Welding SR rail back onto the buffer stop

The Trackbed
Trust volunteers have had a good time at Bird’s Folly, Halesworth. Working with the Millennium Green (HMG), we continued the industrial archaeology that we began in 2015 – and have also started the reconstruction of historic artefacts. The buffer stop is complete – 14” x 8” timber replaced in its original socket, and supported by three SR rails, welded back onto the stubs left by the gas-axe team, over 70 years ago. The chain pump platform is also complete, incorporating original timber: in the future we hope also to add the pump itself, and the various fittings, to provide a good approximation of what could be seen before 1929.
This autumn, the Trust will (again with the permission of HMG) be providing temporary interpretation onsite, which we hope can be replaced later with more permanent poster-boards. Volunteers now have to get on with other things, but we all hope to return: the rail panel on the bridge could do with refurbishment, and we’d like to lay the rails back each side of the two pits – inspection and ash, if we can get hold of some (well, quite a lot of!) 8” x 14” timbers.

The Heritage Train
On an extremely hot day, a combined SRT and SOLD team, under the guidance of Lynton and Barnstaple “Pilton East” workshop staff, canvassed the roof of Van 40 of the Heritage Train. This is a traditional method for rolling stock, using high-quality canvas (fireproofed) and glue – the corners are always the hardest, but with the expertise on hand, even these went well. Now the SOLD volunteers will paint the canvas 6 times, to keep the weather out.

Spreading glue

The next job is the sliding doors, and the floor (with the couplings fitted first, as it’s a nasty job if the floor is in).
Meanwhile, the floor for Open Wagon 41 was trial-fitted. The angle-iron surround will need welding on, and the 2” timber treated – then, this wagon will be complete (as a flat), while we organise the ends and sides to make it into a classic curved-end SR open.

The roof canvassed

Research – or a Jolly?
Two Trustees had a very nice visit to Amberley museum (with the excuse that “it’s to see how others do things”) but really as a jolly. The Amberley site is very large and varied – much more so than the Blyth Road project – but some features and methods of work can be learnt from. We’d recommend a visit to anyone who likes industrial narrow gauge.

A Day Out
As is getting to be an annual tradition, twenty of the “Wednesday Gang” (who, confusingly, also work on Saturdays), visited the Mid-Norfolk Railway ‘Tanks and Tankards’ Gala on Friday August 26. The Chairman organised and sponsored a minibus from Wenhaston, and also sponsored the hire of a special train of a pannier tank and autocoach from Dereham to Hoe – then the assembled company had fish and chips and a beer on the main line train to Wymondham, drawn by another pannier. Everyone had a really good time: the Mid-Norfolk always organise good galas, and they were friendliness itself – as always – to our group. The Chairman doesn’t drink, and therefore lost the main point of the day – but must still have liked it, as he could be seen back on the line on Sunday! The MNR is a new-generation line which has come of age – it is powering onwards towards Worthing and North Elmham, and is now a really good length, with many period features being re-instated, and great plans for the future.

A beefy Pannier on the MNR

Southwold Station (the Blyth Road Project)
Expressions of interest in the purchase of shares in the Southwold Railway Company Limited are going really well, while donations to the Blyth Road project (now often called “Southwold Station”) are increasing. We need both – donations usually allow us to claim Gift Aid (so the Chancellor is helping us), and provide the Trust with the ability to invest in the project on behalf of our Members – while anyone who reserves shares will not only be able to be part of the Company, but will also get the land bought that much faster – so we can get on the ground and make a start. Use the mail contact on this site to let us know how many shares you would like – at £50 each.

Trackbed Structures Restoration, the Heritage Train, and some away-days