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       FRIENDS OF CARROG REPORT – JAN 2014

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                                            JOB LIST FOR 2014

We have taken on the task of cosmetically painting the Tea Room store Mk 1 Coach. (see inset to see what we are starting off with). This involves removing old filler, rubbing down all rusted areas, applying rust resisting primer, filling, rubbing down to profile, re-filling & rubbing down again until finally painting. Maroon top and undercoat provided by C&W. Being very weather dependent we expect this activity to take several months to complete. Only one side is being restored.

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In January we repainted the steel ramp used for wheelchair access to the coaches. It is kept on the platform and was red with rust. With spot heating due to the time of year it is now in a more appropriate chocolate brown colour. Later in the month Tony, Shelia and Jeanette took the opportunity of warmer weather to paint the spear fencing – this continued well into February. A thankless task needing a number of participants working together to relieve the boredom (chat) and to progress at a reasonable rate.

 

In late January Martin undertook to clear trees and vegetation from the Corwen phase 1 site area, urgent because of the end Feb bird nesting deadline. Otherwise all construction work would have been held back until October. Local assistance including additional chainsaws, 4WD vehicles, pulleys and ropes was needed to safely execute the work in return for some 20 trailer loads of logs.

 

Hazel Rogers and her team organised the brash clearance, burning and tidy up in accordance with the given wildlife habitat rules – a warming job on a cold day. This cleared the ground around Bridge 29 and along the banks adjacent the site of Phase 1 platform.  A water course to a dried up pond (old river meander) was resurrected with much shovelling by Robin Pilot per the Denbighshire Countryside Service request to encourage the amphibian population. The frogs spawned within 2 weeks!

The boundary between the pedestrian access to the Station and Martin's property has had the last wooden spear panel replaced as well as a steel box section post installed to strengthen the supportof the gate.

The work involved fabricating the post and Tony making the wood panels. Digging out of the old concreted post, preserving and painting and installing everything took us until May.

Improvements were made to the drainage grid located in the brick paving at the Station entrance, wings being added to increase capacity, along the lines of the original which had not been fully restored. This should better protect the station against flash flooding from the road and down the entrance path.

It seems a long time ago now, following a warm spell, March turned out to be coldest for 20 years. We lost a couple of weeks working due to the snow on Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd of March which drifted – note the height of the snow against the lamp on platform 2!  

At the Spring Steam Gala in April the Llangollen restored Auto Trailer 92 was commissioned and ran with the Steam Motor making a marvellous sight. Yours truly took time out to have a ride all the way from Llangollen onto the new extension – blow-ups required on the Friday disrupting the timetable. The Vertical Boiler steams best on hard coal (Anthracite) not the soft coal (Columbian) first used which, while giving plenty of smoke, vanished up the chimney at a rapid rate.

It is interesting that the motor unit could not be fired on the run due to movement being bogie mountd and excessive secondary air draft with the regulator and fire door open together.

Also pictured is the refurbished trolley by Tony, mentioned in last years report, looking splendid in brown. It is posed underneath the recently installed Gentlemen sign on Platform 2. Behind the closed door is the slate loo that has had some progress made on it. It is not yet completely finished but could be opened for use at a pinch.  Martin has plumbed in the pipe work and installed the wash basin with a temporary waste/flush pipe due to be replaced with copper. The walls have had a first coat of light stone paint applied after being completely re-rendered last year. Still to be finished are the installation of frost protection i.e. trace heating the pipe run to the sink tap. A new feeder cable has to be laid and a box constructed to enclose the Pressure Reducing Valve, Stop Cock and electrical junction box. One maintenance problem we have is because the structure has no roof leaves collect in the drains especially in the Autumn.

The vintage toilets require constant maintenance e.g. painting, tap washers/cistern levels. They were not envisaged for continuous heavy use with Carrog still a Terminus Station after 18 years instead of the planned 4!

In the corner of the gents urinal on Platform 2, service valves, pipework and the trace heating junction box awaiting a box enclosure can be seen.

A Car Park entrance gate post was sheared off by a careless coach driver – a sleeper prop and tension bar holding it up for now. Two new metal posts have been fabricated.

LR has successfully claimed against the Coach company insurance which will finance the use of Arwel and his JCB necessary to complete the job in one working day thus maintaining security.

Phil Coles has performed the perennial task of erecting Christmas lights and wired in the tin shed loo frost heater. This year progressive replacement of lights with LEDs has begun, to increase reliability and reduce consumption and hence the electricity bill. He also provided and fitted gutter brackets to replace those missing on the Signal Box.

Martin has cut approx. 18 Leylandii from the road side of the Station House paddock partly to rejuvenate the original hedgerow and habitat below and to let in the evening sun. The logged timber will keep the wood-burner going for a few years.  Overhanging branches off the large conifer tree in the platform 1 corner have also been cut.

Grass cutting, hedge pruning and general maintenance of the gardens by Sheila and Jeanette with Tony lending a hand for the heavier work are ongoing round the year tasks.

Robin has carried out much line-side strimming, painting of posts and filled the big potholes in the Station Car Park with bottom ballast remnants.

These are now receptacles for station fireplace ash and clinker which it is hoped will bed down to a serviceable repair.

To increase security around the unfenced boundary between the public and private house properties, especially when the Station is unmanned, we are putting in a new security gate. This has been designed to match the nearby utilities area gate and fixtures. Gate and posts constructed by Tony.

A) Wash down and refresh paint on two signals – up advanced starter and down outer home.

Touch up paint on all semaphores.

B) Continue prepping and painting coach.

C) Install trace heating to Urinal on Platform 2. Make and install wooden enclosure.

D) Complete improvements to plumbing and insulating in tin shed loo.

Clean ceilings and repaint with anti-fungal.

In brick loo strip tiles and crumbling render from south wall.

Re-render and re-tile.

E) Paint new security gate and posts. Install.

F) Clean out all gutters drain gullies and pl 2 urinal.

G) Install new car park gate posts, re-hang gate and fence rails

H) Restore ex GWR poster frame, obtain new poster and fit to Platform 2 waiting room wall.

I) Repoint west wall of Platform 2 waiting room - water ingress damaging interior.

J) Cut the Signal Post, at Pentre (in Pete Lund’s coach) to size.

Bring up to Carrog for storage/spare signal.

K) White lines to be painted before Easter – not done in 2013.

L) Continually mow grass, prune and tidy garden beds and plant bedding plants and bulbs.

As part of their Cultural Programme the Edeyrnion Historical Society hosted a highly successful Railway exhibition in the Corwen Oriel in March with pictorial and slide show exhibits put together mainly by Paul Lawton. Martin helped with the shelving and mounting and brought numerous items from Carrog Station. George Jones provided a Corwen extension exhibit. Many locals brought in items. Loco groups were approached and the Patriot group made a big effort to provide 8’x4’ display boards which attracted considerable interest from the families of the town's war veterans and thereby boosting the number of visitors. Their engine “The Unknown Warrior” is shown in Llangollen workshop dressed with poppies for Armistice day.

We often mention that we conserve as well as use the Western Rhyn Box as a workshop and describe measures taken to conserve the building. I thought that we should finish with a shot inside showing the security gate ready for painting.