Full of good cheer the gang started in the mess coach at Toddington, with plenty of tea and biscuits. That's the way to get us going!
Amid the laughter Bob suddenly produced a newspaper front page and showed it to John, our very own 'Duke' (- of Gloucester is the intention, but mostly abbreviated)
The resemblance was indeed striking, but John took a firm line:
'I deny everything'.
That's alright then....
We then split into a Toddington team, and a Winchcombe one. The Toddington team continued with the alignment and levelling of roads 6, 10 and 11 by the shed. Although the inside of road 6 was packed at length using a Kango last week, someone had unkindly tested it with a class 26, and now it was now longer level. Well, what did you expect!
Here is the guilty culprit last week.
A further supply of ballast was also ordered, and Steve was on hand with his JCB to ladle it into the right places.
Yours truly's first duty was to take the Landie to Toddington, to provide Jim with a new gas bottle for the mess coach. This was a priority of course, otherwise there will be no tea next time. Then on to Broadway, to hunt round for as many bearers as possible for the sleeper team at Winchcombe.
Well into the morning the Telehandler, also trying to juggle requirements to move chaired wooden sleepers around, managed to help the lorry loaded with PWay materials, principally second hand cast iron chairs for the track between the platforms at Broadway.
During all this time the PWay gang was unable to do anything very much at all, as the Telehandler was a kingpin in the logistics of supplying drilled sleepers to be chaired, and taking away completed ones to put on the pile. Very frustrating, particularly as the gang had been given a 'target' (and we thought we had left that sort of stuff behind when we got pensioned off) of 100 sleepers chaired for the day.
At the end of the morning we had done - six ! What would the Saturday gang say now ? Oh shame...
It wasn't until l2 that the second lorry was finally emptied as well that the Telehandler was released back to us, and we resumed chairing up furiously.
One team worked off the end of the little Stumec track (to prevent the derailing experienced on Saturday).
The other worked further down the yard, using the hand held 'Animal' and working off a stack of drilled sleepers that slowly got lower and lower.
In the foreground you can see chairs that have already been brought up and fitted with new yellow ferrules. They are lined up, ready to go.
With all the materials coming in, and the surplus bricks from Broadway not yet transferred to B&S on the other side, there was very little space for us and so a large pile of second hand chairs was dropped right by the first work station.
Dave here ferried chairs over in a barrow to the sleepers being worked on.
While waiting for the Telehandler a further investigation was made into the belly of the Landie. While the brakes now worked fine, something else had come adrift. Our two expert mechanics got their hands dirty, but without success. A bit of a mystery here.
On team one Dave was on the Stumec all afternoon. In this picture the alternative M.O. can be seen. Four sleepers are placed under the end of the 'running rail' and three of these can be reached by the machine. The fourth had to be done by the 'Animal' as it was just out of reach. Actually, half of the third sleeper was also a bit out of reach, as everytime Dave tried to do up the chair screws there, the Stumec fell off the end of its track.
We're now half way through the chairing up programme. Will we find the best way to do it before we do them all?
At least we are happy to report that this way the Stumec never derailed as such. Just fell of the end, that's all.
At the end of the afternoon the class 73 rumbled in to pick up the extension train. There's a lot going on at the moment, it's all go for the extension!
A few people have emailed us to say that reading this blog encouraged them to make a financial contribution, or to come and join us. What a great idea. If you too want to play a part in our great enterprise, then you are most welcome. It keeps us fit, we are going somewhere and helping to achieve it, and it's a social thing too - you get to meet some wonderful people.
You can join us here:
Finally, in a dark an increasingly wintery evening, the class 73 set off with the extension train for Broadway:
If you're a volunteer - thank you.
If you're neither, but a bit interested- we'd love to hear from you!