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News from The Narrow Gauge Railway Museum
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway MuseumTuesday, July 16th, 2019 at 10:55am
Another successful event with the Museum's out-based locomotive "Penelope".
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway Museum
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway MuseumSaturday, June 29th, 2019 at 9:43am
Museum working party 27th June 2019

The Tywyn weather mojo has been working hard on increasing the solar energy beaming out of the sky but rather taken its eye off other variables as the sudden strong gusts of an Easterly wind in Wharf yard proved!

Fortunately the bridge provided a lot of shelter and the team were able to get plenty of useful work done. Allan Black, Andy Sheffield, David Broadbent and John Olsen had plenty of room to play so we spread ourselves out.

Allan was back on wagon no. 101 where even his specialist wire wheel couldn't reach all the way under the slats and he fell back on a wire brush, some 40 grit emery cloth and good old elbow grease to remove the last bits of old paint and rust.
Andy got the grey gloss paint out to continue the work started by Lisa last week, painting the timbers of wagon no. 146, and David was able to crack on with painting the wagon frame with grey primer once we had uncovered it and shunted it down the siding to provide access to the south side.

John got back to the metal frames of no. 146, grinding off more rust and old paint.

The gleaming 10:30 train was given a grimy wave off by two of the gang and a grey wave off by the remainder, but they didn't seem to mind and waved back happily.

Coffee was out on the platform in the warm sunshine with our duty attendant Ray Brooks and Andy's wife Mary. As Ann and Winston McCanna were on holiday it fell to John to brew up and get the chocolate biscuits down from the attendants cupboard. Our morning brew was further enlivened, on the culinary front, by caramelised peanuts courtesy of Andy and Mary; something they picked up from their Spanish jaunt. Our verbal ramblings covered the complete lack of allergen information on the pack of peanuts, in fact there was no labelling at all on the pack(!), and their next holiday destination on the Rhine. A couple of us have experience of that part of the world and offered our choices of must see venues. The presence of the Victorian Train in the platform sparked a little side debate on which was the first standard gauge preserved railway line, The Middleton or The Bluebell, but there was of course no disputing the world's first preserved railway line!

Back across the tracks Andy was discovering that the hot sunshine was playing mischief with his freshly painted planks as something was being 'cooked' out of the timber and forming bubbles on the surface. They resisted his attempts to paint them out and they will probably need sanding back and touching up next week; too much sun can be a bad thing.

The 11:40 train received the same 50:50 grimy/grey wave off before we started to put the bubbly planks into the cool of the Gunpowder Store and wind down our activities by covering up wagon no. 101 and the frame of no. 146.

By the close of play the floor of no. 101 was pretty close to being ready for priming, the frame of no. 146 is ready for its first topcoat, and the metal frames of no. 146 are still being relieved of their burden of rust and old paint.

Pictures by John Olsen.
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway Museum
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway MuseumWednesday, June 26th, 2019 at 9:42am
Museum working party 20th June 2019

Bright sun and scattered clouds; finally the Tywyn weather mojo got it right! A larger than usual gang allowed us to proceed on more fronts than usual as Allan Black, Lisa Brian, Winston McCanna, Max Birchenough, David Broadbent, Charles Benedetto, and John Olsen were joined by first timer Philip Burkhill and one time gang member Frank Yates.
Frank brought his expertise to the Ticket Machine squad, working with Philip and Winston to continue probing its dark secrets and persuade it to function correctly; they set up shop on one of the platform tables like a trio of heart surgeons around a patient.

Allan laid claim to the wire wheel fitted angle grinder once more to strip more rust and old paint from the floor of wagon no. 101. To complete the job under the slats requires a different style of wire wheel that John has not been able to get his hands on, yet.

With Andy away sunning himself in foreign parts Charles continued the work of painting the door fittings and sundry other metal work of wagon no. 146 with black Hammerite, setting up a painting table in the sunshine well away from Allan’s mess making operations. Lisa joined Charles out in the sun to put the first topcoat on the long south side planks of wagon no. 146.

Max, David and John moved the frame of no. 146 off the turntable and shunted it further down the siding to get access all round it so that Max and David could give the frame a good wire brushing to remove any last flakes of old paint and rotten wood around fixing holes prior to applying primer.
After setting up the rest of the gang with their tasks John eventually got to fit a wire wheel to his angle grinder and make a start on cleaning one of the internal frames of no. 146.

It seemed like no time had elapsed before the 10:30 blew its whistle and was waved off by the gang before we downed tools and went over the tracks to join duty attendant Ray Brooks for our coffee and 'cake' break brewed up by Ann McCanna. The bara brith was courtesy of Charles better half Sue and was delicious to the last crumb, which Charles got to eat. The siting of the new bridge on the way to Machynlleth came under scrutiny and there was some debate as whether this constituted the 'Mach Bypass'. But as the new road alignment will still use the old rail overbridge, as the current road the route does, it will not actually bypass Machynlleth.....

We returned to our labours as the Victorian Train, now known by the moniker Steam and Cream Tea or some such mouthful, pulled into the platform to be admired by all.
The ticket machine was still not one hundred percent and Frank was taking the weight, that rests on the tickets, away to add some more mass to it, as pressing down on the ticket stack improved the dispensing process. There is still an option to open up two slots to allow additional adjustment of the dispensing mechanism but this is in abeyance until testing with a heavier weight is completed.

By the close of play three south side planks had been painted, a plethora of small metal bits Hammerited, one floor cleaned and one half of a wagon frame primed before it all had to be covered over or put away in the Gunpowder Store to protect it from the less than summerlike weather to come.

Pictures by John Olsen
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway Museum
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway MuseumTuesday, June 18th, 2019 at 9:55am
Museum working party 13th June 2019

What can one say? The Tywyn weather mojo was having a tough week, but this morning it was right on the edge; heavy clouds loomed low overhead as the team assembled. Allan Black, Winston McCanna, David Broadbent, Andy Sheffield, Charles Benedetto and John Olsen consulted the seaweed, it was a bit damp so the wagon painting was put on hold.

Allan volunteered to brave the elements and continue wire wheel cleaning the floor of wagon no. 101 as he could quickly scoot under cover should those heavy clouds start to rain.

Andy's paint shop was still up and running in the limited space left in the Gunpowder Store so he could wipe down the metal brackets from wagon no. 146 that John had cleaned up during the week and then apply a coat of Hammerite to them and the remaining unpainted metalwork from last week.

In the museum two matters were pressing, the need to sort out the increasingly unreliable souvenir platform ticket machine and to move some of the loco headboards around to 'catch up' with the contents of the cabinets on the first floor that were swapped in the winter. Charles and David sized up the latter job and began by erecting the scaffold tower by the attendants cupboard in order to mount the RAF wings that Douglas sported all last year during RAF 100.

Winston and John got to take the ticket machine off its supporting steel pillar, and boy did it need that kind of support, before attempting to examine its giblets.

The 10:30 train pulled out with a fair loading of passengers, puffing up the line under the ominous clouds and the disparate parts of the working party gathered on the platform as a bit of sun broke through, temporarily, with our duty attendant and Mary Sheffield to consume coffee brewed by Ann McCanna and cakes courtesy of David, yum. Our discourse opened on the fortunes of our budding TV personality; okay, not so fortunate but he had some amusing tales of life in the limelight. Their use of a pair of safety specs, egg whisk and roll of cooking foil to make a pair of satellite up link dishes and transmitter tower were inspired but alas did not garner enough points for them to progress to the next round of the competition; fame is so fickle.

Having completed his painting Andy joined in the efforts to extract the innards of the ticket machine so that they could be viewed in the daylight while John went upstairs to review the placement of the RAF wings and map out how and where to hang the two displaced Isle of Man headboards. The headboards had strange punched steel strips on their reverse, which with a bit of re-bending could be secured to the beams with new screws above the TR ticket display.

