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Thornycroft Progress


The Thornycroft's cab is the main area of attention on this project at the present time. Some work had been done when the lorry stood in the open behind the Uffculme Building years ago. Like many other items the passenger side cab windscreen 'went missing' a while ago so Steve produced a hardboard template in order that the reconstruction of the wooden framework at the front of the cab could progress. If one part is made wrongly this has a knock-on effect and the situation seems to get worse and worse as construction continues.


This problem is being minimised by carefully lining up all original parts to get as many datum points as possible to work from. It would be very nice to end up with plenty of the original parts in the reconstruction but because of the condition of the lorry when retrieved from the scrap yard by its former owners Messrs. Fathers, Osborne and Yarker, much has had to be replicated or has come from the Friends' donor vehicle the Thornycroft Tipper. The reason why becomes pretty obvious when you take a look at the state of the lorry as rescued, see photographs!


The whole of the back of the lorry was missing. All that remained was the cab and chassis. We are not sure, but one theory is that it had a van back was sold on by the scrap merchant for use as a shed. This theory tend to fall down because the back of the cab has been repainted in British Railways colours, and it would not have been possible to get between the cab and van back to do this, the whole van back would have to be removed to get access.


In any event we do not have details of the framework inside the van body. It is not possible to tell from photographs what this was like. As a result the alternative dropside open back is going to be replicated instead.


The work done so far includes repair of the engine, (although the cam was fitted one tooth out on its timing chain when assembled. If Steve hadn't noticed that it would have run very badly!) The radiator was completely re-cored and the back axle is a replacement from the tipper as the original was incomplete. The petrol tank has been remade but astonishingly the original exhaust system was repairable and still has its old silencer (fifty years old!)


Seven new tyres have been obtained and fitted. These have inner tubes as well, of course.


The radiator surround is repairable but we have produced a completely new grille to replace the rusty disintegrating original.


The restoration will probably be one of our more expensive projects, but has been undertaken over several years to spread the cost and many, many man hours of labour.



Gas Lighting Project


At the AGM we suggested the provision of gas lighting for the new Buffet Car platform. The arrangement will be identical to that on the bay platform, made and installed by the Friends some years ago. There will be three lamp standards; two originals are to hand. A third has been paid for by the Coalyard Miniature Railway and is a brand new cast iron replica. A gas lantern top is available, so the outstanding items are three 'half harp' swan necks for on top of the lamp standards, and two more lantern tops, together with an amount of ¾" galvanised gas pipe.


We have decided to carry out the work as a Friends project otherwise it won't get done or, more likely, some nasty modern lighting would be installed.


As usual we tackled the job from a low cost/high manpower angle and began by making the swan necks. A drawing of the shaped pipe was prepared and from it a hardboard template cut. The pipes were supplied at cost, ready threaded at one end. They were heated and bent, using the template to get them the right shape and all three identical.


Thick-wall steel tube was cut to length to form the three collars, drilled and tapped and fitted with clamping screws. The pipes were then welded to the collars, the cast scrolls fitted and once the cast finial blocks arrive they will be screwed on and this part of the job will be finished. Brass Navy Union connectors and shut-off valves are fitted so that the whole assembly can be isolated and easily removed from the lamp standard for maintenance without having to cut off the gas supply.


On the platform site a roll of plastic gas pipe is propped up against the fence. The fence will be removed (to be replaced by speartop gates) and the ground level adjusted to give level access onto the platform. The plastic pipe will then run to the first lamp. The pipe then change to galvanised steel, which will run to each lamp in turn via the front of the platform. This pipe is exposed to view, so must be steel. The Great Western used to position their gas pipes along the front face of the platform, so we will be doing the same. (This was to give easy access for repairs or alterations.)



Mick Yarker. October 2008

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