In the last magazine I complained about a poor summer. I cannot remember one so bad. So far it has been followed by a bitterly cold winter. The end result is that our little band has been driven inside quite a bit and jobs such as the gas lighting on the restaurant car platform have at times become quite unpleasant. We have gates and brand new posts to go in at the entrance to the platform which have not progressed and the platform itself hasn't been totally filled with hardcore or had its paving and edging installed so progress has been a little bit disappointing. But it must be remembered that we are a small band and working only one or at best two days a week any setbacks will slow down progress.
We are hoping for some decent weather in 2009 so that we can get back on track with our long list of jobs to be done.
I am very pleased to see that the railway has installed galvanised fencing and gates to separate the storage area at the far end of the car park from the public area. This potentially adds more than 50% to the car park and, importantly, keeps members of the public segregated from all the bits and pieces with which they could easily have an accident. I hope that the freshly cleared area will be surfaced with hard core like the rest of the car park because it resembles the Somme after a few wet days, and is little use for parking.
It is so very important to present a neat and tidy station to our visitors, especially where they arrive. We will not get a second chance at a good first impression.
STOP PRESS. The Friends committee would like to put on record their thanks for further generous donation from the Coalyard Miniature Railway towards the gas lighting project. Fantastic!
Work has begun on three gas lamps and posts on the new Restaurant Car bay platform. The first job was to install the posts, two originals and one replica (which is an excellent copy). The posts were painted light and dark stone in the usual design and the 'half harp' swan-neck brackets fitted to them so that the pipework could be installed working back from the top of the lamp. The pipes dropping down inside the posts were connected to pipes laid below platform level and through holes drilled into the platform face. These pipes are then connected together along the front of the platform face. All this pipework is made from ½" galvanised steel. The pipe that runs underground is further protected by wrapping with Denso Tape, which is a greasy sticky sacking type material and leaves a nasty mess on your hands which is very hard to wash off–that shows that it ought to work well!
We are indebted to the Museum lads who kindly donated some of the gas pipe we need, which had been surplus to their requirements. This saved quite a few pounds, so is much appreciated. We have been using their excellent refreshment facilities for tea and cakes to show our gratitude.
The Friends already have one lamp top from Sugg Lighting which is converted to top mounting for attachment to the half harp. We have since discovered another source of lamps, manufactured by Metro Heritage. They are more accurate copies of the original G.W.R lamps, and have the advantage of being cheaper! We have ordered our other two lamps from them, and await their delivery with a degree of excitement.
The last piece of the jigsaw is a cast iron adaptor piece which fits on top of the harp and needs a pattern making. Brian Oldford, the well-known Bridgnorth pattern maker has the job underway for us. Thanks, Brian.
Mick Yarker. February 2009