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21st October 2010 Who goes to Wales in October?

We do! And we picked the one of the coldest days of this end of the year to do so. Why? Well as usual there was a Meccano reason. We had negotiated to buy a relatively small lot of Meccano in Newport. Normally we would not consider driving all that way just to collect a small lot but there was another attraction. Some people like to visit stately homes, gardens and the like. We enjoy that sort of outing too but Newport has something else to make this couple of Meccano people get up at the crack of dawn, scrape the ice of the car and head off in a westerly direction.

Bridge

July, this year, saw the reopening of Newport’s star attraction – The Newport Transporter Bridge. This is one of only two still in working order and open to the public. (the other one is in Middlesborough) The only other Transporter bridge in the UK is the one at Warrington that crosses the Mersey. It is privately owned and it was built to connect the two parts of Joseph Crosfield and Sons chemical works. Originally used to carry rail vehicles it was converted for road vehicles in 1940. It is no longer in use and although Grade II listed it is also sadly on the Buildings at Risk Register because of its poor condition.

An early start and a good clear run meant that we arrived at the transporter bridge by 9am. A lot of money has been spent on restoring the bridge and it is now painted grey and a sort of mid blue. The running gear has all been replaced making for a remarkably smooth ride. We were amazed how solid it feels as you cross the Usk at speed. After a trip there and back, which incidentally is free as a foot passenger, and copious amounts of picture taking we retreated to the car for a warm up.

Haul

Resetting the SatNav to our next destination, we were on our way to collect our Meccano hoard. A very nice, almost complete, built up set No.7 plus a few extras such as gear rings and a gears set ‘A’. Also thrown in was a quantity of really tatty stuff ideal for refurbishment. The nice thing about this lot was you could trace the history. It must have started off as a set No.3 and was added to over progressive years by adding ‘A’ sets the final one being a 6A. the manual codes progressively became later starting in 1953 through to 1956. The Meccano had been played with but was in very good clean condition from being looked after. After collecting our purchase it was time to point the the car back East and after a stop for a cuppa, on the way back, we were home for 2.00pm inspecting the day’s haul. Not bad for a 300 mile round trip!

Ralph.    

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