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News from The Narrow Gauge Railway Museum
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway MuseumSaturday, March 21st, 2020 at 11:10am
Working Parties

With the temporary closure of the museum, working parties have also been suspended, so no report for this week.

However, there has been some limited on-going work by individual trustees. Various notices have been replaced following last week's painting of the walls. A couple of days were spent carrying on the office paperwork including accessioning new items. One of our recent auction purchases is a 1947 Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway Company Working Timetable shown here.
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway Museum
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway MuseumTuesday, March 17th, 2020 at 2:53pm
We are very sorry to announce that the museum will be closed for the time being. Most of our volunteer attendants fall within the Government "At Risk" category, and it is important to protect their health, as well as that of our visitors.

We will re-open when the situation improves, and details will be shown here, and on our website.
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway Museum
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway MuseumSaturday, March 14th, 2020 at 5:50pm
Museum working party 12th March 2020

The Tywyn weather mojo is continuing its 'charm' offensive to try and lure the team out into Wharf yard and this morning it seemed to have succeeded, but only because we needed to remove the winter covers from the wagons in preparation for next weeks photo charters. Allan Black, Neal Chapman, Ray Brooks, David Broadbent and John Olsen undid fiendish knots and then did battle with the ballooning bags as the howling gale got under them and stored away the boards and planks. By the time Charles Benedetto had signed in and come outside we had finished in the yard and were migrating back into our winter quarters. He was promised his share of dirt later in the year to make up for his disappointment today.

The first indoor job was to take all the portable scaffold system components up to the first floor where John gave a demonstration of the safe way to assemble the small tower and announced that henceforth he would need to certify any erection of the scaffold tower safe before it could be used as the railway is now fully compliant with current PASMA regulations.

Then it was time to divvy up the jobs, Ray stripped off the redundant masking tape before continuing his painting of the walls with white emulsion, David began masking off around three cabinet bases in preparation for a coat of grey paint. Charles started work on adapting one of our stock of loco headboard brackets to fit the slimmer mount of the head board that graced the first Welsh Highland train to travel the full length of the line, so that it could be displayed close to cabinet C08. Downstairs Allan and Neal continued their work to prepare the new Giesl ejector wooden casting patterns display area by fitting blocks of wood to the first shelf and to a temporary bracket so that the chimney pattern can be secured with non-destructive hidden fixings.

John made use of Rays position, close to the upstairs entrance door, to establish where to hang the Dolgoch Station direction sign, that has been rescued from obscurity in our store room, to point towards cabinet C11, the Talyllyn cabinet. Having drilled the fixing holes in the beam he then counted the heads for our coffee break, adding three extras for Tom and Pauline Place another museum volunteer who were seeing how the work was progressing. We commandeered two big tables in the cafe as our numbers had further expanded with the arrival of Mike Green and Tony Goode, who is currently on a painting mission all over the railway! As the caffeine and chocolate biscuits worked their restorative magic our discussion inevitably took in the corona virus pandemic; in particular why the British public should panic buy toilet paper in response! This medical introspection led to some stories of mis-spent youth and the adult obsession with bowel movements, which led to a dose of syrup of figs, or worse, should the unfortunate child miss one. On a lighter note we reflected that anyone visiting Ceredigion or Gwynedd, around Snowdonia, would be of the opinion that all the small villages were inhabited by murderous psychopaths if Y Gwyllt (Hinterland) and Hidden were any guide.

Back in the museum Ray moved onto painting the surrounds of the new access panel (fitted by John during the week) to the first floor heating sensor, which was boxed in by the fit out firm, and the numerous new screwholes that needed a dob of white paint to make them less obvious. David continued with painting the cabinet fronts and sides where visitors had scuffed them and Charles ascended the safe scaffolding to fix the modified bracket to the wall above and to the left of C08. John again made use of Rays keen eye to set the level of the Dolgoch Station sign and cut two lengths of chain to suspend it in position just over the Bryn Eglwys slate slab wagon; a minor adjustment of one chain and it was job done. Neal and Allan fabricated new mounting supports for the lower shelf and secured the Giesl funnel pattern to the upper shelf in its final position.

