On a day a Scotsman would describe as dreich, volunteers again assembled at Steamworks for a day of fun and frivolity. Most of us concentrated our time on the meter cube plastic containers that have been obtained to provide a water store for Blyth.

Our first task was to clean out some of the previous contents left in the containers, whilst scraping through the inspection hatch did make a little progress we soon switched to a warm water and washing up liquid solution. This did provide, as someone quickly pointed out, the first boiler on our 3 foot gauge track – previous visitors to the cafe may recognise the tea urn!

Tea Urn being put to work on the locomotive water containers

After a few wash outs, more scraping and the use of a wet and dry vacuum cleaner we felt things were as good as they were going to get so we laid a couple of sleepers down and moved the containers to a temporary position under the guttering downpipe. I am pleased to report that rain water was being collected by the time we all left.

Three big plastic containers in temporary location to collect rain water

The three containers will be linked by a manifold through their emptying valves to increase capacity. In the short term we intend to use a submersible pump to lift the water into the locomotive. We are still in the planning stages for a more permanent structure closer to the doors of the engine shed which will be clad in wood to provide a more aesthetic solution which will fill the locomotive tanks by gravity.

Richard Stone

Volunteer work on a grey day