We are still waiting for timbers for the second turnout at Broadway, so today was mostly spent sorting out sleepers that where highlighted on Saturday in the Winchcombe area.
|This track defect is where, you say?|
|Wanna buy a fresh Gherkin? We got 'em.|
One of our members is also a DMU driver, and he was able to report back first hand about a rattling noise reported by a neighbour near Little Buckland. A loose SHC clip seems the most likely culprit, but we went up and asked him to get back to us with an exact location (20 yds north of the 6 1/2 MP).
It's handy having people with two roles, it really helps communication.
Having dropped half a dozen sleepers off along the stretch of track in question, we were able to start the job. All the sleepers that needed replacement had chairs with 'through bolts' on them. This is bad news.
Here is Andy with the nut runner, having a first go at releasing the nuts on top. When not seized, the whole bolt will spin round, including the big square washer underneath, so it's impossible to undo it.
Those that won't go have to be cut. That means getting the genny out of the GUV van, starting the second genny in the GUV to operate the electric winch to let the heavy generator down, and back up.
Once you've cut the nut on top right off, you're not out of the woods yet. The end of the bolt still sticks out through the chair, so it needs to be hammered through. Any volunteers for holding the drift with their bare hands? Thought not, so we had a go with an adjustable spanner. Brave John, can you see him wince?
This shot shows well how Winchcombe is in a bowl, surrounded by the Cotswolds Edge. The size of the new visitor centre among the other buildings is very clear here.
When the DMU returns a few minutes later there is a hasty exchange of shouted information about the possible rattling issue at Little Buckland. Doesn't sound too bad then. Driver John hangs out of his cab to talk to Dave.
A few moment slater and we are interupted again. When the DMU reaches Toddington, it releases the steam hauled train, which comes back south again.
Dave and John seem to have lost interest in it by now. A 100 year old loco coming by? Yeah, whatever.
Trains gone, we can address those sleepers again. The main issue here sems to be that they have split. This is just as well for us, as without this, it is almost impossible to get them out. They have to be broken up on site to release those through bolts.
Here is Dave trying vainly to wriggle out one of the bolts. With a bolt in place digging into the trackbed underneath, it is nigh on impossible to drag the sleeper out of its bed with the nips.
Here are the first two we got out. Not much left of them now.
Train gone, sleeper out. Four gang members bring up a replacement sleeper, which will be pulled in and fitted with the easier AS1 chairs that have three screws in them. They can be released from above, that's not too difficult to deal with.
Lunch time now. It's nice to be at Winchcombe, because you can sit round the table and benches at the end of the Coffepot and have a good natter. Then something strikes you about John's hat:
After lunch, more sleepers, and more locomotive action.
|I'm praying - are you praying? Yes, but are we facing the right way?|
Meanwhile the sleeper replacement gang is still at it, trying to break the sleepers in half, this being the best way to get them out, without jacking the track up, which is discouraged when spot resleepering.
We changed 5 out of the 6 sleepers we set out to change today. Not bad, given the circumstances.
We sent our loco there absolutely spotless, well done those cleaners.
In the background, 35006 is manoeuvering to get back on shed, after a good day's running. One in, one out.
Afterwards we took the Landie down to the 2807 coach to unload the 10 throughbolt chairs for them. They collect those chairs, unuseable here, to turn them into boot scapers. We noticed, next to some LMSR and BR (W) ones, a couple of genuine GWR ones. Those will be extra, we take it?
When you go on holiday with your steam loco, don't forget to take the key with you.
Finally, a little interesting oddity out there: