Saturday 9 June 2018

C&W back siding works

We were back on site at the C&W back siding, and the day started a bit ominously, as the contents of this Telehandler bucket, almost all shovels and trip jacks, revealed the purpose of the day: ballast shovelling!

Happy days. But it's true, we left two full trolleys last week, and that ballast has to go somewhere.

Neil and Dave here soon got going, and it wasn't too bad in the morning, as the weather was cool.

This is only a rarely used siding, a sort of headshunt in fact, so it didn't have to be perfect by any means. The problem was that the levels were dire to start with, after a rough laying in 1989 and 30 years of gentle subsidence since then. So quite a bit of straightening and raising of the track had to take place, to get even a minimum acceptable standard of track.

After watching Steve, Paul and Bert adjust the levels, Tony got stuck in as well, shovelling the ballast off the trolley and into the quite large voids created under the sleepers by jacking the rails to the required level.

Occasionally the 03 shunter trundled by. Next to moving the stock into position for C&W, they also had a bit of a training day for themselves.

Gradually it dawned on your blogger that everyone was staring at him.... what the?

Oh, it's the King, a case of 'Look behind you'. That locomotive is quite a crowd puller, it managed to fill the trains again today, together with Dinmore Manor, it's tandem player.

Gradually we worked our way to the end of the siding, setting the 6 jacks up further along so that the ballast trolley could be brought up close to fill in the voids under the sleepers.

It's rather striking how the outer siding - the one we were working on - has dropped down much more than the middle one. The stop block is on a skew as well.

Down by the C&W shed Nigel reloaded the two trolleys after we had used up all the ballast in the first hour or so.

Then up came the full trolleys again, to be shunted backwards and forwards to get them to where we were working.

Here they are about to reverse off to the left, to get on to the track just visible in the foreground.

There must be a ton of stone in each of them.

While we worked steadily all day, it did seem as if activity became more frenzied as this train entering Winchcombe stopped right next door, with a watching face pressed against every window.

Once the red train, pulled by Dinmore Manor, was safely settled inside the station, the other, pulled by King Edward II was allowed out. Here the King is about to venture on the high embankment that is Chicken Curve.

After it disappeared around the curve, we resumed jacking and packing, and in this picture we were just arriving at the stop blocks.

Finished then? Well no, as in passing we had noticed that the next siding, used rather more regularly, had a rather flagrant dropped joint, accompanied by a nasty kink.

We jacked up the dip, and Steve pretty much single handedly packed it all round. Now, what to do with that nasty kink it had?

Well the first thing to do was nothing, as here comes that 03 again. We waited patiently.

After the 03 had rumbled off again, we pulled out our trump card for this kink: 2 slewing jacks !

You can see the kink right by Neil's knees, even without crouching down and looking along the rails.

We don't have to use this piece of kit very often, so it was a case of re-familiarising yourself with how they worked.

As this track was covered in old ballast, the two slewing jacks proved themselves unable to shift it, despite their vaunted capability.

Plan B was to resort to our familiar friend the trip jack, dug in at at angle so as to push sideways instead of up. With these 3 jacks, and eventually even a fourth trip jack pushing from behind, we were finally able to flatten out the kink and give this piece of track a more orderly look.

A vulture circled overhead.... but that 'Vee' shaped tail reveals it to be a Kite, that rare bird now fortunately much more common.

During our picnic lunch Dr. Landrover was seen under our Landie, giving it a little overhaul that was started last week.

Mrs. B treated us to fairy cakes, which went down extremely well together with strong brown tea. What we need during this hot weather is energy and liquids.

After the lunch 6023 steamed past again, accelerating confidently out of the station in the direction of ever popular Broadway.

Last week we were intrigued by an unrestored brake van, but the camera failed to take the picture. Thanks to a blog reader on a passing train we can now show you a picture of it - a bit of a hen house on wheels, but actually restoration is already well advanced, with much work done on the chassis and running gear already.
Behind is is a grey primered Mk1 BCK, which was also very interesting as it has a curious compartment not seen on other Mk1s:

Isn't this a lovely 'family' type compartment? It's not original, but was created by a previous owner by taking down the dividing wall between two first class compartments, and removing one back to back set of seats. So now you have a 10 seat space with room for kids and prams, and two sliding doors. Neat! It is hoped to get the coach into service in the not too distant future.

We finished the back siding, but looking round other stuff could really do with a make over as well. Having packed and straightened the kink, we looked at the turnout, which really needed some packing.

This picture shows the siding spot resleepered, lifted, levelled and packed. It was never as straight as this during its entire 29 year life.

In the foreground we are now packing the turnout leading to it.

After jacking and packing the turnout, it became apparent that some of its timbers could do with replacement too. One job leads to another, we thought we were off the hook there for a minute.

We'll do the timbers next week then.

Some Broadway bits

A working day at Broadway with a small party.

Over time we had sourced precise replicas of the BOOKING OFFICE doorplates from a museum, with the authentic pre grouping beading.
On attempting to actually fit them, it dawned on us that the doors on the new station were in fact narrower, and the replica plates would not fit (nor for the cafe).
Back to the foundry, with a plea to repeat the order split into two halves: BOOKING and OFFICE, and REFRESHMENT and ROOM (Refreshments with the extra 's' was just too long)
Here they are split into two halves, with room for the door knob in between. All sorted at last.

Inside, the cafe has been fitted with lights, which were on during Friday:

Of course Broadway never had a cafe, so what sort of lights to fit? These should give an idea of gas lighting.
The room now has a very nice atmosphere.

