricky rebating with the indispensable flat bed saw. Note fingers carefully positioned out of harm's way
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 09/08/2018



Carriage and Wagon August 2nd


Another very welcome submission from David Bell:

A beautiful warm day with a reduced C&W team due to holidays etc. Work was concentrated on Thumper 1132 and the SR brake van LDS 55625.

Staging has been erected in readiness for painting compartment door trims and linings on the Thumper, prior to applying the top coat to the body sides. This involves more time spent fixing masking tape than it takes to actually apply the paint! Work continued painting the underframe and replacing a footboard. The shock absorbers have been carefully painted a contrasting blue - a nice touch amidst so much black gloss! A "Proper Job" by Alan Harris.

Meanwhile 5 members were busied both around and inside the brake van fitting more replacement woodwork and removing corrosion from the headstock and buffers at one end. The latter work revealed heavy rot in the 1" oak plate between each of the buffers and main frame which will require removing both buffers. With much relief it was found that the four hefty buffer retaining bolts turned quite easily after a 70 year sleep. Hopefully, pictures of our first, likely successful, buffer-removal epic will appear at a later date!

Ron Kirby trying a board for size on LDS 55625
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 02/08/2018



John Davis fitting prepared boarding to to the cabin door area
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 02/08/2018



A tricky bit of rebating for a bottom sill to the brake van side, using the flat-bed saw. The ever present John Coxon is in the background erecting the staging in readiness for the door painting phase.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 02/08/2018



Geoff Horner preparing replacement woodwork for the Thumper 1132
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 02/08/2018



The brake-van headstock during rust and paint removal. The rotten oak plate can be seen and the cold-chisel wedged in the resultant gap. From examination of the heavy steel plates in the area it would seem that the brake van has suffered from a heavy shunt at sometime during its previous (BR) existence. One hopes that the guard wasn't aboard at the time! (Just a muse by your correspondent whilst chipping away at the rust)
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 02/08/2018



Alan Harris signifying end of work! (Every C&W picture tells a story)
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 02/08/2018




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



Image '1137' not found

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