Work Day 11th October 2020

There’s no way to dress this up, folks. This is another update almost entirely dedicated to seats. I’m sorry. I promise there will be updates about greasy machinery very soon. But in the meantime it’s the unglamorous but needy stuff which is keeping us busy. If there’s one thing that 3417 needs at the moment, it’s seats.

We had a small workforce of three on-site last Sunday, and only one technically-trained Minion, so while he got on with fiddly stuff that involves wires and voltages, Potter and Doug* set their sights on stripping the remainder of the water-damaged tea base of their rotted covers. Rather than bore you with tales of tearing fabric, dust (lots of dust), evicted spiders, staples that would come out, staples that wouldn’t come out and staples that stayed in and simply pulled bloody great clumps of rotten wood away when pulled we will simply put some pictures below and you can judge for yourselves whether it was an afternoon well spent.

We finished the day with 7 triple-seat bases, 16 twin-seat bases and with 5 twin-seat bases that are individually beyond immediate repair. We will dismantle these 5 and see if we can either cobble together some good bases from the remains, or at least study them and work out what materials would be needed for a full rebuild. 6 months ago we would have put this into the “too hard to do” file, but now we are keen to see what we can achieve in-house.

Away from seat stripping, we dropped off a few goodies recovered for the shed by our friend Julian Farge. They are well built storage units, ideal of holding supplies of nuts, bolts, screws and other bits & pieces that need to be carefully stored but easily to hand. Getting them into place was something of a challenge but we managed it. Thank you Julian!

Finally, after racks were moved and wisely keeping well away from the clouds of seat dust at the other end of the shed, Minion Darren decided to get on with something that has been aggravating him for some time. The driver’s thermostat control in the cab on 76263 has been jammed solid for years, and every time Darren goes into that cab it makes him mutter darkly under his breath. While The Bloody Minion and Potter were busy tearing fabric to bits Darren spent a happy hour or so stripping the thermostat down and rebuilding it. The results of his efforts can be seen in the short video below:

It works! Another little item off the Things to Do list…

And that was pretty much it for Sunday. With only a few people on hand there is a limit to what can be achieved, but as Doug The Bloody Minion pointed out “it’s not all about the big stuff.” He’s right of course. Sunday was about getting a high-priority but non-sexy (not that Railway Preservation has ever been that sexy) task over and done with. Our priorities now are to continue with the re-wire of 70797 and to begin fitting out the saloon-end of Motor Brake 62236. This raises the exciting prospect of having three coaches out of four fit for service. As we progress on those fronts we will keep you updated here, on Facebook and on our Twitter feed.

In the meantime, as COVID-19 seems to be tightening its grip again, on behalf of all of us at Strawberry Hill, stay safe.

*: Henceforth Doug will be referred to as The Bloody Minion. Not entirely by choice, but he did firmly insist that we “stop calling him a bloody Minion.” He is now The Bloody Minion, which has a vaguely Monty Python/Harry Potter feel to it and suits everyone nicely.