Welsh Weather

The best efforts of recent storms have meant that recent activities at Apedale have been predominantly indoors. A key project being progressed is the overhaul and conversion of ex-Ffestiniog coach 120. The vehicle arrived last year. The main changes being made to are the provision of access for wheelchairs and the creation of an area for the Guard, with associated equipment. The wheelchair access is quite challenging. The floor is largely 1″ thick plywood, in remarkably good order – but the area at the ends of the vehicles between the corner doors is steel plate. The steel plate is secured directly to the underframe, which dates from some time between 1909 and 1926, and originated on the Isle of Man. The combination of floor materials would have created a step, unacceptable for manoeuvering wheelchairs. So, recent work has been to remove an area of the plywood, and extend the steel floor to create a safe area for wheelchairs (and their occupants!) to travel. This has been described, rather cynically, as the Buckfastleigh Modification. Cutting the floor was nerve wracking, but then it was found that the plywood sat on thin packers which had been bonded to the underframe with some sort of unbelievably strong adhesive – we think it’s the Welsh version of No More Nails (Dim mwy o ewinedd). Next steps are to create the floor sections, weld in a couple of tranverse supports to give a bit of rigidity to the floor, and fit nosings round the remaining wooden floor for neatness and safety (avoid the trip hazard).