Wednesday 2 August 2017

Getting ready for more track

More preparatory work today, to get ready for the next push of track laying.

First things first, tea in the mess coach, and one of John's interminable shaggy dog stories. At least Paul's face says it's interminable. Tea's getting cold too.

Lots of hissing outside...

It's P&O, back in service with us. Many of us in the mess coach confessed to a secret admiration for this huge loco, even if its GWR links are admittedly very thin.
Just look at the shine on that tender, it looks like the guard is shaking hands with himself. Behind the sky is grey and gloomy, it was a drizzly wet day. Plenty of people on the trains though, and the car park was full, which is good. We need lots of income.

The team split into two (or even three) today, with a side helping of a 2 man strimming gang at Hayles and at Laverton, to free up a stack of sleepers hidden in the brambles.

The Landie was out and about ferrying stuff. We took it to Broadway, first to pick up scrap material from the trackbed by the buffer stop, and then to pick up the waste material left behind by the welders at Childswickham.
Here we are unloading unwanted GWR type through bolters, to be used by the 2807 boot scraper manufacturing mob. Nothing goes to waste.

The scrap run completed, we then repaired to Winchcombe to pick up some replacement chairs for the first buffer stop at Broadway.

We have a lot of material stacked at Winchcombe, with the idea that 'it will come in useful one day' and it did!

Meanwhile, a gang at Skew bridge were completing the last of the sleeper sorting. There's no more to sort out now, just loading required.

Dave was very keen to see us at Winchcombe. Not for the company, but for our muscle, sadly.

A 10'6'' timber needed loading on to the red Transit, to replace an unuseable one at Broadway north, ex Laverton but already rotten.

Many hands made light work, and the 5 of us lifted the heavy timber on to the Transit quite well really. And we all have 'a certain age' too!

While we were doing this, P&O set out from Winchcombe, and we stood back to admire this lovely beast. In the foreground our stock of interesting chairs.

Shortly after the DMU trundled by, and this too had a goodly number of passengers on it. Great!

On the right the Winchcombe yard shunter was busy, with a rusty BSK in tow, said to be for sale.

Some stock was being repositioned, so that we can get better access to another turnout for Broadway.

Back at Broadway the 10'6'' timber was delivered and unloaded at the end of the turnout being built there. Job done. Next, see to the buffer stop at the back there.

Last week we resleepered the stop block, but some broken chairs still needed replacing. We brought up the three chairs dug out from Winchcombe, and pushed them underneath, having jacked up the end of the stop block.

Then Dave inserted some extra long bolts specially dug out from our storage GUV. They went in OK, but turned out to be too long. We couldn't do them up tight as we ran out of thread.

Drat! This meant another journey back to Winchcombe, but at least we could make it a useful one.

We took the opportunity of adding to the journey some scrap wood and the three old sleepers, removed from the stop block a week ago. Luckily they were so rotten that they were as light a a feather.

While Dave and John were away at Winchcombe, the three of us remaining made ourselves useful by loading up the bearers left over from track laying (later taken to Winchcombe as well) and sorting out the mess with the pads. The good news is that a second stop block has now been identified, and will be brought up to Broadway on Thursday. It does require a tidy site tough, because with the second track that is planned, there will not be much room for rubbish, or the collection thereof.

This pallet of pads was brought up to be used, but collapsed on delivery. We took it appart, put the second hand pads on the catch pit cover, and the new ones in bundles on to the PWay trolley. In this way they are off the deck, and can be moved elsewhere as desired.

Not long after, Dave returned with a set of bolts that were a more useable length. We fitted the chairs, and managed to bolt up two out of the three. The third one would not do up as the bolt kept turning (as well as the nut, which is not the idea).

We tried jamming the bolt head with a bar, achieving some succes, but the last one elluded us and still needs tightening. The chair screws then need drilling and inserting.

This is how we left the site - pads neatly stacked, and the trackbed ready for the stop block. Four pairs of rails are already there to start us off.

