It is very pleasing to report that this is Issue Number 50 of the Friends Newsletter! We have many members who have been with us from the start. It is very gratifying to have such loyal support - presumably what we are doing is just about right. We hope so, but if you have any ideas or criticisms do let us know, we would like to think ours is a democratic organisation!
At this point it is very tempting to look back at what we have achieved over the years, but I have decided not to do that. Most of you will be aware of what we have been doing and it is best not to go over old ground.
The winter got off to a really bad start. The cold weather began at the end of November and carried on being icy right through Christmas. I cannot ever remember six inches of snow on the ground on Christmas Day before! The end result has been that we have been driven inside to work, but even there without any heating one soon becomes very cold, especially when handling cold metal and tools. This has resulted in our team spending longer in the cosy environment of the museum tea room and going home early - both with an adverse effect on productivity.
However, I have at last wired in and set up my little Boxford lathe and have made a few bits and pieces at home. At least my garage seems to maintain a temperature halfway between my living room and the outside.
The first job was a number of long studs and U bolts for the Thornycroft Nippy, to hold the timbers of the back together and onto the chassis. They have imperial (BSF) threads and have to be specially made. Next job was a batch of 3/4" BSW nuts. We could have bought these, of course, but that would cost silly money. Imperial fastenings have now become annoyingly expensive and difficult to obtain as the march of metrication gathers pace. The nuts are to go onto the roof ties that will hold the ex-Bridgnorth Bus Garage together. For simplicity and cheapness we have evolved a policy of using metric fastenings on a replica item and imperial for a restored item. This may seem unnecessarily complicated and lead to stocking twice as many fasteners, but sometimes it is virtually impossible to find imperial fastenings. We need two hundred 5/16" coach bolts for the lorry drop sides, for example, and they seem to be totally unobtainable. A first thought was to buy longer 8mm ones and saw the tread off, then die cut a 5/16" BSW thread. However, modern coach bolts have rolled-on threads and the shank is undersize to accommodate this. So the lucky coincidence that 8mm is almost exactly 5/16" is lost as we can only cut threads and cannot roll them. We have not solved this one yet!
Back at the station we have installed a picture rail in the ladies. This improves the look considerably because the ceiling is so high. The station staff are to repaint the toilets completely while the railway is closed this winter.
Mick Yarker. February 2011
Bridgnorth Bus Garage
There has been a certain amount of progress since the last magazine. We decided to sacrifice the side rails which are from 2 1/2" angle iron and use the material to rebuild the doors. The frames of the doors are made from the same material, which is now unobtainable, so this was an obvious move. Replacement side rails will be from 70mm angle which is slightly bigger but is out of sight inside the building. The doors are an imposing 13ft high and 4ft wide (each) and dominate the end of the building, and the angle iron framework is outside and readily visible.
The framework for the first door has been repaired as have the main steel uprights of the building itself. The steel has also been de-rusted and painted and is now finished in light stone - its original colour. There is an impressive amount! Work continues on this outside job weather permitting. We are lucky that the original section steel is still available for the uprights, as one original has gone walk-about and another was sacrificed to repair the rotten bottoms of the remaining uprights.
We have also had a bit of good news. As I mentioned in the last newsletter the submission for planning approval for the Diesel storage sheds unfortunately omitted our building. This has now been added to the development and the S.V.R Civil Engineers, David Symonds Associates, are putting in for planning permission for us also. Assuming this goes though, we will be ready to start erecting the building. As circumstances have dictated there is not enough room to place the bus garage alongside out storage shed as originally hoped, but the new proposal is to site it rotated through 90 degrees close up to the fence to the left of the compound access gates. (The north east corner). As this turns out, it is a far better position. It will be in public view and will obscure a certain amount of unsightly stored materials, the rear window will be well away from stone throwers on the public footpath and we will not need to hire an expensive crane to move one of the containers that obstructed our original suggested site. This means that the costs will be confined to some replacement steelwork, cladding and the concrete base, in other words, only the building itself. We are still not spending any significant amounts of money on the building until we have planning approval, but hope to be able to put the building up quickly once we get the go-ahead. It is destined to be the garage for the Mechanical Horse and trailer and the trailer really does need to come inside sooner rather than later.