A feature of the Great Western that was unique to that company was the style of its platform barrows. There were several types. The sack truck was the least unusual design and could be mistaken for other company's trucks, but the 4 wheel platform trolley was a unique design. Measuring 3ft 6in x 4ft 6in they weighed so much that in the event of an accident, such as coming off the edge of a barrow crossing at the platform end, it would take a great deal of effort to heave back. Why they were such a heavy design beats me. They were used on the platform where no cranes or hoists were available to load or unload them, so presumably the heaviest load carried would be one which could be manhandled on. Yet I'm sure these trolleys could easily carry a ton!
There are five platform trolleys at Kidderminster, the only one restored so far being of an older design with larger wheels.
We also have a ludicrously large sack truck formerly at Worcester Shrub Hill which has been restored, together with several normal sized ones in various states of repair.
The person responsible for initial restoration work was Dave Redfern, and he was part way through sorting several barrows when they were evicted into the open and work stopped. Now that the Storage Shed is ready we have brought several examples inside with a view to completing the best of the bunch, some having now deteriorated a bit too far out in the rain. The first and easiest is a strange single wheel barrow in a similar layout to a wheelbarrow. It is of wood construction with a few wrought iron ties and stay bars and an iron tyre to its single wooden wheel. Some new hardwood pieces had been made by Dave so it was easy to bring this one back to life. A colour slide of such a barrow still in GWR livery was taken many years ago but it has gone missing so the final lettering will have to be done from memory. Not satisfactory, but the best we can do.
Also waiting completion is an actual wheelbarrow, again made of wood with some wrought iron bits. This has at some time been modified and it may not be possible to ascertain its proper shape. We shall see.
Finally we have a fantastic hand cart with wheels like a "Penny Farthing" bicycle (Ordinary Bicycle for the benefit of the purists). It needs new solid rubber tyres. A bit of a challenge, but we think they are still available!
Mick Yarker. June 2007
With the focus of our attention being on completing the extension to the storage shed, the lorry has been somewhat on the preverbal back burner for the last few months. Nothing new has yet been added to the vehicle but a few parts have been restored and are now ready to be re-fitted. The hand brake lever, bracket and mechanism has been restored and looks as good as new, however the linkage rods need replacing when a suitable stockist can be found. Offering up this component it became apparent that it will require some adjustments to the driver's side floor plate to allow the lever to move properly. The underside connecting linkages have also been prepared for fitting and can be done so shortly.
The front axle is still the bane of this project. Due to the wear in the front cross beam we have had to machine oversized steering pins to compensate. This has now been done by Mick and the corresponding steering components have been re-machined to suit. Hopefully the new components will be fitted this month, however I am expecting some final adjustments in order for everything to marry up.
The original brake components were taken to a specialist in Exeter to be overhauled. These have been returned now with new seals and stainless steel liners. By the next issue I hope it is possible to report that all of the front end running gear is back together and is as good as new.
The front nose woodwork has gone as far as it can for the moment, a template has been made ready to make the final item out of oak. However the chrome radiator grille which sits on the nose has been bent out of shape in more than one direction, so this will have to be repaired by a professional panel beater before we can continue. It will have to wait until funds can be raised.
Steve Millington. June 2007