Sandstone Heritage Trust - Rail News

RN 71 - Work progresses on the Welsh Highland Railway Brake Van – July 2005

Well we nearly got the steelwork finished!
Sunday 10 July 2005
Saw Derek Ingram, John Hine and myself set about the remaining steelwork. John and Derek drilled the holes in the new Caernarfon end angles that had
already been marked out on a previous visit. While I set about removing the last few piece of plate from the frame, an all day task as it turned out. By
the end of the day we had hung the two new corner pieces and painted a little bit more of the steel deck to add some protection to the de scaled sheets.
Monday July 11 2005
Turned out to be probably the hottest day at Dinas I can remember in my four years volunteering. To such an extent that both Derek and I had to stop
until the shade from the carriage shed roof and that of the brake van gave some relief. It must have been 30 deg C and no wind at all, still progress was
made as the day wore on. The last of the old plates were removed except for a few fiddly pieces and the two large sections were cut and trimmed ready
for welding. In the mid afternoon Emlyn from the Permanent Way (our Welder) came after he had finished work to weld the two angles required to support the new access hatch to the vacuum cylinder.
Tuesday July 12 2005
Although not as hot as Monday it still required a delayed start outside. The access hatch was cut and trimmed, the new plates were painted and a hole was cut in the Caernarfon end plate to accept the vacuum pipe for the vacuum brake. A start was made on the few fiddly bits that had to be cut but time got the better of us.
Wednesday July 13 2005
Turned out to be a disaster from the start. (Lesson No. 1, When you tell yourself not to attempt cutting a fiddly shape in one piece when you know itwould be best to make it out of three pieces - LISTEN TO YOURSELF!!!!!)

Luckily I had enough steel plate to re cut the offending pieces much to my annoyance. Time was short, as I had to be back in Birmingham by 6 pm and I was also running out of 4 1/2 " cutting discs, so far I have used over 130 of these discs since setting out on removing the rotten floor. All pieces were fitted ready for welding over the next week by Emlyn. All plates painted for protection before we left for home.

RN_71_04 RN_71_05 RN_71_06

What did not get done was:
1/ We required one more sheet of floor plate to fill the obvious hole over one of the Bogies
2/ We did not even start the fabrication of the high arched piece for the Port End.

Apart from the two items above I still need to find some 8mm 2" x 2 1/2" angle to replace the missing side angles. Once these are fitted that will be the steelwork completed and an end to an ordeal.

The next chapter has already begun but for now there is now an enforced gap until late September School Holidays and time with my boys. In the meantime some small metalwork parts have come home with me as a homework project and so have the lower parts of the guard doors which need to be replaced and a volunteer has been enlisted to take this on. Pricing is currently being sought on having the new panels cut and rebated off site by a local joinery firm to speed up its completion in Oct and Nov.

Marcus Ingram
18 July 2005