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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 MuseumSunday, August 12th, 2018 at 9:52am
Museum Working Party 9th Aug 2018

Another fine and sunny morning popped out of the Tywyn weather mojo's capacious hat as the team assembled for the morning activities. Charles Benedetto, Phil Sayers, Neal Chapman, Winston McCanna and John Olsen started the session with a bit of gentle dismantling (no hammers were used) in the museum to demount the two boards behind the Woolwich Arsenal wagon so that they could be used in conjunction with a loco naming ceremony in the near future.

In order to reach the fixings the 'Can you power William' interactive had to be moved aside, and as luck would have it, its new home had been agreed at a recent Trustees meeting; it now stands against the stairs facing the Guinness loco. After that the 'From mountain to sea' display panel, which had been obscured by the interactive for some months, was moved aside to allow the fixings to be removed and the two panels relating to No. 6 to be taken down. With the panels removed the 'From mountain to sea' display panel was re-affixed in position, now fully visible once more.

It was getting towards coffee time but the gang crossed the tracks to get our other activities underway, first uncovering the L&NWR slate wagon and then wheeling wagon no. 146 out of the Gunpowder Store. Phil got down to painting the pair of end straps whilst Charles wielded the wire wheel cleaning up a third strap. Neal inspected the gleaming grey of the slate wagon floor and deemed it prudent to let the 10:30 service train leave and then clean the surface to remove post departure smuts prior to applying the first coat of bitumenous paint.

I think most of Tywyn knew about it when the 10:30 was about to move, such was the drivers enthusiasm for using the whistle, and we duly waved off its happy load of passengers before wending our way to the platform where Ann McCanna and duty attendant Ray brooks awaited with fresh coffee, biscuits and banter.

Our sunny sojourn completed we returned to our labours where Winston took up the hot air paint stripper gun and began coaxing the flaky old paint off of no. 146 timbers. Charles bashed and scraped more rust off, while Neal expertly put new paint on. John set more sparks flying as he worked on the east end of no. 146 to remove the corner angle metalwork, a slow noisy and rather mucky business!

By the end of play Neal had painted the floor and edges of the L&NWR slate wagon, Phil had anointed three sides of two straps and Charles had cleaned four sides of one, very pitted, strap as well as knocked a lot of loose rust off the west end corner metalwork of no. 146. Winston had stripped two more timbers to add to our growing pile awaiting sanding and John had removed another bunch of stubborn nuts with cutting disc, hammer, chisel and spanner.

Text and Photos by John Olsen. Working parties continue every Thursday morning, all welcome.
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway Museum
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway MuseumFriday, August 3rd, 2018 at 3:04pm
Museum working party 2nd Aug 2018

These reports can be a bit like buses, the last one was very late, followed by this one straight away!

The Tywyn weather mojo was being very lazy this morning, it had a lie in until 10:30, allowing mist and fine soaking rain to blanket Wharf Station yard. The gang turned up regardless but Winston McCanna, Phil Sayers, Charles Benedetto and John Olsen had to admit defeat to the weather when it came to wagon maintenance, it was just too wet. But every cloud has a silver lining and this morning the museum benefited from the many spare hands as the team got to work on glass and exhibits removing the sticky finger marks and dust that inevitably accumulate during the season.

By the time Ann McCanna had brewed up the morning coffee there were signs of improvement in the weather but it wasn't warm enough to sit outside, so we joined duty attendant David Broadbent in the cafe for our chocolate and caffeine fix.

The cloudbase had lifted by the end of our break but it remained very humid and overcast so the painting jobs were postponed for better weather, allowing Winston and Phil to continue their cleaning operations while Charles and John went across the tracks to make a mess.

Wagon no. 146 was wheeled outside so that John could continue to attack the rusted on nuts and Charles went to work on the end straps of no. 146 with the wire wheel, removing old paint and rust in near equal measure. There were two cessations in the grinding and cleaning to wave off trains loaded with plenty of passengers despite the continuing grey skies.

By the close of play the museum's glass was much cleaner and the locos were once again shining for our visitors. Over the yard two more straps were now clean and ready for painting and wagon no. 146 had become a hatchback; the removal of the two angle irons on the west end allowing all of the west end timbers to be demounted ready for paint stripping. Oh, and there were two more piles of rust on the ground....

Report and photos by John Olsen.

Working parties continue every Thursday, whatever the weather.
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway Museum
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway MuseumThursday, August 2nd, 2018 at 11:07am
Museum working party 26th July 2018

The sun was shining out of a clear blue sky, there was a gentle warm breeze blowing, so what do you do? Hit the beach ? No you crack on with heritage wagon maintenance! Our team of tanned fettlers, Neal Chapman, David Broadbent, Phil Sayers, Andy Sheffield and John Olsen were in the yard as Teddy Bears roamed free on the Talyllyn Railway for the annual Teddybear picnic in Dolgoch woods. John made an early start by cleaning the big vertical rising door and platform entrance door before the first train made its appearance, and promptly deposited another thin layer of soot on the gleaming glazing...

