On a very wet Monday October 13th, the gang – a combined one from the Wenhaston Environmental Volunteers and the Rolling Stock Group – worked manfully to sort and store the two tons of assorted rail that we bought from Bressingham in the spring. Many delays have arisen in getting this rail to us – but it was nice to see it – the largest amount of rail (albeit second hand and a little worn) ever owned by the Trust. The Trust is very grateful to Bressingham, and to Ray King of Hardingham, for arranging this sale. Richard Cowles of Lowestoft managed the transport – and showed amazing driving skills as he squeezed his artic into the tiny space.
Working in conditions varying between light drizzle and heavy rain, the dedicated team separated the bundle, measured each piece (the weights vary from 25lb per yard to 35lb), and stored each type in its own rail stack. Some of the 30lb rail could even be from the SR – as the profile is very unusual, and exactly matches known SR rail. We know that our rail, in World War II, was widely disseminated, and re-used, in East Anglia, for buildings, door stops,
lintels, fences – even railways! – so this provenance is possible.
Everything is useful, but the gems of the collection – all 30lb rail at good long lengths – will now be measured, marked up, cut to size, drilled, and used for the fabled “Big Shunt”. We even have some gently-curved rails, which is exactly what we need in the confined space in the workshop yard.
As we were moving the rails (using the two traditional rail-lifters sourced for us by Stewart Green, our shop manager), the two timber gates for the Wenhaston driftway crossing re-creation also arrived – after a nightmare 3-hour journey, through the storm, from Yarwell. These are traditional Suffolk style, and have been very nicely finished indeed – you can tell a good farm field gate by the heavier hinge post, and the taper on the top rail. On one will be fitted the original SR hinges, catch, etc. – while the other (which will need to be practical) has a set of new fittings. These will go up onsite in the next week or so.
The good humour with which the gang continued – in very uncomfortable conditions – to lift and manoeuvre very heavy, wet and dirty rails – for several hours – is beyond praise. With volunteers so dedicated, the Trust is in fine fettle for the rebuilding of the railway itself.