Blue Flower

Today five volunteers worked at the barn where the railway wagon is stored. We have been given the wagon to use at the bone mill as a visitor centre and volunteer base. The wagon is a goods van with a set of double doors both sides and has been in a barn for many years, recently used for storing wood. Its the main body of the wagon only, it does not have wheels. Our job was to clear away wood from on top of the roof, wood, metal and various objects from inside, and clear the surroundings so it can be moved to a workshop to be repaired. The first picture shows how much work there was to do, the wagon can hardly be seen behind all the wood.

A lot of the wood was kept aside for use on woodburning stoves but any painted wood and other rubbish was taken to the far end of the garden and burnt on a bonfire, which burned all day and was still going when we left. We were helped by Maria from the house who took lots of barrow loads of wood to the fire, and her father, Salvador who looked after the fire and kept it going.

One section of the barn roof was resting on top of the wagon and did not seem to be supported anywhere else, so we had to remove it safely and this was one of the first jobs, it came away fairly easily and enabled us to access and remove the wood and metal stored on the wagon roof.

We did not have the tractor and trailer as planned because the large stack of tiles which we were going to move to another area had already been taken away, and the caravan in front of the wagon had also been moved off site. We did have a fleet of wheelbarrows though and these were in constant use ferrying wood and rubbish to the fire. We had a morning break in the house with coffee and mince pies, and the only time we had heavy rain was at lunch time while we were under cover eating our food. The forecast had been for heavy rain all day, so we were lucky not to get too wet.

There was a lot of scrap metal which was put in a large bag ready for recycling, and another large sack for general rubbish which could not be burnt. We found several tools among the items in the wagon, some of which have been taken by David for display in the heritage centre, including an old saw. David also found a large dead rat which will not be on display at the museum. Among things in the wagon was a sheet of flexible Perspex which we will use as a cover on the display box for the skull which was found at the bone mill. We also found a football and when we emptied the wagon there was room for a kick about, the end panel was the goal.

The more we cleared away the easier it was to see the condition of the wagon. Apart from some small rotten areas, most of the sides are sound, all the metal framework and end panels are in good condition. The doors are rotted and will need replacing, but the hinges were oiled and we got them moving. The roof is plywood and some areas will need repair but the overall condition is better than we first thought. The floor is made of planks and most have rotted away so the entire floor will need to be replaced. Some parts of the floor have been replaced by concrete or rubble and although we shovelled most of the loose material away, the hardened areas toward the back will need to be dug out before the wagon is pulled out, otherwise it will damage the back end.

At the end of the day we viewed some pictures of this type of wagon which were found showing how they looked when in use on the railway, and some which had been restored that gave us ideas about what we could do with ours. We also measured the wagon (17’ 8” x 7’ 10”) to prepare for transportation and so we can plan a layout. At the weekend the wagon will be pulled out of the barn with a digger and taken to the workshop on a trailer for repairs. There will then be a joint effort by the mill owners and volunteers to refurbish it ready for use at the bone mill.

Graham Bartlett       Interactive Plan            Volunteer         Previous      Next     

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