Friday 7 July 2017

Preparing the first trackbed at Broadway

Two reports in one today - preparing the trackbed for the unloading point on the embankment by the Childswickham bridge, and a day with the canopy gang at Broadway.

Here is the start of the day view of the area we were working in on Thursday. On the right the future unloading area for all the kit for Broadway north, on the left the site of 4 additional panels of track that will be laid to stable the supply train, and in particular the sleeper wagons.

The trackbed needs to be dug out, and the heavy undergrowth around the fence removed. Then Terram, and 8 inches of fresh ballast on top.

Here is Steve, carefully scraping away the brambles and young tree growth from along the fence.

In the foreground a trackbed surface of dirty, dusty, spent ballast. That has to come out too.

After a while, Steve has removed some 25 yards and we drop in the Terram we had.

We were a bit hamstrung that day, because a roll of the stuff we had lying by Broadway station bridge has vanished. Where has it gone?

Ballasting had to stop until we got a new roll 24 hours later. It's not very commonly available.

Overnight, an appearance. Tarrah, the supply train is here! It's completely loaded with sleepers, 40 rails and Dogfish with ballast. No more unloading at Peasebrook, and the long drag north with sleepers.

Rumblings down in the car park too. An enormous 3 axle dumper was delivered, looks like a 20 tonner.

In the foreground the soil nails. They still need tightening up, after the cement has cured.

The big dumper was paired with a large 360 and together they set about levelling the Childswickham end of the car park. The ex Mythe rubble was loaded up and transported a few yards away to fill voids.

Our newly built access ramp unfortunately had to be removed again, as it took up too much space below. We think we can modify the existing one near station road bridge, to avoid the turnout that will be located at its current top end.

Steve also built up the vehicle crossing where the track crosses from west to east, with new (middle) and spent (outside ramps) ballast. The first customer to use it was - Steve !

Can you see me, mother? This morning early it was possible to catch a glimpse of the supply train on the embankment approaching Broadway. This picture was taken from the B4632. Behind the train you can see the spire of the Childswickham church. There have been no trains here since 1976, when the line was closed (demolition trains excepted)

Up on the canopy scaffolding at Broadway a few minutes later, you can see the supply train peeking round the corner. It's a first!
Now for a day riveting, see what's new at Broadway.

A concrete lorry and pump came today to pour the bases of the footbridge step supports.

The other side is not being done yet.

The towers are approx 8ft closer to the building than in GWR times.  The footbridge is located as far away from the building as the site permitted.

The canopy team did their best to work around the chimney that was built. Only one rivet was achieved, and that with a special air drill with a 90 degree head.

We've done all the easy rivets now, so progress slowed as we had to manoeuvre further up and into the structure, sometimes using a special jig such as here in order to allow the mag drill a firm footing. We slowly riveted our way north, until we came to the end where the canopy overhang to the footbridge should continue.

As this is not being built, special brackets were made up and installed to support a canopy end similar to the one on the southern end.

These brackets are green in this overall view.

Down below, two 'C' section modern steel profiles have been bought to support a small canopy over the front door.

Up above, riveting of the Broadway heritage canopy came to a successful conclusion today. We've done it! Some smaller jobs remain to be done, but these will not be hindered by sheeting work, so we are releasing the canopy for the continuation of the roofing.
As the 'piece de la resistance' we installed the two authentic works plates: E. Finch, 1903. These are exact copies of an original lent by a supporter, who recovered it from Broadway during the demolition in November 1963. No, one is not upside down, we'll leave that charming peculiarity to Toddington.

Here's the worksplate in context, seen through a truss and purlin, all now soundly riveted up.

This achievement deserves a reward...
The canopy team did it, a complete GWR heritage replica construction. We delivered. It was completed in the same week as the last brick was laid on the building.  Look up and gaze in wonder (when the scaffolding is down again).

Now a last look at Steve, who carried on today, armed with a new roll of Terram.

Here too an achievement today: the 4 panel trackbed on the Broadway goods shed embankment was dug out, ballasted and graded. It's ready.

Tomorrow: we lay track here! We are on our way.


  1. Passengers will be gazing in wonder at what you have achieved here for years to come. I hope that a trophy cabinet is part of the station interior - you are surely going to need one.

    1. I do have quite a few archaeological items found in the ash from Cheltenham Spa by the goods shed: (all broken, but recognisable)
      Lamp glass from the station
      GWR pre grouping plates, saucers, cups, tea pot, GWR restaurant car dish fragments
      GWR Refreshment dept. Codd bottle
      Lamb brewery beer bottle
      Soda syphon

      etc etc.

  2. Progress towards Broadway is looking fantastic, at what point will you guys switch from flat-bottom rail on concrete sleepers to bullhead on wooden sleepers to run through the station?

    1. On the station side of the southern turnout, the turnout being FB. It'll be situated just south of the bridge.

  3. OMG! WELL DONE!! :)


  4. One of the best things I have done in recent years is to become a share holder and therefore supporter of this wonderful achievement if only in a small way, bringing back to life a piece of our railway history . I wish I could have done more

    1. We all give what we can, and thank you for your financial contribution. No matter how many muscular arms you have, if people don't support us financially, we can't do the job.
      You played your part.

  5. You constantly deliver the 'scoop'! What a surprise to see the extent of the job so far! I must say though, I think that a different sort of magnum is deserved of. i.e. liquid variety! Maybe at some future date it could be possible to build a reduced size canopy to reach the footbridge steps. Who knows? Regards, Paul.

  6. I was wondering whether they'd managed to sort out the chimney problem....Oops! How big a problem is it, do you just leave it as is (use bolts instead) or does that cause issues later?

    Sadly, it looks like the local fiddle-fingers may have cottoned onto your presence. Perhaps some sort of security (maybe in the form of a PIR camera trap) would be prudent before more vital things start disappearing. That way we'd at least know what they look like, although if the police are anything like what we've got here I wouldn't be holding my breath for them to act even on that...

  7. At Stanton ,there should be some Terram left over from Hayles which may lay 50+ yards length .john M.

  8. An excellent and comprehensive post from you as usual. It's a shame that platform canopy link to the footbridge steps will not now be made - something of a loss to the GWR heritage world. The timber framework being fixed to the end brackets in photo 18 looks to be a lot less sturdy than equivalent structures at Toddington:

    Assuming that the GWR building engineers at Swindon knew what they were doing, is there a risk that there will be too little support for the canopy end boards and mouldings - or is something more insubstantial planned for this too?


    1. IF the timberwork IS less substantial, you will find that the GWR over-engineered EVERYTHING. Meaning that if something was supposed to support 3 tons then they made it possible to hold 6 tons etc. So I wouldn't worry too much about the woodwork. Anyway, the boarding itself forms part of its own support. Regards, Paul.

    2. Trevor is correct, the timber framework being put up is indeed much thinner, despite advice given.
      The canopy team does not know if there will be replica mouldings on the end.

    3. Does that mean that the canopy end panels will end up looking like those at CRC? Surely not!


  9. It's good to hear,that the trackwork,through the station,is going to be bullhead rail,on wood sleepers!.Not FB,on concretes,like at Racecourse!.I'm looking forward to seeing the building,without the scaffolding.Should look great!.You are all,doing a fantastic job!. Regards!. Anthony.

  10. It was said a while ago that the soil-nailing project would reduce the width of the embankment in the area of the works, thus preventing the Loop extension that was originally planned (presumably the taller doll on the bracket signal would have applied to this section of line) Is this still the case, as in the photos the width doesn't appear to have been affected.

    1. Indeed, very little more was taken away in the end, and the top is still wide enough for 2, possibly even 3 tracks.
      Yes, the taller doll was intended for a loop extension, but this was shelved on cost grounds.

  11. Edward Finch and Co of Chepstow built ships, steam engines for marine use, and bridges.

    Edward Finch of Liverpool, a partner in the firm of Finch and Willey, constructed the Chepstow Railway Bridge for Brunel. After it was completed, Finch remained in Chepstow, and developed a major engineering and, later, a shipbuilding business on the site beside the river.

    1. How interesting, I wondered why he chose Chepstow.

      E Finch built most (all of?) the metal structures on the Honeybourne line, including the canopies of Toddington and Broadway.