Wednesday 9 May 2018

Back to Broadway

Back from hols, and it was straight back to - shovelling ballast. How 'sad' that your blogger has a tennis elbow (a condition that lasts for several months it seems) but there was also a lot of hand cleaning of the chairs available, so it was a case of 'get down on your knees mate'.

Hunt the mess coach found it at Toddington still. Once refreshed with tea and copious quantities of biscuits we decided to divide into two teams. One at Winchcombe with the Telehandler sorting sleepers (about 100 were put aside for sale as 'garden quality') and the second at Broadway, perfecting the ballast between the platforms there.

Passing the scrap metal skip at Toddington, we couldn't resist a look inside to see what we could scavenge.

These two look a bit guilty as a result.

Front right are two hairdryers and a set of curling tongs. Is that really scrap metal?

So this is the taxi to Broadway village - a bit basic, but hey.
The cameraman followed the gang to Broadway for a bit of merry ballast moving. The Landie brought the tools up, with a grinning John R at the wheel.

Here is a plea. John R and a small team organised and ran the Wartime in the Cotswolds event. This is turning into one of the biggest, if not the biggest event for the railway of the year, and it is very successful in terms of cash. It produces a lot of income for the railway, just when we need it. As the event grows bigger, John and his team desperately need help to spread the load. They can't cope on their own. Just a few assistants would do it, you don't need to organise it, just give them some support. Would you think about that for next year?

John grins at us from the Landie - thoughts of an awful joke not far from his mind - as Rick and Clive off load some shovels for the ballast gang at Broadway.

We set about cleaning the excess ballast off the rails, chairs and sleepers where they are in public view. This stretch has been seen by the ballast regulator of course, but it leaves bits stuck in and around the chairs and Pandrol clips which our sadly anal hands are itching to remove, to make the place neater and more visually attractive.

Actually we had a lovely time at Broadway doing this. It is strangely rewarding, and Broadway can be such a peaceful rural country station in between trains.

We were intrigued by these 4 marks on the rails (actually 6). What would have made them? They seemed to be discolourations, rather than wear marks. Any ideas?

Today's timetable said one engine in steam (P&O) and one DMU running the services. The DMU was great, as it didn't need to run round, so we could continue working on the P2 road. Across the tracks the rodding run emanating from the signal box gets longer and longer. There's a long way still to go yet, those points north and south are very far appart.

Musing about the DMU, and feeling a bit in need of caffeine, we suddenly realised that a source of caffeine had just turned up! Heyyyyyyy !

After a hasty glance at the watch there was just about enough time to hop aboard and acquire a cup of the precious brew, and off again.
Andy S from the gang did even better, he scored a bacon roll from the buffet car in the 8 car set. Now why didn't we think of that?

Soon after the DMU left for CRC again, passing the heavy duty shovelling gang on the bridge. There's too much ballast here, and too little further up north.

After the passage of the DMU, Andy and Paul, wearing a deeply orange outfit that actually hurt the eyes, sprang back into action.
They filled this trolley load and wheeled it up north.

Meanwhile customers continued to trickle in to the booking office, although at the moment most people are buying their tickets at one of the other stations, as there is no car parking at Broadway until later this year.

Two anecdotal passenger observations today:

- A group of 6 Dutch walkers got on to go to Winchcombe. They were using us as part of their walk (part Cotswolds Way, part Heart of England Way they said) and wanted to get back to where they set off. They were not particulalry interested in the train, just wanted some transport.

- Two people arrived from Cardiff. They did the whole journey by public transport, getting a bus from Lansdowne to CRC.

Several enquired about the walk into Broadway village, and a number waited for the taxi to arrive.

Between trains it was quiet. But it would be nice to have somewhere to sit and enjoy a tea and a bun.

During the day, a road marking lorry was about, and this is what it left behind. Double yellow stripes now on the road out to Pennylands Bank. As we left, it had not yet done the Broadway village side (which was single yellow, before the road was resurfaced).

And now a heritage request. We need one (better still, two) of these:

It's a cast iron notice, 3'7'' long. Note that passengers are 'requested', a later model tells people that they 'must', but we would be very keen to have the earlier one, appropriate for our 1904 period.

We do in fact have two replica examples of this notice, but they are much bigger - 5ft across. We need to downsize a bit, so is there anyone that could let us have one, or sell us one, or point to where there are any of the 3'7'' size? Broadway had two of these notices, tucked in at the bottom of the footbridge steps.


  1. The marks on the rail are caused by wheel slip. A loco (or DMU) will put marks aligned on opposite rails as the axle slips. If there are 6 marks it will have been made by a 6 coupled loco as all the wheels slip together.

    Bob Foster

    1. Measure the distance apart on one rail and you could deduce the culprit!

  2. Hi Jo
    I and two colleagues have just had a very enjoyable day on the railway. We were all very impressed with the work done to bring this project to the state it at now. From the cleaning of the bricks for the station building at Broadway to the quality of the track and the general tidyness of the whole line. The helpful staff and general atmosphere throughout is a credit to you all. Iam sorry our brief phone call was not longer as our time was limited.
    Thanks again for all the great blogs and photos, they have gone a long way to promote the GWSR.

    1. Nice to talk to you, and glad that you like the blog. It's good to be able to dialogue with our supporters, and great to get encouragement from them.

  3. So the next prototypical location for water would be either Honeyborne West loop or Honeybourne station....I better start searching for another redundant W/C.

    1. I have always wondered, where we’re the Toddington water columns sourced from, and where were they located in their lives on the big railway?

    2. At Toddington we have two spare water cranes, the only problem with them is the inner tube was broken when they were removed. This would need to be repaired before be used.When these are installed it would need a tank, pump fed from low level or gravity from a high level. There have been thoughts about a parachute tank at Broadway, with a new one constructed in GWR style.

    3. Thanks, so do we know where the columns were from and where they were stored from the 1960s til GWSR purchased them?

    4. One of the columns we have use to stand by the side of the tracks near Church Stretton. This was remove about 15 years ago after obtaining a night time possession by members of the loco dept. We also have two sets of valves and elbows these came from Honeybourne obtained when the island platform was rebuilt during the Cotswold redoubling project.

  4. Excellent blog and wonderful photos.
    I take it that you made a (humorous) typo in the paragraph that starts, "We began by cleaning excess ballast off the rails," when you refer to 'anal hands'?
    Regards, Paul.

    1. A case of self deprecating humour.
      You have to be a bit anal if you enjoy crawling on your hands and knees to clean ballast off chairs and clips to make them look neater.

    2. In which case, I must include myself as anal, and I would be there doing the same. Its so nice to see that degree of attention to detail, particularly if it's that era you are representing, the Edwardians being an extremely "anal" generation.
      I think I'd better shut up now as this is could be open to misinterpretation 😉 Mark

    3. Matthew Wainwright14 May 2018 at 20:21

      Hi Jo, there's a "Passengers are requested to" sign at the 26th May Stafford Railwayana auction. Lot 255. No dimensions given. Keep up the blogging - I always look forward to the latest installment!Regards, Matthew

      14 May 2018 at 20:16

      Please prove you're not a robot

    4. Thanks for the tip, I will have a go at it.
      Blogging will continue :-)