It turned out that the gate was jammed shut. It is a moody thing, as this is not the first time, and the combined knowledge of the people in the picture was not enough to make it change its mind. That was reserved for our office manager, bless her. It obviously needed more charm applied to it than we could muster.
Today was the fifth consecutive PWay working day that it rained, but at least it wasn't snowing and we could see the ground. There were just 11 of us, after two last minute cancellations. Probably looked out of the window from their beds!
In this picture Bert Ferrule is lining up the crossing itself, while Tim is barring it this way and that until it is acceptably straight, ready for drilling the sleepers.
The long timber across the end marks the northern extremity of the turnout, so beyond this plain track starts, with bullhead rail on the left instead of flatbottom. We need to equalise the lengths of the rails, which is why Steve L here is cutting the end to size.
Only 2 people visible too. The others were all in a huddle behind the camerman.
After cutting the LH rail to length on the through road, we drilled the RH rail ready to accept the next stretch, that length of plain track. It's already had a bit lopped off, as you can see in the foreground. Neil does the honours. He was fresh on site today, after several weeks in Oz. Let him to the hard work then.
We had the idea of putting in the length of plain track today, if only to dispose of the chaired up sleepers still on the Warflats at the back. We need to empty those. But with the absence of Stevie we had to postpone this effort to next week, so the chaired up sleepers taken off the Warflat were stacked in the brambles next to the road.
Here Nigel is bringing in two older sleepers to act as bearers.
And there we go - one pile of sleepers ready to go in next week, and not in the way of anyone.
Aftre lunch it was back to work, but it was still raining steadily. This picture might give you an idea of the conditions underfoot. It's 4 inches of thick mud, interupted by the tracks of the Telehandler and Landrover which allow the rain to form into little puddles, until it is squelched out again by the next set of wheels.
|Any volunteers to valet our Landie? Just look at the step caked in mud.|
Towards the end of the afternoon we were almost there. The through road was nearing completion as far as bolting down was concerned.
Nigel here points out a ferrule that hasn't been drilled yet.
Tim had the best rainwear today, with an impressive tent around his head. Us others make do with flat caps and beanies. Simple is sometimes best, but not always waterproof.
In a moment without rain John L waits patiently with the keying hammer for his moment to strike.
Neil bars up the timber, so that Tim can drill it straight.
And then John L pounces ! The oiled up chair screw just inserted by Richard gets a whack on the head.
This makes sure that the STUMEC machine gets a good grip on it. Otherwise, if not exactly over its hole, the chairscrew can spin round and round, in defiance of the horsepower applied behind it. So John L and his umbrella play a key role.
Next week: We replace the panel of plain track, and lay in the two closure rails You can see where they might go, we did everything to ready for it, but without the JCB we couldn't complete the job.
There is a new post on the bridges blog, keeping you updated on the works at bridge 34 at Gotherington:
The bridges blog link has now been restored to the company website.