FRIENDS OF CARROG REPORT FOR 2015
On your behalf we donated £200 from the FOC fund to the Corwen Sleeper appeal.
This is equivalent to one sleeper for each of you. When travelling to Corwen can you spot yours?
Carrog car park was the off-loading point for the ballast brought in by lorry. Dereck Foster's crane was used to load the ballast wagons which were then propelled by the 03 Shunter down to the rail head on the extension. This was the normal sight in the yard for the first six months of the year. With wagon deliveries up to three times a day twice a week there was not much space left in the car park - fun and games was had by all when up to three coaches also had to be accommodated.
The tiles on the outer wall of the Gent's toilet on Platform 1 have for some time needed surgery due to a number of swellings appearing. This was caused by not enough cement being originally used in the render mix. With no trains running after New Year all the tiles were removed. Just as well there was nobody around as it created a great deal of mess due to many tiles having to be broken as they brought the plaster off with them. All the old plaster therefore had to be removed before the walls could be re-rendered. With the wet February heating was needed to dry out the new plaster. It was not until March that Tony could complete the re-tiling.
The quiet period in January enabled us to paint the walls of the Ladies toilet magnolia, the front door of the station brown and for Robin (being younger) to clear out the gutters.
In February Martin and Robin started the installation of the trace heating in the Gent's urinal on Platform 2. It runs alongside the water pipe in its trough at the bottom of the wall and is wrapped round the base of the basin tap. On a recent test in the frosty weather the initial flow of water from the tap was slightly tepid. Robin did most of the wiring and finalised the installation. Jeremy, the railways electrical inspector, approved the work. The supply is both self-regulating and ambient temperature controlled.
Tony fabricated a box and door to protect the pressure reducing valve, stop cock, electrical junction box and trace heating. The installation progressed piecemeal until finally in July Martin commissioned the urinal – do not ask any questions about this statement.
Owing to the quest for originality (ie no roof) the problem of the leaves blowing in and piling up in the corners needs to be solved.
The metal trunk, sitting on the refurbished trolley, was originally a lump of rust - it took two Sundays to remove it all. It now looks splendid after applying metal primer and a top coat of the same paint as used on the coach.
It took the first six months of the year to rub down, fill and paint the four remaining panels (three already completed) on the Tea Room Store Mark 1 Coach. It was warm enough in the sun even in January to remove the rust and rub down a panel.
The work was shared out amongst a number of individuals with special mention to Martin for the many weeks of filling and to Robin for completing the painting. No we are not doing the other side nor volunteering to do another coach.
In April/May the sleepers of the Cattle Dock and the wooden boundary fence gates at the P/Way entrance at the bottom of the car park were creosoted by Sheila and Jeanette – a task that requires to be done every two years. Weeds continually grow between the bricks in the Cattle Dock and also on the miniature railway line in the Dock area – these areas constantly need working on .
As some of the wooden strips on the benches are rotting and splitting, with potential damage to clothing, we purchased four planks of Sapele (Entandrophragma cylindricum) a hardwood from Africa reminiscent of mahogany. A lovely wood to work with as it has no knots but it is expensive.
Tony cut these to size and shaped the ends. The holes for the bolts were then drilled using the old boards as a template and the heads of the bolts inset into the wood. This was done before painting as otherwise it was found that when tightening the nuts the heads broke the surface of the paint – a major cause of rot. It takes weeks to paint them in undercoat and two coats of brown in the Western Rhyn box. Two of the benches have had their worst boards replaced. It is interesting to note the difference in the brown as only one plank so far has been replaced – the brown darkens with age.
As other benches are rapidly deteriorating, due to the originals being made from soft wood, another four boards need urgently replacing but we only have two planks in stock.
During the summer the paintwork on a number of the signals was worked on whenever the weather permitted. We concentrated on the white of the posts and the black at the base.
Most of the metal work at the top still needs to be rubbed down before it can be painted.
The Bracket Signal has a large amount of metal some of which cannot be reached from the platform. Also on the Bracket Signal we found bulges under the white paint due to water ingress – they have been burst to let the water out and for the post to dry out. Martin and Tony traced the problem to higher up finding holes in the post dating from a previous life – they have now been filled.
The only signal we have managed to completely finish is the Up Starter at the end of Platform 1.
The picture above left shows the waiting room wall onto which the laminated version of the new Barmouth poster that we bought from the Science Museum is to be fixed. The size to be adjusted to fit the ex GWR poster frame being restored by Tony. Re-pointing of the wall is still to be finished.
Note that our payment to the Science Museum entitles us to five more copies. The AA sign is a very interesting local artefact but unfortunately is in too bad a condition to mount on an outside wall.
In the jobs list gardening is always mentioned. To keep Carrog looking as attractive as it always is takes a lot of effort throughout the year. Here is a summary of the main tasks worked on each month. Most of the jobs are done every other Wednesday by Jeanette and Sheila with help from Tony for the heavy stuff.
In addition there is regular grass cutting from April to late September.
March - planting Gladioli and general tidying up of the gardens. Weeding Cattle Dock.
April - platform 2 bed weeding and planting.
May - busy month generally tidying up the rapid Spring growth.
June - planting Geraniums in boxes. Strimming of Platform 2 bank and plus the Station edges.
July - pruning of new growth.
August – general tidying up
September – hedge cutting and cutting back bushes.
October – planting spring bulbs
November – sweeping up of leaves.
Thanks must be made to Sheila for each year buying in and paying for herself the plants and bulbs.
The wooden gate post broken by the coach has been dug out and replaced by a steel box one which we had in stock. A time consuming job was to form and weld up the V at the top of the posts. Martin welded on the lugs for the fence brackets. At the same time the opportunity was taken to also replace the other wooden post. Martin and Tony, together with help from Vic, dug out the rotten posts and concreted in the metal ones. The concrete materials were supplied by the railway. As most of the work was done in-house the railway agreed with Martin that half the Insurance payment, which had already been paid to the railway, should be given to the FOC.
This money (£210) will appear in the 2015 Financial Report.
The spare signal post at 24 feet is a tight fit in the Western Rhyn box. It has been decided to cut it down to 21 feet which is the height of our tallest signal post excepting the bracket main post-for which it is not suitable. Tony has shaped the top of the post to accept a finial and to take out a slight bend. Fortunately, after some refurbishment by Martin, we have one example of all the wooded posts components required except a G47 spindle bearing. We also need to buy in steel rodding and build a base plate with its supports. This is a long term project to have the basis of a signal ready in case of deterioration of any of the wood post signals.
To increase security around the unfenced boundary between the public and private house properties, especially if the Station is unmanned, we will this year install the completed Security Gate. This has been designed to match the nearby utilities area gate by the Toilets on Platform 1.
JOB LIST FOR 2015
A) Rub down and paint the Down Advanced Starter (towards Corwen) as it has been neglected.
B) Finish painting the following signals - the metal work (black) is the priority.
- Bracket signal - repair the white paint bulges due to water ingress and the metal work.
Down Outer Home.
Up Advance Starter.
Finish the re-paint of the faded black bands on the back of the signal arms.
Renew the red on the Shunting signal arm.
C) Refurbish as many of the six Token Catcher posts as possible – most only need top coat.
D) Finish the rubbing down and painting of the Finials.
E) Remove the swelling tiles in the Ladies toilet and re-render – purchase new tiles.
E) Complete the re-pointing of the west wall of Platform 2 waiting room.
F) Restore ex GWR poster frame, obtain laminated poster and fit to Platform 2 waiting room wall.
G) Install the completed Security gate and posts by the toilets on Platform 1.
H) Cut the spare Signal Post in the Western Rhyn box to 21 feet and shape end.
I) Obtain parts for Signal Post – rods, guides, base plate plus G47 spindle bearing.
J) Obtain more Sapele timber for Benches – shape ends and paint
K) Install publicity posters for Corwen and Carrog camp site
L) White Lines to be painted before Steel, Steam and Stars if weather allows (15th March in 2014).
M) Continually mow grass, prune and tidy garden beds and plant bedding plants and bulbs.
Already the first indications are that although the trains are running through to Corwen the public are still using Carrog as the start point of a round trip on the railway. Our attraction is the facilities provided and a pleasant place to watch the trains go by. Over the years Carrog has built up regulars who just drop in for tea in addition to others who come for refreshments before riding on the train. One bad experience like the Tea Room being closed could well result in them not coming back
Unfortunately during the Mince Pie Specials the Tea Room was closed and the station left unmanned. As so many cars arrived Martin and Jeanette (with a stinking cold) opened up the station, lit the fire and provided tea and coffee. The railway is fortunate that they were willing to man the station otherwise there would have been a lot more disappointed people than there was.
The railway is planning to have a roster for Carrog for each day trains are running.
However to protect Martin and Jeanette's privacy (it is a private house) the FOC will fabricate a STATION CLOSED notice board in case at the last minute station staff cannot make it – this is bound to happen from time to time..
It looks like that Carrog has a viable future as a starting place on the railway.
With the public normally around we need to continue to maintain Carrog to its normal high standard and thus the Friends of Carrog will continue in its present form.
As listed above we have more than enough new work scheduled for a number of years.