Full advantage is being taken of the ongoing dry spell to paint the east side of the Mark 1 buffet coach. The smart “crimson lake” is a huge improvement over the peeling South West Trains livery this coach used to wear, and presents a much more attractive image to our visitors. Spring cleaning, coach washing and general sprucing-up continues elsewhere in readiness for the start of the new season at Easter. Off site, preparation of a new display for the Mark 2 is underway, using fresh material from the Association’s extensive archive. Our thanks go to Ian Crooks, Tom Stoddart, Peter Benson and Alan Maule: the “Heritage Centre Team”.
The power unit has been removed from the Fowler once again, and moved to workshop premises in Galashiels to permit replacement of the cracked cylinder liner. Further use was made of the HIAB fitted lorry while it was on site to lift off the demountable fuel tank: this will permit surface preparation and painting in those difficult to reach nooks and crannies within the engine bay. Thanks go to Iain Mac, Duncan, Davy and Mike from Cumbria Lift N Shift for all their efforts on a rathering sweltering Tuesday!
The weather at Whitrope never fails to confuse and confound. In our opinion, the weekend of 24th/ 25th was second only to the July 2008 track weekend in terms of clear blue skies, blazing sun, heat and sun- burn. AND ITS STILL MARCH!!! Needless to say nobody had packed the factor 20…..
Saturday saw the G44 sleepered track extended by another half panel right up to the very end of the Golden Bridge. A gap of a panel and a half now seperates the track north and south of the bridge, which requires a full structural engineering survey carrying out before we can proceed across it. We also topped up the cess ballast shoulder immediately south of bridge 199 with a few tonnes of stone off the stockpile: thanks also to Dave Smith who started the job all by himself last weekend!
Sunday saw us concentrate on the four new panels being built on the old Up line formation north of the level crossing. All the rails were fishplated up, the panels were roughly aligned across the six foot and a good start was made in fixing down the rail to the sleepers using a mix of PAN11 and Mills baseplates. A pair of switches has also been sourced for the point which will eventually go in at the tunnel end of the run round, and these will be moved to site later in the year.
Last but not least, the HIAB lorry was also used to move some rails in readiness for laying in the bay platform, as well as shifting the coper slabs into the compound area opposite the platform itself.