On the 'wrong side' of the tracks wagon no. 146, still in its drophead guise, was wheeled out of the Gunpowder Store and the cover came off the L&NWR slate wagon so that work could commence.
David opted to remove paint rather than put it back on so he was handed the angle grinder fitted with the wire wheel and presented with two big rusty steel straps from the west end of no. 146 that John had removed during the week. Andy also stayed on his paint removal mission with the hot air gun, scraping off the paint from no. 146's doors.

Phil bucked this removal trend by taking up his trusty black paint brush and applying copious black Hammerite to the bobbins from wagon no. 136, building up the layers necessary to see off the unkind elements of Tywyn's weather that will return once our exceptional summer ends.
Neal had hand crafted letter A's from antipodean V's and an I so that he was ready to apply the letters to the rear of the Welsh museum open sign to announce AMGUEDDFA'N AGORED to all those native speakers coming over the Neptune Road rail bridge, and passing on Arriva trains.
Charles got the short straw, or should that be bristle, as he arrived a little after the rest of us, but was happy enough to apply a grey topcoat to the primed surface of the L&NWR slate wagon out in the warm sunshine.

John got on with the business of removing rusty nuts with the angle grinder and cutting disc, sending sparks flying before applying a bit of strictly measured violence with hammer and chisel to free off the remnants so that they could be removed with a spanner.

Ann and Winston were away from Tywyn so Barbara, our duty attendant, and John brewed up the coffees to serve after the 10:30 train had been waved off up the line, packed with bears and their keepers, of all shapes and sizes. This morning we not only had the chocolate biscuit selection that Barbara had brought in earlier in the month but also the first of Kes' 'thank you biscuits' and to top the lot an Austrian delicacy known as Mozart Balls, well I think that was what Barbara said. These chocolate covered confections were as tasty and moreish as the maestro's music and we lingered long over our morning caffeine. Long enough to be introduced to a psychedelic parrot attached to David Ventry, which may not have been very ursine in nature, but certainly entertained the young passengers on the second train of the day.

Refreshed we returned to our shady work spot and continued painting, or de-painting with either heat or abrasive, and metal mangling. By the close of play our bilingual signs were up to date, crisp and even in the sun, fresh grey paint gleamed and fresh black Hammerite shone, whilst shiny steel appeared from under the rust and the pile of old scrap nuts and bolts grew significantly, as Andy added to John's contribution with more from the dismantled the door that he had been stripping.

Text by John Olsen. Apologies for the late publication; your publisher has been away. Working parties continue every Thursday morning.
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway Museum
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway MuseumWednesday, July 25th, 2018 at 3:34pm
Museum working party 19th July 2018

Early cloud dispersed to another bright warm morning in Tywyn's extraordinary summer. On hand to make the most of the dry conditions were Phil Sayers, Andy Sheffield, Charles Benedetto, Neal Chapman and John Olsen, who were joined today by Martyn Hall who had a day free to spend on the railway.

With so many hands available wagon no. 146, currently a cabriolet, was wheeled out of the Gunpowder Store and the protective cover was removed from the L&NWR slate wagon to get work started. Martyn took on the task of cleaning away the dust and debris of last weeks wire wheeling before giving the wagon floor a thorough clean with white spirit prior to painting. Phil was first out of the stocks with his trusty paint brush applying further coats of Hammerite to the roof strips from wagon no. 146.

Andy got 'warmed up' with the hot air paint stripping gun inside the Gunpowder Store, removing more of the old peeling paint from the doors of wagon no. 146. Neal had asked last week whether we were going to prepare a Welsh version of the 'museum open' on the reverse face of the second big board.... so you can guess what John handed to him this bright morning, a brown paper bag full of stick on letters. Just to make it more interesting, as if Welsh wasn't challenging enough, the shop hadn't any letter A's in stock so that Neal would have to fabricate them from upside down V's and bits of I; his joy knew no bounds.

Charles was presented with a 12mm spanner, no not some arcane award for long service, but the size of spanner necessary to extract the very rusted in bolts holding one set of door hinges in place on no. 146. John then noticed a certain lack of equipment, he'd left his angle grinder and metal cutting discs at home, DOHH! So he set off to retrieve them returning in time to savage another rusty nut before everyone downed tools to wave the 10:30 service out.

With Ann and Winston unable to join us John and Martyn beetled off to the Guards room to brew up the morning coffees, and one tea, which they served out on the platform. Our duty attendant David Broadbent brought the biscuits down from the museum and we proceeded to chat and munch about whatever took our fancy. Our next coffee time will be enhanced by the selection of biscuits that Kes presented us with as a thank you for playing host to the visiting model steam engines over the Garden Railway Gala weekend, book your place at the table now.

