Medium sized gang today, dare we split it into two? We dared.
The main gang trudged in the rain over to the pointwork being relaid at Toddington south.
On arrival - whoa! - the bridge is open, and what a great and very striking warning sign it now bears. In fact on leaving Broadway village half a mile away, the first thing you see as you drive down station road is the word 'LOW' in the distance. It should prevent a few strikes, and further measures are being seriously contemplated. It's a bit early still to say what, so let's wait until things are signed.
Between the platforms a barrow of ballast was propelled into the station.
The destination was this mini digger, which had just installed an extra catchpit where the station storm drains feed into the track centre drains.
On to the track for the job that we came to do.
We have to ensure with this gauge that the rail is at least a certain minimum distance away from the platform edge, all the way through.
It's not the final position, because the proximity to the edge will change when the track is tamped. If the level part of the gauge changes, then so will the upright.
At this stage all we are interested in is a proper clearance all the way through. More ballast trains are in the air, date to be confirmed, but it will be next week.
Most of the track was indeed a bit tight, so we jacked it out an inch or two most of the way along. All in the rain, while the Broadway gang ferried slabs in the dry. We're in the wrong gang here...
Back to work after lunch, to finish off the last 50m or so. Behind us in this view here the track looked pretty straight, but what mattered was that it was always sufficiently clear of the platform edge.
During our work we were intercepted by a security patrol from the Broadway gang. We managed to persuade them of our honest intentions.
Here's an example of something that's moved. This base plate was pushed under and on top of the new sleepers, but it won't go any further because the clip on top is interfering with the nut on the check rail. Now the top LH chair screw hole is off the sleeper. We 'put that one in a box' and will come back to it later.
It still works! After all these centuries.
Chris was about to cut the stock rail to size when a warning came from the centre that the crossing was going to be nudged an inch towards Toddington. Just as well he hadn't started yet.
The track in the picture was laid during 1982, and prior to the start of laying the running line out towards Winchcombe, so in this picture the track laid peters out beyond the yard throat. By the big bush, that's where we are working today. It doesn't look quite right, it looks as if in the distance they used a RH turnout where they should have laid a LH one. Means must in those days, we mustn't crticise. You laid what you had, and were glad of it.
Last but not least, here is an interesting BTF film made perhaps in the late 1950s about how track replacement can be (sort of) mechanised.
Hope you enjoy it, as we did. Such nostalgia...
PS Last, last thing: an update on the bridges blog, take a look, as it's no longer on the main website blog list: