So, off to play 'Hunt the Mess Coach' and there it was, hidden behind the 76077 boiler.
Outside, a twin pair of diesel shunters. Spot the difference.
As we had our tea and doughnuts (thank you, Diana) various locomotives hissed and grumbled by, destined for the three trains that were running today.
P&O has the loudest drain cocks your blogger has ever heard.
|A plucked chicken|
Alongside the spare engine and bogies on the headshunt our track walker (yeah, thanks very much Tony!) found and marked up 24 sleepers for us to change.
'X' marks the spot, as it were. They were also numbered, so that we knew just exactly how much (or little) we had done.
Sleepers, rail and fittings in those days were obtained on the scrounge and not necessarily of the highest quality. This accounts for quite some decay today, as well as so called 'crippled ends' where the last few inches of the old rail bow down.
By spot resleepering here, we will give it another bit of life, but it's clearly not the same high standard as the welded track with deep ballast on the extension.
Another symptom of the old track is the use of GWR throughbolters, which can only be released by smashing the sleeper into two or more pieces. The bolts are always rusted on solid.
After the sleeper has been smashed or split lengthways (carefully removing two toads hiding underneath one today) the bed has to be scraped clean ready for its replacement.
We don't actually have a lot of replacement sleepers, so are using what is left over from the Broadway extension.
The new sleepers were brought up by our ever useful Landie, and dragged underneath the wagons parked on the headshunt. Once this side, a team of 4 on nips can then slide them into the bed vacated by the rotten one (and the toads)
|On a clear day, I can see - Cheltenham !|
After the train has gone, we had to walk the new 3 bolted chairs over from the Landie, and wriggle them in under the rails.
In the background you can see the final phase of a sleeper replacement - shovel packing and back filling.
|Oi! Can you do somehing about that noise? Can't hear myself eat.|
For our lunch we walked back to the mess coach for our sarnies and a peaceful cup of tea.
Almost immediately an insistent RAT-a-Tat-a-TAT started, like a robot woodpecker attacking a steam loco boiler.
It wasn't far from the truth.
Indeed our mess coach was parked right next to the 76077 boiler, where someone was working to get the smokebox ring off.
You couldn't get any closer to us if you tried.
To be fair, they did stop to let us eat in peace and quiet, for which we were very grateful.
After the end of the day, the job carried on and here you can see the rivets that need taking out being heated with a torch.
The ring has to come off for a new smokebox to be fitted.
A lot of trouble had been taken to make an entrance out of bricks, with our name prominent.
Inside - amongst other exhibits, a train set made of bricks. It drew admiring stares from both young and old.
Friday at Broadway
A half day visit to the station to put up the fourth and last BEWARE of TRAINS sign, this one by the bracket signal:
If you want to see the Growler leaving the station again, there is a video here:
After a slow and perhaps nervous start, it would seem that the candidate driver at the controls was told to give it a bit more welly, and he did...
But Broadway never had a water tower.... this we had to see. It was only a few hundred yards away.
The water tower in question turned out to be a Braithwaite tank, probably made for the nursery itself as the inlet and exit pipes were quite small. Sadly it was also badly rusted, so no use to us. You can still buy these tanks new.
The nursery owner also added an interesting 'a propos' - he said he had the roof of an old carriage. Surely not?
But he did:
We concluded that what we had here was the roof of a very old brake van, with a veranda at one end. We measured the length of the roof as 12'6''. This seems to be shorter than what we found on the internet, although possibly some brake vans had open verandas, so the chassis could be longer.
Does anybody have any idea what exactly vehicle this could have been? Everything we saw was made of wood, there was no metal except to cover the roof, a later addition. There were traces of a central door leading from the inside to the veranda.