An initial sketch of the water tower showing a brick tower with an iron tank sat on the top. The iron tank sat in the carpark at Cranmore. Each panel of the tank is marked before dismantling starts. The bolts securing the panels are cut and each panel lifted away for refurbishment. Note the pond life inside the tank! The bricks for the tower were salvaged from the undergrowth at Mells Road which was the remains of the GWR signal box. Roger and Jeff take a break. The bricks were transported back to Cranmore and each one was cleaned and stacked ready for use. Alan is seen in the wagon playing with the bricks while his son Greg uses the pressure washer. The cleaned, palletised bricks ready for future use. Hidden in the undergrowth is part of a water column which may be used as part of the project although it is not complete. Another part of the water column rescued from the undergrowth. Whilst we have many of the parts, some bigs ones are missing. Does anyone know of a spare water crane similar to the one shown here ? Please contact the railway office. The base of the water tank is all that now remains in the car park. This will also be dismantled before being cleaned up etc and then reassembled. The final sections of the water tank dismantled showing the wooden strips used to seal the joints between the panels. A pressure gauge measuring the head of water has been found in a local antique shop and will be mounted as a water level gauge for the water tower. Amongst the undergrowth and bricks at Mells Road, this brass door handle and lock from the old signal box was found and will hopefully be reused on the access door to the water tower. Several locations for the water tower were considered and the favourite site is shown here at the East end of the Station at Cranmore on the North (car park) side. There are several reasons for this choice such as the easy site access and suitable level ground. Another view showing the proposed location. The tower would be build just to the right of the signal. Andrew Box and his mini digger remove the topsoil from the site but is unable to penetrate the bedrock so it was back to the old fashioned method of pick and shovel to complete the digging of the foundations. The concrete shuttering prepared on site Derek Robinson prepares the anchor bolts for the internal steel frame. The foundations prepared and ready to take the concrete. one of the anchor bolts with a polystyrene cone now set in concrete. The anchor bolts before petrol is poured on them to dissolve the polystyrene. The anchor bolts after the polystyrene has dissolved allowing for slight adjustment to the internal steel columns on assembly.
Work has started refurbishing the water tank. This involves a lot of needle gunning so anyone who would like to help with this task feel free to join in. You`re very welcome!
Refurbishment of a `gate valve` previously used for bitumen in the tanker sidings, will be re-used on the water tower project. A sterling effort by Derek, Ralph and Keith produced the internal steel frame of the water tower,like a giant meccano set it is now almost ready for bolting together. Steel frame laid out ready for erection. The steel columns are lifted in to place by Rogers Iron Fairy. The supporting frame is pre assembled and lifted into place. The finished internal steel frame. Derek prepares the first main support assembly for erection. The jib of the Iron Fairy at full extension and full right slew reaching some 18 feet over the fence.
Derek bolting up the first main support leg assembly. The view from the crane cab.  It was not possible to see the ground from the cab, so all initial lifting was totally reliant on hand signals. The Iron Fairy positioned to reach as far over the fence as possible.  The grass, which had just been mowed, was extremely slippery which caused problems getting the crane up the slope. With the first support in position, "strong man" Derek appears to be holding up the second pair of legs as the loco runs round! Derek and Alan bolt the second support frame together. Something horrible seems to be escaping from Alan?s pocket as he tightens the bolts! The crane viewed from the platform of the adjacent bracket signal. Another view from the signal.  Both the main supports for the tank are now in place. A more distant view showing the position of the water tower. The jib of the Iron Fairy looms over the construction site. Preparations are made to lift the deck girders into position. With the deck girders in position, Derek fits the bolts. The final job for the crane is to lift the compressor over to the construction site and leave it in a position from which it cannot easily be stolen. 
However because the grass is so slippery the first move is to reverse the crane back down the sloe to the hardstanding in the middle of the car park ...... ...... and then take a run at the slope!  The crane is flat out in first gear doing nearly 1mph as it charges up the slope ...... ...... with the terrified driver clinging with white-knuckles to the wheel ...... ...... before braking to a stand in exactly the right position alongside the fence.
The crane hook can then be lowered ...... ...... leaving the compressor in exactly the right position. A square of wooden shuttering is formed to contain the grout mix. The grout, a mix of `mendip dust` (crushed stone) water and cement is poured in to fill the conical holes left around the anchor bolts to aid alignment of the columns.
Work continues needlegunning the limescale sediment from the tank panels. 0720 Saturday Morris and Penny concrete mixer arrives, reverses up slope and fits on extension chute (one of the considerations for the siteing of the tower!)
By 0800  concrete is poured, and  tamped. The signal gantry proves a good vantage point to show the openings for the water supply and feed pipes. With the foundations complete, the steel frame erected and the supply pipe ready to be buried, Steve Masters CAD image shows the next stage, to sit the the water tank on top of the frame. PWay lads testing `steelhenge` prior to digging trench under the rails for the 4" supply pipe. Trench dug the pipe is laid in and connected, then painted with bitumen. The trench is back filled and compacted before refitting the rails. The water tank base panels have been lifted in to position on top of the steel frame and work has commenced on the inner blockwork wall. Roger and Gerry install the window frame in the blockwork inner wall. Progress so far shows the use of the blue engineering bricks on the outer wall,and not looking too bad considering they are already over 100 years old. The first 9 courses of Staffordshire blue engineering bricks are capped using plinth bricks also recovered from the former Mells road signal box.
The orange engineering bicks which have already been cleaned and stored on a very convienient drop side pipe wagon arrive on site the first courses and window sill are evident.            The cast iron side and end panels of the tank, now cleaned, are loaded on to the loriot wagon in the correct order ready for transport to site Ralph lemon and Phil Hamerton cleaning up the panels for the tank