By the close of play three cabinets bases had received a fresh coat of grey paint, two shelf supports had been made, one pillar had been painted white, one headboard bracket had been put up (and painted white), and one station sign had been hung in a geographically incorrect, but aesthetically correct, orientation.

Photos by John Olsen.
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway Museum
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway MuseumTuesday, March 10th, 2020 at 10:17am
Museum working party 5th Mar 2020

A crisp dry morning courtesy of the Tywyn weather mojo, just the right conditions to dismantle the blue 'tent' to allow the Wagon Inspector to give no.s 146 and 164 the once over. The very select band of Ray Brooks, Allan Black and John Olsen set to work undoing the many yards of ropes and cargo straps to remove the layers of winter protection; first off was the blue tarpaulin, then the old tarpaulin that was acting as padding, followed by the heavy duty black plastic sheet. With these all neatly folded up we unbolted the two marine play sheets and stowed them in the Gunpowder Store. With the sun now shining brightly we paused to take our coffee in the cafe as the platform was still rather too cool to sit out on.

Our idle chatter took in such delights as the Dukes of Hazard, now being re-run after many years absence from the gogglebox (not nearly enough years some might venture), with its moonshine running 'Dook' Boys runnin' rings round Boss Hogg and his inept sheriff. One of our merry band was having e-bay issues whilst the rest of us are still blissfully ignorant of the vicissitudes of this online auction site.

Back out in the yard the team moved on to dismantling the 'tent' frame and stowing its components before finally uncovering the incline wagon so that corrective action could be taken next week to address the Wagon Inspectors Failure Notice.

With yard duties done we retired to the museum to continue the refresh process. Allan returned to the Giesl shelf and made adjustments to the fixing arrangements so that it is now snug against the wall with it second support bracket in place. A test placement of the Giesl wooden template was conducted to establish that all was well.

Upstairs Ray and John laid out the sheets and got on with applying the second coat of white paint around the entranceway and Awdry Study.

By the close of play three wagons had been uncovered, two jobs progressed, and one coffee break enjoyed.

Photos by John Olsen.
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway Museum
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway MuseumSaturday, February 29th, 2020 at 8:24am
Museum working party 27th Feb 2020

The Tywyn weather mojo has been making amends for its poor showing over recent weeks as the sun shone on Wharf yard as the team assembled after the half term schools holidays. The first order of the day was to cover over the incline wagon and the Corris mail waggon before the next rain storm; John had already been able to cover over the other three wagons that had been on display earlier in the week. Then Allan Black, Neal Chapman, Charles Benedetto, David Broaadbent, Max Birchenough and John Olsen ferried the various tools, paint tins and the Workmate across to the museum to resume activities.

Charles Allan and Neal assembled packing material, supplied by John from our North Wall storage space, to allow the Forest of Dean plateway wagon to be rolled away from the wall and making a safe working space for erecting the Giesl ejector shelving. Upstairs David and Max began taking all the pictures and other items off the walls around the entrance, office and Slater Room doors in preparation for painting. This was followed by miles of masking tape going along all the edges and sheets being laid out on the floor, over cabinets and the balustrade to keep the unwanted paint flecks at bay.

With the new section of 'flangeless' plateway constructed Charles joined John upstairs to begin assembling the new collection of artefacts in cabinet C08 by moving the items from the Ffestiniog, Welsh Highland and Snowdon Mountain Railways from cabinet C06. Further Ffestiniog wagon makers plates were brought out of storage in the Oakeley Wagon.

Coffee was served by John in the cafe as the outside air temperature was still on the brass simian side of comfortable, and we enjoyed our brews in the company of Phil Sayers, Andy 'two cars' (two Ffs in that) and Mary Sheffield. As the chocolate Hobnobs circulated so did our chat; two of our number were having some tech issues with a passport photo, or rather multiple attempts to obtain one that the Passport office would accept. It seems that your favourite, shakey blurred selfie from Torremolinos just doesn't cut it with the Passport people, you need one of those washed out zombie look pictures! That started a theme, old vs new tech; youngsters presented with an old dial up phone have no idea how to use it, not even knowing that they had to pick up the handset to speak into. Using the TR's lineside plug in handsets is like stepping into the Tardis for the modern youngster, but using such an antiquity is quite likely to be necessary when they find that their network signal fades out partway up the line! Then there was the disturbing news that voice recognition devices, that are becoming very popular in the home, weren't just waiting genie-like for your commands, but are sneakily listening in to your conversations to harvest data on your lifestyle so that their masters can flog you more unnecessary tat.

