When you get to the mess coach, it's another long walk, past the supply train and then on to the railhead.
Here Pete and Mike look at the sleeper stack that we want to clear today. There are 160 sleepers left to do.
Today we had both Telehandler and JCB available at the same time, so sleeper laying proceded apace. Here Alan is bringing a healthy stack of 12, as Steve waits with the boom and chains. Peasebrook Farm and its line of trees are receding into the distance, as the railhead advances.
On the left is the silo of the sewage works. We are getting closer - some say we are already there, because you can smell it!
If you want to see a photograph of the scene taken in 2012, use this link to the Flickr site with GWSR track walks:
Unfortunately the old hut was too far gone to be saved, all the vertical sleepers had their ends rotten.
In the remains we found a good collection of cut nails, an old form of making nails.
Mike has a fistful of them, as Bert Ferrule looks on.
Behind is a huge field of rape, which affected one or two of us.
A little disturbing was the sight of 4 walkers who walked down the same bit half an hour later. There is no trackbed access, unless you climb over a fence. They vanished at Pry Lane bridge and scrambled down the embankment, where once again a fence was climbed.
The sleepers are nice and straight here, good work by the laying team. The rails should drop in nice and easy.
The laying team wait patiently (in ice cold wind) for Alan to return with the next supply. As we passed the trees it became abundantly clear what shelter from the wind they had afforded us. Now we are mercilessly exposed all the way to Childswickham on the tall embankment.
Meanwhile, the rail laying team has gotten into its stride just past the trees. Steve brings up one of the first rails today here.
In the foreground you can see that the first layer of new rail has already been used, and we are on to the second. A second load of two levels is on the other bogie behind the camera.
When we finally get back to the supply train with the mess coach on the end, we can see that only 20 more sleepers remain to be removed. That means we laid 140 this morning, and the laying gang is well pleased.
|Beans, beans, the musical fruit....|
Steve is (still) on a diet, but felt he as allowed one cupcake. Imagine his 'disappointment' when the cupcake he picked accidentally had a second still attached to it. What could he do but eat that one as well?
After lunch we laid the last 20 sleepers, now approaching the sewage farm.
So that's 160 sleepers laid today, and the three sleeper wagons cleared. Job done!
The rail laying team made rapid progress, thanks to the wagons being in a nearer position.
While half of them laid the rails into their beds, the other half straightened up the sleepers, and attached one Pandrol clip in two.
Where the sleeper is a bit low, a special Pandrol lifter is used (on the right here). You can then pull the clip in with a 'Pan Puller'. (centre)
Mid afternoon saw the rail laying gang reach the rail head. Here they are stood to one side out of the way, as another rail is dragged up. Bert Ferrule has a word with Stevie, before changing from chains to Camlock for the final lift into the sleeper beds.
Six pairs of rails were laid today, giving another 110m laid towards Broadway.
At the end of the day the gang members slowly trudge home.
The first bogie flat has been cleared, and the second already started. More new rail is being ordered, thanks to the success of the share issue, which saw enough money raised by you to lay all the track into Broadway, and complete the main station building.Well done (if you became a shareholder anyway), you are part of this success.
Before we can stress this, the rail has to be cleaned and put on rollers, so the ballast regulator has been ordered in to sweep the section in the foreground. Regulating is booked for next week; the stressing and clipping up for the week after. It's all go, we have a deadline to meet, after all.
This fourth signal post is an original wooden one, donated by a BAG member who had it lying across his double garage. It will become the platform 1 starter signal.
No doubt this disposal improved domestic relations no end, and piled on the brownie points. (we hope)
The 4 signal posts are ready to go, and are just awaiting transport arrangements to take them up to Broadway. It looks as if this will happen in about 10 days time, and after that they will be erected asap, as this helps the positioning of certain elements of the track layout. Conversely, they can't be dug in if the track is alread in the way, so all the signs point towards 'go' here.
In the background you can make out the ridge of a roof. This was the first signal box at Broadway, which was used when Broadway was a temporary terminus while the line was further built to Toddington.
In the foreground is evidence of the construction of Broadway in that summer of 1904, and it would seem that the running in board and a number of lamp posts still remain to be put up.
Two recent pictures of the Broadway embankment works will also interest you.
George Law have now completed the earthworks, which consisted of smoothing out the embankment slope to give access to the soil nailers, and levelling the various spoil dumps at the bottom into a flat area which extends about 2/3 of the way back to the Childswickham Road.
Seen from the south, you can see the embankment cleared of vegetation, and a large flat area in the foreground.
It's a good start for our future car park, if and when we can find the money for it.
In this most recent picture, you can see one of the drilling rigs that has just climbed up the slope to the top, by way of a test.
The slope shows numerous caterpillar tracks (as does the flat area in the forground) where the rearranged earth has been tracked in to compact it.
You'll be pleased to hear that while the bottom of the slope was tidied up, the top was left pretty much as it was, so the trackbed of the up line is still there.