Gloucestershire, UK - The finishing touches are being applied to the new Charlbury running board on the First Great Western Cotswold Line.
So why is that of interest to the reclamation industry, you may well ask?
"It's a long story" says Peter Watson of Cox's Yard in Moreton in Marsh. "It all started many years ago when we were asked to send our forklift round to the station in Moreton to uplift their parcel scales and take them to the local surgery whose normal scales weren't strong enough for some of their patients! Having built up a rapport with the local station manager, we were subsequently asked to refurbish the GWR benches on the platforms which we did using reclaimed timber."
"We restored benches on stations up and down the Cotswold Line. Then when plans were made to add an extra track to the line and reopen some of the disused stations, we were asked to supply extra benches and we did find 2 or 3 originals which were done up and fitted. Copies were being made in China but the paint was the wrong colour and not of good quality, delivery was sporadic and could not be guaranteed so we invested in a pattern for the art deco ends and now have the castings made locally. The workshop machines up salvaged joists and this gave us the flexibility to make benches of different lengths."
Yes, but what's that got to do with the picture of the artisan at work on a station sign?
"Well," says Watson "One day we had a request from the station master to smarten up the existing running boards (railway speak for name boards) as a certain well known politician was visiting Charlbury. We should have realised that it wouldn't be as simple as a coat of paint. Rot had set in big time and the boards crumbled. Back to the workshops where we grafted in new sections, made some new letters and generally spruced them up. Job well done and on time. But double tracking the line had opened up another platform which didn't have a running board and another big wig was due in, this time alighting on the new platform . So could we make up a new sign which we duly did using, I'm embarrassed to admit, new plywood and mdf but with reclaimed timber for the frame."
Since then Cox's have found a ready market for their benches from rail enthusiasts of all ages, other private railways and even as birthday and christmas presents. When asked if they are repro Peter's response is "Absolutely not! They are original equipment as supplied to working mainline railways."
Cox's Yard @ Moreton Architectural
Story Type: Feature