Saturday 23 December 2017

The basic trackwork is in - and a surprise!

Today we took the class 20 and the mess coach up to Childswickham again, accompanied by the class 73 for a test run.

The purpose of the day was to clip up the track along the goods shed, and to lay in the last 4 rails on the through road and loop, which would finally link the two rail heads we have been working on.

Our secret mission, alas betrayed by BAG's webcam, was to enter the platforms with the entire double headed train. But first we had to get those last rails in, and there were 8 panels to clip up too.

There were two gangs clipping up, both of which can be seen here.

In the background is the 'whistling wardrobe' and the 6 Dogfish, 5 of which were filled with ballast (one had been emptied previously on another job).

Getting the Pandrol clips in looks easier than it is, mainly because recalcitrant sleepers are often far below the floating rail above, and when you try to lift them up to meet the rail, they move along a bit. Just enough in fact to frustrate the clip you were about to put in. Chris here has sunk to his knees in frustration.

At the other end of the site the main gang - here Nigel, Ivor and Stevie - were putting in those 4 missing rails. The first of the four is in, and now it has become clearer that the track in general isn't quite where it should be. It needs 'tweaking'. Steve here is giving it a go with the JCB, pushing it Malvern side, and often the subject of countermanded orders, 'now back the other way'. He was very patient with us.

Then the second rail went in, and in the picture it's just been cut to size.
You can tell that it's a cold wind out there today, because Stevie has appeared with an enormous yellow coat on. Gone are the shorts. It's official, it's now winter.

Both rails then are in, and are being clipped up, while Nigel records the moment for posterity: the through road goes right through, it's all connected up.
But not yet quite ready to run on, look at all the orange jackets in the background - they are clipping up the 8 panels.

This view of the through road, the old down line from Honeybourne, shows that it's got a straight bit in the middle where there should be a continuous curve. This will be sorted out later. The main gang is now looking at the other two rails, the ones that will complete the loop.

As we are now laying the final two rails, they can't just be slapped down, they have to be cut to size.
We've also dragged over the row of concrete sleepers near the end, which last week was still pointing in a straight line south.

While the clipping gang works as fast as it possibly can, behind the camera, Steve tweaks the end of the loop into a nice round curve, directed by Ivor. Other PWay gang members seem to have drifted off - it must be lunch time! Now where is that mess coach?

While we were discussing the last length to go in, the whole train, consisting of 6 Dogfish, a Shark, mess coach and box van, the class 20 and the class 73 slowly comes trundling up. The gang members turn around, incredulous. Could it be?

Everyone steps back - it's true, we're going to have a go at putting the whole train in the platform of Broadway station.

The PWay train looms ever closer. Ivor, front right, can't believe it. A hundred tons of ballast are slowly pushed over the final stretch, laid only an hour ago.

Here is a video of the very first train ever to reach Broadway, GWSR:

The train comes to rest in platform 1, opposite the station building. Two members of the Broadway group have come out to watch this momentous event. Look at the delight on their faces!

Here is the first ever train into our very own Broadway station, headed by E 6036. What a period scene - replica singal box from Shirley, GWR running in board and replica lamp posts, bullhead rail on wooden sleepers, spearhead fencing, Henley in Arden footbridge, and a station building with a rivetted, faithful reproduction of the original canopy. We want this to look right.

Our mess coach came to a stop right by the building, so all we had to do was get in like a normal passenger. What a strange feeling - wot, no ladder?

Inside there were 25 gang members enjoying Christmas cake and tea. A record number.

This Christmas cake was something special. Last year we really enjoyed the thick marzipan - the thicker the better. This year Mrs. B excelled herself, and the marzipan was so thick that there were shouts demanding the disc cutter, nay, even a chain saw. Marzipan fest! Steve has quickly secured the first piece, a corner position which is nearly all marzipan, and very little Christmas cake.

This was all washed down with plenty of tea, while your blogger took a quick look round the station, with a train in it.

Here are the Dogfish loaded with ballast, just underneath the footbridge. What would we do with them?

Over on platform 2 you could see the two locomotives facing south, ready to trundle back out again, if only the signal was off.

On platform 1 (with everyone still drinking tea inside) you could see the class 73 in front of Broadway signal box. No one about....

But not for long. Time for a group photograph:

Here we all are, looking rightly proud of ourselves. Not forgetting those who work on Wednesdays, we'll find another way to register their achievement. It takes all of us to build an extension.

The class 73 then came off the train, leaving D8137 alone in charge of the ballast. Once the class 73 was well out of the way, it pulled forward back over the bridge, and then started to reverse back into the station again, this time with the hopper doors open.

Here is a video of the ballast train discharging its load into the former down line from Honeybourne:

The ballast drop was done very carefully, one hopper at a time. It's very important not to get too much ballast down between the platforms, as once it's in, it's very difficult to remove.

There's now a nice and neat line, not too big, in between the rails. Steve will spread it out with the mini digger next week. Now that's dedication.

The last job of the day was to lay in the fourth rail.

Chris is cutting it to size with the disk cutter. He ran out of disc with only a few mm to go, for which he had to take the machine round to the other side and start again. Oh well.

The final rail was then spun round. Being second hand, there is always a good side and a bad one, and we need the good one facing inwards.

The sun is now starting to sink lower, giving a very orange light. This final overview shows you the turnout completed, and all four final sections of rail in and clipped up.

At the end of the day we gathered up our tools in a pile, and then reversed the empty ballast train up to it, for loading into the box van.

Weary but elated, the Pway gang split up and started their journeys home. A handful took the train home to Toddington. Here are both diesel locos taking power and setting off into the setting sun.

In three months time you too can travel along here. Are you coming?


  1. Congratulations! The PWay team have come up trumps - as promised before the end of the year. Just a fair amount of fettling to do now - and a few more ballast drops I think! The security camera shows an orange glow from the gents toilet - does that mean the electrical supply is working now, I wonder??

  2. Fantastic achievement - so great to see a train in the platform! Well done to all involved and a Happy (Relaxing!) Christmas to you all.

  3. Wow. There are no words. Stunning. Just stunning. What an amazing day.

  4. Wow, just wow. Well done to one and all, what an excellent way to end up before Christmas.
    I hope you all have a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
    Regards, Paul

  5. Yes, in 3 months' time, I'll be there if all goes well. Thank you very much for the blog throughout 2017 and particularly for enabling us a remote view of a very special occasion today. It is a tremendous achievement. The last time I was involved with P-Way work was when we were putting in the last section leading up to Winchcombe from Chicken Curve, which seemed incredible at the time. This, however, is quite incredible.

  6. Can't agree more with Toddingtonted. Wow!, fantastic, the whole gang. I've been following the railway for 30 years and this is the best news, great blog. It's not a little tear in my eye tonight, I've just been eating onions. Well done lads ,thanks

  7. BRILLANT !!! You've done it ! A train, (looking very smart,) in Broadway Station ! This a truly historic occasion. Thank you very much for all the wonderful photographs. What a wonderful Christmas present for all your admirers.
    (Yes, we know about all the hard work to be done. Good luck with it.)
    A very Merry Christmas to all of you. And every good wish for 2018.
    Peter Wright
    Peter Wright

  8. What an excellent Christmas present to us all!!! I can't stop re-reading the text and looking at the pictures! VERRRY WELL DONE TO YOU ALL! Regards, Paul.

  9. Fantastic News, Well done to everyone involved, this is a tremendous achievement! I’ve been following the blogs for years now and they show how much determination all the volunteers on the railway have and this is where all that determination gets you! Form a Very elated shareholder, Mery Christmas and congratulations once again.

    Ian Turner

  10. that's what we've all been waiting for well done.

  11. Well done the PW Team, as promised you have connected Broadway Station to the existing rail network before the end of 2017, a fantastic achievement, I salute you all. It is now down to the BAG Team to make sure that Broadway Station is fit for purpose for the opening at Easter 2018. I am sure we can deliver though there is much work to complete.

    Brian Thomas (BAG Volunteer).

  12. Excellent news! A very professional job! Well done!

    Merry Christmas!


  13. I add my congratulations for a job well done. The text and pictures of these consistently high quality blogs have allowed us to share in the development of the extension and I hope to see at least one of these historic photos in the heritage, and perhaps even mainstream, railway press. Well done; you deserve much credit for your dedication, effort and skill. My thanks to all of you. Have a great Christmas and a well deserved rest. Richard.

  14. What an historic day ! When it's awards time no one else need bother to enter. It's not a railway station, it's a work of art.

  15. Congratulations to all of the Teams who have toiled over many years to bring our Railway to this momentous point. We can show the "big" boys how to bring a project in on time. I hope you all have a great Xmas and New year and come back refreshed to complete the job in time for the end of March. Dave

  16. The second video has successfully uploaded.
    The link to it is now inlcuded in the edited text above.

    Thank you for all your congratulations.

    ''Lector, si monumentum requiris, circumspice''
    (Reader, if you seek the memorial, look around you)

  17. great work the Orangemen all heroes......👍🏻

    1. Have you seen the report that the Network Rail "Orange Army" nickname is too macho & and is putting off possible female recruits! The "snowflake" generation strikes again.

  18. Great couple of videos!.I,bet the sight of the ballast train,passing over the station road bridge,suprized a few passing motorists!.I'll definitely be riding to Broadway,in the spring!.Must get a pic,of Dinmore Manor,approaching the station!.Very well done,to everyone!. Anthony

  19. Absolutely fantastic! What a gift!

  20. 23rd December 2017, after many months of hard work, GWSR Broadway Station is connected to the ‘GWSR mainline’…

    First carriage into GWSR Broadway was quite rightly, the PWay mess coach, whereupon the customary celebrations took place by eating Mrs B’s Christmas cake…

    Where once there was barren landscape, laid by bare by BRs mad scorched earth policy, there then came BAG and GWSR PWay to restore and make good.

    A phenomenal achievement and accomplishment. Well done to all.


  21. Congratulations, and what a wonderful Christmas Present for everyone.

  22. Well done for getting it all laid in.
    Any reason why the Shark was not used? If the mini digger is to be used instead midweek.
    Again a big well done.

    1. May have been due to the proximity of the drainage inspection pits and also S&T's gubbins at the base of the platform wall opposite the signal box.

    2. The mini digger gives more control in an area where too much ballast is a big problem to remove.

  23. Brilliant - you said you would do it and you have, congratulations to all involved. now enjoy a well deserved Christmas break!

  24. Congratulations. Fantastic job. Early Christmas present to the railway. Can't wait for the end of March. Already booked my tickets!

  25. Tremendous achievement. I think that you could rightfully share another proud organisation's motto: Per Ardua Ad Astra! You are all stars.

  26. I would also like to add my congratulations to all of the PW dept and the BAG group. I did sit at home and sneaked a look at the security camera just in case and then at 13:00 there was a train.

  27. A tremendous achievement. Every one involved should be proud.

  28. congratulations Jo on a great video ,can you get this off to the Railaway channel / Railway monthly who have just done a feature on the Weardale railway 6 miles long with dreams of 19 !!

    Happy new year to all Pway guys ,daily M.

  29. Discovered this instructive video this morning. I used to live in Godmanchester & the title caught my eye. It's Godmanchester, Quebec & in 2015, CSX had the Carr siding constructed to support their Valleyfield Intermodal Terminus on the north bank of the Canal de Beauharnois. They used an interesting track laying technique of timber sleepers, onto which continuous welded rail is lowered & secured. Those suffering from Pway Withdrawal Symptoms may find some solace here.

    1. At 42-30 there are two dwellings seen in the background situated at 295 Montée Leblanc.,-74.3152651,3a,75y,29.22h,76.68t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sAHdXkSuGPrma-eUmvVvP0Q!2e0!7i13312!8i6656?hl=en

      The Carr siding runs SW from that point, so why it's named Carr is a puzzle. Montée Carr is NE of there. The siding is shown in this view.,-74.3161817,114m/data=!3m1!1e3?hl=en

  30. A belated additional congratulations to all for completing the track laying especially on time. The dedication to the task is beyond excellent. I look forward to travelling on the line next year.