Work In Progess archive page 1 (April - November 2018)


Includes, at the start, some earlier one-off and departmental reports.

Ferry Van Repaint


The Ferry Van ready to have its roof painted, though still with lots more prep to do on the sides.
Photographer: Paul Martin
Date taken: 21/07/2012



Jon and Geoff paint the Ferry Van roof. No, we didn't do the whole job with a 2 inch brush.
Photographer: Paul Martin
Date taken: 21/07/2012



The Ferry Van roof repainted.
Photographer: Paul Martin
Date taken: 21/07/2012



Paul and Geoff preparing the platform side.
Photographer: Jon Kelsey
Date taken: 11/08/2012



Paul finishing off the red oxide primer on the platform side.
Photographer: Jon Kelsey
Date taken: 11/08/2012



One side in primer and at last it's starting to look better, though we're beginning to regret removing the grills and moss and exposing those horrible bus windows.
Photographer: Paul Martin
Date taken: 11/08/2012



Undercoat finished on the non-platform side. Possibly a vegetation clearance day is imminent.
Photographer: Paul Martin
Date taken: 01/09/2012



John was on hand to show the rest of the group how to paint properly.
Photographer: Paul Martin
Date taken: 01/09/2012



Top coat finished on the platform side, unfortunately not seen at its best in the late afternoon shade. The colour is an early BR bauxite - though not necessarily authentic for this vehicle it looks the part.
Photographer: Paul Martin
Date taken: 01/09/2012



We just had time to finish one of the black ends.
Photographer: Paul Martin
Date taken: 01/09/2012



John, Geoff and Jon applying the finishing touches.
Photographer: Paul Martin
Date taken: 15/09/2012



Paul added 'go-faster' stripes to the join between sides and top. The smart roof of the repainted Ferry Van highlights the need to paint the GUV roof. Note also the SR mk17 nest box on the end of the GUV.
Photographer: Paul Martin
Date taken: 15/09/2012



2014


After sterling service throughout the 2014 season, time has caught up with our DEMU 1132 "Thumper" (or class 205 205032) and it has been retired for a while for a programme of mechanical and body work.

1132 at Bow during the 'Not The Last Thump' event
Photographer: Peter Chapman
Date taken: 28/09/2014



Meanwhile our class 08 shunter 08937 is being repainted, and now sports its pre-TOPS number D4167 on both sides. It sees regular service on engineering trains.

The engineering train pauses at Okehampton with a load of rails for Meldon
Photographer: Paul Martin
Date taken: 25/09/2014



It's acquired an Exmouth Junction shedplate - not strictly authentic but appropriate to a locomotive based at Okehampton.

72A shed plate was Exmouth Junction, of which Okehampton shed was an outpost
Photographer: Dan Roche
Date taken: 21/06/2014


2013


Both coaches of our resident Class 205 Diesel Electric Multiple Unit (otherwise known as "Thumper") have been turned to equalise wheel wear. This was accomplished by using a low loader.

1132 & 61743 at Okehampton
Photographer: Peter Chapman
Date taken: 13/04/2013


1132 on Low Loader at Meldon
Photographer: Julian Pope
Date taken: 04/04/2013



47 375 worked the Polar Express services with 31 452.

47 375 Okehampton
Photographer: Dave Clegg



Our "Thumper" DEMU 1132 is undergoing repair at the present, and we hope it will be able to re-enter service at Easter 2013.

Photographer: Phil Wagstaff
Date taken: 07/04/2012



Our resident 08, now has numbers.

Date taken: 11/06/2011




Photographer: Paul Martin, John Caesar, John Caesar, Paul Martin


The Station Maintenance Team is responsible for the three Dartmoor Railway stations at Okehampton, Meldon Viaduct and Sampford Courtenay, though in practice most of our time is spent at Okehampton. There is a work session most Saturdays apart from the depths of winter, though not everyone comes to every session. We have 7 regular members, and would welcome more. The SMT is a friendly group and the pace of work is usually pretty relaxed.

Many of the jobs are straightforward buildings repair and maintenance tasks, to which we bring nothing more sophisticated than the usual DIY skills and a bit of ingenuity. We also do some vegetation clearance, and are gradually re-painting the railway vehicles which reside permanently at Okehampton.

For variety, we turn out to help when the railway has events like railtour visits or classic car rallies. One of the SMT members (John Caesar) has taken on the role of museum curator, and several of us wrote the various information sheets to be found around the railway (also available in PDF form from here).

For more details about the SMT, have a chat with one of us when we're in action, send an email to volunteering@dartmoor-railway-sa.org or contact the DRSA Volunteer Coordinator Geoffrey Horner (01363 82383). Volunteers are required to be members of DRSA which also brings entitlement to a number of benefits including discounts and a regular magazine.


Simon Jeffery


As well as the regular members of the team, there is also a 'secret' member, Simon Jeffery, who works from home restoring items of station equipment. Simon doesn't get enough credit for his efforts, so we've provided a small photo gallery to display his work.


The following reports give a flavour of the SMT's activities and should calm any fears about the technical ability required:


Station Maintenance November 22nd 2014


The Station Maintenance team's annual migration to Meldon for the Polar Express season took place today. We took some Okehampton station signs with us for painting, and also did some work on blue and grey 4-CEP DMSO no. 61743, which is currently in the workshop for a refresh. We're grateful to John Coxon and Geoff Horner from the C&W team who turned out to sort out the access and show us the ropes, as well as ensuring we didn't muck anything up.


Station Maintenance September 27th 2014


On the final weekend of operations in 2014, the SMT team, supplemented by a couple of C&W members, gave 1132 a bit of a wash in between services, so that it looked its best for the Not the Last Thump celebration. 1132 now won't be seen in service again until some urgent mechanical and bodywork repairs have been carried out.

Mark Williams sprucing up 1132 for its grand finale, watched by the rest of the team.
Photographer: Paul Martin
Date taken: 27/09/2014




Station Maintenance August 2014


Given the unavailability of some team members for a selection of reasons, the Station Maintenance team achieved a lot in August.

The main job has been the footbridge and we have taken the first tentative steps to replacing rotting timber. John Coxon has made a very convincing replica of the original window frame surround using the router which was donated many years ago from the late Mike Wroe's tool collection. Until now none of us was brave enough or had the confidence to use it. As part of the job he also cut and fitted a replacement section to the main framework timber. This is in a quite heavy section but vital to the integrity of the wooden upper framework.

Geoff Brooks has also been busy repainting the footbridge (and occasionally some of its users). So far the repaint has been mainly the green inner areas and some of the outside that can be accessed relatively easily. We have been trying to source suitable fittings to fix the handrails. The footbridge is our Forth Bridge, and will take some time.

Dan Roche is gradually repainting the vegetation clearance train! 08937/D4167 is largely finished, and three sides are done on DB390133, the ZKV Zander open ballast wagon. This is really a C&W/Traction project, but as the initiative came from SMT we're claiming the credit.

Otherwise we've been fitting door locks on the station flat door, trying to resolve sundry station electrical problems that appear at random, diagnosing broken gas boilers, dealing with the slipping ticket office skylight glass and cutting back vegetation to find and reveal track components and pointwork for the trackwork extension of the platform 2 road.


Station Maintenance July 12th 2014


The drizzle more or less stayed away long enough for Geoff Brooks, John Caesar and Dan Roche to get some painting done. John and Geoff made progress with footbridge, running in board and a station bench, whilst Dan pushed on with the 08937 repaint. Apart from the image below, there are some of Dan's photos of the current state of 08937 in the 08937 repaint gallery. It's nearly finished.


Geoff Brooks painting the bench and Dan Roche painting 08937
Photographer: John Caesar
Date taken: 12/07/2014




Station Maintenance June 21st 2014


Dan Roche and Tom Baxter carried on the 08937 repaint, including fitting a 72A shed plate. Well, Okehampton shed was an outpost of Exmouth Junction.

