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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 MuseumSaturday, November 18th, 2017 at 2:24pm
Museum Working Party 16th Nov 2017

A cool grey Tywyn morning somehow morphed into a tropical monsoon, minus the warmth, as a nasty squall drenched the late arrivals for this mornings working party; fortunately the jobs to be tackled were all in the warm dry confines of the museum. Ray Brooks, Winston and Anne McCanna, Barbara Tinsley, Charles Benedetto, Phil Sayers, Neal Chapman, Allan Black and John Olsen were joined by a new member Francis Stapleton, who has recently moved to the Tywyn area.

There was plenty to be done and the gang got divided into groups, demolition, reclamation, transition, relocation and reorganisation. Allan and Charles were on demolition, tasked with removing the upper three courses of slate tile from the wall beside the platform entrance; the wall is to be heavily modified to allow attendants better visual supervision of the zone around William Finlay. Their job was made more arduous by the need to remove as many of the tiles intact as possible for re-use elsewhere in the museum, and the tilers had sometimes been very generous with the adhesive!

Ray picked up the reclamation role, removing nails and screws from the wood that had been in the North Wall storage area and was now destined to be recycled during the remodelling of the museum ground floor as display items were displaced from the soon to be demolished wall.

Phil and Winston carried on the patient transition work of unpacking the wooden patterns, recently moved to the Oakeley Wagon, cleaning them with a brush and recording their movement tickets; all to the cacophony of hammers and chisels on the other side of the museum.

Upstairs in the relative tranquillity of the first floor Neal and Francis relocated the sloping panel that held the biographical file of the Reverend Awdry from its place on the Awdry display cabinet base to the centre of the wall below the windows looking into the Awdry Study. The cabinet has been moved to generate more usable floor space to accommodate the low table previously located beneath the window, out beside the Bryn Eglwys slate slab wagon. This arrangement allows visitors to look out into the yard and also removes the puzzle doers from the line of sight of those wishing to watch the TR video.

Barbara and Anne were on reorganisation; by mounting the Thomas the Tank Engine advertising banner on stiff card it could be placed on a stand in the Awdry cabinet allowing more space for the Belinda the Beetle books, the prayer book and the Isle of Sodor guide book on the bottom shelf. The mounting took time to achieve as the edges needed to be cut very carefully with an craft knife so that the finished item was display standard.

Where was John? He was shuttling tools over from the Gunpowder Store, moving the slate tiles out of the North Wall storage area and emptying the same of all the wood in it. The emptying of the area was partly necessitated by the recent ingress of rain water in the NW corner (since attended to by Mick the Brick) which had spread across the floor in the corner. John had already lifted the temporary wooden flooring earlier in the week to reveal that the water had soaked into it and rendered it unfit for further use. This corner is now drying out prior to being relaid with slate tiles matching the original floor; some of the tiles coming from the batch removed when moving the entrance ramp last winter and the remainder from the best of the tiles that Charles and Allan were so noisily removing.

Anne called coffee time on our industry, loudly, and we repaired to the cafe for coffee and Welsh Cakes, Anne's treat for us.

Post coffee, the demolition crew went back to work with gusto, whilst the transition team quietly got on with cleaning and recording. The relocation team descended into the mayhem to begin the work of re-hanging the enamel quarry notices on the South Wall where they should be easier to see and read than they were high up on the dividing wall.

Reclamation gave way to modification for Ray as he inserted a tricky little plastic device into the business end of GU 10 light holders that allows the selected lights to be run off a second circuit. These lights all have four colour auto changing LED lamps in them that we use for night events so it will now be very much easier to turn off most of the main lights and then turn on these effect lights than before when individual lamps had to be switched on or off whilst balancing at the top of the step ladders!

John disappeared into the North Wall store again to mount two shelf brackets, ready for any excess timber to be safely stowed up off the floor just in case the rain found its way in again. When he emerged he laid out the reclaimed tiles in the corner behind Baguley 774 to assess how many of the wall tiles would be needed. Thankfully the demolition team were doing a good job at keeping the tiles intact so that there are more tiles than are required to complete the floor job and these will be kept against future need.

