A rude awakening this morning, as we were dozing over our tea and doughnuts - a class 45, parked right next to our mess coach! Huge rumble.
It had come to pick up a rake of coaches - today was a Thomas day.
We also had a visitor, Chris, who brought an interesting curio:
Another great surprise was that work had started on making the two ruined GWR non-corridor thirds ready for transport. They belong to a third party who has promised to restore them off site, but they are so badly decayed that their superstructure needs to be removed before they can be transported by road. Unfortunately they have been stored out in the open for many, many years.
The DMU ran a 45 minute shuttle to Broadway during this Thomas day.
We had the heavy compressor out today for powering the stone blower, and here Neil is responding bravely to a call to just move it along a bit. You can do that - just.
|Gorillas in the mist....|
There was great pleasure as a small orange clad figure slowly emerged out of the distance.
It was John, away for several months now while recovering from a knee operation.
This seems to have been a success, as he managed to walk along the rough trackbed for a considerable distance. While we gossiped, the other half got on with the job in the distance.
Up on top we met the Landie, which had followed the trackbed with the tools and the dumpy bag of chippings, which were unloaded here.
There are two dropped joints to fix here.
Earlier in the week
A quick trip into Broadway to paint the 6 cast iron seat ends for the first two extra benches for the station. Regular services were running, which enabled this photograph, quite convincing, of 2807 pulling out towards Honeybourne with a long passenger train. We think.
Now that the cafe is slowly nearing its entry into service (albeit next season) we can't work in it any more. There is a nice floor down in both kitchen and dining room, and the radiators are going in.
The new workshop is in this steel container.
Here the cast iron ends, in Broadway's special chocolate colour, are having their feet fitted. GWR benches had wooden feet, but not everyone fits them today.
Monday on the track
Four of us attended, to help Stevie load scrap rail from the trackside at Stanton.
As Stevie would be busy first thing on Monday unloading 3 signal posts at Broadway, we repaired to the mess coach for a quick early morning cuppa.
The yard had been shunted, to reveal this lovely 'Queen Mary' bogie brake. We know it's Southern, but it's still a thing of grace and beauty.
We gave Steve the time to finish unloading, then headed off to Stanton yard, to find the drainage gang hard at work in clearing a space for the welfare container for the impending aqueduct repair (you may know it as a tea hut, but these are modern times). Brambles and trees were being cleared, and two large lorry loads of rubble from accumulated broken drain repairs were carted away.
In this somewhat blurry picture you can see the honeycomb that you find in the centre, filled with larvae.
Although there were no hornets about, apparently, we were not going to inspect it too closely. Looks empty now though.
The first rails were then extracted by Stevie. In this pile they were mostly off cuts, so were pulled out in pairs.
This activity disturbed a large toad.
It seemed to be reasonably happy to be picked up. After photography, we deposited it on the other side of the line.
Hop along now, old chap!
We also disturbed a field mouse, and an overly curious black and white mongrel that wanted to know what was in our lunch bags.
|Roll over and play dead, go on. NO!|
It was very friendly, and eager to be patted by all and sundry.
|Oh, alright then.....|
|Have you seen a black & white mongrel anywhere?|
Later it was claimed by the drainage gang....
Stevie knew just where to look, and it wasn't obvious to the bystander (if we get any down here that is) that they were there at all.
All the rail we recovered was lifted by Stevie on to this bogie flat, and at the end of the day this was taken down to Winchcombe or unloading.
Friday at Toddington
The vast car park is empty, except for this:
|Now release the hand brake....|
They are coming to stay with us for a while. We parked them behind the loco shed.
Inside the near silent loco shed work was about to continue on fitting the 8 stringers with cleats.
These cleats will be rivetted on, but to start with they will be bolted.
With the bolts in place, they will be welded - a refinement of our own - to prevent water ingress from behind. The HIA bridge had a lot of issues in this area.
A specialist welder came in today to do about half of them, and a fine job he did too.
In anticipation, Neal has ordered the rivets. Just three sacks, but they contain no fewer than 600 rivets.
Here's a sample of what they will look like on a gusset.
Today Neal completed drilling all the holes for the 96 cleats. Is he therefore finished? No sir! He's got holes for 600 rivets to drill, and each rivet has two holes to pass through, and sometimes even three.
Neal reckons he's about half way in fact.
Having finished drilling the holes for the cleats, Neal decided to fit one of the big gusset plates on to the intermediate landing supports.
You may remember that he built them earlier, but today he took them to pieces again and started drilling up the upright stringer to fit the big gusset plate.
At the end of the afternoon, this is what the big gusset looked like.
It's now bolted to the upright stringer, which itself is now fitted with an angle to support the intermediate landing.
Four of these to do though.
As we are all volunteers there is no precise target date, but let's say that what we would like to do is finish off the drilling, send the steelwork off to be galvanised, and on its return fit it to the Broadway footbridge during the non running season.
Looking further ahead, if that goes well, then a second round of manufacture could start, subject to funding, which is not yet in place. We walk with little steps.
That would involve the northern canopy overhang, parts of which are already made, and some of these need modification. A second non-running season then offers itself at the end of 2019. If all goes well, and the extra money is found.