We've also received a number of replica bridge plates from Simon Jeffery. See latest photo in Simon's own photo gallery. Photo caption identifies bridge numbers.

Station Maintenance June 7th 2014


Geoff Brooks, John Caesar, Dan Roche and Paul Martin turned out, and carried on with the Okehampton footbridge paintwork, and 08937's bodywork.

Station Maintenance May 3rd/4th 2014


Dan, Tom and John Coxon turned out on the Saturday, and did the usual miscellany of jobs around Okehampton station. JC made a new notice board for Meldon. The presence of 08 937 in platform 2 was a red rag to a bull, and some panel beating and painting ensued. Tom is ordering striped paint for the ends. Some photos in the 08937 repaint gallery.

On the Sunday Geoff Horner, Tom and Jon manned the Meldon 'Information Centre', with slightly disappointing results, probably a consequence of a quiet day on the railway. We're hoping it will get busier when the Sunday Rover starts on May 25th. It's looking fairly presentable now, with plenty of DRSA and Meldon display material, some interesting railway bits, several of the information handouts, Pony magazines for sale, and secondhand books and magazines. (The secondhand books include quite a lot of bus books).

Meldon Information Centre
Photographer: Jon Kelsey
Date taken: 04/05/2014



Meldon display room April 21st 2014


Simon Jeffery delivered his most recent restoration job, a ground disc shunting signal and lever. We have put them on view in the temporary DRSA display at Meldon. At some point in the near future we will install them more permanently with the signal and lever connected, so the whole assembly can be seen working. We may even light up the signal lamp once we have assessed the fire safety issues. Photos of the signal can be seen in Simon's own photo gallery. A couple of general shots of the display room are shown below.

The temporary DRSA display in the Meldon compressor house being vacated by the model railway group.
Photographer: Jon Kelsey
Date taken: 21/04/2014



Mike Ellis's model of Meldon viaduct
Photographer: Jon Kelsey
Date taken: 21/04/2014



Okehampton station maintenance February 1st 2014


An unfavourable weather forecast didn't deter Mark Williams, Geoff Brooks, Dan Roche and Tom Baxter from turning out for a typical Saturday of SMT miscellany. Part of the old iron guttering on the platform 2 stairway of the footbridge had become corroded, and needed to be replaced with modern plastic, with silicon assistance. The buckeye couplers on the GUV were freed up, and a new lifting technique developed using gorilla bars, in preparation for use as a training aid for DR guards. We repatriated some of the station luggage which had been evacuated to the concrete building during the PE period for its own protection. And the resourceful Mr Williams shifted 'something' to unbung the blocked drain for the canopy downpipe at the Exeter end of platform 3. Who says station maintenance isn't exciting? Eat your heart out, Bluebell Railway..

The corroded old piece of footbridge guttering (left), and its replacement in place (right).
Photographer: Tom Baxter (both)
Date taken: 01/02/2014



Okehampton station maintenance October 12th 2013


Most of the team turned out today to work on the less than pristine concrete building on the Meldon side of the bridge at Okehampton station. As a result it's now a bit more weatherproof and secure, and vegetation clearance has made it more visible.

Okehampton station maintenance September 14th 2013


Life in the station maintenance team is nothing if not varied, and today was spent in support of this year's Polar Express initiative, shifting the contents of the Ferry Van to a secret location, so that the van can be used as a store for PE equipment.

Okehampton station maintenance August 31st 2013


Back to more typical duties this weekend as we attacked the vegetation at both ends of Okehampton station, in preparation for the visit of Braunton later in September. Brooks, Roche, Baxter and Kelsey were joined by Andrew Turner slumming it for the day. Dan Roche was the youngest in the group by a number of decades, and it showed.

Dan Roche, Geoff Brooks and Andrew Turner attacking the undergrowth south of Okehampton station.
Photographer: Jon Kelsey
Date taken: 31/08/2013



Okehampton station maintenance August 17th 2013


'Station Maintenance' seems increasingly to be a misnomer. These days we're just the 'Saturday' group, which turns up and does whatever is necessary. Following reports from the previous weekend of rain leaking into the 08 cab, the team (Brooks, Roche, Baxter and Kelsey) sealed up the suspect areas then gave the worst part of the cab ceiling a quick coat of grey. (Yes, grey, this isn't a typo for green. We've got another colour). Dan Roche also made further progress welding up the end panel frame of the LMS brake van, while Geoff Brooks and Jon Kelsey prepared the Mike Wroe bench on platform 2 for repainting.

Okehampton station maintenance August 3rd 2013


Once again we didn't do too much station maintenance, apart from a little gardening around the car park. Most of the day was taken up with the LMS brake van. Geoff Brookes, John Caesar and Jon Kelsey put a coat of grey undercoat on all the timber which isn't due for replacement, to make it look a bit more respectable for the August Sunday charters. Meanwhile Dan Roche welded in new metal to replace corroded sections of the endplate frame.

The rusty side of 08937 was a rather forlorn sight for visitors arriving at the platform 2 gate, so to fill the last half an hour we scraped off the worst of the rust and loose paint. The heavens opened just as we put a coat of primer on the bare metal, but it's now green and grey rather than green and brown, and it looks as if someone cares. Pictures of this in the 08937 repaint gallery.

Okehampton station maintenance July 13th 2013


Only Dan Roche and Tom Baxter were prepared to brave the hottest day of the heatwave, continuing to prepare the brakevan for painting. Unfortunately they discovered that some of the rotting wood was attached to rotting metal.

Okehampton station maintenance July 6th 2013


After a couple of recent Saturdays with small groups doing odds and ends, the whole team turned out for something a bit different, the repaint of the DRSA's 1944-built LMS 20ton brake van 731411. Currently it lives at platform 2 following its use on the PLEG charter in June. The plan was to give the van a quick makeover, but we had to revise our ideas when we had a close look at the condition of some of the woodwork.

A break to cool off during the work on the brake van.
Photographer: John Caesar
Date taken: 06/07/2013



Okehampton station maintenance June 1st 2013


Thanks to Tom Baxter for the following in JK's absence:

Five SMT members spent the day doing an assortment of jobs around the station. John Coxon and Geoff Brooks continued with their 'Planter Production Line' turning out a further two large planters.

John Caesar made further progress with the Museum and we discussed options to house the uniform display. He also relocated an outside heritage photo sign showing the turntable and loco shed view from the end of the up platform. This is now on the platform fence in almost the same position from which it must have been taken in 1964.

Mark Williams took on the tedious but necessary chore of weeding Platform 2 and cleaning the fence. He adopted the somewhat unique technique of using a paint roller handle as his 'weeding tool'. Amazingly, it appeared to work rather well and the platform is weed free for the moment.

Tom Baxter plumbed the depths, removing the gulley drain covers on platform 3 and cleaning out a length at the far end.

During the day we were also very pleased to meet up and chat with Joe and Jenn who are keen to volunteer and came along to see what we do. Hopefully they were not too horrified and we'll see them back on a future working party.

During the day we actually saw a moving train as 47375 came back from Meldon after stabling the Polar Express stock. It will be leaving us on Monday to return to its owners in Burton upon Trent.

Tom Baxter attaching a photo of the old turntable and loco shed to the fence at the end of the up platform. This must be very close to where the photo was originally taken from.
Photographer: John Caesar
Date taken: 01/06/2013



Okehampton station maintenance April 27th 2013


We found yet another day's worth of odds and ends to do around the station. Mark Williams did more brickwork, John Caesar had lots to do around the museum, Geoff Brooks, Paul Martin and Jon Kelsey found plenty of green paintwork to refurbish, and Tom Baxter did more of whatever it is he usually does.

Tom Baxter trying to build a big hose from lots of little ones, while Mark Williams does something with a bucket. What does it all mean?
Photographer: Paul Martin
Date taken: 27/04/2013



Okehampton station maintenance April 13th 2013


Paul Martin and John Caesar finished the museum refurbishment, so at last we can get on with updating the displays. Meanwhile, Geoff Brooks and John Coxon built the first of a batch of new planters for the station horticultural display. Producing the first one took the whole day and an entire box of screws. Just another 10 to go...

Geoff Brooks and John Coxon hard at it building the prototype planter.
Photographer: Paul Martin
Date taken: 13/04/2013



Entertainment was provided by Thumper and the class 47 running in order for the sound to be recorded for use with models. If you acquire a Bachmann class 47 model, listen carefully and you'll hear John Coxon's electric saw.

With no barbecue, sausages had to be cooked on the class 47 exhaust.
Photographer: John Caesar
Date taken: 13/04/2013



Okehampton station maintenance April 6th 2013


The sun shone on a variety of activities today. Geoff Brooks refreshed most of the green paintwork on Platform 2. Mark Williams and Dan Roche finished repointing the paintstore brickwork, and then (gulp) made a start on the Platform 3 end of the footbridge. The rest of us pushed on with the museum, finishing off the paintwork and putting up some temporary exhibits.

Daniel Roche (l) and Mark Williams re-pointing the brickwork of Okehampton footbridge
Photographer: Paul Martin
Date taken: 06/04/2013



2 views of the refurbished Okehampton museum nearing completion
Photographer: Paul Martin
Date taken: 06/04/2013



Okehampton station maintenance March 23rd 2013


Mark Williams continued replacing daylight with mortar between the bricks of the paintstore, while the rest of us pressed on with the museum. The display boards sourced by Geoff Brooks have started to arrive, and with 3 of them hung and the new paintwork the museum room is starting to look quite smart. John Caesar's efforts have resulted in a grant from the council which is funding the refurbishment and the acquisition of new exhibits.

We all got a boost in the afternoon seeing and hearing Thumper arrive at Okehampton after a winter languishing at Meldon with electrical problems, and we piled in to clean it in readiness for services the following day.

Thumper returns!
Photographer: Jon Kelsey
Date taken: 23/03/2013



Okehampton station maintenance March 9th 2013


A smaller team this week. Tom Baxter and Geoff Brooks put a top coat on the platform 2 canopy which was undercoated last week, then attended to various incoming and outgoing water leaks. Meanwhile Mark Williams repointed the platform 3 paintstore, clearly getting in practice for tackling the footbridge. Horticultural supremo Sue Baxter did essential maintenance on Okehampton station's floral display.

Tom Baxter (l) and Geoff Brooks paint the Okehampton platform 2 canopy.
Photographer: Sue Baxter
Date taken: 09/03/2013


Mark Williams at work on the brickwork of the paintstore on Okehampton platform 3.
Photographer: Tom Baxter
Date taken: 09/03/2013


Sue Baxter preparing compost for the planters and hanging baskets on Okehampton station.
Photographer: Tom Baxter
Date taken: 09/03/2013




Sampford Courtenay station maintenance March 2nd 2013


Members of the Station Maintenance Team gave Sampford Courtenay station a freshen up ready for the start of the operating season. Weeds, brambles and, as always, buddleias have been cut down and the flower boxes weeded. The signs, fence posts and gates were given a thorough clean to rid them of the mould which had formed after all the wet of last summer and winter. When the weather takes a turn for the better all the woodwork will be given a fresh coat of paint but meanwhile the station now has a more welcoming look about it. As can be seen from the photos all the work was carried out under the supervision of Rosie!

Keeping brambles at bay on the up platform at Sampford Courtenay.
Photographer: Sue Baxter
Date taken: 02/03/2013


Sue Baxter prepares the platform gate for painting.
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 02/03/2013


The up platform at has been strimmed and the gate is nearly clean ready for painting. The remains of the down platform shelter are visible beyond.
Photographer: Sue Baxter
Date taken: 02/03/2013


Rosie puts on a 'hang dog' expression to get George Ware's lunch, having already blagged Geoff Horner's.
Photographer: Sue Baxter
Date taken: 02/03/2013



Okehampton station maintenance March 2nd 2013


The new policy of weekly work parties appears to be to everyone's advantage, as we'd hoped. Most volunteers seem to want to work at least 2 weeks in every 3, so the railway is getting more work done, whilst the volunteers are able to pick and choose the days which are most convenient to them. All but one of the team turned out to do yet another session of odds and ends. The museum room walls and floor were repainted and a new door lock fitted, improvements were made to the visibility of trip hazards at the front of the station, and the platform 2 canopy got a coat of paint (taking advantage of the presence of the Polar Express stock to stand on).

The intrepid Geoff Brooks painting the Okehampton Platform 2 canopy.
Photographer: Paul Martin
Date taken: 02/03/2013


Work in progress Feb 23rd 2013


With a group of 7 now, plus frequent help from C&W team members, we've started working every Saturday, to provide more flexibility both to the railway and to team members. Today's plan was going to be helping C&W put a coat of paint on the Rocket generator coach whilst it's stabled at Okehampton, but the bitter cold put paid to that plan; we were OK but the paint wasn't. Instead we continued yet more mundane but essential pre-season and post-Polar Express tasks. Dan and Geoff finished refurbishing the outdoor buffet tables, and we made more progress on the Museum room. Tom provided an authoritative briefing on Mk2 coach plumbing, which we won't forget in a hurry.

Work in progress Feb 16th 2013


Another day of essential but unexciting odds and ends of jobs, including more work on the Museum room, and some Polar Express and Valentine train aftermath. The best news was the appearance of a new team member, the suitably initialled Dan Roche from Ilfracombe, who seemed to survive the experience unscathed and hopefully will become a regular.

Dan Roche (l) and John Caesar painting the museum room.
Photographer: Paul Martin
Date taken: 16/02/2013



Work in progress Feb 9th 2013


This session was additional to the usual SMG fortnightly schedule. The purpose was to help prepare the stock for next week's Valentines Day dining train (February seems to be very early this year!). We spent the day sprucing up and doing minor repairs to 2 FOs, the BSO and the RFB from the Polar Express rake. Let's hope this new initiative is a success.

Work in progress Feb 2nd 2013


A hard day's work by the full team minus 1 got some useful pre-season tasks done though there seemed to be frustratingly little to show for it, and certainly nothing worth photographing. At least the sun was shining. Progress was made on the museum refurbishment, a start was made on sprucing up the outdoor buffet tables, and various things which had fallen off / come undone / become blocked were sorted. Five non-bricklayers had a serious discussion about the complexities of repairing the Okehampton footbridge brickwork.

Work in progress January 5th 2013


Still unable to do anything useful at Okehampton, we had another day at Meldon helping out Geoff Horner and John Coxon. We almost finished undercoating the roof of Lab 11.

Messrs Martin, Baxter, Williams and Brooks undercoating the roof of Lab 11.
Photographer: Jon Kelsey
Date taken: 05/01/2013



Work in progress December 22nd 2012


With both Polar Express and the appalling weather continuing we had what is probably our last session at Meldon, aiding and abetting the C&W team (represented by Geoff Horner and John Coxon) working on Lab 11, which is now close to its first coat of primer.

Work in progress December 8th 2012


Polar Express currently precludes any serious station maintenance work at Okehampton, so we had another day out at Meldon, continuing the preparation of Lab 11 for painting. We're grateful to Dave Clegg from the C&W team for trekking up from Dawlish, bad back and all, to make sure we didn't do too much damage.

