Seizing the chance of a traffic free day, we had the ballast train out today to attend to one or two areas of short ballast along the extension.
Neil brought the ED up to Broadway, where he picked up the Dogfish, which still had some ballast left in them.
He then took them down to Peasebrook, where there were several small spots that needed a bit of muscling up.
Stevie was there too, his usual bouncy self, and this time in shorts.
That can mean only one thing: It's summer! It's official now.
He also sported a new set of slip on, steel toe capped boots. No more walking around with his laces trailing behind. How many times have we told him....
Our special orange lever for this job was not in the Shark - anyone seen it?
The 4 operators of the train went off to near Hayles to manhandle some rotten sleepers into a pile. We then bundled into the Landie, after deciding that the shelter at Hayles would be a nice cool spot to sit and have our picnic.
We found Rick and Paul strimming the grass there, keeping it all very neat. It grows amazingly quickly.
Then here's the crosshead. What's all that paraphenalia on top then?
It's a central lubrication system. How handy is that? A King has over 120 oiling points, all serviced by hand before each trip.
Here is the same place on a King.
You have to admit that it is so much neater, nice clean lines. But a lot of work. Lots of little oil pots, all marked '6023'.
While we had our picnic and poked around the loco shed, Steve reloaded the ballast train.
When the Dogfish were full again, we went up to Little Buckland to meet the train, and continue dropping bits of ballast here and there, further southwards.
Here we are south of the Buckland bridge now. We need plenty of ballast on the shoulders to hold our CWR rail in place, especially now that the weather is getting warmer.
It was interesting to see that the CWR breather still had a fair bit of expansion room today. The outside temperature was a steep 25 degrees!
Now for a visit from the ballast regulator to sweep the excess out of the 4 foot and on to the shoulders. We will combine this with a visit from the tamper later this year.
Neil took the train back to Broadway, where Stevie had also arrived.
Check out the rounded corner piece on the kerbs. This was unexpectedly discovered still buried on site a few weeks back, and it has found excellent use straight away. The reclamation yard only sold straight pieces, so we were very lucky here.
To the right, and level with the gate posts, the fence and kerbs will continue another few yards, to meet the gate of our neighbouring B&B.
This area of the station is still fenced off, as the canopy overhang and footbridge steps will be assembled here.