Wind and rain did their combined best to thwart our efforts over the weekend, but the show must go on as they say.
Saturday morning saw the earthworks completed for the new steps at the north end of the platform. The mini- digger was used to load a couple of wheel barrows, thus saving us the effort of shovelling. The barrows were then pushed across the track using a temporary crossing before the spoil was tipped to form a ramp. Sleeper steps will be erected on the October work weekend.
Four rails were dragged up from down by the caravan using Tony’s crawler tractor. Temporary track was laid up to the LMS wagon at the top of the drive (our erstwhile “gate guardian”), before the wagon was pulled into the compound opposite the coaches. We emptied out most of the contents, consisting of rubbish, old wood and scrap metal, and had a good bonfire using the combustible stuff. The wagon was getting into a very sorry state, and now that its in the compound area and stood on firm ground, we can start to assess what needs doing. It moved surprisingly freely, considering it hasn’t budged from its little isolated panel of track for around eight years.
Davy and Rod undertook some welding repairs to the nose section of the Fowler. Regular work parties on the loco continue outside of the main monthly weekends, and the “plumbing- in” of the power unit is now sufficiently well advanced that a start- up is just around the corner. The sump has been filled with new engine oil.
Ian Crooks and Alan Maule persevere with filling and surface preparation on the east side of the Mk 1 buffet coach. The vagaries of the upland Scottish weather make this one of the most frustrating jobs up at Whitrope, as no sooner are electric sanders etc. brought out and set up, than the rain starts and the whole lot has to be put away again rather sharpish!
Once again, thanks to all our volunteers for their efforts over the weekend. The priorities up to the year end will continue to be the restoration of the Fowler to working order plus the provision of safe access routes from the compound to the platform. The latter requires further blockwork wall construction to complete the platform ramp (utilising the foundations we poured back in May). The likely cost will be around the £300 mark, and we welcome any donations towards completing this essential piece of work.