A lusty 18 of us gathered in the mess coach today, keen to get to work (after tea and chocolate chip biscuits of course) until we saw outside - it was pouring, and only 4 degrees. Yuk !
Nevertheless, duty calls. We pulled our collars up and hats down, and descended into the gloom.
We split into two main gangs;
- A track clearance gang, picking up the remains of what it took to lay the extension, and
- a gang laying in the northern barrow crossing, with a little ballast shovelling on the side, to keep warm.
At Broadway, the rain was not so bad, as you can see from this photograph.
Once the line was clear again we dropped in the first two rubber pads into the middle of the down line. It's a tricky operation, you have to form a sort of house of cards with them, then slowly drop them down together, until they click in between the rails. A clever system. The bosses on the ends are for a second row of pads, if required.
Stevie then pushed some ballast against the end, so that the first, outside, pad stayed in place.
With the up line sleepers pushed into their correct places, Steve went to get the next pad. Rob has picked up a concrete block which will be used to prop it up at 45 degrees.
Using the concrete blocks in the middle for temporary support, the second of the two middle pads is dropped in. A ledge on it locks into the web of the rail, and its weight, pushing against the other pad, keeps the whole thing locked in.
While Steve slowly let down one side with the bucket of the mini-mini digger, four of us with bars slowly let down the other side in unison. The concrete blocks were quickly pulled out first.
We felt pretty chuffed, as in just a morning we had done 7 out of the 8 pads already. Time for lunch at Toddington then. Wonder if there are any doughnuts left?
While walking back we came across another small job done by our gang today - digging out a crib on the up line just before the bridge, and moving a sleeper along a bit. This was to allow S&T to run their channel rodding across to the other side in a straight line. We aim to please.
While on the job, Steve decided to take one ring off the platfom end catch pit, as that pit came out a bit high.
On the other hand, just such a ring was needed in the centre catch pit, which was a bit low, so we were able to kill two birds with one stone.
The one at the southern end is not going in for a while yet though.
Neal is always happy to explain things, and here can be seen drawing an impromptu layout of the canopy-bridge steps interchange planned for the northern end of the building.
Then, homeward bound: