This is what comes out - great big cakes of gravel held together by years of impacted clay. They're going out of here! In fact this stuff is still useful in a way.
In fact further along by the site of the original signal box we're building up a bund which will eventually support the new fence line. The dirty ballast extracted was mostly dropped here and used to make up the bund. Previously there was a hole on the left, which was where the foundations of the old wooden signal box once stood.
The raised catch pit with extra rings is in the foreground.
Steve then graded the first few piles. We're level with the station building now. Tipping ballast on the right was tricky due to several fragile plastic drainage pipes that crossed the trackbed at insufficient depth.
On the way is the new bund crossing the site of the old signal box, which used to stand up against the wall here. The double track formation is on the left. The bund is on the site of the (fourth) track that used to run right in front of the goods shed, prior to a turnout where the camera stood, and a head shunt by the box.
The next bit of old fenc to come down then is along here, just south of the goods shed.
The new fence will meet up with the fence coming in from the right; i.e. back about 3 feet.
The old fence was rotten at the bottom too (as well as in the wrong place) and you can make out a prop a bit further along.
Here Steve has just started extracting a further length of the old fence.
Steve has the old fence down in a moment. It must be 20 years old; it was put up years ago to stop trespass by quad bikes on the grounds of our then tenants of the goods shed.
Until 2013 there was no question of selling the goods shed, but then along came Chicken Curve and a desperate search for funds. Needs must.
Once he'd removed the fence, Steve scraped off the vegetation and bits of Postcrete still left in the ground, ready for ballasting in a week or two.
Behind us the contractor was piling the posts for the new fence, which will have 4 rails and wire mesh along the bottom.
What he has done so far looks very neat and tidy.
This shot at the corner where the fence cuts across the 4 track shows where the GWSR ownership of the trackbed starts, and eventually leads to the new bund by the SB.
Some enornmous tree stumps have been dug out (self seeded Willows) and still need removing.
Late afternoon the fencing contractor had erected so many posts that he had almost reached the new end of the Heras fencing that we moved only that same morning. We'll have to move it again tomorrow, for the third and final time.
After doing our bit at the fence line, we resumed the ballasting operation, with a digger loading in the 'car park' and a second levelling between the platforms, and the dumper shuttling in between. That went on for several hours...
Notice that the glazing on the canopy is now also finished. Two panels cracked (one during transport, the other by the strong wind as it was handed up through the roof) but without consequence for us. They're laminated, and both have been replaced so the job is now finished except for the flashing, which was being continued by a sole BAG volunteer today.
A bit of history
Garry Owen, former head of the PWay department in the heady days when the railway went pioneering south from Toddington, has allowed us a peep into his substantial collection of track laying photographs from the 1980s. In due course these will be posted on the 'early GWSR' Flickr site. They are now part of our history. We'll be looking at some more as well.
Because we're now at Broadway, you might be interested in the three photographs below, which Garry took in 1987 during a sponsored track walk along the line of the former railway.
Right in the foreground is one of the catchpits also visible in the ballasting pictures above.... 30 years have passed, and now we are winding back the clock.