By the description of the lunch in pride of place on the blog, you will no doubt realise what it was that counted today. But BTW, we also laid some track... Well, an army does march on its stomach. A Frenchman may have said it, but it's true. We were happy campers, once fed.
When you lift them off the pile or off the ground, they jangle around a lot (a ganger thought that if they ring clear, like a bell, then they must be sound) so we fit these white spacers to calm things down a bit.
Once the load has stabilised, Steve gets instructions like 'Malvern', or 'Toddy', and sometimes even 'Broadway'. Left and right to you and me, but it does depend on which way you are facing, hence the geographical terms used..
Saturday we were very well coordinated, because both JCB and Telehandler were there, so one lifts in, while the other goes and fetches more. We are a well oiled machine.
120 sleepers were lifted in today, taking us well over the Worcesterhire county boundary. We also came to the end of the SHC equipped concrete sleepers, and started on our supply of the more modern Pandrol type. Well, that's a milepost only for the initiated.
Arrived at its destination, it is lifted into place and 'encouraged' into the seats on the sleepers with a couple of crowbars.
Laying the rails is really the easiest of the tasks; placing the sleepers on the other hand is quite slow as they have to be inched around with crowbars until they all exactly line up. Despite the JCB, manual labour still has to finish the job at the end.
A small gap is left, and we have found that one of the SHC clips makes a perfect gauge for the distance. Next week this gap will be welded shut.
Here the JCB gives the new rail a little nudge - ''12 inches to go''. A voice wants to know if those inches are metric? They probably are, but after Brexit.... our time will come.
We play our part of course - who can resist waving back at the happy children on a 'Steam and Scream'? There seemed to be some at every window. Do they stop in the tunnel and turn the lights off? That should get them going.
The tamper is now on its way. As you read this, is should already have arrived, and it will start work on tamping the extension, starting at Laverton loop as was. During the week it will work its way northwards as far as it can, in readiness for stressing the rail. The Dogfish have also been reloaded for another ballast drop.
Within the next couple of weeks work will start on preparing a ballast delivery area at Broadway, and then the ballasting of the trackbed back south to Peasebrook Farm bridge can commence. There are still a few odd jobs in between though, so schedules may vary (the usual disclaimer may apply)
The production run at the foundry casting the replica GWR lamp posts has now stabilised, and we are seeing arrivals at a rate of 3 a week at the moment.
These posts have now also been planted, and this completes the sponsored replica GWR lamp post scheme. Platform 2 is now fully equipped. All 10 have been successfully funded, manufactured and delivered. It's been a great achievement and a real boost to the authenticity of the atmosphere here. We are very grateful to the sponsor of the pattern which triggered the initiative, and to the 10 sponsors of the posts.
The tops will go on later, so that they are fresher nearer the opening. Platform 1 is on hold, as it is obstructed by several containers, although the 4 southernmost ones have been fitted.