On Saturday December 20th, a (for us) very large team efficiently carried out the first part of Big Shunt II. This was pretty well a repeat of Big Shunt I (bear with me), but faster, easier and more organised.
Thanks to our landlords clearing their yard for the Christmas hols, we could get straight in to laying three panels of track across the width of the area, levelling them, and then – with surprising ease – pushing Coach 7 out of its temporary building into the sunshine about 40 feet, burying its nose in the fence. This will leave (just) enough room between the rear of the coach and the doorway to ease in the Motor Rail loco, which is our next job. There was still enough energy to re-stack sleepers and rail.
Such was the enthusiasm that – after the compulsory cups of tea and Jammy Dodgers using our new tea-bar in Coach 7 – now a Buffet – some of the team stayed on for the rest of the morning to do a few jobs. John completed the coach interior lighting (which looks very nice indeed), Toby led a team to clean the windows (with which the coach is very plentifully endowed), and he then moved on to a spruce-up of the yard WC, which will be in use for our upcoming Christmas social event.
Bob started to build a pallet-based saw-horse for Wenhaston, and Stewart and James carried on with the coach underframe cleaning and painting – much easier when you are not constrained by adjacent scaffolding and walls. All the axleboxes, and most of the frames on both sides, are clean and primed – much of one side is also undercoated.
In a couple of days we will be unloading the diesel loco, and – if all goes well – by Christmas it will be safely ensconced in the workshop behind the coach, so we can start the refurbishment and fettling.
This will make a nice change, for our volunteers, from the wagon and coach work (not that there’s not more to do in that line – there always is): we are all looking forward to it. Now we are so good at laying temporary track, we hope to be able to run the Motor Rail, on a trial basis on a weekend, across or along the yard, in a few months. To get a decent run, for brake testing, for example, we’ll need to have one quite sharply-curved panel – so we are hoping to borrow a Jim Crow from a friendly local railway, to bend some rail for this.