We were honoured to receive a visit from Steam Railway today, to lend us a hand with volunteering. Every little bit helps, you might say, but it's good to see the railway press take an interest in our extension.
Toby Jennings and Thomas Bright came down to muck in with the gang, then visit Broadway to see how things were going there.
After the daily briefing, we split into 3 teams:
- Sleeper stacking at Gotherington
- Repair of a joint in Toddington (urgent)
- Work on the extension.
At first it seemed as if only 4 volunteers had turned up. In the mess coach we were puzzled. There was a very large teapot of hot tea, and no one to drink it. Yet we were 20 souls booked on Doodle - where were they?
With the distractions, repair and sleeper stacking, we were only 3 to start with at Childswickham.
We decided to equip this long stretch of newly laid sleepers with the necessary pads, so that rails could be laid on them on Saturday.
Here you can see them just completing this task.
An issue we met was that the enormous heat we have had also affected the recently laid rail north of the supply train. A slight buckle could be made out, and many of the rail joints were all but closed up; others now too wide apart. It didn't stop us drilling the holes, but because of the ajustments required, we didn't get many fishplates mounted.
Here we see Martin and Clive prepping the rail drill, which needed a bit fixing to the front.
Then refuelling, and arranging for a supply of cutting fluid in the pump.
The rail drill is mounted over a base plate, which ensures you drill the two holes in each rail end exactly the right distance appart.
You also get the choice of holes for 95lb rail, or 113lb. Of course the hole spacings are different!
After drilling the first of two holes, it becomes apparent that the sleeper is too close to drill the second. You need to move the sleeper. The jack to lift the rail off is 1/4 mile away in the site safe; the Landie has gone to Winchcombe to get more Pandrol clips. One brave volunteer carries the heavy Duff jack the whole distance, but now we are clear, the second hole is drilled and the fishplates can go on.
Later in the day we get to the 5th and last set of holes to be drilled (20 in all).
Beyond is the gap to allow vehicles to cross, then more sleepers up to the bridge.
The pad laying sub team finished their job, and then turned to laying out Pandrol clips. These were taken off the Landie in bags, and dropped alongside at regular intervals. Not too much carrying here then.
The canopy team at Broadway have been on site several days in a row. Almost all of the steelwork is now assembled, with just a few extra bits to go at each end to support the wooden framework at the ends.
Although we drill the holes beforehand and fit them with temporary bolts, some minute lateral movement when they are removed for riveting can mean that the holes need further drilling out with the air powered drill.
And this is the result - 4 neat rivets in the support for a middle purlin. This isn't coming apart!
The drilling residue has piled up at the bottom. It does happen that you think a hole is OK, a hot rivet arrives, and it goes only part way in. Stress! Luckily they shrink a bit when they cool down, so if you haven't hit them too hard yet, you can usually wriggle them out again.
We are now something over half way with the riveting up. Most of the platform side has been done; we still need to do the forecourt side, which needs rather fewer as it it doesn't have a fascia board.
At Broadway north we caught sight of the S&T gang fitting a beautiful finial to the newly erected inner home signal. You might say, should they be using the signal's own ladder? Well, they had that with them in the back of the truck. One thing at a time.
Putting finials on signals is thirsty work.
Finally, a little jewel from Broadway-to-be:
You can read a bit more about Hinks here:
The lamp is complete with burner, funnel and white glass shade, and is destined to hang from the ceiling of the booking hall. A member of the Broadway gang has expertly fitted a LED candle shaped bulb unit to it, with the supply wire hidden inside the hoop. Can you see it? It's little accessories like this that will make all the difference.