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.
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.
Here is a video of the very first train ever to reach Broadway, GWSR:
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 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?
But not for long. Time for a group photograph:
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.
In three months time you too can travel along here. Are you coming?