At the far end is the site for the fireplace. This has now been ordered, and delivery is expected within a week or so. We have, with the help of some kind sponsors, found a company that can make up a very close replica of one of the original slate fireplaces that the stations along our line had. Each room in the station had one, so there would have been 4 or 5 at each station. Sadly at new Broadway there was room for only one.

Up above, work continued on the insulation and inner roof, a w.i.p that was interrupted by the urgency to get the station below up and running for the opening day.

Work has now resumed on fitting the insulation and floor up here.

Outside, interested parties were discussing the methodology for erecting the footbridge steps.

The steps will come first, then the canopy overhang will go on top on the P1 side.

There's still some paperwork to do, but it is hoped to start manufacture in the near future.

Friday was a non running day, but that only means for passengers. Very quietly this diesel driver course crept into the station.

Your blogger worked on the next V board. This was one of a pair that said 'BOOKING & TELEGRAPH OFFICE'. We bought it at the Pershore auction in July 2015 (that's how far you have to plan ahead to get these things all collected) and we wonder if anyone knows the origin of this pair of V boards?

The paintwork was thick and crumbly and it is now all stripped off. The letters were also removed, and underneath you can make out that before fixing the cast iron letters, they were drawn out in pencil to make sure that they were upright and that everything fits.

This board will now be used for 'REFRESHMENTS' and the 'BOOKING &' will be used for a new V board still to be manufactured that will go over the front door, below 'WAY IN'

We need to get some extra letters cast for this, so it may take a little while yet.

Down at the bottom of the drive one of our replica gate/fence posts has been planted, and from it two panels-and-a-bit of spear fencing will run up to the corner post made of GWR bridge rail, still there after all these years. Note also the cast PRIVATE ROAD notice behind. All this 1904 era equipment is struggling a bit with the modern signage that surrounds it.


  1. Thanks for the blog Jo, I always look forward to reading it.

    I like the look of the light fittings. Do you know yet what's planned for the floor, perhaps a patterned linoleum?


    1. Not sure about the floor. A wood effect surface was one option. we shall see.
      Thanks for the compliment too :-) Very kind of you.

  2. The trackwork is looking SO much better.
    Thanks too for the Broadway tid bits. Nice to think that the footbridge steps may be coming soon.
    Regards, Paul.

  3. Tiles as in the booking office would be good.

    1. I agree but money is an issue there.

  4. Travelled behind KE2 yesterday and the trains were packed. He is certainly a draw! Can we borrow some more Didcot Locos and maybe their GWR vintage coaching stock?!

    1. They don't have enough bigger locos that are in traffic and for hire at the moment as at Didcot they are only running smaller locos as some are still in works being overhauled. I know 4144 has just been out of the works but for now it's not for hire.

    2. Thanks for the reply. Hopefully we can get Pendennis Castle when she’s restored. She travelled the line in April 1974 as a positioning move to and from Newport Wales.

    3. I remember Pendennis Castle making that run over in 1974. I think it was the last time a steam loco travelled over the whole line.

      The reason I recall the event is because the Gloucestershire Echo published a photo of Pendennis Castle emerging from the bridge at Malvern Road (the photographer must have been standing on the station platform). This was captioned as "Pendennis Castle steaming near Cheltenham" - Malvern Road station apparently not being *in* Cheltenham, according to the Gloucestershire Echo!

      Some years later I tried to buy a print of that photo from the paper, but as far as I could find out the Gloucestershire Echo has no archive service - or, at least, not one that is accessible to the public.

      That's a shame, because the Echo covered the activities of the GWRS (as it then was) right from the earliest days, and I'm sure they have lots of interesting archive material tucked away.

      Every time the Echo ran a piece on the GWRS they would trot out the same handful of clunky headlines - something like "All steamed up" or "On the right lines". It got rather annoying after a while, but at least they gave the line some coverage. In those pre-internet days an article in the local paper was the main way of telling the world at large what was happening.

    4. I have a book published in the middle 1980s with a great colour photo of Pendennis coming out of Greet Tunnel in April 1974. Would share but for copyright.

  5. Do you know what happened to Broadway's original cast iron entrance gateposts? I recall that they were still in-situ several years ago (2015?). I seem to remember that they were removed as they were too close together for modern regulations. Could they not have been put back, albeit a bit further apart? It would be a shame not to, as they were one of the few surviving relics of the station.

  6. I protested at their intended removal, but was overruled. They were taken out to enlarge the turn in at the bottom and I suggested putting them back a little further up, but that was also declined.
    'Modern regulations' is the catch all phrase to drive something through that you want to do. There is in fact very little you really cannot do, with a little bit of ingenuity.
    The gate posts were taken to Winchcombe and I believe that CRC intend to use them for something. The wooden gates, made specially for Broadway, were cut down and hung onto the Bradstone building at Winchcombe.

  7. Shame you couldn't have an actual wooden floor in there - modern lino just wouldn't be the same. What would it have been originally? Floorboards or Parquet like at Leamington?

    1. Lino isn't necessarily modern! It was a Victorian invention so, as long as a suitably period pattern is chosen, it seems like an excellent solution, easy, modern and heritage all at the same time. If the GWR had built a refreshment room at Broadway it may well have had a linoleum floor.

    2. If you want to see an original floor, look into the Ladies Waiting Room at Toddy, just about the only original room on our line.

      I was told early on that we could not have a suspended wooden floor at Broadway due to the concrete slab and associated damp proof membrane.

    3. That shouldn't prevent a wooden floor completely, only a suspended one. Whilst people may look up more than some people would like to think, I doubt they'll be pulling up the floorboards! :)