A modest gang of 13 booked good progress today with the installation of the two turnouts at Toddington.
For once the weather was kind, it was cold but sunny all day long. Our prayer last week was answered!
We split into two today, with one gang off to Broadway to replace a number of temporary fishplates with proper lifters. Job done, they came down to Toddington south to help the main gang with screwing down, ballasting and packing the main line turnout completed last week.
It was hard work. A large pile of heavy jacks faced us at Toddington by the mess coach, after enjoyable times with tea and doughnuts. Now came the reckoning !
If only things were so easy. Just fill the drill with two stroke, and start it. But it won't start. Various experts had a go, choke on/off, petrol on, ignition on, pulls, is it flooded, check the plug - the plug turned out to be only hand tight in its hole, but also had a large lump of goo across the terminals, which proved to be the reason for the non starting. At last we are off.
Because we can't all stand and watch Hayden drill the holes, some of us were detailed to start packing the panel of plain track we laid last week.
The Telehandler brought large bucketfuls of new ballast from the car park at the station.
Newbie Jack and A.N. Onymous on the right start to shovel the ballast this way and that. It's quite hard work.
The drilling is now going swimmingly, closely followed by the man with the greasy chair screw and another with the hammer. The TB2 nut runner waits nearby for its turn.
Bolting down done, the nut runner is now in the way and needs to be moved to the adjacent siding. That's a six man job - one on each corner of the nut runner, and two on its trolley.
While a large gang continued with spreading the ballast, a smaller one helped Steve with the start of phase 2: The second turnout, for which two panels of plain track had to be removed. The bullhead rail on throughbolt sleepers was unclipped, and Steve then pulled it out with the trusty JCB.
Did you know you can do this with a length of bullhead rail? It is much more flexible than flatbottom.
Steve gave it an almighty pull, and it then slid out of its chairs and was stacked further along.
In front is the end of the new turnout, pointing to where we will work next.
With the 4 old rails out, Steve began to remove the sleepers underneath as well. He pulled them all out of their beds with the back hoe, working his way along.
With the 4 rails and 52 sleepers out of the way, Steve was able to start scraping out the trackbed in anticipation of the construction of the second turnout here. This is still at Laverton, and was awaiting the completion of the first turnout, so that the parts can be brought down by rail.
This section needs to rise by several inches, so we did not dig too deep.
On the way back we dropped into Broadway.
Two volunteers are providing three 3 legged scripted benches, exactly right for the 1904 opening period. There will not be any memorial plaques on them. There are very few, if any, 3 legged benches on the railway, as most sponsors go for the cheaper and unauthentic two legged versions, which came much later.
We would be interested in any letters for V boards as in the picture, if there are any about. Also a pointing finger, as on the WAY OUT sign.