Some historical stuff, and a request

We recently did a review of what we know about the stationmasters at Broadway. We think there may have been at least 7 (some only for a short time) but know relatively little about any of them. Can anyone help?

Here is a list of what who we think they were:

George Fifield : 1904 - ?
William Barber: March 1934 - 1942 (we have a photograph)
E.T. Rose: March 1942 - April 1944
W.L. Mann: April 1944 - September 1945
W.S.M.B. Allen: September 1945 - January 1951
Wilf Jennings: January 1951 - February 1954 (contact with family, but no photograph)
W. Turner: 'Late 1950s'

If anyone can tell us more about these, and perhaps even provide a photograph, we would be delighted to hear at breva2011 (at) Any family members out there perhap? (Jennings excepted)

Was W. Turner the last one? All we have is a recollection from a resident that he was there, but no more.
Broadway closed to passengers in March 1960.

Finally, a link to a sound recording of a passing Britannia at Broadway, just uploaded:

Enjoy - it's a rare bit of sound history for Broadway.


  1. Pretty sure we were two of the passengers on the DMU in picture 7! Came to ride the line today as part of our holiday. Got on at Toddington, up to Buckland then to Winchcombe on the DMU then walked through to Gotherington and the rode behind P&O to Cheltenham and back to Toddington! Saw the Landie out and about and (I think) the red Transit. Didn't manage to make it up to Broadway as time was against us but great to see your work from the cushions!

  2. Nice sound recording,of a Brit,passing through Broadway!.On the B&R,Video dvd,Gloucester,& Warwicks Steam Archive,there's some film clips,by Jim Clements,of Brits,at Pebworth Halt,and Cheltenham Malvern Road!.I,presume you'll be starting laying the North end siding,at Broadway,on Saturday?. Regards. Anthony.

  3. It looks like the BSK coach that is (possibly) for sale is the 'auto trailer' converted by the Railway Technical Centre in Derby to test the concept of creating push-pull trains out of ordinary rolling stock.

    The concept involved sending control signals down the train using the carriage lighting wiring. No additional cable needed to be installed, so any standard carriages could be used in the trains.

    (As an aside, it's interesting they used the term 'auto trailer' to describe the coach, when the usual term would be 'driving trailer'.)

    The tests were successful, and as a result a fleet of driving trailers was created out of Mk2 brake coaches. These were first used on the Glasgow-Edinburgh push-pull trains, with a Class 47 on the other end. They replaced top-and-tail trains which used two Class 27s, which had to be thrashed mercilessly to maintain the schedules, and required huge amounts of maintenance to stay in traffic under those conditions.

    These days the driving trailers are mainly used by Network rail on track testing trains, and on the Cumbrian coast line with Class 37s. There's a video showing the Class 37-hauled (and pushed!) trains in action here:

    So that Mk 1 BSK is a historic coach, in its way. It would be nice to think it'll be preserved as a piece of railway history, but I suspect it'll be either converted back into a normal coach, or broken for spares.

    It would've been useful on the Toddington-Laverton shuttles, which require two locos, top and tail, because there's no run-round loop. But I suppose, with the opening to Broadway fairly close now, that won't be an issue for much longer.

    1. There's more information on the Vintage Carriages Trust website about BR 34500 Mk 1 Brake Corridor Second (later RTC RDB 975076 - Tribometer Autotrailer) built 1954 and converted in 1971 for departmental use.

      Somewhat bizarrrely the site doesn't consider it of historical importance - it's unique and had a long career with the RTC working with the RTC's eclectic motive power of the 1970s and 80s including the baby deltic.

      I agree with you that ideally it should have a future rather than being broken for spares. Perhaps moving to a preserved line without a runround facility so its unique driving trailer features could be used to advantage??????????????

    2. I understand the coach has been sold.

  4. Hi i did know a lovely old boy called Horice Holmes from Stanton who worked on the line but not sure if he was a staion master. Horice passed away a few years ago now he had just past his 100th birthday. He has twin daughters Elizabeth and Ann one still lives in Stanton and the other lives in Laverton they are a lovely couple and might be able to help you further. Cheers Lui.