Tuesday 25 October 2016

More rail goes in

The track laying gang returned on Saturday and pushed the railhead almost to the Worcestershire border.

The gang isn't just laying track though, it also had to attend to a number of reported track defects on the running line (we inspect this very frequently) and on arrival at Little Buckland the first job was to further 'tweak' the curve further round, so that another ballasting train could discharge its load. You can see a beautiful curve here, up to a point where it becomes straight. This next bit will be addressed later in the week.

The gang was then able to lay 73 more sleepers, and with the JCB back in action, a further 10 rails were dropped in, i.e. 5 more panels.

The supply train was then propelled up as far as it would go, out of the way of 'tweaking', welding and ballasting going on behind.

Here is the train at its northernmost point so far.

It was a misty morning when these photographs were taken, but for a moment the sun came out, to reveal the glory of the Cotswolds countryside.

The rails left on the two bogie flats in the foreground carry enough rail to bring the railhead to Peasebrook Farm bridge, where the ballast ends in the distance.

Looking the other way, we can see exactly where the railhead is now, as the yellow post in the right foreground marks the Worcestershire county border.

So much for Saturday. Monday saw an appeal for a small group to help discharge the ballast train that Steve had filled up during the morning.

Steve is rather taken aback by a medical tale.
Three volunteers were able to join Steve and Neil, at the controls of the class 73, to push the newly loaded train up the extension.

As we slowly trundled up the newly laid line, John regaled us with a stream of dubious jokes, the mildest of which informed us of the address of his local policeman at:

999, Letsby Avenue.

Ouch !

Finally we arrived at Little Buckland, driver Neil commenting that to get to the railhead seemed to be taking longer and longer.

Well we jolly well hope so too.

John is walking towards the spot where the first drop will commence. The pipes in the foreground are for additional drainage near Pry Lane bridge.

We clamber on board the Dogfish, to crack open the chutes, to make sure that they will open at once on the command.

Under a large dust cloud the train is propelled towards Broadway, with the plough from the Shark sweeping the ballast from the four foot into the cess and six foot. £3000 is spent in 3 minutes....

Job done, the crew close the hopper doors again, and clamber down to rejoin Neil in the loco. The newly ballasted stretch is quite short, just up from the bridge to the front of the loco.

Finally, the ballast train moves up to the supply wagons to couple up, and draw them off the fly fishplated newly laid stretch, so that this too can be welded. You can see the temporary fish plates under the wagons.

The word is that there'll be another ballast dump at the end of the week, prior to the start of tamping next Monday. All this in preparation for the stressing of two stretches of CWR and installation of associated anchor points.


  1. Impressive progress. I look forward to seeing ballast dropped between the platforms at Broadway, as, I assume, do you all too. Much hard work but all worth it to achieve the goal. Regards, Paul.

  2. Please ensure that the border guards are aware that the railway is exempt from all border checks. They must not hinder it's progress to Broadway!!
    Seriously though excellent progress, Broadway beckons and this is all due to the hard work of the Permanent Way Group. I much admire your efforts. when Broadway is opened I will buy you all a drink! Will there be any pictures of the stretching operation?
    BTW, I gave her indoors a birthday present of some shares! Well you do have to share it around!!! Well done everyone.

    1. Your comment '...all due to the hard work of the Permanent Way Group' can't go unchallenged. Just to be fair to everyone there has been a lot of hard work put in by Lineside Clearance, Civil Engineering, Lineside Drainage and others over the past couple of years to prepare the trackbed for the PWay team to start. Not to mention all the work that has gone into fundraising for the Last Mile.

      The Railway is a team effort, it wouldn't work without all departments pulling together

  3. A big thank you to you and Mrs. S for supporting us!

    I hope to be able to photograph the rail stressing as/when it happens.

  4. Letsbe Avenue is a very old joke. When I worked at ST&C in 1950 the tea lady brought in her trolley and said, "Lets be 'aving you". A technician always said, "I used to live there". It is great to see such progress on the line.

  5. Hello Jo, another really interesting blog post, one question i have is you mention £3k of ballast in three minutes, do have an idea of how much of the money raised has been spent?
    Also at Broadway i see that the foundations for the bridge steps are being planned, does that mean that money has been found to build the stairways?
    Keep up the amazing work you are all doing, including the new halt.
    Graham Handley

    1. Hi Graham,
      You'd need to ask the FD how much we've spent, this is not something in my area.
      Re Broadway, we are putting in the the stairway foundations as that is a logical thing to do, but there is no budget at the moment for the staircases themselves.

  6. Jo, I'd be interested in some pix of the tamper in operation if you could manage that! How does it miraculously straighten out the line?

    1. I'll see if I have time next week.

      In the meantime, I filmed a tamper earlier, which you can see here:
      You can see that it not only tamps ballast under the sleepers, but lifts and manoeuvres the rail as well. Only a few inches, but in 100m it mounts up.

  7. Sorry if I offended anyone by leaving them out Stuart Hamilton, that's what happens when you don't think over the post you make. the whole of the team, and by that I mean ALL the volunteers and permanent staff at G&WSR all have to work together to make this the best heritage line in the UK!!