While we have been working almost flat out on the kiosk the lorries have been on the back burner to some extent. Jane and I drove up to Cumbria to pick up a spare wheel and tyre for the front wheel of the Mechanical Horse tractor unit. They are as rare as rocking horse droppings, so we were especially lucky to find an exceptionally good tyre, together with a useable tyre with a new inner tube on a rusty old rim. Back at the storage shed I managed to separate the useable tyre from its rim with a number of hardwood wedges. This took about an hour as the tyre was really well rusted onto the rim. I was then able to remove the good inner tube and put that and the good tyre and protector sleeve onto a good wheel, which I scraped down, wire brushed and painted in readiness. This gave a front wheel and tyre assembly second-to-none and this has now been fitted to the unit. The end result is that we do not have to feel severe trepidation when we move the tractor unit any longer. The original tyre was well rotten and likely to give up the ghost at any moment, so we had to stand the front end on a jack unless it was being moved.
The only irony is that the unit has been completely boxed in by junk in the compound so we have not been able to get it out for the Mechanical Horse Club AGM which took place at Kidderminster Railway Museum, nor the forthcoming 40's weekends. A real shame.
However work is progressing slowly on the 'Dyak G' Scammell flat-bed trailer. It is now ready for its final coat of paint and lettering out. Since the last Newsletter we have taken off the left hand wheel and painted it and its hub. Slack has been taken out of the right hand wheel bearing and the brakes made to work. We need to get a new brake cable made, though, as the original has rusted almost to its breaking point. The final details that remain are completing the four hinges for the tailboard and fitting it, and refitting the mudguards. This totals only a few days work so maybe we will have it finished by the time the next Newsletter comes out, provided we can fit it into the work schedule for the station.
Just as an aside, Scammell had the habit of marking even the smallest and simplest parts with their part number. Some components, made in batches, also had a date, and I notice that the date on the jockey wheels on the undercarriage suggests that they are four days older than me!
The pressure of work has unfortunately resulted in no further progress on the Thornycroft lorry, but we do regard the lorries as something of a fill-in job and are anxious to use any odd moments to finish the Scammell and its trailer as the greater priority.
As usual we have been progressing with a few small projects alongside our present main project, the Kiosk. Several people suggested we fit a sign on the ex-Bridgnorth Bus Garage to show what it is. The compound will be dominated by other corrugated iron sheds (as well as our own storage shed) but this one is of historic note and so we made a sign from some vee-board edging off-cuts left in stock, a piece of 3/4" marine ply and some original 4" G.W.R cast iron letters. Needless to say we didn't have all the letters needed in stock, so had to cut out some from a piece of 5/16" steel plate to make good the shortfall.
The result seems pleasing enough, but strictly speaking the Great Western would have used the term 'Road Motor Car Depôt' but today this would suggest a car rather than a bus which would be misleading.
Another small project was to repair an original G.W.R leg vice and mount it on some sleepers embedded in the ground. This project was suggested by Nigel Hanson who provided the vice and cut the sleepers ready for us to install. The vice had its handle rusted firmly into its screw which required much heat to free it, the fixing holes had been opened up to about 1" and with an oxy-acetylene torch and had to have bushes welded in to restore their original size, lastly a missing jaw needed replacing. A bracket to support the leg was fabricated but this is at ground level and does not appear in the photo! These small jobs were done and with a coat of black paint the vice looks at home in its new position outside the corrugated iron hut by the Carriage Storage Shed.
You can see it from the train window as you pass, but don't blink or you may miss it.
One job you will be sure to miss is the racking we have made for the grounded G.W.R van body. A large quantity of racking was obtained for use in the diesel storage shed from my old firm, Nu-way. I managed to scrounge back a bit that was left over and cut and welded the shelf supports to fit inside the van body. The uprights had to be cut down too, as the van roof is fairly low. The result is greatly increased storage capacity in the van body which previously only had floor area for storage.