A start was made today with ballasting the first 200m of new track laid. We have 6 Dogfish, and these were filled at our ballast depot at Stanton and brought out by the class 73.
A bit further along, it is easier to see the difference between the temporary headshunt, and the start of new track laying.
The headshunt this side of the loop was roughly laid around 2011 in a slightly lighter rail, which will be replaced with the standard rail we are using for the definite extension. There is no ballast at all here, so we progress very gingerly.
The other way, in the curve towards Broadway, is at this point not quite ready to receive ballast, as there are still some remains from the welding crews in the four foot, and a number of sleepers at each weld need repositioning and straightening.
With the train stationary, the plough is lowered, and all the centre doors on the Dogfish are opened at once. Some of the ballast falls out, but is soon stopped by the pile that builds up underneath. The train is then pulled over the stretch that needs ballasting. You can see this here:
The small gang of 5 today take this 2 hour gap to prepare the next piece for ballasting, the curve towards Little Buckland.
After the sleepers have been checked and adjusted for positioning, the alignment is improved by little tweaks with the JCB here and there.
One guy doing, two guys giving orders - well, isn't it always like that ?
Dave and Peter point which way the track has to move. Many times they agreed with each other too.
Behind them is the piece that was ballasted an hour earlier.
The JCB then moved up to Little Buckland to clear the area, just south of the bridge, where a pipe running through the embankment has to be replaced, as it has collapsed in the middle. Another one of those unseen jobs, but they have to be done. Good working drainage is crucial on this line along the Cotswold edge.