Friday saw a joint effort between the canopy team, and the regular gang from Broadway. We planted the last 2 posts, and a start was made on slabbing underneath the steps.
A start is being made on the end nearest to the building, so as to cover the area underneath the bottom steps, before the scaffolders come in 10 days or so.
A lot of time was spent on grading the ground, and removing high spots, such as those in the concrete around the newel posts.
|Getting the second post perfectly vertical.|
|'I will hold this ball for you'|
Four volunteers then walked the two posts from their storage area by the footbridge tower, and tipped them into the two holes with the concrete poured into the bottom the previous time.
Half an inch difference! Oh-oh.
The lower post on the left was packed with pieces of slate until the level gauge said 'yes'.
A distant toot told us that the train free Monday wasn't train free after all.
The class 73 rumbled in with the ballasting train. This was followed by much shunting, and running to and fro between the levers in the signal box, and the northern siding.
The ballast train was parked, and the bogie flat with the rail on it came out of hiding.
John here spent half the day on P2 building the supports under the bottom of the stringers with more bricks, and then concrete blocks.
Back on P1 Minnie the Mixer coughed up a barrow load of concrete for the two gate posts placed earlier in the day.
Neal then shoveled the concrete around the bottoms of the posts, and after some last minute adjustments they were well and truly in.
Now to wait for the concrete to go off, and then the measurement for that short piece of spearhead fence can be taken.
Wednesday at Gotherington
We're having a last blast at fishplate greasing, to get as much done as possible before trains start running again on Wednesdays.
We need to do the whole line every 4 years, and it's not a fun job. Today we were lucky with 12 volunteers, although on a non-fishplate greasing day we can be as many as 22. Mysterious, that.
We had our PWay train with mess coach stabled at Gotherington.
This meant that we had access to everything we need right on site, which was just as well, as we found a cracked fishplate, which we were able to replace on the spot.
We parked our cars at Skew Bridge and walked through the station to the train, where the early arrivers made the tea. A couple of packets of Jaffa cakes went down well, but gosh, aren't they small nowadays. Very disappointing.
|Next week we are going to double the doughnut ration if we hit Bishops Cleeve.|
After most people had arrived, Clive gave us a brief lowdown of the At The Races trains.
These, with an extra train from Broadway this time, were a great success, both for the race goers and for the railway. We earned good income from the charter fees, as well as on board refreshment sales. All in the low season too.
|We're going to pull this trolley, so you'd better get off it.|
Luckily the hoist for the heavy stuff works both ways, so we were able to drop down the TB2s straight on to their trolleys on the loop.
Today's starting point was right by the last wagon. We did the main line earlier, and today it was the turn of the loop.
The day was overcast to start with, and while we heard several large, heavy aircraft passing overhead, we could not see them. Two gang members at Winchcombe, where they unloaded another shipment of s/h BH concrete sleepers, reported that they were indeed B52s as we suspected.
And here is that cracked fishplate that we discovered. You can see the crack travelling upwards from below, the classic pattern in a dipped joint.
We changed this side for a new one but not without difficulty as the gap was a large one, and the bolts in place were already 'S' shaped.
Later the cracked fishplate was off and here you can make out left and right what it was intended to do - marry a worn 109lb flat bottom rail to a new 109lb flat bottom rail, with a 1/8th inch lift.
The combinations of 'lifter' fishplates are almost endless, and some of the rarer ones (as used at Broadway) are so unusual they have to be specially made for us, at great cost. It's one of the drawbacks of using mostly second hand materials, it doesn't match.
For lunch we trudged back to the train several hundred yards away.
When we returned, we were wowed by the sight of this low flying Hercules. It had a large Union Jack covering the rudder, which made us feel very patriotic.
The Hercules roared overhead and then banked steeply, to fly down the valley of the Severn.
|Is that a B52 I hear?|
Strange cries came from the other side of a field below the embankment on which the train stood. Not unlike seagulls, which have been seen here since the storms, or even sheep. But they also sounded like cries for help.
Your blogger made his way down the embankment through the brambles, through a barbed wire fence, a stream and two more barbed wire fences to the far side of the field below. There was nothing there, however. Strange. After a long silence came another cry for help, this time quite near by, and there was the source, a damsel in distress. It was a lady walker stuck in the mud, the deep, glutinous variety that builds up in gateways where cattle congregate. She was covered in mud right up to her waist.
Relieved to see us, she took our offered hand and we led her to firmer ground, from which she was able to continue her journey.
On the photograph you can see a tiny line of orange dots in front of the train in the distance. It's the rest of the gang, observing the progress of your blogger on his apparently fruitless mission through the brambles and mud.
|Hail the conquering hero, but mind that barbed fire fence!|
Better luck next time, it's beyond our control.