Good news! We welcome a new member to our team of volunteers, Andy Chalmers. This should help speed things up!
We have now begun a number of new small projects and completed a few jobs which have been waiting in the wings. Firstly, we had agreed with Geoff, the Station Master, and Paddy Goss of the 813 Fund to install a gateway in the length of speartop fencing between the bike shed and the pagoda on the bay platform.
The gateway will give access from the bay platform to the 813 Fund storage facility which is to be a restored grounded G.W.R wagon body of nineteenth century vintage, situated between the speartop fencing and the S.V.R boundary fence with the British Railways car park.
As an incentive to do the job properly ( not to merely take out a fence panel to create a gap) we agreed to make or obtain a suitable speartop gate and fit it to a pair of cast iron gate posts and install these in the fence directly in front of the doors of the van body. To this end Paddy has ordered the gate posts from Steelway Rail and we have scrounged a very crumpled gate from Dave Postle of the Kidderminster Railway Museum Coalyard Miniature Railway folks have also made a generous financial contribution to the project and our grateful thanks go to the above who have made the project a viable proposition. For our part, the first job was to dismantle and straighten all the component parts of the gate (which appeared to have been run over by a JCB or similar) and extend the gate to its original length. It had apparently been shortened in B.R days judging by evidence in the paint. The gate is now painted and awaits installation when the posts arrive.
Next, we built the steelwork for the mezzanine floor in the Bus Garage. So as not to alter the structure of this 'heritage' building and to avoid loading the framework of the garage we decided that the mezzanine floor should be completely free-standing.
The steelwork is of heavy channel and angle steel section, topped with a floor of decking timber. The timber was kindly paid for by the S.V.R and the steel was second hand material which we had in stock. The steelwork was initially assembled outside, and re-erected in the building once all necessary welding and drilling was complete. The floor measures 10ft by 10ft and will give ample space for the storage of the folding chairs to be purchased by the Severn Valley for special events such as 40's weekend. There is ample space under the mezzanine floor for the Scammell Trailer to be backed in, and it now is - the first time under cover for 40 years!
Beside a number of small maintenance jobs on the station we have also erected an electric G.W.R lamp standard alongside the small black G.W.R corrugated iron building down the yard by the Carriage Shed.
This project was as a result of an idea had by Nigel Hanson. He acquired a municipal cast iron lamp post for this purpose, but I suggested using a Great Western post we already had in stock, fitting an electric swan neck top with an enamel shade. It was G.W.R practice to cut off the top few inches of a No. 2 gas lamp post so that an electric fitting could be installed, and this cut-off type post was already in our possession. We made up the electric fitting from parts in stock and a length of pipe bent to the correct shape.
The end result seemed to impress Nigel, who sent a text to say so! It's good to be appreciated.
Another lamp top has been made for 'down the yard'. It is from a massive octagonal Sugg gas lamp formerly on the concourse. It had been buffeted by the wind so that all the joints had broken. We had to dismantle the lamp and clean up and re-solder all the joints.
The gas fitting was removed and an electric unit made and fitted. It has five small round bulbs fitted into holders in a 'manifold' and made to look as much like the original gas fitting as possible. (The lamps along the footpath from the car park have 3 bulb versions of this unit).
It is intended to fit this lamp next to the turntable to give safe access to the area at night. We are providing the Great Western yard lamp post to go with the top but are not installing it ourselves, so have no idea when this project will be completed.
Some while ago a G.W.R two wheel station barrow was acquired which we subsequently rescued when the Road Motor Depot was demolished. It was unusual in that it had ended up in the Signal and Telegraph workshop at Worcester and was painted a blue-grey and appeared to be sign written 'BR(W) Works S & T Eng Dept Worcester.The barrow was so worn and battered that it looked a hopeless case, but with the flaking paint removed and new wood spliced onto the broken handles it soon began to take shape. Stamped into the axle was the date 1924 - no wonder it looked a bit tired.
New paint and lettering completed the job. We are going to keep it as 'our' barrow as the paint livery is too modern to fit in with the G.W.R image of the station.
I have resurrected a G.W.R office chair which is part of my collection at home. I suppose I should not do 'foreigners' on the railway, but just this once perhaps. The chair was perfectly alright until it fell down the stairs. I was standing on it at the time, changing a light bulb. (You would never guess that I was the Health and Safety Rep at work would you? The seat split and one of the cross ties for the legs broke, but I didn't hurt myself at all. This mishap necessitated making a new tie before reassembling the chair.
Finally, Syd and Peter have begun the job of sorting platform benches. Where necessary new hardwood timber is fitted, but from now on we will rout the edges to a 3/4" radius. This is the correct detail and makes all the difference to the final appearance. Previously any odd bits of wood were used, usually with sharp edges and corners.