One gang set off for Winchcombe, to chair up further wooden sleepers, which are now desperately needed at Broadway for laying.
Another gang joined the loco group to further their concreting of the inside and apron in front of the shed at Toddington.
A small group (4 gangers only) went to Broadway to meet Steve, and start the 'second front' resuming the track laying from the Childswickham bridge in concrete. We were small, but packed a big punch!
A frosty 1 degree start saw us cluster round the stove in the mess coach, hoping for a bit of heat to escape from the stove where the kettles were on.
Paul was warming the plates for lunch, which in kit form was piled up in shopping bags on the left.
The small gang of 4 set off for Childswickham, to find Steve already there.
The first thing to do was align correctly the end of the track laid, as it was veering off line somewhat. This resulted in a bit of a 'dink' which will be corrected once the train has vacated its spot.
We were laying recently purchased s/h sleepers here, but some of them were less than fully useable, with the Pandrol holes sometimes blocked with dirt as in this picture, or worse still, the loops squashed flat so that the ends of the chain could not be inserted.
We lost 6 sleepers like that today, out of 109 laid.
In the picture Andy is fruitlessly trying to poke dirt out of one of the holes, which in the end wasn't so much dirty as oval. No good.
With the rising sun the temperature crept up to almost pleasant levels (even though it dropped back down to 2 degrees as we left)
Here Steve is giving some advice on the straightness of what we just dropped in. It actually went very well, for a gang that had little practice in laying out sleepers, and only 4 of us too.
Both staff and customers from our neighbouring Carvan Club came up to chat to us, and we were happy to explain the goings on.
By now the first 26 sleepers (for one length) were down, and pretty straight too. Not too hard to drop the rail in then, in due course.
Here you can see the piles of sleepers Steve had brought in on the roadway, and sets of 4 sleepers being dropped on to the ballast bed laid only last week.
Loin of pork
Plus a mug of strong tea, and a jumbo roll of chocolate digestives. Even mince pies - in November? We didn't care. We were spoilt. Paul even joined us later for a bit of track laying too.
Then back to work by the goods shed, to find Steve giving the next bit of ballast a final regrading, with the mobile ballast indicator board, just to be on the safe side.
Looks about right, doesn't it?
After laying out quite a line of sleepers (about 100 of them in fact) we felt it was time to lay in the rails that go with them. Steve here has just brought one up. It comes from those laid out a bit further along, ex Laverton loop, i.e. s/h flat bottom. All dragged up from about 2 miles away.
Our second rail of the day goes in, just ahead of the Conflat in the extension train.
After lunch, our gang gratefully grew in size by those who had just finished concreting behind the loco shed. The 'supplement' set to work keying up the first pair of rails laid - just 108 Pandrol clips to tie down, on an undulating loose rail. A little challenge for them.
Here's the clipping up gang hard at work with the Pan pullers.
Far away in the distance is the original gang, now nearing the goods shed itself.
Laying out all the kit for keying up involves a lot of shuttling backwards and forwards with heavy bags of Pandrol clips. Some heroic person has done this - see them all laid out in a row along the R/H sleeper ends.
It looks as if we will need more bags of Pandrols in order to keep going. One bag doen't go very far.
As the sun set, and the temperature began to fall again, we laid in that fourth pair of rails.
That supply train looks quite far away now, doesn't it?
We're about 75m nearer our destination now. We should meet the others laying south between the platforms somewhere near Broadway station road bridge. And before Christmas too.
Heigh-ho, heigh-ho.... the Pandrol clippers start to return home, while the railing team still has one rail to go.