No sooner was the magazine at the printers than I decided to repaint the Henley Building. The guttering installed by Bob Brown and myself was newly painted so the rest of the building looked rather shabby. It is in full view of passengers on the concourse, so I did a quick repaint, rubbing down and priming any flaking areas first. The end result is quite pleasing. And thanks also to Dave the Caretaker for his assistance with his paintbrush! This job was done in record time. It was good to cross another outstanding job off the list. The next job was the flashing on the joint between the lean-to and the main part of the storage shed. With winter on its way Bob pointed out that the job really was high priority, so we immediately tackled that too. Another job off the list. We also fitted a metal strip to the lintel above the double doors to stop the rain from blowing in.
Meanwhile Bob Leonard carried on with the Gents toilet windows and has them almost completed as well, and so the list continues to reduce. There is still plenty to do though!
Bob Leonard has agreed to make new signs "No 1 PLATFORM No 2" and vice versa to mount on one of the lamp standards part way down the platform. This will replace the rather tired sign boards that were fitted many years ago. The new arrangement will hopefully look more balanced, but it not based on a prototype because we just can't find one. All large platforms like ours invariably had an awning to protect the passengers and to hang signs from, so it was not necessary to bracket them off lamp standards. At the time of writing Bob has assembled all the necessary letters and Bob Brown and I have cut and welded up a suitable bracket which we installed after Christmas.
Also, Mark has agreed to connect the supply to the lighting in the GWR clock in the concourse, mentioned in the last Newsletter. At the same time it is hoped to put in a supply for the pulse signal which will operate this clock as well as the intended big clock overlooking the platforms (for which we reclaimed the brackets from the old platform sign mentioned above). Oh, it all gets rather complicated.
Looming large is the matter of some gates. A set of iron gates will eventually close off the entrance to the museum area at appropriate times. Two cast iron replica posts were ordered and arrived, but were considered substandard and are to be returned for replacement. Once satisfactory posts are to hand it is hoped to re-erect the gates used here in the past, but taken down when the canopy was built. These gates were built by station staff many years ago.
A second (and smaller) set of gates are available for the entrance to the new restaurant car platform, adjacent. Unfortunately they are not a matched pair so one will perhaps need a little modification.
It is hoped that when the platform is finished four gas light standards with proper gas tops can be installed. Two standards are at our disposal ready and waiting together with one top. This is a job for later on and we are not really thinking that far ahead.
In the storage shed we are progressing on three fronts. The Scammell and the Thornycroft are both advancing slowly. (They are a fill-in job when it is too wet, cold or other suitable reason for not carrying on with projects on the station itself.)
Our other job, restoring the pump trolley for display at Highley is moving forward well. All mechanical repairs are complete including replacement of metric bolts and stay bars with proper imperial ones. It is a museum piece after all! The colour scheme is a suitably sombre GWR "Factory Brown" rather than being picked out all the colours of the Great Western rainbow as when previously restored.
The Pump Trolley is our second project for "down the line". Our first, the new-build G.W.R replica Pagoda waiting shelter for Northwood Halt, has won joint First Prize in the GNER Volunteers Award, (together with the ex-Merton Park S.R footbridge on the Swanage Railway). How about that... and it was only an old tin shed! Well done, everyone concerned!
Well done the Signal and Telegraph Department too. Their superb resurrection of the beautiful wooden G.W.R bracket signal on the approach to Bewdley won them an award as well. This is what railway preservation is all about. It would have been all too easy and cheaper to replace this very old and unique signal (which was rotten) with a modern metal post. The tree it had been made from must have been enormous! Many thanks to John Phillips of the S&T for picking up our award for us – nobody told us we had won!! Hopefully the cheque will find its way to us!
Mick Yarker. February 2008