Lab 11 in the Meldon workshop, showing the current state of preparation and some of the many colours it has carried in service.
Photographer: Jon Kelsey
Date taken: 08/12/2012



Work in progress November 24th 2012


In view of the appalling weather which prevented any outdoor work, the SMT had a day out at Meldon working on the DRSA's Lab 11 Mk 1 brake generator coach. It made a welcome change. John Coxon and Dave Clegg from the C&W team were on hand to ensure we didn't muck anything up.

l to r: Kelsey, Williams, Baxter and Caesar hard at work sanding Lab 11
Photographer: Paul Martin
Date taken: 26/11/2012



Work in progress November 10th 2012


After a flatout effort, not to mention one or two shortcuts, we broke the back of the buffet repaint, leaving poor Tom and Sue Baxter to come back on Sunday to do the last odds and ends then tidy up and put all the stuff back in place. Everyone was working too hard to take any pictures - has anyone got an 'after' picture we can use?

A much larger job than first anticipated, we finished it on schedule to a decent standard, and Buffet Manageress Mary Trant and General Manager Roger Webster expressed their praise and gratitude to everyone involved.

Work in progress November 3rd 2012


It was all hands to the pumps to redecorate the buffet whilst it is closed for 2 weekends. It looks like being a tall order. The full Station Maintenance team of 6 turned out, augmented by Dave Clegg and John Coxon slumming it from C&W. Photos can't begin to do justice to the chaos, but here are a few:

Judy Proctor offers moral support to (l to r) Dave Clegg, Tom Baxter and John Caesar
Photographer: Paul Martin
Date taken: 03/11/2012



(Left) Dave Clegg and Mark Williams and (centre) Geoff Brooks and John Caesar get stuck into the painting, whilst (right) Jon Kelsey removes the first of a worrying amount of loose plaster from the chimney breast.
Photographer: Paul Martin (all)
Date taken: 03/11/2012


Work in progress October 13th 2012


Indifferent weather meant that the team of 4 did mostly indoor jobs, including some planning and measuring for the winter museum revamp. We also started to clear out the GUV in preparation for the electricity supply arriving, and Geoff Brooks became the latest SMT member to have a go at sealing its leaking windows. Sunny spells provided an opportunity to admire the Polar Express stock parked in Platform 2.

GUV clearout. In case it isn't obvious, this is the 'after' picture.
Photographer: Paul Martin
Date taken: 13/10/2012



Geoff Brooks attempting to weatherproof the GUV.
Photographer: Paul Martin
Date taken: 13/10/2012



Work in progress September 29th 2012


A good solid day's work for a team of 5, though nothing very photogenic happened. The odd jobs needed to finish the Ferryvan repaint were completed, and more progress was made renovating the rather tired wooden fencing around the disabled ramp. Exciting plans were laid to get an electricity supply into the GUV and Ferryvan. Tom Baxter murdered a few buddleja bushes. The party which went to Meldon to recover the old quarry and geology display boards which had been dumped in the cave came back disappointed, having discovered they are now ruined as moisture has made the ink run.

Work in progress September 15th 2012


We welcomed new member Mark Williams, who still wants to come back for more after a day of vegetation clearance and paint scraping. Mark's presence meant we had a team of 6 for the day, and we made decent progress on several fronts. The Ferry Van repaint is now all over bar the shouting (see its page below), a lot of the undergrowth around the bay siding and far car park was cleared, and thanks to John Coxon a lot of work was done on the seemingly endless job of maintaining the fence around the disabled access ramp.

John Coxon (l) and John Caesar (r) hard at work on fencing repairs.
Photographer: Paul Martin
Date taken: 15/09/2012




Work in progress September 1st 2012


With decent weather and a team of 4 of us available we made rapid progress on the Ferry Van - see its own page below. Even the boss Tom Baxter got in on the act, repairing the station irrigation system, then later being spotted with a paintbrush and tin of (the wrong colour) paint.

So this is what a paintbrush is for.
Photographer: Paul Martin
Date taken: 01/09/2012




Ferry Van Repaint


The major project for summer 2012 is repainting the BR Motor Car Ferry Van (DB889022) which sits in the bay platform at Okehampton and is currently in use as a general store. It was repainted in 2010, but was deteriorating rapidly, presumably due to inadequate preparation, so we're having another go. Hacking away at it with scrapers has revealed the multitude of colours and lettering it has worn in its varied life, along with rather a lot of filler. It will be painted in bauxite, which, though not necessarily authentic for this vehicle, was a common early BR freight colour,

Ferry Van Repaint picture diary (last update 15/09/2012)


April 2012 - The Shed


One of the SMT's more bizarre recent jobs was constructing this shed. It took five of us over two days to complete it, largely because of the huge number of self tapping screws which (sort of) hold it together.

l to r: John Coxon (on loan from the Carriage and Wagon team), Paul Martin, Geoff Brooks and John Caesar. John Caesar was in charge of translating the instructions, while the rest of us hammered the screws in ...
Photographer: Jon Kelsey
Date taken: 01/04/2012




March 2012 - GUV Lettering


2011's most satisfying job was repainting the BR General Utility Van (86443) which resides permanently in the bay platform and is used as the SMT's workshop. To add a touch of authenticity, Paul Martin generously purchased adhesive characters to apply its running number. As time allows we'll line it as well.

Paul Martin (r) and John Coxon figuring out how to stick the letters on.
Photographer: Jon Kelsey
Date taken: 03/03/2012




September 2011 - Signalbox Repaint


In September 2011 the SMT repainted the Okehampton signalbox, at least the parts of it which are accessible without scaffolding.

Geoff Brooks (r) and Jon Kelsey
Photographer: Phil Shute
Date taken: 24/09/2011



Railtours

Every Tuesday, the Dartmoor Railway's track gang of Alan Cocker and Andy Webb gets together with a group of DRSA volunteers and heads down the line to work on the lineside vegetation. The regular volunteers are Sue Baxter, Andy Turner and John and Peter Wills. It's a big railway, so there's always plenty to do, and the group would welcome more volunteers, whether regular or occasional.

If there is sufficient interest, we may start a Saturday gang as well.

If you're interested in worthwhile, outdoor activity in convivial company, send an email to volunteering@dartmoor-railway-sa.org, contact the DRSA Volunteer Coordinator Geoffrey Horner (01363 82383), or just buttonhole one of the group members if you see them. Participants must be DRSA members.

October/November 2014


We're grateful to Sue Baxter for sending in a couple of pictures of the team at large recently:

Andy Turner with some of bridge plate 589A. The rest must be somewhere in the undergrowth. The location is the culvert near Crook Farm, at the start of the westward climb to Halse Summit, between Bow and North Tawton.
Photographer: Sue Baxter
Date taken: 04/11/2014



The team in action at Greenland overbridge, east of Sampford Courtenay.
Photographer: Sue Baxter
Date taken: 28/10/2014



August 5th 2014

On the way back from today's work site, the team stopped off to put up some of Simon Jeffery's excellent replica bridge plates. [Prospective thieves please note that, although the plates look wonderfully authentic, they are in fact made of wood, and have neither scrap nor collectors value].

The lineside team at Sampford Courtenay
Date taken: 05/08/2014



Fullaford
Date taken: 05/08/2014



Broad Nymett
Date taken: 05/08/2014



Stockey Farm
Date taken: 05/08/2014



July 1st 2014


The lineside group is going up in the world, and now has its own train, hauled by 08937 (or D4167 to those of us of a certain age). It was deployed for the first time on July 1st. Funny how the team seemed to acquire extra members when there was a train involved ..

