Thursday, 30 January 2014

Facilities Extension Phase II and other progress!

With a new year well and truly started and spring around the corner (we hope) thoughts have turned to how we can progress our building project at the museum. 

Due to the lack of volunteers and the physical effort required to roof the extension it has been decided that a builder should carry out this vital task. So work should begin at the end of February. This doesn't mean that volunteers can sit back and relax! With the need to erect scafolding the timber sheds that are within a meter of the end of the extension have to be moved/removed! We have decided that short term one of the sheds will be kept and relocated whilst the rest will be cut up for boiler foder. Initial work was spent clearing our existing traverser shed so that parts could be moved into here from the doomed sections. A timber store along the side has now been removed ready for the sheds to come down.

On other news the exhibition hall is to get a new steam exhibit. An Evans steam pump is to fitted alongside the robey engine. It will then be connected to a tank outside for pumping demonstrations. This will bring our collection up to 31 working steam engines by far the largest collection in Great Britain (awaiting challenge!)

With all these steam engines needing steam Bill is working on testing an idea for a forced blower in the chimney to try and increase draw and therefore oxygen through the fire. This in turn will hopefully make the fire burn quicker and hotter producing more steam. It is being trialled with a Diesel engine but would eventually be driven by a steam engine should it prove workable. 

On the railway we have taken delivery of the last load of steel sleepers. These all need stripping of bolts and clips, sorted and will need to be dry stored ready for building new track panels. A job for the warmer weather! 

Traverser Shed cleared out 

The wood store being removed

Wood store now a pile of boiler fuel!

The evans pump in kit form! Nice easy job really! 

The Clarke compressor will make way for the pump.

Blower connected to Diesel engine for tests.

Steel sleepers arriving by trailer.

Stacked awaiting bolt removal and de-rusting.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014


Keep an eye out for our new flyer being distributed as we speak. It will be in all of our leaflets and separately on display. It promotes both Steam on the Levels 2014 and this years adjusted steaming dates (take note).

If anyone has anywhere to display them let me know and I will make sure you have a handful!

Wednesday, 15 January 2014


Well this Sunday gone turned out to be rather cold! With the threats of flooding and some temporary road closures earlier in the week around the museum it seemed to spur volunteers on to make an appearance just to say they could make it! Most of the day was spent watching the environment agency play around with 6 pumps next door! Along side the permanent diesel pump station they had put in place 5 temporary diesel powered pumps to take excess water from the rhyne back into the river parrett. This was not due to water on the Westonzoyland and Middlezoy section of moor but because Westonzoyland and Andersea areas on the other side of lake wall were a bit full. They were therefore pumping it from one moor to another and then at the pumping station taking it back into the river. 

The newly painted WZLR open wagon returned, it is still to receive lettering down the side but due to the current air temperatures vinyl stickers don't stick very well! This job wil be done when ambient temperatures allow. It runs very well and looks the part with the box van.

The temporary chimney has been removed, flat packed and ready for the scrap man, the second temporary chimney is work in progress. It will be made from 600mm spiral wound galvanised ducting. It needs attaching to a steel flange that has been cut off the condemed original chimney before being pulled into place. This should hopefully last two years whilst we work out costs and apply for funding to replace it properly. 

Monday, 6 January 2014

Open Wagon Refurb 2

The new couplings have been welded on, just need to purchase some more off the shelf tractor pins. As this wagon is made to the same chassis width as the new box/guards van and future coach, it was thought it would be nice to run it with these one day. In order to keep the brake system working a through air pipe has been fitted so if the wagon is between the brake van and the loco then an air connection is still maintained. It doesn't however brake the wagon as it isn't required on such a small item.

The whole thing has been given a new coat of primer ready for the new paint job to commence.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

WZLR Open Wagon Refurb

It only seems like yesterday that the open wagon was built, however with hard use and a change of ideas on couplers it was unloaded and taken away today to be worked on. It should be back on the railway having been modified and with a new coat of paint and lettering! Watch this space for the finished item!

In the next photos it is shown in a local workshop making full use of a two post car lift to make it easier to work on. No pits required here!

And here is the newly made coupling plates that will provide a tractor pin point where fixed solid coupling bars can be fixed. This method matches the new box/guards van built last year, it will also couple to the existing wagons with ease. 

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

New Year

Happy New Year to all our supporters. Our steaming today was successful despite the poor weather and localised flooding. We hope you come to see us in 2014 for a steam up or perhaps Steam on the Levels. All event information is available on our website

The shot below taken from the cab of the Simplex Loco looking down into the engine house... Perhaps if we got site wide lighting sorted some evening/night steamings would be of interest!?

Shutters, Windows & Paint

Well even with all this bad weather Chris has been working away on the pump room and forge windows and shutters. He has now finished replacing and puttying the glass and the frames have now been painted in our new standard colour of 'cashmere dream' which is a slightly creamy colour without being too yellow. We think it fits well with the 'Buckingham green'. Hopefully we can persuade Chris to continue with his efforts on some of the other windows!