First things first, it appears we now have a bit of an 'arms race' in the doughnut supply. Anything Hayles / The Wednesday Gang can do, we can do better. No fewer than 46 doughnuts turned up today, including 36 on 3 trays sourced by Paul C. Take your pick. Take several. Please !
Then off to Broadway to continue laying track. We had 3 more panels to do to get us to the home signal. That is the point at which the turnout starts.
With the head scratching going on at the business end, some of us decided to roll out the fish plates for the siding, which will be laid alongside. Pairs were dropped off the trolley next to the fish plates on the main line already laid.
Laying sleepers must be easy, you'll be thinking, but there are lots of little foibles and hurdles. It's knowing about these and anticipating them that makes a team function well.
Here we have detected a blocked up hoop on the chair. With these second hand sleepers many have been knocked into the ground and have muck and stones in the hoops. Here Tom is poking a rod through one of them to clear it.
Another issue that cropped up today was the famous 'bow wave'. If you push stuff along the trackbed (and we do this a lot) then a wall of stones builds up in front. This then stops you from laying sleepers evenly, or even risks breaking their backs if a train passes over them. Steve here removes one of these 'bow waves'. Problem solved again, no need to panic.
'Malverns side a touch'.
'MALVERNS SIDE !'
Sigh. 'Round of Grass*, Stevie...'
(* Well known pub in nearby Badsey, in the Malverns direction.)
Using the wide angle, it looks like we have laid absolutely loads of sleepers (just 80 though, enough for 3 panels).
These now stretch all the way from the buffer stop by the far boundary to the foot of the signal.
The Landie returned to Broadway, bringing with it some ominous clouds. The forecast backed this up, as 'heavy showers' were forecast. Oh-oh.
Vital supplies had been pre-positioned, and not only for the turnout.
|OK, so that's just the one, but what about those others in the boxes under your arm?|
After lunch we started a new chapter, by setting out the northern loop turnout.
The bits for it are in the top RH corner of the picture. We've thought about this, so all the pieces have been stored nearby, after being brought up from Laverton.
After a handful of plain timbers, two extra long ones were positioned. These will support the mechanism for operating the end of the switch blade here. You can see the orange patches (places where the base plates used to be) are off to one side, with a plain bit of timber to the right.
Bit by bit Steve brought more timbers down, in numerical order (well, almost).
Here you can see the base plates starting to show traces of two rails, rather than one.
... things soon got heavier. No one minds doing a bit of hard work, but after placing quite a few of these, we realised that they had to face the other way. This meant that each one had to be picked up again from ground level, and walked round in a 180 degree semi circle, while climbing over the other timbers. That was hard, as Chris' expression now shows.
A small number of us will be back on Monday to 'tweak' the track into something resembling a straight line. We now also need to install the second buffer stop - or stop block, as the professionals remind us - and this still needs sourcing from a choice of 3 we have, all with their own issues of accessibility.
As we were talking about lauying concrete sleepers by hand, a reader sent us a picture of sleeper nips shaped for concrete sleepers: