The loco crews are also enjoying themselves. There's a new stretch of track, in excellent condition, and it's a bit uphill just before you arrive, so you could give her bit of welly.
The first sleeper needing removal was right by the crossing here. We were just getting going when Dinmore came by with the first train of the day to pick up lots of passengers from CRC, where there seems to be quite a demand for trains to Broadway. We hear of queues forming at the booking office.
Here is the sleeper in question. It's right in the running line, but we can replace it easily enough between trains, with the help of a lookout, attention to the signals and a timetable pinched from the booking office.
In this area, possibly fitted with original sleepers laid in 1987, when they were aleady second hand, the sleepers are mostly GWR type 'through bolters'.
While normal people like the Southern Railway (ducks to avoid flying pieces of ballast) use a system of chairs with three screws secured top town into the sleepers, the GWR had two bolts instead, inserted from underneath, and then tightened from above with a nut. This was exposed to the weather and soon rusted on. Impossible to remove 30 years later.
Now the only way to remove them is to split the sleeper in two. Should be easy enough, as it is meant to be rotten anyway.
They may be rotten, those sleepers, but they sure resist any attempt to split and remove them.
Eventually we resorted to using bars and wedges from above, and the heavy sleeper ended up as a kit of parts in a quickly summoned wheelbarrow.
The GWR through bolters are not scrapped, but put to one side for use by the 2807 group, who make up the boot scrapers that you can buy.
We suggested charging extra for GWR ones (they also have all sorts of other pre nationalisation chairs) but this was felt to be too complicated for the retail outlets, so if you buy one (and support 2807) you might be lucky.
Here we must stop to congratulate Dave D, hero of the day. He moved both trucks, one with a trailer, and exposed himself to the dangers of a guard dog left in each. Andy P's guard dog was particularly keen. While it cowered in a corner as Dave climbed in and set off, it soon became a little more confident and eventually tried to lick him to death just as Dave was getting up speed. Those aren't guard dogs for nothing, you know.
Back at Winchcombe, we had a bit of trouble coming up with a good, second hand sleeper for the sleeper changing team.
All the rotten ones were on top, so the one you want is that one, the one near the bottom. There, see it?
Foremarke Hall was followed an hour later by Dinmore Manor, heading in the same direction. They crossed at Winchcombe...
In between all the fun we ran the Landie up and down and delivered second hand sleepers to the spot resleepering team, which was working its way towards the curve.
There was a big lake here. Although we are high up on an embankment here, the water no doubt collects due to the clay in the ground, dug out of Winchcombe cutting by the steam shovel in 1905.
The resleepering team had to skip round this lake.
When this big sleeper was dropped off the Landie, it fell into the lake with a large, pleasing splash.
Here it is, fished out again, and pulled part way into the crib of the one they removed.
They look down at us, and we look up at them.
Remember that on the Frost programme?
I look up to him
We look down respectfully.
And how about this:
|''And what made you choose this occupation, Mr. P?'' '' It was the people you meet out here''.|
Taken just south of Hayles Abbey halt, with the Cotswolds edge in view behind. That's the beauty of our line.