Just 11 of us today, but we finished off the spot resleepering of the C&W back siding.
Nigel offered a palette up to the tool van, and we loaded it full of the heavy stuff needed for changing sleepers, or harder still, changing point timbers.
The pallet was dropped near where we were working, followed by two long second hand timbers and three plain second hand sleepers.
This is the sort of thing they were due to replace. A point timber with a hole in the middle, soft enough to stick a spade right into it.
Eventually the rails were high enough to extract the recalcitrant timber, but not without considerable prodding with bars from the near end. As the people on nips pulled, the near end reared up and jammed itself under the chair. More heaving on the jack handle eventually sorted that out. Note the remaining bed of perfectly formed humus and garden soil. There was no ballast when this was laid in 1989.
Work paused to watch the first train of the day drift in.
These were hammered in as far as possible, then sawn off to give the chair in its future position a level surface to sit on.
As the replacement timbers were considerably heavier than the rotten ones it took six of us on nips to carry them over to where we were working.
After lunch we were treated to a very tasty sponge cake with home made jam filling. A tour de force from Mrs. B. It is the custom to put 50p on the table in exchange for a slice of sponge cake (or perhaps several, if you are cheeky enough) and today was the day that arrives every once in a while when everyone had to scratch around at home to find his 50p, and instead ended up with a pile of small change rather than the desired angular coin.
Came cake eating time and a fulminating Nigel found himself with a vast pile of small coins to take home. Until.... Steve, last to pay, proffered a £10 note. Bingo ! Steve got the pile of small change, and Nigel the £10 note, everyone happy. Well, except Steve....
After lunch we moved on to replace three more sleepers. As punishment for bringing a £10 note for a 50p transaction Steve had to dig out the next crib while we all stood and watched.
The point levers have an interesting mechanism which switches the blades alternatively to the right or the left, always with the same pull backwards.
Except that today it wouldn't lock.
Steve got down on his hands and knees to investigate.
His diagnosis was: old age, leading to loose joints. How fitting for this gang!
Behind us there was a deep droning noise in the sky, what the....?
If you want to hear what we did, check out this video:
Then it was all hands to the Coffeepot for a social drink:
10 beers please !
An report on the excursion to the NYMR will be posted tomorrow.