So at the close of play the rain clouds were drifting away to reveal a glorious sunny afternoon and the team could reflect on jobs well done. Nearly all the three courses of tiles had been removed, the cleaning and recording of the wooden patterns was complete, the first quarry enamel sign was safely up on the wall between Rough Pup and the Padarn Host Wagon, the Awdry area was looking neat and the altered light holders were all boxed and ready to be deployed when needed. The floor had even been swept clean of the demolition detritus so that the work site was left in a tidy and safe condition.

Photos and Text by John Olsen
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway Museum
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway MuseumFriday, November 10th, 2017 at 12:29pm
Working Party 9 November 2017

As it is Autumn Outdoor Week, the weather in Tywyn has been the usual bag of heavy rain, strong winds and similar, but on this Thursday morning it dawned cold, crisp and clear. Gang members long absent due to other duties in the museum and on the railway came flocking back to join the regulars; Richard Evans, Ray Brooks, Phil Sayers, Barbara Tinsley, Lisa Brian, Allan Black and John Olsen formed the team today.

With the museum closed, one of the first tasks was to prepare the ground floor for the works to come this winter by moving the swivelling tipper wagon out from beside the Eaton display cabinet and emptying the cabinet of its display items in preparation for its movement out of the works zone. These movements revealed that the recent water penetration on the museum's northwest corner, always a problem area with NW wind and rain, had wicked along the floor under the temporary wooden flooring, which was suffering as a result. The Railway has instituted repairs to the external area that will hopefully finally cure the problem and allow the north west corner to dry out properly so that slate floor tiles matching the original flooring can be laid before Christmas.

The second task was to sheet over William Finlay, Baguley 774, the Guinness loco, Rough Pup and George Henry so that we won't have to clean off too much dust after the remodelling of the wall beside the entrance ramp.

Our current rebuild of wagon number 136 was not ignored, the new frame was moved off the temporary support trestles and onto the heavy duty support stands that the team had upcycled from the remnants of the old frame and side slats; and the fine weather allowed Allan to continue his work cleaning all the old paint and rust off the bobbins out in the fresh air.

The new frame had been covered over the previous Monday by John, in time to protect the wagons from Tuesdays deluge, but unfortunately insufficient tension on the tarpaulin had led to very large pools of water forming. These were bailed out, but a more permanent solution was needed to prevent its re-occurrence. After the tarpaulin was removed John and Richard spent many 'happy' hours stringing rope over the frame to form a supporting net that should prevent the tarpaulin sagging and minimise any pooling tendency, hopefully!

Coffee and biscuits were taken al fresco, as the autumn sun was pleasantly warm and the grim grey clouds largely confined themselves to lowering over the hills so that we could enjoy the view of the 'Southside Gang' laying out the route of the new connecting track work from the Wharf edge road to the museum siding. This connection will make the task of repatriating our wagons, after their excursions up the line on special trains, a much easier business.

After coffee we returned to sheeting cleaning and weaving so that by end of play only a few odd bits of the locos were still poking out, which needed more clothes pegs than we had to hand to hold the sheets in place and out in the yard the tarpaulin was pulled back over the frame and secured down.

As an additional insurance against driving western winds one of the eight by four sterling board covers, previously used to provide rather inadequate weather protection to the wagons, was moved into position against the western end to deflect the wind.

Working parties will continue every Thursday morning from 09.30, new volunteers always welcome.

Photos and Text by John Olsen
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway Museum
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway MuseumFriday, November 3rd, 2017 at 4:51pm
The museum is now closed for the winter period, except as below:
We will be open when the Santa Specials are operating on the Talyllyn Railway between 9 and 24 December (see Talyllyn Railway web site), and from 26 December to 1 January, when the Orange service is running. On these days we will be open between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
We will be open again when train services recommence in 2018, details to be confirmed.
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway Museum
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway MuseumFriday, November 3rd, 2017 at 11:20am
Working Party 2 November 2017

On a calm overcast day the gang assembled at Wharf to be greeted by the sight of an enormous engineering train being assembled by the regular gang in readiness for the forthcoming Outdoor Week. To witness the excitement were David Broadbent; Alan Black; Winston McCanna; Charles Benedetto; Neal Chapman; Phil Sayers and Andy Sheffield. Conspicuous by his absence was our gang leader John Olsen who was away on Business for the Trust. Fortunately he had left a detailed shopping list of tasks.

Phil continued with the task of dusting off the pile of wood patterns in the Oakley wagon and raising Movement tickets for each. Later he was joined by Charles and Winston.

David cleaned out leaves and debris from the rainwater gutters on both the Gunpowder Shed and the Weigh House. Both down pipes appeared block and clearing those was left over until a length of fence wire can be located to use in removing the debris

Alan continued to remove unwanted paint and rust from the bobbins from the slate wagon being rebuilt. Neal secured the second of the water tank covers on William Findlay, following from the work John had previously done on the first cover. Charles, Winston and Andy completed the drilling and assembly of the new frame to provide a weather cover over restored wagons.

Ann McCanna appeared and brewed coffee which was taken on the platform in the benign weather. Coffee was complemented by a large box of fancy biscuits supplied it is believed by John. They were very good! For this the gang was joined by today's duty attendant Ray Brooks, and by Barbara Tinsley. Ray earned his refreshment by folding a pile of newsletters and inserting in envelopes to go out to Friends of the Museum

Work resumes next Thursday 9th at 0930. Why not come along and help?
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway Museum
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway MuseumSaturday, October 28th, 2017 at 4:13pm
Museum Working Party 26th Oct

A moody misty morning greeted the team at Tywyn Wharf, and a number of families enjoying a dry interlude in an otherwise autumnal Welsh Week (that's wet for the uninitiated). Our wandering regulars had returned with tales of far off lands where warm sun shone or storm force winds blew! Neal Chapman, Winston McCanna, Charles Benedetto, Phil Sayers, Andy Sheffield, John Olsen and his brother Peter got down to business.

Downstairs in the Museum Winston opened more of the boxes of wooden casting patterns to continue the light clean up and recording of their movement from the Gunpowder Store loft begun by Phil last week, on the same level John and Peter laid out a strip of red LED lights behind Rough Pup and the Host Wagon to cast a ghastly glow for the next three evenings Night in the Museum events. Upstairs Charles and Neal were engaged in a similar endeavour around Dot, with artistic direction and criticism from Phil and Andy.

Anne McCanna arrived to brew up the morning coffee and with the infernal glows louring suitably we repaired to the cafe with Alan and Diane Chetwynd, our duty attendants, and Barbara Tinsley, catching up on developments. Soft centred chocolates were on offer courtesy of Andy as a bonus on top of the usual chocolate biscuits, needless to say the chocolates did not survive for long.

As the weather was still dry outside everyone except Winston went across the yard for a spot of 'musical wagons'. The shuffle was a prelude to the latest piece of recycling of railway scrap into a useful item; John had spotted the remnants of an old beer tent frame in the Wharf scrap pile and, with an eye to providing covered shelter for our wagons over the winter, had salvaged most of it. With people holding bits of tubing and connectors together we measured the lengths necessary for a cut down wagon tent and set to with hacksaws and files to turn out the components of an eight legged tent frame. Pausing only to wave off a train the team had the frame assembled over the splay side wagon and a two bar slate wagon, with half the fixing holes drilled, before the end of play.

John and Peter returned after lunch to continue drilling the fixing holes and bolting the frame together. Hopefully this new shelter will keep the worst of the elements off the stock and prolong the intervals between rebuilds. They then secured the Hippo Bag cover over the incline wagon and the repair cover back over wagon 134, the other two bar slate wagon, before installing new colour changing LED lights in the museum for the evening event.
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway Museum
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway MuseumFriday, October 27th, 2017 at 3:08pm
Come along to the Museum at Night event on 27th and 28th October from 7.30 pm.