Preparing to depart Okehampton
Photographer: Andrew Turner
Date taken: 01/07/2014



The lineside team at Bow
Photographer: Andrew Turner
Date taken: 01/07/2014



The lineside group's train with Mill Hill overbridge in the background, just before the Network Rail boundary. Quite a lot of vegetation to get stuck into.
Photographer: Andrew Turner
Date taken: 01/07/2014




Some earlier activity:

Work starting on Broad Nymet Farm underbridge.
Photographer: Sue Baxter
Date taken: 29/10/2013



Broad Nymet Farm underbridge, afterwards. The stone needed to be exposed so that the parapet could be re-pointed.
Photographer: Sue Baxter
Date taken: 29/10/2013



Andy Turner putting the finishing touches to the parapet of Broad Nymet Farm Underbridge 587, virtually invisible at the start of the day.
Photographer: Sue Baxter
Date taken: 29/10/2013



Nearing complete clearance of the west side of Lydcott Bridge/Cutting, about half a mile west of Sampford Courtenay. L to r Andy Turner, Andy Webb, Peter Wills, Alan Cocker.
Photographer: Sue Baxter
Date taken: 05/03/2013



John Wills impersonates a pixie sitting on one of Andy Webb's steps by Lydcott Bridge.
Photographer: Sue Baxter
Date taken: 05/03/2013


Carriage and Wagon Team


[Lab11 Gallery showing latest images of Lab11 restoration. Last update 03/04/2015]

Lab 11 October 2014


Internal replacement light, power and heating circuits are now 95% complete. The saloon ceiling has been completed. The third and final coat of wood stain has been applied to the saloon panelling. New ceilings for the generator area being formed and installed, and the toilet compartment refurbishment has started.

Lab 11 August 2014


Refurbishment continues to make good progress. All the new ceiling lights in the saloon area, kitchen, guards compartment and toilet have been installed. A service light has been provided in the generator compartment. One of the two vestibule lights at the toilet (East) end has been installed with the other waiting for the replacement ceiling panel to be cut and fixed. Also some of the corridor lights at the West (generator) end have been brought back into use. All of the installed lights have been successfully tested. The water tank serving the toilet has been charged with water and proved not to leak, enabling work on re-commissioning the toilet to start. With the exception of one very small area the first coat of staining to the saloon panelling is complete. Levelling and patching the floor of the saloon ready for its ultimate floor covering is 99% complete. Externally the repainting following the graffiti attack is complete except for the white lining for which we will use a vinyl rather than a hand painted line.

Lab 11 July 25th 2014


Geoff Horner submitted some photographs for the Lab11 Gallery showing the latest (24/07/2014) state of the coach, including the repaint following April's graffiti attack. Inside, the lights in the saloon are installed and have been switched on for the first time. Externally one side has had the first coat of rail blue post-graffiti and the other side is in grey undercoat ready for rail blue next week. If the touching in to the orange goes OK then we are almost back to where we were.

May 15th 2014


The C&W team took advantage of fine weather to overpaint the graffiti on the LMS brake van. Geoff Horner submitted the following photo of the result, as well as an earlier 'before' picture.

LMS brake van after the graffiti was overpainted.
Photographer: Geoff Horner



The LMS brake van, following its graffiti attack.
Photographer: Geoff Horner



Lab11 Feb 20th 2014


Thanks to Geoff Horner for the following update:

The external repaint to the final end corridor vestibule doors is close to completion leaving just some minor areas of touching up to finish off. An order has been placed for the various numbering and lettering transfers for both the interior and exterior.

The move of the combined generator/engine unit back inside the generator compartment, refitting the exhaust pipe and silencer and connecting it all up to the distribution panel still remain to be carried out

The broken quarter light window has been replaced and all the opening windows in the saloon area have been eased and oiled for ease of movement

Both sides of the saloon have had the insulation and plywood wall lining replaced. Most of the redundant wiring and pipe work has now been stripped out and the electrical re-wiring has been started.

We're grateful to C & W member Phil Hull for collecting various items of scrap, the sale of which has contributed towards the Lab11 refurbishment costs.


Lab11 Jan 2014


The Meldon weather has so far not prevented the C & W team progressing with Lab11. The external repaint requires just one of the end corridor vestibule doors to be painted and some minor areas of touching up after which it will be completed. A quotation is being sought for the various numbering and lettering transfers for both the interior and exterior. Once these are received the exterior ones will be applied as soon as possible. The interior signs will be one of the last items to be applied once all the interior work and redecoration has been completed.

Martyn Skinner and Tris Logan, who both have their everyday businesses and jobs to manage, have now resumed their work on the generator/engine/compartment. They are now planning the move of the combined unit back inside the generator compartment, refitting the exhaust pipe and silencer and connecting it all up to the distribution panel.

A broken quarter light window is in the process of being replaced – another case of learning on the job how it all fitted together.

Work on the interior refurbishment has commenced. The guards compartment has been repainted. One side of the saloon has had the insulation and plywood wall lining replaced and a start has been made on doing the same on the second side. The majority of ceiling panels are loose fitted to allow the various wiring conduits to be run through the space above the ceiling. Redundant wiring and pipework is being stripped out ready for the re-wiring and for the toilet plumbing to be reinstated.

The progress of the interior works means that we are not so far away from needing to consider the type of floor covering to go in the saloon.

Lab11 interior progress
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 23/01/2014



Lab11 interior progress
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 23/01/2014



Lab11 Nov 2013


Since our last report very good progress has been made and some important milestones reached and passed.

David Trant has completed the overhaul and rebuild of the diesel engine to power the generator and has given the engine a satisfactory test run. Under David’s direction and with the help of some unorthodox arrangements of beams, hoists and pulleys the engine was manoeuvred back inside Lab11. We are indebted to David for all his work on the engine and getting it back in the carriage and mounted on its base frame.

We are also indebted to two of our regular C & W team. Martyn Skinner and Tris Logan have laboured for several months getting the generator compartment cleaned out, painted in fire retardant paint and generally ready for use again. They have also replaced damaged parts on the generator and have now coupled generator and engine back together again as one unit. Once some final adjustments are completed the next challenge will be moving the combined unit back inside the generator compartment, refitting the exhaust pipe and silencer and connecting it all up to the distribution panel again. With a ‘fair wind behind us’ we may well have a working generator back on line by the year's end.

The external repaint is also progressing very well. Both sides have had two coats of ‘Rail Red/Orange’ applied and the final areas of second coats of ‘Rail Blue’ will hopefully be completed shortly. The white lining above and below the windows is about 40% complete and decorations are well under way on the West end with the East end to follow.

Our thoughts are now turning towards the interior refurbishment with the complete rewiring the first major task to be dealt with. Consideration now needs to be given to the ultimate use and décor of the interior of the open saloon.

Lab11 Oct 2013


C & W’s efforts continue to focus on Lab11. Our thanks are due to David Trant who has now completed all the remaining welding work which will enable areas of door trim and floor replacement to be completed. David also reported that his work on the generator diesel engine was now progressing well and we are now planning for its early return. The generator plates have been replaced for us by C & W member Martyn Skinner who is also sourcing a replacement exhaust system (he is hopeful of getting one through his work contacts at little or no cost).

Externally the carriage is now resplendent on both sides in rail blue/rail orange red livery. One side has had the most of the second coats and some of the white lining applied. We remain hopeful that the exterior painting will be completed this month. However one qualification that could have an impact on this timetable is the weather. Very wet or cold weather means that it is impractical to keep the shed doors open whilst working. Without mains electricity the level of natural light augmented by that which the lamps powered by our generator produce, whilst sufficient for many tasks, is not good enough for painting when the doors have to be kept closed.

C&W Report August 29th 2013


The first coat of 'Rail Blue' has been applied to the North side of the carriage as can be seen in the picture below. A start has also been made on repainting the ends in the 'Warning Yellow' as they were when in service in BR test train days.

The intention is to paint it in the British Rail research livery applied to the coach when it served as 'Laboratory 11'.

First coat of blue.
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 29/08/2013



Lab 11 July 2013


Geoff Horner has provided a couple of photos showing the latest developments with the restoration of Lab 11

Showing the start that has been made on replacing the coach ceiling with the insulation pads in place and the first two side panels positioned.
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 18/07/2013



Phil Hull busy tidying up one of the door frames.
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 18/07/2013



PLEG Charter June 2013


A joint effort by the Carriage & Wagon and Station Maintenance teams prepared the stock for the PLEG charter (see News Page). By the time the usual suspects turned up on Tuesday 18th to finish the job, Dan Roche had already done the lion's share of the work.

Coxon and Kelsey grapple with the railway's motley collection of hosepipes, in an attempt to clean the LMS brakevan.
Photographer: Paul Martin
Date taken: 18/06/2013



C&W Report June 6th 2013


[Grateful thanks to Geoff Horner for the following notes and pictures]

The work on refurbishing Lab11 has taken a major step forward with the completion by David Trant of the cutting out of a corroded section of underframe and the welding in of a new section. Meanwhile the long task of preparing the exterior bodywork is now reaching the end with just a couple of small areas left to be dealt with. The application of undercoat can then begin.

The corroded section
Photographer: Geoff Horner



David Trant cutting out part of the old frame.
Photographer: David Clegg



Ready for the new section.
Photographer: Geoff Horner



Welding in the new.
Photographer: David Clegg



The new section in place.
Photographer: Geoff Horner



Mike Ireland working on one of the last areas of preparation whilst Phil Hull reflects on the past or contemplates the future.
Photographer: Geoff Horner



C&W Report March 7th 2013


In anticipation of the promised arrival of steam power for this season the C & W team are giving a makeover to the class 117 DMU centre coach number 59520 which is owned and maintained by member Julian Pope for use by the Dartmoor Railway. This coach is vacuum braked and is a vital part of the railway stock suitable for use with steam locos.

South side of 59520 under preparation (l) and after the application of the undercoat (r)
Photographer: Geoff Horner


Stages in the successful repair of a deep dent at the end corner.
Photographer: Geoff Horner



C&W Report Feb 14th 2013


The former Serco Test Coach (ex 4TC Driving Trailer 76277/DB977335) more familiarly known as The Rocket has been in the shed for a repaint prior to its use generating power for the Valentine train on 15th February. The photographs below show it in its before and after state.

The Rocket in the Meldon workshop for its repaint
Photographer: Geoff Horner


Image '105' not found

C & W have now turned their attention to the ex Class 117 DMU centre coach number 59520 which is being given a repair and repaint ready for use as part of the vacuum braked set needed when the anticipated steam engine arrives for the summer season.

John Coxon starting work on the Class 117 centre coach
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 14/02/2013



Meanwhile, other members of the C & W team have continued working on the exterior of Lab 11.

Work continuing on Lab 11
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 14/02/2013



C&W Report Jan 18th 2013


Work on the external refurbishment of the DRSA's 'Laboratory 11' carriage continues making steadily progress. The first undercoat on the roof is now about 95% complete; the final weatherproof top coating will be applied very soon. Good progress has been made on both sides of the bodywork, about 80% of which has now received the first coat of red oxide primer. (See photos below). Work on the overhaul of all the doors and their drop lights is also under way.

Much of the recent progress has been down to the willingness of the Station Maintenance Team to have a change from cutting down buddleias and try their hand at sanding down and painting railway carriages. This has enabled an occasional additional Saturday group to gather at Meldon thereby greatly increasing our productivity. The diesel engine which powers the generator is now at David Trant’s workshop where the overhaul back to running order will soon get underway

However with the new operating season rapidly approaching even busier times are ahead for the C & W group. As can be imagined there is a good deal of work to be done over the coming weeks to get the passenger stock ready and in a state in which we like to be able to present it for public service and any additional help would be gratefully received. Thursday is the normal work day for the group but with the amount of work programmed this is likely to be expanded to perhaps an additional day on a Tuesday or Wednesday plus some Saturdays. So if you have the time, skills and just as importantly the enthusiasm to offer please do get in touch via the volunteer coordinator or the website.

Geoff Horner, Volunteer Co-ordinator

The C&W team hard at work on Lab 11
Photographer: Geoffrey Horner


After a first coat of primer.
Photographer: Geoffrey Horner


Work commences on Lab 11


Work has started on restoring our ex-BR Research Laboratory 11 Mk1 Coach. The gang are preparing the body for a new coat of paint, whilst the on board generator has been removed for restoration.




Mk2 Coach Repaint


A British Railways Mk2 First Corridor Coach has joined our fleet. Built in 1968, 13436 is intended for use in the locomotive hauled vacuum braked rake. It is a valuable addition to the fleet that will increase our passenger carrying capacity. The vacuum braked rake can be used with diesel locomotives, but is particularly suitable for use with visiting steam locomotives. it has now been painted Southern Region Green by our volunteer Carriage & Wagon group. There is still some work to do to the coach before it can enter service and if you are interested in taking part in the restoration, please contact our volunteer coordinator.

Date taken: 24/03/2012



C&W team with their handywork
Photographer: Phil Wagstaff
Date taken: 29/03/2012


Carriage & Wagon November 1st 2018


Work started immediately on the Thumper 1132 power car. Loose and flaking paint on the roof has been removed and repainting begun. One guard's compartment door is in a sorry state and work has started to see what can be done.

Meanwhile work continued on the SR brake van 55625. The running board on the north side has been renewed completely and received a first coat of paint before re-fitting. The cabin door at the west end is in the process of being repaired and re-hung. More removal of flaking paint was carried out in veranda roof spaces; tiring work using a heavy cumbersome power driven wire brush.

The workshop space heater was overhauled and the fuel injection system cleaned out. A vital periodic task if the machine isn't to become a flame thrower!

The existing power connection between LAB11 and Mk2 FK S13436 is substandard and work to replace the electrical power take-off couplings and cable is in hand. The same applies to the electrical connection on LAB11 used to feed the workshop, which is currently a maximum rating of 13Amps and will be upgraded to 32Amps. This will obviate the need for 2 separate cables to supply the workshop and overhead lighting.

Patrick Doyle watching John Davis removing the hinge pins on the brake-van door
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 01/11/2018



John Davis inside, knocking out door hinge pins
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 01/11/2018



Carefully following the instruction book lying under his knees, Terry Bridgeman services the space heater
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 01/11/2018



John Davis wielding the cumbersome power wire brush
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 01/11/2018



Carriage & Wagon October 25th


Almost 100% C&W turnout on a fine Autumn day at Meldon. We were pleased to find LAB11 shunted 'expertly' into position outside the workshop (by trainee Class 08 driver John Coxon) - and the power car of Thumper 1132 parked inside the workshop, ready for its overwinter refresh. The LAB11 generator was started immediately with the intention of warming it up, prior to a long overdue oil and filter change later in the day, which was completed without any problems. Being a fine day, we were able to complete a few unfinished external painting jobs on the Thumper driving unit.

Internal woodwork replacement on the SR brakevan 55625 continued and the headstock is ready to have the buffers re-fitted next week; subject to available muscle power! Meanwhile a start was made on removing the old damper on one of the suspension springs. This is proving difficult as it was discovered that the locking nut on all eight dampers had been locked to the thread on the spindle with a small weld.

Allan Harris putting some finishing paint touches to the driving car of Thumper 1132
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 25/10/2018



The headstock of the SR brakevan ready for the buffers to be fitted. More rusted-in bolts being drilled out in the background.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 25/10/2018



John Coxon, Terry Bridgeman (belated welcome to DRSA/C&W Terry!) and Geoff Horner in earnest discussion regarding the best way to remove welded lock-nuts.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 25/10/2018



A lighter moment as John Coxon hides from the camera - much to the amusement of Terry.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 25/10/2018



Thumper movements at Meldon, October 19th


The pre-Christmas shunt took place on October 19th, and the two Thumper 1132 carriages were swapped out and in to the shed. Geoff Horner took some photos of the action to bring members up to date on progress on the Thumper.

The freshly painted Thumper 1132 driving trailer emerging from the workshop.
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 19/10/2018



The newly painted Thumper 1132 driving trailer in the sunshine in the Meldon yard.
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 19/10/2018



The three Thumper cars: left to right, the un-worked on power car, the unused centre car and the newly repainted driving trailer. 3 shades of green!
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 19/10/2018



The power car going in to the shed to become the next C&W project. The lighter green patches were applied to hide a recent graffiti attack.
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 19/10/2018



The Thumper power car in the Meldon shed.
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 19/10/2018



Carriage and Wagon October 18th


A fine cold day, but a chilly wind greeted the C&W workers today. As the summer shuttle service has finished we were told that the DRSA owned Heritage stock would be moved up to winter quarters at Meldon this week and, in addition, that the power car of Thumper 1132 would be brought up for an overwinter refurbish; work on the driving unit being complete apart from a few odd jobs. Morale rose with the prospect of a warm mess room in the form of LAB11 and the powerful on-board generator to run the workshop lighting and more power tools at the same time. Work continued all day on the SR brakevan 55625, with a minor diversion of labour to repair the roll-up door damaged by last week's high winds.

Jon Coxon and Ron Kirby attempt to release the screw coupling between the Thumper and brake van with the aid of copious squirts of WD40. Meanwhile Alan Harris applies a few colourful touches of paint to the braking system.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 18/10/2018



Alan Harris takes a break from painting and 'supervises' John Coxon tidying up a Thumper compartment.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 18/10/2018



C&W versus the elements. Ron Kirby fixing the door with even larger screws! Geoff Horner holding ladder whilst supervising.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 18/10/2018



Carriage and Wagon October 11th


A team of 10 C&W volunteers braved Autumnal rain and wind today. Work on rubbing down the first topcoat on the Thumper and applying the second coat continued apace and it is satisfying to see it looking very smart once again. The remainder of the team worked both on the inside and outside of the SR brake van. The stack of timber planks shown earlier has now diminished considerably. Thanks to the kind donation, by DRSA Committee member Tony Hill of a 1.25 inch thick plank of finest Devonshire oak, the two plates for the buffer beam have been fashioned for a perfect fit. Working on oak made a satisfying and pleasant change from pine.

Grinding out yet another 70 year old rusted-in bolt on the brake van. Ron Kirby rubbing down the first topcoat on the Thumper whilst, in the far background, Nigel Green prepares a paint roller for the final topcoat. (The chair in the picture was replaced, shortly after the photo was taken, with a pair of newly purchased steps).
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 11/10/2018



Your correspondent proudly displays one of the pair of oak plates now fitted on the brake van headstock. Protective steel plates will be fitted next, to avoid damage by action of the compressed springs, before the buffers are replaced. One of these prepared plates can be seen on an upturned buffer below the headstock.
Photographer: John Coxon
Date taken: 11/10/2018


Station maintenance September 22nd


David Bell also reported from Okehampton this week:

Three intrepid members turned up. Despite strong cold winds and constant rain, the walkway onto platform 1 was cleared of luxurious weed growth by Paul Vodden who, having got a good soaking, finished the job and went home cold and wet a little early. Meanwhile, several jobs were undertaken in the CCT. The two pictures below show:

- The immaculate high gloss white paint finish given to the interior of the CCT 94691, by Geoff Brookes our usually solar-powered painting machine. With a bit of imagination it conjures up an image of the interior of a military ambulance train "operating theatre"!

- The photographer stood outside, in wind and heavy Dartmoor rain, for H&S reasons, whilst an angle grinding session took place. One regular C&W Thursday member has taken a shine to working in the CCT and is depicted in the process of making a sheet steel, hand ash removal shovel for the brake van stove; the latter being a vital survival facility for the guard on days like today. The shovel was handed over to the guard in time for the last trip of the day to Meldon.

The freshly painted interior of the CCT, 94691.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 22/09/2018



A stage in the manufacture of an ash removal shovel for the brake van stove.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 22/09/2018



Carriage and Wagon September 20th


A mini C&W team of 5 today, the low number not being due to a reluctance to turn out in gale force winds and heavy rain. Painting the first topcoat on the Thumper continued whilst the main effort centred on replacing woodwork on the SR brake van LDS 55625, both internal and external. Chipping rust on the buffer-less head stock was finished and a coat of red oxide paint has smartened things up. Surface cleaning and examination of the brake piping at one end has been carried out and all seems well, although a new coupling hose will be required.

A buffer, condition as removed. The buffer is resting on its head and as a result has pushed the spring, partially revealing it.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 20/09/2018



Scraping off accumulated dirt, old grease and rust from the brake piping at one end of the SR brake van. Not for the squeamish! Once the buffers are refitted the next "heavy lift" task will be to replace the 8 perished rubber sandwiched dampers attached to the springs; one of which can be seen.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 20/09/2018


Carriage and Wagon August 23rd


A small team again today but a lot accomplished. The first task attempted was to remove the 2nd buffer on the SR brake van after successful removal of the first last week. Three nuts came off easily, the 4th took some ingenuity and a little physical exertion, perforce a requisite of the C&W team. When the buffer came off there was some dismay as the internal heavy coiled spring had been broken in the past and had caused some damage to the internal guide tube; perhaps the result of the perceived historical heavy shunt mentioned previously. However, undeterred, work continued chipping away the corrosion on the head-stock to prepare it for a coating of anti-rust paint next week. Hopefully, we can either weld the spring (unlikely perhaps) or source a replacement.

Work continued on the external planking on the SR brakevan 55625, both on one side and on the cabin door area, whilst the roof of Thumper 1132 received more paint and filling-in and rust removal continued on the cab front.

After work ceased a refurbished drop window grip bar (removed from scrap rolling stock) was taken across to the station and fitted to the Mk2a FK S13146 carriage, after several attempts at repairing the original item in the past failed.

Patrick Doyle and John Davis marking out the cut for the last replacement plank on the side of the brake van. Ron Kirby in the background painting the Thumper's roof.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 23/08/2018



Head-stock showing corrosion after removal of 2nd buffer
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 23/08/2018



And with a heave by Ron Kirby .... The slight droop of the buffer head pictured should have provided a clue that something was amiss with the spring.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 23/08/2018



More teamwork.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 23/08/2018



Carriage and Wagon August 9th


Yet another fine warm day with an even smaller team than last week. Two members stayed at the station initially in order to repair a drop down carriage window. This entailed warning the trolley PW maintenance team, who had gone in the Up direction, that a line-side carriage door may be opened and ladder placed near the track to do the work. The brake van was raided to provide a good old fashioned red flag, as no charged battery lamp could be found to place on the track as an advanced warning. In the event it was not needed as the repair was carried out with door shut. A long trek down the line to recover said red flag concluded the episode.

Meanwhile back at Meldon it was discovered that an attempt had been made to force the entrance door lock. Ron Kirby dismantled the damaged mechanism and made a good job of fashioning a very professional looking protective metal plate, pop riveted to the steel door. Ron is now the expert C&W locksmith!

Other work on producing planking for the SR brake van and chipping rust continued, whilst work started on preparing the Thumper 1132 power car front end for priming and undercoating. Undercoating on both sides of the Thumper is complete and work stated on painting the internal faces of all the doors.

Other odd jobs, which included sorting out a recent kind donation of various useful hand tools and mounting an electric grinding machine onto a workbench - no more blunt chisels and screwdrivers.

John Coxon preparing the Thumper 1132 front end for a face lift
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 09/08/2018



More tricky rebating with the indispensable flat bed saw. Note fingers carefully positioned out of harm's way
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 09/08/2018



Carriage and Wagon August 2nd


Another very welcome submission from David Bell:

A beautiful warm day with a reduced C&W team due to holidays etc. Work was concentrated on Thumper 1132 and the SR brake van LDS 55625.

Staging has been erected in readiness for painting compartment door trims and linings on the Thumper, prior to applying the top coat to the body sides. This involves more time spent fixing masking tape than it takes to actually apply the paint! Work continued painting the underframe and replacing a footboard. The shock absorbers have been carefully painted a contrasting blue - a nice touch amidst so much black gloss! A "Proper Job" by Alan Harris.

Meanwhile 5 members were busied both around and inside the brake van fitting more replacement woodwork and removing corrosion from the headstock and buffers at one end. The latter work revealed heavy rot in the 1" oak plate between each of the buffers and main frame which will require removing both buffers. With much relief it was found that the four hefty buffer retaining bolts turned quite easily after a 70 year sleep. Hopefully, pictures of our first, likely successful, buffer-removal epic will appear at a later date!

Ron Kirby trying a board for size on LDS 55625
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 02/08/2018



John Davis fitting prepared boarding to to the cabin door area
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 02/08/2018



A tricky bit of rebating for a bottom sill to the brake van side, using the flat-bed saw. The ever present John Coxon is in the background erecting the staging in readiness for the door painting phase.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 02/08/2018



Geoff Horner preparing replacement woodwork for the Thumper 1132
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 02/08/2018



The brake-van headstock during rust and paint removal. The rotten oak plate can be seen and the cold-chisel wedged in the resultant gap. From examination of the heavy steel plates in the area it would seem that the brake van has suffered from a heavy shunt at sometime during its previous (BR) existence. One hopes that the guard wasn't aboard at the time! (Just a muse by your correspondent whilst chipping away at the rust)
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 02/08/2018



Alan Harris signifying end of work! (Every C&W picture tells a story)
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 02/08/2018



Carriage and Wagon July 19th


Thanks to Geoff Horner for a couple of photos showing activity on the 2 current C&W projects:

John Davis signals the end of another day's work on the SR brakevan LDS 55625. Patrick Doyle and David Bell seem unimpressed.
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 19/07/2018



Thumper 1132 being repainted in the Meldon workshop. Nigel Green at work, Alan Harris supervising.
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 19/07/2018



Lineside gang June 9th 2018


Thanks to Tom Baxter for a few pictures of the lineside team's recent efforts:

Picnic at Halse Bridge - note the garden furniture
Photographer: Tom Baxter
Date taken: 09/06/2018



Alan Cocker demonstrates the Wickham replacement.
Photographer: Tom Baxter
Date taken: 09/06/2018



The long march home at Halse summit.
Photographer: Tom Baxter
Date taken: 09/06/2018




Station Maintenance June 2nd 2018


Whilst the usual unphotogenic SMT miscellania was carried out around Okehampton station, some of the team continued work on the CCT van 94691. More plating was added and small corrosion spots repaired with filler and sanded down, whilst Geoff Brookes prepared the roof for painting. Out of view, internal replacement of mains electrical fittings and complete re-wiring progressed.

Work progressing on CCT 94691
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 02/06/2018



Carriage and Wagon May 31st 2018


Thanks to David Bell for the latest report from the Meldon team:

Work continued replacing woodwork on the SR brake van LDS 55625. A long slow process, as the timber has to be cut to various lengths and widths, rarely ever the same, then rebated, using hand saws and wood chisels; finally treated with preservative before fitting.

Work sanding down the Thumper 1132 driving coach paintwork and repairs continued.

Meanwhile, we were requested (at short notice yet again) to find a replacement window panel and door drop-window for the recently vandalized Buffet Coach at Meldon Viaduct. Other tasks were cast aside and a team located suitable panels amongst the stored rolling stock that is beyond economic repair. (I think they came from Class 411 DMBSO 61742 - JK). It was a fairly straightforward job to lift the selected complete double glazed panel out, although very heavy; by drilling out the rivets holding the frame in. Once the thick coating of years of mindless graffiti had been removed from the glass, the panels were taken up to the coach for fitting by DRCIC staff.

Patrick Doyle working in the cool shade on LDS 55625
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 31/05/2018



Centre punching rivets for drilling
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 31/05/2018



Drilling out rivets
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 31/05/2018



Out it comes.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 31/05/2018



Station maintenance May 12th 2018


Work started on making repairs to the corroded panelling on the CCT van 94691. The internal space is partitioned and part has been allocated to the DRSA station maintenance team for use as a light workshop and storage area. It's more conveniently positioned than the GUV for tool storage etc., and those 'little' and 'not so little' jobs. As a bonus it is connected to the main electricity supply. The double doors, which were sealed off some time ago, have been reopened and the slam door handle/lock reinstalled using ingenuity and cannibalized items. Next step is to clear out years of accumulated junk, whilst an executive decision is awaited as on the external livery.

Meanwhile the Trackside Team set off on the Wickham trolley, and the gardening ladies were busy wherever green fingers were required.

Patching rusty panels on CCT van 94691. Plating cut and formed by John Coxon, drilled and fixed by Paul Vodden and then primed by David Bell. It's time we invested in a bigger brush.
Photographer: John Coxon
Date taken: 12/05/2018




Carriage and Wagon May 10th 2018


Latest on the C&W team from David Bell:

Our meeting at the station, prior to moving off to Meldon, was frustrated by a horrendous traffic jam on Station Road. Four of us who had made it to the station turned back and work was done on Lab11 plumbing system for an hour. By then the jam had cleared and we went to Meldon where the rest of the team was at work, having given up trying to get to the station. (I digress!)

Preparation work continued sanding-down the unpainted side of the Thumper driving trailer whilst Geoff Horner "did something inside", which was too dark to photograph! Meanwhile Alan Harris continued to make an excellent job of repainting repaired damage to the toilets in the Visitor Centre, caused by water, following an overwinter burst pipe and subsequent collapsed ceiling.

A couple of pics follow. C&W work isn't always glamorous.

A good start has been made to fitting replacement rebated and prepared timber to the far side of the SR Brake van LDS 55625. The roof has been finished and awaits a fabric waterproof covering.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 10/05/2018



John Coxon captured trying (unsuccessfully alas) to align slats on the damaged roll-up workshop door. There must be an easier (and less nerve shattering) way John, but we just haven't thought of one yet.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 10/05/2018




Lineside gang April 28th 2018


Recently there has been a welcome return of regular lineside vegetation and fencing parties, arranged and led on Saturdays and Sundays by Alan Cocker.

Andy Turner, Alan Cocker, Rosie and the Wickham at Crook Bridge (no. 589) on fence replacement working party.
Photographer: Tom Baxter
Date taken: 28/04/2018



Carriage and Wagon April 19th 2018


Short report and picture from David Bell this week, and subsequently a further half a dozen photos from Geoff Horner. Our rolling stock looks a credit to all concerned:

The main C&W team spent the day at Okehampton station finishing off various outstanding jobs on the DRSA owned shuttle rolling stock, ready for the inaugural run on the 21st. (See first photo below). Two other members went across to Meldon to carry out cleaning and electrical repair work at the Meldon Viaduct visitor's area, being told by said visitors that it was a pity having to work on such a lovely day!

The DRSA rake (RDB975046 aka Lab11, Mk2a FK S13146, LMS brakevan 731411) refurbished, washed, polished and ready to run
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 19/04/2018



D4167 final wash - Patrick Doyle supervising, John Coxon wielding the brush & hose, John Davis observing how it is done
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 19/04/2018



Nigel Green doing some final retouching on the LMS brakevan 731411.
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 19/04/2018



The team working on the LMS brakevan flooring seem to have a very top-heavy management structure.
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 19/04/2018



In case you'd forgotten, this is what the Lab11 saloon interior looks like.
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 19/04/2018



A compartment in the FK, S13436
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 19/04/2018



The corridor in the FK, S13436
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 19/04/2018