Saturday 30 March 2019

The sun has put his hat on

Friday at Broadway

A beautiful sunny day, just right for working outdoors on the footbridge steps.

This was the job: fitting heavy duty timbers to the roof hoops. This is the first bit of carpentry on the steps, and together with a number of cross members these will support the corrugated iron sheets that go on top.

Neal had his full carpentry kit with him, and here you can see him marking out the angle between the intermediate landing and the lower half.

Once the angle has been marked out, the end of the timber is cut to fit with the router, and a few odd bits chopped off with a chisel.

Things don't always fit first time, so a little planing is required for the final fitting.

The scaffolding put up is on three levels, following the roof line of the steps.

Once again, although this is a non-running day, we were visited by a train, in this case a photographers' special.

While the scaffolding gives an unusual view, it is straight into the sunlight at this early time of day, so apologies for the poor quality of the shot.

Then on to the top half of the timber, which is bolted on very securely to the roof of the centre span.

The underside of the sheets is still in primer, so there is more work here to be done.

Thanks to the elevated top level of the scaffolding, we can get an unusual view of the interior of the centre span. In its original position at HIA this footbridge (like many others of its type, although not the one at Broadway) had half height windows along the top edges left and right. These stopped the rain from blowing in and sitting on the treads, with nefarious effect.

The draft plan of the canopy team is to get the steps finished by the end of the current running season. However, you won't be allowed down the other side as platform 2 is not ready for passenger use.

At the end of the day we had one side of the P2 steps done, and made a start on the other side.

It's a bit of a confused picture this one, all scaffolding poles and planks. In there among them are the timbers we fitted today. They echo the stringers underneath.

The view from P1 is slightly clearer, you can just about make out the two parallel lines, one in wood and the other in metal.

The low, late afternoon sun shows off the beauty of our canopy. The rays of the sun shine through the Victorian green hue of the glass panels, and throw shadows of the riveted ironwork on the walls. There is no-one about.

The canopy extension which will go on the left will have this glass on both sides, making for a very airy circulating area, lit by a big, central hexagonal gas lantern. This is being sponsored by a supporter of the project. It will look brilliant!

Saturday at Toddington

It was hot! How do you know this? The short sleeves came out in the mess coach, it was like an oven in there.

We had a great turnout of 15, and two jobs to do: Kango pack 6 sleepers overlooked by the tamper at Toddington, and beef up siding Nr. 1 there, which has had some defects on it since the day it was laid back in the 1980s.

At Toddington the yard lamp recovered from Dumbleton was getting some tlc, as it is about to be installed in the yard. Great news.

What's so unusual about the loco shed? It has no locos in it! The running season is now well under way.

The two sites selected for the two GWR yard lamps are shown in the pictures above. One by the water tower, the other nearer the yard throat. Two pits for the foundations have been dug out.

We have also settled on a definite design for replica lamp tops, and are ready to order their manufacture, which will take 3 months.

Chris and Neil start to free up sleepers marked with an 'X'.

Siding Nr. 1 is a bit of a misnomer, as it is not used to stable anything, but is the main approach road to Toddington station from the yard throat. It is very busy, used by every loco coming off shed. It follows +/- where the up line used to be.

About 25 sleepers have been marked for replacement, and a full review of all the fishplates used, most of which have only 2 bolts.

Before removing any of the rotten sleepers, we had to let the DMU out, then the road was ours.

Replacement sleepers are second hand of better quality, to save on costs. We piled a day's supply on the trolley and pushed it from site to site.

Later in the day the first steamer came out of Broadway, with Foremarke Hall leading. The sun shone brightly but the air was still fresh, leading to this nice plume of steam.

This is a typical fishplate that needs attention. It has only two bolts ( permissible, but we prefer four) and you might notice that there is also a step to the next rail, so a lifter is needed here.

Here it is, with the new fishplate fitted, and 4 bolts. The track laid in this area is among the very first ever laid, and there is all sorts of stuff out here, from a time when we were grateful for anything we got get.

Steve, who worked with us today, was there when Siding Nr. 1 was laid back in the '80s, and he mused somewhat ruefully that he was paying the price today (heavy digging out)  for the mistakes made then. But it was all we could get at the time, and it has served for 30 odd years, after all.

Another issue we had with these fishplates is that some gaps were large...

... and others small, so that we had to loosen this rail and knock it back a bit.

When the gap was right, finally, we couldn't get the fourth bolt in (remembering that before it had only 2) and the reason for that, we found, was that the 4 fishplate bolt holes had different spacings between them. Would you believe it! No wonder this one had only two bolts fitted back in 1982.

In order to save on car journeys we shared the journeys to and from Winchcombe, and here 4 of us were in Steve's 1972 VW camper van, quite an experience. It has a long history with the early days of the railway, sometimes serving as an early mess coach!

Foremarke Hall returns from Cheltenham

After lunch one of Dave and Diana's friends came to visit us in his private plane.

He seemed pretty pleased to see us, and as we waved to him he gave us a little aerobatic performance, which was rather breath taking.

At the other end of our recent relay a small team addressed the 6 sleeper area that hadn't been tamped when the tamper recently passed by here.

This packing job was done with Kangos, powered by the generator on the trolley.

That's another job ticked off the list.

Get a grip, Chris!

On Siding Nr. 1 we continued with sleeper replacement, a very slow job. Particularly the digging out of the sleepers first thing was back breaking, and we decided to stop after doing 6.

In the afternoon we pulled out the old sleepers, although some people did it wrong, and only pulled out half a sleeper at a time.

The easier part of the job was getting the new (well, second hand) sleepers back in. Steve and Mike are at work here, more sleepers await their turn on the left. We did the 6 we dug out; there are 18 more to go for next week, as well as lots more fishplates to correct.

As the shadows began to lengthen the last full Broadway-Cheltenham train rumbled by. Occupancy looked good, especially as we had 3 trains out and it was still very early in the season. The Broadway car park was also seeing good use again.


  1. What colour should the underside of the roof sheets be? "Light stone"?

  2. Great blog Jo. The pictures that accompany the Broadway footbridge steps article are superb!
    Re No.1 siding. I bet you wish you could use Peco flexitrack. (Other track makes are available!). Less backbreaking - until you have to do the soldering work under the base boards, that is!
    Regards, Paul.

  3. No need to worry about having only two bolts in the fishplates. The Up & Down main lines through Yardley Wood on the North Warwick line had 2-bolt fishplates on the 60' rails well into the late 1970's. I think it was a standard GWR practice on many lines.

  4. Jo

    Would not the non PW items fit better on their respective blogs, vis a vis the canopy work going onto the Broadway Station Rebuild blog and the update on the yard lamp going onto the Heritage Herald blog. This would keep them both active and updating. If someone is not interested in PW activities they may well miss all the other areas of work taking place.

  5. Sorry no, Jo's blog is unique and probably deserves a new link just called 'The Jo Rossen blog'!

    1. I hope not - it's spelled Roesen. :-)

      We might make a start on the goods platform at Winchcombe tomorrow - watch this space.

      New photographs being added today to the John Lees section on the Flickr site - link above.

  6. Lol, I would and I'm sure many others would love to see a published book of the 'build to Broadway'!