Back in the land of pre-digital tech the white paint was going up on the walls to cover the smudges and scrapes, cabinet C08 was getting its new items sorted out and arranged and downstairs the first shelf position and fixing arrangements for the Giesl ejector wooden pattern had been sorted. With the bottom of cabinet C06 now largely emptied of items thoughts turned to what might replace them. The logical artefacts are those from the Plynlimon and Hafan Railway, currently in a temporary exhibition, as this was located relatively close to the Vale of Rheidol, which occupies the bottom of C06. Thus C08 becomes a North Wales cabinet and C06 becomes more of a Mid Wales cabinet.

By the close of play two wagons had been covered against the continuing inclement weather, two cabinets had been re-shuffled, one shelf had been hung in position and the team departed well satisfied with the mornings progress.

Photos by John Olsen.
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway Museum
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway MuseumFriday, February 21st, 2020 at 10:01am
Museum working party 20th Feb 2020

The Tywyn weather mojo had twigged that it was the schools half term and produced the appropriate weather, rain on a stiff northwest wind! The team assembled, slightly damp around the gills, in the dry of the museum to tackle a problem long in the making – the museum store room. This had become not only a repository for many valuable artefacts but also a bit of a dumping ground for well meaning, but usually poorly documented, donations from many quarters.

Neal Chapman, David Broadbent, Charles Benedetto, Winston McCanna, Andy 'Two Cars' Sheffield (two ffs in that) and John Olsen donned their Sorting Hats and plunged in. Boxes and loose items in bags and envelopes came pouring out of this tiny room to be picked over for hidden gems, absolute rubbish, and a generous measure of 'it might be worth a second opinion'. Three numbered plastic storage boxes were designated as destinations for small items, photos and cards, and lastly miscellaneous papers. Multiple boxes containing CCTV kit were condensed down to just two, the three box Education Pack was repacked into just one large plastic storage box and the excess conduit bits and flexible trunking all condensed into one box. The three acrylic display stands boxes stubbornly refused to be reduced in number, however they were strictly rationalised.

By coffee time, served up once more by Ann McCanna complete with Swiss roll cake, a section of floor that hadn't seen daylight in many a long year had been swept clean. We took our caffeine chocolate and chat fix in the company of Ray Brooks (deputising for the substitute attendant....) Sarah Thomas (new attendant), who brought in more cakes, yum, Mary Sheffield and Mike 'its the way I tell 'em' Green. Our discussions roved freely as usual, though we did compare notes on remembering names, 'sorry, who are you again?', and recall a more innocent time when the Toffs running the BBC completely missed the naughty scripting that was being transmitted in such shows as, Round the Horn, and even the seemingly innocent Pugwash the Pirate! With all the flooding in the news the managed retreat at Fairbourne, where the defences will not be maintained indefinitely, revealed the intriguing fact that the rail line approaching Tywyn from Tonfanau is protected by parts of a multi storey car park that once 'graced' Euston. Before we returned to our sorting Matt Wear handed out little green tickets to a fortunate few, no not concert tickets, but their Personal Track Safety cards, so they can now work safely on the line.

With a final few items sorted it was time to put a smaller number of boxes back into the store, which together with a re-arrangement of some of the other items, had released some further space for proper storage requirements in the future. Some empty boxes were flat packed to take up less space and superfluous packaging was disposed of by the correct recycling route; indeed a bag that had contained a lot of unsorted envelopes was recycled to the Air Ambulance shop as it was in good condition.

By the end of play we had counted all the boxes out of the store and counted fewer boxes going back into the store – RESULT!

Picture by John Olsen