In the last year I have put together a short display length of plateway
track.  Prior to being used in the display the cast plates had been stored
for thirty odd years in the Morwellham "finds store"   which in actuality is
an old stable!  The display I put together was indoors, I did not treat the
plates in any way.  I would suggest you follow the same policy.  If the
rails have not deteriorated whislt in store I would hesitate to add any
foriegn substances such as grease which might start some unfoseen chemical
reaction.    You mention encrustations of mud lime and rust - do not be
tempted to remove them, they are probably protecting the plate from further
oxidisation, by removing the crud you will expose fesh surfaces to air and
hence oxidisation and deterioration.

Provided that the plates condition are stable and that the underground
conditions are not too harsh I would be tempted to use them as they are - if
it aint bust don't fix it.  However I would suggest that if you do follow
this path you regularly moniter the condition of the plates and if they do
start to deteriorate  you remove them to a more stable environment.  I would
also suggest that, if you have not already done so, the plates should be
fully recorded.

Robert Waterhouse knows as much as anyone about cast tram plates, perhaps he
can take this discussion further (providing that he has not ruined himself
in Taunton).

Rick Stewart

----- Original Message -----
From: "Peter Burgess" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Sunday, June 04, 2006 12:25 PM
Subject: Protection for Cast Iron

> Does anyone have experience of protecting cast-iron from further
> deterioration in a damp environment?
> My colleages and I are considering creating a public display of a short
> length of plateway track, using original cast iron Outram rails. Most if
not all of
> these rails were taken many years ago from an underground quarry, where
> had lain in permanently damp or wet conditions, partly or wholly buried.
> something like 25 to 30 years they have been stored in an uncontrolled
> environment (an old stable block), under cover and more or less dry.
> The proposed new location will be underground once more, but possibly a
> hostile environment, basically 'dry', but at a temperature of about 10
> C, and in a damp atmosphere. The proposed location is more or less akin to
> damp cellar, and part of a sand cave complex open to the public a few
> a year.
> Does anyone have experience of what we might treat these rails with in
> to prevent them from deterioration? Some of the rails are heavily pitted,
> have encrustations of limewash, mud and rust on them.
> Thanks.
> Peter Burgess
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