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News from The Narrow Gauge Railway Museum

A museum covering all aspects of the narrow gauge railways of the British Isles, and of the Talyllyn Railway in Particular.
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway Museum
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway Museum added 2 new photos.Friday, March 24th, 2017 at 1:29pm
Working Party 23 March

The weather mojo was, not operating at full steam this morning, which was cloudy with a strong cold easterly wind as we gathered for the working party, but it got going later with the sun breaking through. With the days ticking down to the start of the running season it was many hands make things happen. This morning those hands were attached to Max Birchenough, Andy Sheffield, Neal Chapman, David Broadbent, Phil Sayers, Ray Brooks, Winston McCanna, Allan Black, Jenny Clark, Barbara Tinsley and John Olsen with apologies from Charles Benedetto who had attempted to separate his right hand and arm from his body elsewhere in the world and is recovering from a dislocated shoulder.Malcolm Philips was also on hand rebuilding the museums website and testing positions for the William Finlay footplate cameras. To aid him in this latter endeavour we moved the freshly painted final carcass into position and secured it to its neighbour so that the top could be laid in place to give him a working platform. Allan volunteered to be our lone wagon restorer over in the Gunpowder Store sorting out the filler in the slats, some of which had not set properly, putting in fresh filler and sanding back.

The Kettering Furnaces nameplate was lifted up to its new, and unobstructed, position on the wall and secured in position with frame fixings; the picture of Kettering Furnaces No 6 was then rehung below it, allowing us to take down the timber working platform. At much the same time Neal and Max took up station on the mobile scaffold platform to demount the big monitor we put up last week. Hold on I hear you chorus, what's going on? Fear not its not broken but when Keith loaded the William Finlay slide show he discovered that we had hung it upside down, or was it that he programmed it in Australian orientation? Anyway, down it came so that Andy could change the mounting clips round through 180 degrees and then offer it back up to our fearless high steel duo for resecuring. By great good fortune Keith was present and booted it up to show that we had cured the problem and our visitors will not have to stand on their heads to view it.

With these successes under our belts a certain thirst needed quenching and we retired to Kings Cafe to enjoy coffee biscuits and chat, served up by our brewer in chief Anne McCanna. While we were relaxing the familiar features of Charles entered to sheepishly admit to his over enthusiastic error in dislocating his shoulder so he could only indulge in coffee and banter much as he wanted to shift heavy lumps of metal......

The cast track section from the Eaton tipper display was one such item to be moved after our refreshment but like some giant jigsaw it had to await its turn in the sequence of moves; first was moving the Eaton display cabinet. This was a slow business as the cabinet isn't designed to be easily moved being both heavy and almost devoid of suitable handholds, but with a skate and three persons it was inched into place against the west wall. A gap beside it was designated for the tipper wagon and once the cast iron track had been carefully ( fingers clear!) laid into a specially constructed cradle to keep it level, an improvised ramp was constructed to allow the wagon to be rolled up into position. It took a couple of goes to get it snugly in place but when we all stepped back it was universally agreed that this was a far superior position for this humble, but groundbreaking, wagon to be in than its previous dark abode under the stairs.

The next piece of the jigsaw to fall into place was the forest panorama that forms the backdrop to Baguley 774; this could be four or five panels long so we did the 'taste' test. Four panels had already been mounted on a bracket ready for hanging but the fifth needed David's steady hands to hold it in place while stepped back and took in the view. From all angles it was agreed that the fifth panel was needed for the best effect. David secured the four panels but the fifth will need a special bracket fabricating before it too can grace the north wall.

Over the other side of the museum, between Rough Pup and the Padarn railway host wagon, Neal and Max were attachng the video monitor, with its fiendish security backplate, to the new wall bracket. Even though they knew exactly what to do it still took some fiddling to get the four lugs and holes to line up before the hidden lock could be closed up and the job finished.
While all these endeavours were going on downstairs Jenny and Phil were wielding polishing cloth and Henry hoover to good effect up on the first floor, removing the inevitable dust that the works had thrown up.

Over the last couple of weeks the railway staff have also finished off the entrance way and replaced the old, heavy and slippery removable platform section with a new lighter one with non-slip treads.

There is still a big clean up operation to conduct and more work on the ramps around William Finlay to attend to but we're getting very close to being able to open both floors in time for the running season.

Photos by Allan Black and Micheal Loterow.
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway Museum
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway Museum added 4 new photos.Monday, March 20th, 2017 at 9:47am
Working Party 16 March

Sadly our weather mojo ran out on Thursday morning and we convened under grey and decidedly rainy skies, which shutdown some jobs on the wagon front but there was still plenty in the museum. Ray Brooks, Phil Sayers, Allan Black, Neal Chapman, Andy Sheffield, Bob Cambridge, David Broadbent, Charles Benedetto, Barbara Tinsley and John Olsen braved the elements and set to work.

