Saturday 23 February 2019

A day at the race course

Friday at Broadway

Tarmaccing has started and Friday was the second day of four scheduled.

At the end of the day this is as far as the machine had got, i.e. half way down the station approach on one side.

Note that the machine has wheels, whereas the one that did the platform was a tracked one.

Further up, in front of the building, more stone was being added, while in the background a good strip of tarmac has been laid down.
The extra stone was needed as the wheels of the tarmac laying machine ran into soft ground and part of a sub surface conduit, so a hurried reinforcement job in stone was required.

Nothing was done on the footbridge steps, as Neal and John were drafted in to help the contractor repair the conduit.

As the tarmaccing is now a day behind schedule an extra day has been slotted in; to wit, Monday. Hopefully footbridge work can then resume, and the tarmaccing completed on Wednesday as originally planned.

Saturday at the races.

We met at Winchcombe, where the mess coach is now stationed again.

Stevie was there to greet us, chirpy as ever.

The white Landie would prove its worth today, as we needed a tipper, and we now have one!

Nigel drove the white Landie underneath the back acter of the JCB, and with a crunch a ton of fresh ballast was deposited in it.

Now to drive up and over Cleeve Hill!

Having completed the assembly of the Toddington relay, we all went to the RDA crossing at CRC to address a twist and, in the picture above, a badly pumping joint.

Bert Ferrule is checking the levels, with the white evidence of pumping clay in the foreground.

Under the bridge is Stevie just arriving with the digger, which he brought down via Manor Lane.

The main body of the gang went up to the foot crossing, about half way up to the station. Here a twist was noted, caused by subsidence on the RH rail. The presence of chain link fencing laid out on the side of the embankment suggested a previous burrowing issue, and we are dealing with the consequences now. No fewer than 6 jacks were inserted in a row.

The cross level was used to indicate to those on the jacks how far the Malvern rail had to be lifted back to the correct position.

Jacks were in every 4 sleepers and 28 such positions had been noted in red paint along that rail.

Note how the track points straight at the pass on Cleeve Hill here. If, as once proposed, a tunnel were dug here, the line would come out at Winchcombe village itself. However, due to the cost and objections from a land owner (we heard today) the GWR decided to divert around the hill, picking up Gotherington, Gretton and and ending in much shorter tunnel at Greet. The deviation resumed the original line outside Winchcombe village by a long sweeping curve, ending on the far side of Chicken Curve.

There, a bit of history for you.

We had Jack, the youngest, on the jack handle on the right, while Pete, our oldest volunteer today, observed the bubble in the cross level. Up a bit, up a bit more. Whoa! Next jack please.

The hard work was the digging out of the sleepers to a level low enough for the packing of the ballast to be done.

We are having a tamper in this year, but it will focus principally on the Broadway extension.

Hence the hand work here.

We did 20 of the 28 marked points (about 100 yds worth) in the morning, then broke for lunch.

On the way back we saw the other team had done well, by digging the pumping clay out of this hole here on the left, and pushing the sleepers over to one side.

The completion of the hole meant that the Landie with the fresh ballast could be reversed up to it, and its cargo dropped.

Stevie would then ladle it into the 4 foot with the back acter.

Today would have been a good day to deal with this graffiti under Southam lane, but we were on other duties. Luckily the graffiti here is not as offensive as the other at Gretton was, but we have a plan to remove it nevertheless as we need to be seen to deal with it. With a bit of luck we hope to do this in a couple of weeks or so, now that the weather is drier.

Steam replacement services at Winchcombe - think of the saving in the coal bill!
Back at Winchcombe we made a bee-line for the mess coach, where Mike met us with a steaming pot of tea.

What matters most on the PWay gang.
After consuming a certain quantity of Mrs. B's excellent fairy cakes, and washing these down with copious mugs of tea, we drove back to CRC to resume the day's work.

The main gang completed the repair of the twist, by lifting the remaining 8 points.

We then walked over to Southam lane to help Bert and Steve.

A second load of fresh ballast was brought down by the white Landie and in the picture has just been tipped into the four foot.

Chris and Bert here are just completing the filling. We also clipped the track back up, the sleepers loosened in the morning having been pushed back into their proper places.

A bit of a lift is still required here; a job for next week.

As Neil prepares to return the blue Landie with the tools back to base, the race course behind him languishes in a beautiful green under an azure sky.  They are getting ready for the first season's races.

Spring is here, no beast from the east at the moment, and on Saturday 9th March we start running trains again.

Race specials follow a few days later, it's all coming together.

On Friday your blogger was on a social call elsewhere in the country, leaving the canopy team to their own devices. It's tough, but someone has to go out for an extensive Italian meal and a concert in the evening.

Travel by train was involved, and this astonishingly beautiful platform indicator. The attractive tile work is not unlike that on the central section of the Piccadilly line in London, and both are still there. Aren't we lucky to have this?

But where was it?

No prizes offered, except perhaps the honour of being the first to guess correctly.


  1. who would want to go to Cardiff , especially when there's a rugby match on !john M.

  2. It's indeed Cardiff, rebuilt in the 1930s in Art Deco style.
    David was first, well done!

  3. Oh dear, that Broadway car park doesn't look good. Strange that none of the other heavy vehicles delivering stone and excavators etc broke through the duct (was that the one for the telephone line, I wonder?). Let's hope that it will prove a reliable surface with that hasty remedial work.

  4. Hi,
    Just out of interest, what was the concert you went to hear?

    Barry D. Friend