We have a gap to fill at Childswickham. Let's get going, let's attack that pile of sleepers.
The day starts with a briefing at Toddington. Lots of excitement in the yard, almost didn't get in. What's going on?
|Ah.... a brightly painted J94.|
After arrival at Childswickham, there wasn't much to do while we awaited the arrival of more volunteers, and the mechanical handling department.
Might as well sit down then.
This is where we left off last week, after clearing the supply train of its last 84 sleepers.
After a while, a huge dust cloud appears on the horizon.
A welcome dust cloud, as it signals the arrival of Paul in the Landie with the bits.
We throw out what we need, and leave the rest to the clipping up and rail drilling team further back.
One of the things Paul has brought is the spreader bar. Now we can have a game of guess where the hooks go.
That one goes there.
It has to, because this one is here and that one over there is this way round. So that one has to be that way round.
If you say so Neil.
Finally Alan arrives from miles away with a goodly stack of 12 sleepers. At last we can get to work.
With Alan comes the sun (we don't understand this, Alan is from Scotland) so things get a lot more pleasant around here, without it being as crushingly hot as earlier this week.
The very last corner of the PWay budget was searched, and a modest amount of money secured for a new alignment rope. It came with free knots.
Pete and Mike investigate these, to see how long we can make this piece of string.
The spreader bar is just the right height for leaning on.
It's a long walk back from the bridge for Leigh.
A sad omission today were the cakes, due to holidays. It just wasn't the same. Fingers crossed for next week then.
You can just make out the rail drilling team in the dust cloud. They did well today, achieving 9 sets of fishplates bolted on, which means an impressive 36 holes drilled. No wonder they had a blunt bit.
The welders were also back earlier this week, and a final lot of 40 rails has been ordered for delivery in early July. This will get us over the bridge and into the area of the Broadway goods yard.
Now this load has something special about it, a rogue sleeper. It's a non standard one, what they call an F40 instead of an F27. The sleeper sorters at Gotherington didn't pick it up, did you? See it?
Towards the middle of the afternoon our line of sleepers laid gets seriously long, and we start to run out of space in the area where the line of sleepers will meet the railhead. It's like Piccadilly Circus here with all these vehicles.
Cue the arrival of our estates manager, in his Freelander. Argh! Is there a traffic light in the house?
Just look how close we are now!
We're going to almost close the gap, and leave one panel open, so that vehicles can cross from one side to the other.
When we resume laying rail (next week) we will skip over the gap, and start laying rail on to the bit in the foreground, working up to Childswickham and over the bridge.
The reject sleeper on the left was dropped there so that we could tie a rope to it, with the other end at the bottom of the embankment where we climb up painfully from the car park.
Here's the rope already in use. Jim picks his way down the slope (as you know, he's only got one arm) while Steve at the top holds it up so that Jim can grab it more easily.
A final load of 12 sleepers arrives, which has to be manoeuvered carefully between the vehicles, the rail head and the ends of the sleepers, and please also in a place where Steve can get at them.
There's also a distant signal due to go in here, we heard.