Allan continued his work on wagon 164 by trimming the dumb buffer timber so that the metal end bands were a nice snug fit. In the museum David and Charles fixed two internal ribs inside the final ramp carcass (running up the far side of William Finlay) and then once the carcass was in its final position began installing six 'legs' that were individually set to account for the uneven surface of the slate tiles.

Our daring young men on the scaffolding platform were Bob and Neal who, having adjusted the big screen ceiling mount for length, hung the mounting from the big cross beam above the plateway display. It takes nerves of steel to work the high metal of the museum but undaunted they clamped the mount firmly in place ready to hang the monitor.

Down at ground level Phil was industriously painting the modified stand for one of the video display selection panels and a box to support the electronics pack of the same display. Ray was our man for all seasons fetching and carrying and steadying the portable scaffolding, whilst Andy and John encountered some issues trying to cut the final top pieces for the William Finlay ramp; to cut a long and frustrating story short, the circular saw no longer cut. Upstairs Barbara continued her housekeeping and poster producing.

As Ann and Winston McCanna had both succumbed to the current bug that is going around Tywyn Ray did a welcome turn of coffee brewing and we retired to the cafe, some with considerable progress to their credit and others still struggling. Our spirits were much uplifted, and our sugar levels, by David supplying jam filled donuts on the occasion of his birthday, yum. Coffee time allowed us to regroup and Allan volunteered the services of his capacious tool chest to allow the cutting of the ramp top pieces, his circular saw making short work of the task.

The 'Flying Monitor Brothers', Bob and Neal, took up station on the scaffolding once more and were handed the monitor, all 42" of it, to secure in position and then adjust for viewing angle. The ground crews moved onto new tasks such as fitting the newly cut tops of the ramp and discovering that during William Finlay's long career person or persons unknown had both welded on extra bits of metal and bent existing pieces to confound the fitting of bits of ramp, cue much trimming and trying and trimming.....

A second elevated work position was brought into action to rehang the Kettering Furnaces nameplate much higher on the wall so that the forest panorama behind Baguley 774 wouldn't hide it. John ascended the platform to drill the fixing holes and benefitted from the use of Allan's hammer drill, a beast of a machine that wouldn't accept no for an answer, even from solid concrete. In between shuttling tools to site Allan still had the time to apply the second coat of bitumenous paint to the base plate of wagon 164, now looking very smart.

Remember that forest panorama? This consists of four large printed foam board sheets on a strange plastic back frame that needed to be hung from the panelling behind Baguley 774 by dint of cunningly crafted pieces of offcut ply, attached by long bolts through the back frame. A jig had been prepared by John to guide the drilling but it was Neal and Bob who wielded the drill and assembled the bits ready to hang, once the rehanging of the Kettering Furnaces nameplate was complete. Sadly time ran out to finish the rehanging operation but there's always next week for that.
Photos by Allan Black and Keith Theobald.
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway Museum
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway Museum added 4 new photos.Friday, March 10th, 2017 at 10:13am
Working Party 9 March

March weather may be mad elsewhere but it was glorious this morning in Tywyn, blue skies and a few clouds with a light breeze. Ray Brooks, Neal Chapman, Allan Black, Jenny Clark, David Broadbent, Winston McCanna, Phil Sayers, Andy Sheffield, Barbara Tinsley, Bob Cambridge and John Olsen took full advantage of this bounty to progress wagon 164 as well as continue work in the museum.

On the wagon, the filling of the cavities, left after the removal of rotten timber in the slats, was moved outdoors so that both upper and lower sets of slats could be worked on, Ray, Winston and David wielding spatulas and sanding paper. The upper set is now ready for repainting while the lower set will need further filling and sanding before flipping them over and repeating the whole process for the other side, it all makes work ..... Also enjoying the sunshine was our dedicated painting pair of Phil and Jenny who carried on with the black Hammerite on the long fixing bolts, dumb buffer caps and a bonus item, part of the heavy duty clamp that will be used to support the large video monitor beside William Finlay.

Speaking of large video monitors, Andy and Bob were set the fiendish task of assembling the heavy duty ceiling mount and then seeing the best method for attaching this to the monitor when said monitor is hung up. Sounds easy doesn't it? But the monitor came with a back plate and bags of fixings but absolutely no instructions at all, plus whatever attachment sequence they worked out had to be safely replicated on the scaffolding six feet off the floor. There was much head scratching, especially over which way round a crucial bracket needed to be affixed, but they came through with the answer.

Having fabricated new pieces to replace the rotted pieces of wagon 164 dumb buffers off site, Allan cleaned up the mating surfaces of old and new timber before gluing and clamping the new pieces in place.

Downstairs in the museum Neal and John got busy cutting, clamping, glueing and screwing the final ramp base carcass together. Just to make it more entertaining this carcass had a shallow rebate on its underside to allow it to fit over the slate floor tiles at one end, so needed a bit of 'jacking up' to get all the levels right.

Barbara was busy making and laminating the new museum opening times posters, and directions, without which our visitors would be totally lost.

Coffee time was taken out in the warm sunshine on the platform, where chocolate cornflake crunch bites were eagerly consumed, our thanks go to David for his astute and generous donation. We had another donation this morning in the shape of a collection of historic Talyllyn documents handed to us by one of the staff of a solicitors in Machynlleth. At first glance they date to the very earliest years of the railway, one set of costings was dated 1866, and they will be carefully examined as some may still have legal force as well as great historic significance. Don will add these to the TR Archives on his next visit.

Coffee over, caffeine, chocolate and tans topped up we continued our labours so that by the end of play the monitor and its mounting were locked away ready for hanging, much black Hammerite was drying in the sun and filler setting. As a bonus Allan was able to paint wagon 164's deck with its first coat of black bitumenous paint before wheeling it back into the Gunpowder Store, very smart.

The final ramp carcass was halfway to completion by mornings end with three internal ribs still to be fitted, then will come the fitting in situ...... a tale for another report next week. Photos by Allan Black.
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway Museum
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway Museum shared Dan Quine's post.Wednesday, March 8th, 2017 at 8:30pm
Dan Quine
Dan QuineWednesday, March 8th, 2017 at 7:12pm
My article in the Industrial Railway Record about the history of Baguley 774, which has recently returned to the museum.
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway Museum
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway Museum added 4 new photos.Monday, March 6th, 2017 at 5:04pm
Working Party 2nd March

After storm Doris last week the winds and rain kept on coming, but so too did the museum volunteers and we were rewarded with a cool bright day and we made the most of it.

Winston McCanna, Neal Chapman, David Broadbent, Allan Black, Ray Brooks, Max Birchenough, Charles Benedetto, Barbara Tinsley, Phil Sayers and John Olsen set up two work camps, one based in the Gunpowder Store and the other in the museum.

At the former the covers came off our newest wagon frame so that its upper paintwork could be sanded down prior to a topcoat being painted to cover areas previously only primed. Allan brought along his wire wheel to clean up the long bolts from wagon 164 so that they could have their shafts painted with black Hammerite. The top set of slats from wagon 164 had its previously filled holes sanded down level before additional filler was applied to bring the surface level with the timber. The remaining holes then received an oiled plastic pipe insert to act as a plug preventing the filler encroaching on the central bolt hole and were similarly filled with two part wood filler and the whole left to set. The galvanised base plate of wagon 164 was cleared of all the bits that had accumulated upon it and scrupulously cleaned with brush and then white spirit prior to being primed with special metal grey primer.

In the museum one of the white wall boards was demounted to allow the new ramp carcass built last week to be fitted without damaging the pristine white paint. The fit was perfect but showed up an irregularity in the floor concrete that will need trimming and also a historic dent in William Finlay's running plate that dipped far enough that it will prevent the top surface board of the ramp from being fitted. Of the two options, cutting a rebate in the top surface was chosen over hitting William Finlay with a very large hammer!

Ann McCanna called coffee time and we all met up in Kings Cafe for coffee and biscuits, or coffee and bribery as chocolate biscuits were on offer, where we were joined by Malcolm Phillips who was spending two days working in the museum. Our chocolate chat and caffeine needs satisfied we returned to our tasks to finish painting and filling and then covered up the freshly painted frame with the banana yellow Hipposkip bag that is a very satisfactory foul weather cover when held down with three retired sleepers. Wagon 164 was already under cover in the Gunpowder Store so needed no special treatment.

Our covered van did get special treatment as one of the Outdoor Week works trains took it up to the Guest House to dry out after its big green tent was removed just before Doris hit and undid all the drying of the previous few months. The wagon will remain there until we are ready to begin removing the flaking paint sanding down and then repainting.

Progress on cutting the pieces for final ramp carcass had been steady but was still unfinished by close of play; John stayed on to continue cutting so that this vital last piece is not unduly delayed.
The sun shone throughout, much to the relief of the Outdoor Week volunteers who had been liberally doused every day, and we departed under sunny skies.

Photos by Allan Black

New volunteers are always welcome on Thursday mornings; we meet at 9.30.