Meanwhile there is a list of developing track defects that we would like to attend to, as we can't just ignore them and build the extension instead.
Here is one of our valliant track walkers, in casu Tony.
He is armed with a picnic, a can of yellow spray paint and a spanner. With the spanner he can do up loose fishplate bolts, and tap the plates in passing to see if they are broken.
All the defects are highlighted in yellow, and noted down on a sheet with a description and their location.
Different trackwalkers for different lengths note down their defects, which go on a master sheet - ours, to Winchcombe, covered 4 pages. A lot of it is small stuff like a missing key or a loose chair screw, we write down absolutely everything we spot during our regular walks.
Next to the DMU, there were two steam locos out and about today, and here is the biggest one, P&O, reversing on to its train.
It's quite a noisy one, the open draincocks are deafening when they hiss past.
One bench seats only 4 gangers, so a second bench was occupied with more of us, further along.
Pete inspects the contents of the wheelbarrow, which is full of the bits and pieces we know will be required, as per list for our section. It's heavy stuff.
Finally the gang can jump on to the track, even as the DMU is receding into the distance.
It's a broken fishplate here, which is easily removed. There's a choice of new ones laid out on the platform. Unfortunately, there are many different types, especially in this area, a stretch of track laid in the very early days.
Then it's back to fishplate repair, the one marked out in yellow. Notice the bucket of grease in the foreground, we'll explain about that later.
The GWSR being a busy sort of railway (one reason why people come to see us, there is lots going on) we soon step aside for an incoming train from Winchcombe, this time headed by 2807.
Still in the same area (it gets a lot of use, and hence more issues than plain rail along the line) we get the DMU pulling out, after two trips up to Little Buckland. Now it's a trip to Winchcombe.
This shiny powercar is the one in our picture at Winchcombe last time, pressed into service after the other one suffered from an intermittent engine fault. This was being attended to in the loco yard as we worked.
We had another interesting activity on the side, which was to check the levels of the two tracks leading up to (or out of, for some) the diesel shed with roads 10 and 11. These are relatively recent, received only an initial packing and levelling, and are now due to be concreted in with an extension of the apron round them. For that they have to be perfect of course.
Nigel and Jack determined the height differences, and sprayed the results on to the sleepers in orange, on the right.
In the background is the main gang, on their way with the list of jobs in the direction of Didbrook.
Graham carefully considers his options, as armfuls of tea are being brought in the background.
Here the first gang has worked past the station confines and progress is a little more rapid now, until the DMU caught up with us again.
We're approaching Didbrook here, and we're now out in the country. One of the big advantages of this job - good countryside, and good company. Well OK, two advantages then. (Shades of the Spanish Inquisition sketch here, for Python afficionados)
We're expecting the DMU back from Winchcombe next, so John here is keeping a good lookout for it. (this is the same John as in the photograph of Cadbury No. 1 in the platform, recently posted on the Early GWSR Flickr site, and in the same pose with his back to the camera).
You can see the picture in question here:
Here's the DMU back from its mission to Winchcombe. It stopped at Hayles to pick up 3 passengers too.
A new fishplate is being fitted here, as Ade holds one half of the old one in his right hand. Mostly they are just cracked, but this one has broken right through. It will be replaced by a special 'deep skirted' one, seen in the foreground.
We keep a careful eye open for trains, and have a lookout with 3 flags, ready to stop any train, or to caution it if so required.
Tony's on this duty here.
The last train of the day trundles by just as we are packing up. We give them a cheery wave; of course we all know each other, we're a team.