FRIENDS OF CARROG REPORT FOR 2019
Twelve months on and Carrog is still the terminus of the line with no firm date set for when
the extension to Corwen Central will be opened. The railway is planning to keep the tea room
at Carrog Station open throughout the running season. The intention is for a quick turnround at
Corwen and have a “tea” stop at Carrog on the way back just like the London & North Western Railway did by stopping trains for refreshments at the original Wolverton Station.
In January FOC hired a skip to clear out the Mk 1 coach in the station yard. We are using it
as our workshop and have installed work benches and a cupboard for the paint. The extra room
is invaluable as it enables us to strip down the likes of trolleys and benches and spread out wood
for drying out and painting. In addition, larger items like Santa's sledge and the Lapland signs
are stored in a dry and safe environment.
The Great Northern Corridor Brake Composite Coach No. 229 (LNER 4229), restored as one
of the coaches in the BBC 4 series, left the railway in spring after being sold. The access ramp built by C&W last July and then painted by us over the following three months has been dismantled.
The newly formed Llangollen Heritage Group has moved into the station yard the former Llangollen Exhibition Coach (LMS BG No.31343 of 1947) for use as their workshop.
It will soon be joined by a Pooley Van which then will be converted into a dedicated museum
with access via a smaller ramp to be built from the signal box alcove. Pooley Vans were maintained by Henry Pooley & Co and contained the firms weighing machines and weighbridge for use by BR. The new museum will enable Platform 2 Waiting Room to revert closer to its original purpose of a traditional waiting room. Already the Midland Railway Waiting Room bench has gone to a more appropriate home at Peak Rail. It has been replaced by one of the three ex-GWR Waiting Room benches acquired from the George 111 Hotel in Penmaenpool after the Heritage Group approached Robinson's Brewery after hearing about the intended refurbishment of the Hotel.
The Heritage Group raises money for its acquisitions by running a raffle on the service trains with the prize of a footplate ride home. This has enabled them to bid at auctions for original items like benches, trolleys, metal signs etc. which after restoration will be installed at the appropriate stations along our line.
Carrog has been the main recipient so far with a “Gentlemen” and “Adjust Your Dress” signs
for the toilet on Platform 2, a “Tickets” and an original “GWR Fares Board”, varnished to a high standard, in the Booking Office. The tin hut on platform 1 now masquerades as a “Parcel Office”.
During the year two porter trolleys were fully restored with a wheeled trolley still in the paint shop. The work took up a large amount of our time with Tony doing a fantastic job shaping the handles and replacing most of the wooden frames – subsequent painting seems to go on for ever.
After taking advice from the Heritage experts we have standardised for our trolleys at Carrog
on the wood being brown and all metal work in black as can be seen in the photo on the right.
A coup for the Group was finding a scarce GWR Dray which arrived early in May and at the moment is stored under a tarpaulin in Carrog yard awaiting restoration.
The large and heavy “Cross the Railway “sign on the bridge wall at the end of platform 1 has been a major problem with rust streaks appearing every year due to water dripping from the parapet.
With a great deal of difficulty it was removed from the wall, fortunately without breaking it,
sent away for shot blasting and then repainted starting with metal primer, two coats
of undercoat followed by black & white top coats. The other day looking at it back on the wall
I do not think that we have completely solved the problem.
The brackets holding the two Electricity Boxes to the bridge wall had become so corroded
that they were in danger of falling off. Martin bolted on point rodding alignment bars
and constructed a wooden sleeper support beam on brick pillars (see pic). The boxes were
then stripped down and given two coats of metal primer followed by two coats of Cobalt Grey.
They now blend well into the landscape. While working on the site in July I had the opportunity
to photograph the Standard Class 4 running round at Carrog on its last day in service before
being withdrawn for its boiler overhaul.
The volunteers manning the two sales coaches in the station yard have for a long time been complaining about the poor condition of the bench that was provided for them
to sit and watch the world go by. The location beside the tin hut is also very popular with the public especially on a sunny day as it is in partial shade. The Heritage Group provided us with three cast GWR bench supports. As our station represents the BR period in the mid 1950's only
the middle “W” was in those days painted in cream. Four long hardwood planks were
shaped by Tony before being handed over for painting and assembly to “Joe” of the youth group to whom we are specially indebted.
The photo on the right is interesting as it shows the standard wooden platform barrier ends on
the Severn Valley Railway. The claim being that these were the normal GWR design to stop the
public encroaching onto the track. At Carrog we have white painted wood pedestals with a chain between them.
A group of us visited Kidderminster Station for a meeting with their Heritage Group followed by
a tour stopping at all stations to Bridgnorth looking at their posters, benches, lamps etc. with special concentration on the displays in the booking halls/waiting rooms. The biggest impression we came away with was the lighting from attractive copper lamps hanging from the ceiling.
Carrog has been chosen as the starting point for the installation of period milestones on the
Northern or “Up” side of the line. Working back towards Glyndyfrdwy the Heritage Group have recently erected five posts at Mileposts 12 ¾, 12 ½, 12 ¼, 12 miles and 11 ¾ with the holes for the next two at 11 ½ and 11 ¼ dug. This will take the set back to Fisherman’s Crossing/Concrete Road close to Glyndyfrdwy Station. Going the other way, towards Corwen, milepost 13 has been installed (photo taken in bad light). FOC is sponsoring milepost 13 ¼ which is in a prominent location close to the river on a right-hand curve between the fixed distant Signal and a SW sign.
On the GWR the normal zero point was its headquarters at Paddington but on our line the zero point was just south of Ruabon where the route diverged from the Chester to Shrewsbury line. Carrog Station is at 12 miles 67 chains where 80 chains = 1 mile.
Carrog Station stays open throughout the running season with continuous public presence.
This makes it difficult to find days when the station buildings can be refurbished for example
both entrance doors to the Booking Hall have not received a repaint for a number of years.
There are only two windows of opportunity available to us, the first in January before the start
of the season, the second in November before the Santa's both of which are in the cold/wet and dark times of the year and not conducive to painting outdoors. This year, in January, the interior of the Tea Room was fully repainted by the group while the Booking Hall had a quick paint touch-up.
In November the Gents and Ladies lavatories had a complete paint job (ceilings, walls, windows and doors). Three coats of varnish had to be applied to the wood surrounding the wash basin
in the Ladies to restore the worn surface. The plumbing of the Ladies loo was extensively replaced to eliminate leaks and ongoing reliability problems.
Sheila and Jeanette found time to work on the Cattle Dock - creosoting the sleepers and applying bitumen to the metal bars. The Youth Group in August and November prepped and top coated, in white, the car park gates- thanks to them for their help. This year we did not manage to undertake our annual white lining of the platform edges. This work is on the must-do list in 2020.
Carriage & Wagon took away the dilapidated Santa Sledge in January and sent us back a marvellous refurbished and strengthened sledge- the metal frame divides into two parts for storage.
A major activity throughout the year at the Station is to keep the Gardens under control.
Shelia and Jeanette ably assisted by Tony and others do a fantastic job tackling the growth
of the grass, weeds, shrubs and trees. Good examples are trimming the box hedges beside
the path down to platform 2, shaping the privet bushes spaced down both platforms, strimming
the grass bank and cutting back the roses underneath the windows. The pruning’s cannot
be left lying round the platform – tiding up and disposal has to be completed by the end of the day.
Bedding plants and bulbs are planted in Spring and Autumn (often bought at their own expense)
to give ongoing colourful displays in the planting boxes. There is always something in flower.
The whole effect is regularly commented on by our visitors.
JOB LIST FOR 2020
Carrog Signal Box is scheduled by S&T for a repaint starting in Spring once the scaffolding
has been retrieved from the Signal Box at Glyndyfrdwy. FOC have been asked for a small donation towards the new door which S&T are constructing. Maybe our offer should be limited to just installing the door. The Heritage Group are on the lookout for a replacement signal box door sign
to replace the one that has gone walk-about.
A) Complete the painting and assembly of the wheeled trolley in the workshop.
B) Paint the White Lines on the platform edges.
C) Buy in a number of wooden half barrel planters for both platforms
D) Replace the bottom beading on Platform 1 Running-in Board.
E) Work on the window ledges on the outside of the tea room.
F) Paint the wooden slats on the entrance path cream.
G) Cut back the shrubs and trees overhanging the entrance path and generally tidy up this area.
H) Repair/replace gates, fences, drainage items etc.
I) Paint bins, doors.
J) Continually mow and strim grass and banks, tidy garden beds, plant bedding plants and bulbs.