Your scribe, a volunteer at Broadway but a PWay man at heart, thought it would be interesting to chart the course of the new extension from Laverton to Broadway. It's still a bit early - track laying is actually expected to start in Q2 2015 - but the giant is starting to stir himself already, and there is news to report. So down to Toddington, where an arrival was eagerly expected:
Entirely powered by gravity, GWR heavy freight 2-8-0 rolls down the slope under its own 'steam'.
Too fast for some. Whoa, there, no closer, we are expecting an arrival.
Your scribe was detached to the main gate to work the numbers and let the visitors in.
Our visitors came from Scunthorpe, but were based at Cockermouth. They were hungry, it was a long trip. Any chance of a snack around here? The Flag & Whistle had a light on, and inside - bacon butties, and a choice of cakes ! Heaven. Nice guys, at the GWSR!
In the background you can see a second delivery lorry, and a third was on its way. And that was only half the shipment. The other half - 40 more rails - is expected in a fortnight. In total 80 rails, enough to take us 800m from the current railhead right up to the first of the five bridges to Broadway - Bridge 5, Little Buckland. It's just about ready too. Lack of funds precludes us from buying the whole lot in one go, but patience is a virtue and little by little we will get there. Keep buying those shares - the EIS scheme may have finished, but it doesn't stop you buying normal shares.
So what's the plan? Ideally, we would like to work on the extension, once the running season has started again. That way, we can concentrate on running line maintenance in the off season, and move on to the Broadway extension, once trains have started to run again. Makes sense? In the meantime, we can prepare the extension machine - sorting out the rolling stock for the PWay, purchase of an initial stock of rails, clearing the trackbed. Lineside clearance dept. is doing the embankment sides, while the PWay and a contractor are clearing the trackbed on top of the embankment. This means clearing the greenery, and scraping off the contaminated (by soil) ballast. A membrane will then go down, and fresh ballast placed on top, to a sufficient depth to receive the concrete sleepers.
The first stretch to be addressed will be from the current railhead - a few 100m beyond the end of Laverton loop - up to Bridge 5, about 800m in all. Once at Little Buckland, the Laverton headshunt - initially laid in a rudimentary fashion to stable PWay material not currently in use - will be upgraded.
The intention is to lay the whole of the Broadway extension in CWR once it is complete.
At Broadway, current intentions are for double track all the way from Childswickham Road bridge to Springfield Lane bridge. In this way, when you stand on the platform at Broadway, you will see double track all the way... it will of course revert to single track for the actual running line from Broadway to Toddington.
The double track at Broadway will take the form of two loops, laid end to end.
We are the only GWR double track main line in the country! A USP by definition.
I hope to update this new blog whenever news comes in. Initially this will be from time to time, but once track laying starts, the frequency should increase. I'm relying on the PWay gang to keep me supplied with news and pictures, so keep them coming, guys!
Thank you for watching this - we can't do it without you ! 500k raised - you are brilliant :-)