The ticket machine finally succumbed to Andy and Winston's persistence and the dispensing mechanism could be examined; there was the inevitable loose screw in the case for which no empty hole could be found. Initial examination showed the prongs that push the ticket out of the stack were working fine but a brass strip between them over which the ticket passed had a buildup of muck and was not square with the prongs in a horizontal plane. Attempts to straighten this strip were not entirely successful as it tended to move when its securing bolt was tightened and it may require a bit of freeing of the hole to get it re-aligned.

Upstairs three of the four headboards were hanging in their new positions and a little tinkering with the lights to prevent our visitors being dazzled while looking at them was attempted, but our time was up.

By the close of play Allan had dodged the rain bullet and cleaned another third of the easily accessible part of the floor, three headboards were hanging and one ticket machine was temporarily re-assembled pending further work and thorough testing.

Pictures by John Olsen
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway Museum
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway MuseumFriday, June 7th, 2019 at 9:47pm
Museum working party 6th June 2019

Bright sun and a brisk breeze, could the Tywyn weather mojo keep it that way? The team in the yard weren't unduly concerned about the big white puffy clouds passing overhead; Allan Black, Andy Sheffield, David Broadbent and John Olsen were joined by Mark and Pat Gibson for the mornings activities.

Pat was quite happy not to be shifting rust but shifting sticky finger marks on the glass in the museum, of which there were many!

Before the rest of us could get down to business there was the small matter of a large Land Rover Discovery parked right beside wagon no. 101; a dangerous place to leave a vehicle on a Thursday morning Stuart.

While we waited for Stuart to move his vehicle, and he in turn waited for the first train to be pushed back into the platform so that he could move it, we shunted the wagons. This was for two reasons, the first being that their summer home is on the siding outside Llechfan so that they can be admired from the platform or train, the second was to allow us to re-rail all the wheelsets displaced by last weekends Vintage in the Valley event and get them down the siding too.

The Discovery moved, the wagons and wheels moved and we waved off the 10:30 service as it too moved.

Allan has made the floor of wagon no. 101 his mission so he was quickly up and cleaning with the wire wheel, scrubbing away the last of the paint and the rust beneath it.

Andy broached the battered can of Hammerite paint again to give the door metal work from wagon no. 146 further coats off rust resisting black.

Mark, David and John got all the timber work of no. 146 out of the dark corners of the Gunpowder Store and sorted them into door parts, floor parts and walls; then further sorted through them all to find those specimens that had not received any primer or had inadequately applied primer with bare wood showing through. These latter pieces were then given remedial primer by Mark and David.

John got his angle grinder out and fitted a wire wheel so that he could clean up the drawbar of no. 146 in situ, prior to Andy painting it with Hammerite.

With the first train safely away up the line John went to brew up and met Ann McCanna on the platform, she did not have time to stay and brew for us but she had brought essential supplies in the form of chocolate biscuits, cheers Ann!

We were joined for our coffee, and one solitary black tea, on the platform by our duty attendant and also John Alderslade who was having a training session as an attendant, and by Pat and by Mary Sheffield who had been working in Llechfan. There were more than chocolate biscuits on offer this morning with some of Mr Kiplings fruit pies too, exceedingly good show! Opening one of the biscuit boxes revealed an excess of packaging, the box, a plastic wrapper and the plastic tray; this sparked a lively discussion about the over packaging of food these days. Easter Eggs came in for particular criticism for their multiple unnecessary layers. Eggs led to chickens, as seen in the C4 Dispatches programme about American 'chlorinated' chicken; coming soon to a post Brexit country as a part of a stupendous free trade deal with the good ole US of A. The washing process certainly did not kill off all the harmful bacteria and deaths from food poisoning in the States are at frightening levels, but you don't read about that in the gung ho Brexit press as an argument for a comprehensive free trade deal. The programme then revealed the terrible hygiene conditions in a major US meat processing company that spread bacterial contamination and contributes to these deaths. Sobering facts.

But with the sun still shining between the scudding clouds we had wagons to restore and returned across the yard to set more rust flying and paint drying as Andy applied wood preservative to the floor planks while John finished with his clean up job on the drawbar. Andy then painted the drawbar with Hammerite, once he could get to it without being covered in dust.

David and Mark finished off their timber touch ups and then built a stack of the timbers in the Gunpowder Store just as the clouds began to lightly sprinkle the yard calling a halt to play for the morning.

By the close of play, about a third of a wagon floor was clean and de-rusted, one drawbar was cleaned and painted, innumerable planks were painted and even more sticky finger prints eliminated!

Pictures by John Olsen
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway Museum
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway MuseumSunday, June 2nd, 2019 at 8:20am
Museum working party 30th May 2019

Flushed with last weeks success the Tywyn weather mojo took its eye off the ball this morning and very nearly scored an own goal as grey skies started to drop rain mid-morning, but it rallied and kept us dry enough to continue working on the wagons in the yard. This mornings weather watchers Allan Black, Neal Chapman, Charles Benedetto, Andy Sheffield, David Broadbent, Max Birchenough and John Olsen had a choice of wagons to work on.

Before most of the gang had arrived John knocked the cotter pin out of the remaining draw hook pin on wagon no. 146 so that the hook could be removed, getting the drawbar ready to be cleaned off.

Allan had opened his treasure chest of tools and brought in his hammer drill with a suitable chisel bit so he could finish chipping off the paint under the slats on wagon no. 101, which his drill chisel combo was ideally suited for.

The rest of the gang gathered around the naked frame of no. 146 like so many surgeons round their patient. David made the 'first incision' by using a pair of round files and a rasp to deal with the awkward hole in the frame that didn't quite line up with the hole in the axlebox, patiently abrading away the wood. Neal got all hot and bothered with the hot air gun paint stripper, which had to be wrested from Charles' eager grip before he could get going, while Charles was handed a chisel to scrape away the paint that had proven too tough for the hot air gun last week. John 'excavated' some of the wagon timbers from the piles in the Gunpowder Store that needed their primer paint either applying or topping up; Max wielded sand paper and paint brush to get them up to scratch. Andy was setting out his 'stall' in the yard to paint more of the metal work with Hammerite paint when the rain drops began to fall; fortunately there was enough space for him to set it up anew within the protection of the Gunpowder Store.

The rain dripped steadily through the departure of the 10:30 train and the gang put the power tools back under cover and had their coffee break to let the shower pass over. John brewed up and we all settled into the cafe in the company of two new volunteers, Pete and John, who were interested in the working parties and museum attendant jobs respectively. Ray Brooks our duty attendant and Mary Sheffield joined us for our coffee, tea and chocolate biscuits. Discussion this morning included what the working party got up to for the benefit of Pete, and what role the attendants play for John's benefit. It also emerged that one of our number will be playing hooky next week, taking part in a certain TV challenge programme to build a model railway layout......their identity shall be a closely guarded secret until they hit the small screen.

Post coffee, with the rain departing up the valley we continued with our tasks. Allan moved onto using the angle grinder and wire wheel to clean up part of the wagon floor and then the rusted bolt heads on wagon no. 101 so that Andy could then paint them with Hammerite as he had the tin open.

John cut off yet another rusted nut to allow Max to apply some wood preservative to another plank, now free of stray metal fixings, and then swapped to a wire wheel to clean off the metal work of one of the doors of no. 146 so they could be painted. Finding he had preservative leftover from the planks Max went round the joints of no. 146, working it into them to knock back any lurking rot. David downed his file and donned his stripey shirt and mask to empty the donation boxes into his swag bag ready for counting and paying into the bank; and a mighty fine haul it was too!

Neal continued the filing and announced success, mission accomplished as he put the nut on the bolt that now went through the re-aligned hole and axlebox. His triumph was only marred by an eagle eyed Charles who pointed out that the washer was on the wrong end of the bolt, ahem. This minor error was soon corrected as Neal anointed the nut threads and the bolt with the evil green grease that will help preserve it in the damp days ahead. Charles chiselled off the last stubborn remnants of old paint so that the frame is ready for a fresh new coat next week.

By the close of play the pile of rust under wagon no. 101 had reached its maximum size, the stubborn bolts and old paint of wagon no. 146 succumbed to the abrasive attentions of the gang and progress was made on restoring the metal work and timbers to their former glory; and one more rusty nut bit the dust!

Pictures by John Olsen