Work In Progess archive page 2 (Dec 2018 - Sept 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 fairylights 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