Back over the tracks, Martyn now wielded a paint brush, carefully working the special acid etch primer into the rough surface of the slate wagon base making sure to get 100% coverage. Phil was presented with a set of bobbins and cross tie bars from wagon no. 136 to keep him gainfully employed as the roof strips dried in the warm sunshine, whilst Andy continued removing old paint just a few yards away.

Charles had wrestled the last of the rusty bolts out and cleaned out the holes so he now moved onto removing the old paint from the hinges themselves with the wire wheel fitted angle grinder, revealing that the hinges were in very good condition thanks to the fact that they were old style 'hot dipped' galvanised. John continued his patient cutting and then unscrewing the old nuts, adding to the pile of sad and mangled metal that has come off the east and west ends of no. 146, but there are plenty still to remove.

By the end of play the L&NWR slate wagon had a fresh coat of primer on its floor and was covered over to allow it to cure without being drenched by the forecast rain. Phil’s black bits made an impressive array in the sun before being carefully transferred into the Gunpowder Store along with the newly stripped doors. Wagon no. 146 was wheeled back inside looking remarkably untouched but in fact now lacking all its door hinges and most of it nuts on the western end. The Welsh version of the museum sign was laid out but Neal decided not to rush the fabrication of the letter A's and took the components home with him to make a neat job of it, so fear not there will be a Welsh version on display soon.

Photos and text by John Olsen. Working parties continue every Thursday morning, all welcome.
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway Museum
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway MuseumSunday, July 15th, 2018 at 8:26am
Museum working party July 12th 2018

The morning started quite heavily overcast, something of a novelty in the current heatwave, but nice and cool. With Andy Sheffield, Neal Chapman, Phil Sayers, Charles Benedetto and John Olsen on hand the cover came off the L&NWR slate wagon and the now roofless wagon no. 146 was wheeled outside for further attention.

Also receiving some alterations was the English museum open panel; it had been suggested that the blank back of this could be used to attract potential visitors to the museum, as they crossed the bridge on the way to the trains, if 'MUSEUM OPEN' was displayed in large type on the reverse face. Neal was tasked with turning a bunch of stick on letters into a notice worthy of a sign writer, cue much measuring and laying out of letters.

Charles foolishly volunteered to 'finish off the floor' of the L&NWR wagon and was handed the angle grinder with wire wheel attached so that he could attack the last patch of old paint and rust.
Phil was given the three roof strips from no. 146, now labelled with neat punched copper tags attached with cable ties, and let loose with his trusty paint brush.

Andy took up the experiment challenge, would the old paint on wagon no. 146 succumb to the hot blast of a heat gun and a scraper?

John? Well he got out the angle grinder again and began removing more of the remaining rusted on nuts on no. 146; sparks flew as cutting wheel and nuts fought it out and the pile of mangled nuts began to grow.

We were happy to cease our activities to rest hands, ears and legs as the 10:30 train pulled out pretty much full to capacity with happy visitors; cue much waving.

Our morning coffee was brewed by John as Ann and Winston could not be with us and we were joined by duty attendant Ray Brooks and biscuit bearer Barbara Tinsley, carrying another mouth watering selection of chocolate covered goodies. We were barely two sips in when Mary Sheffield appeared with a somewhat superior cafe brewed coffee and joined us in the sunshine.

The Victorian train came and went, but we happily chatted on until we were challenged to finish off the first portion of biscuits; once round the table and there was nowt but crumbs in the tray.

Suitably refreshed we returned to our tasks and cracked on with renewed vigour so that by the end of play the English museum signs now proclaims it to be open of both faces; there will be a Welsh equivalent as Noel Williams has supplied a correct translation. The roof strips were all painted and indeed thanks to the warm sunshine some sides had received their second coat of Hammerite. Charles declared the wagon floor 'done', and by jove he'd done it, ready for the primer next week. Andy had not only scraped away the topcoat of paint but also managed to loosen off almost all the rusty nuts ready for the door panel to be disassembled and repainted. John removed the last nuts from the upright straps on wagon no. 146, leaving only all the other nuts holding the four corner pieces in place; that pile of rusty nuts is going to get much bigger!

Text and photos by John Olsen. Working parties continue every Thursday morning. New volunteers always welcome.
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway Museum
News from The Narrow Gauge Railway MuseumMonday, July 9th, 2018 at 10:14am
Railway Experience Day 7th July

The annual railway experience day held in conjunction with North Ings Farm Museum saw 12 participants aged from 10 to 15 years old take part, including driving our Simplex "Penelope". A hot, but very enjoyable day.