Friday at Broadway
Just two of the canopy team today, but progress with the steps nonetheless.
While we got several tips for bending corrugated iron following an appeal on this blog, unfortunately all were either suppliers of sheets, or could only bend a whole sheet at once, not part of one, and not in opposite directions either. So Neal worked the MO out for himself.
Here we see Neal attaching the next batch, at the end of the intermediate landing.
The weather was grey and surprisingly cold, thanks to an insistent wind. Such a change from the beginning of the week.
By lunch time he was on the lower half. They've had a coat of undercoat here, and the upper half has had two, so looks a bit darker.
We had a group of students to take a quick look today, and as they rounded the corner on to the platform we heard them say 'wow!' That was very rewarding. People do notice.
Neal spent the afternoon on the centre span, refitting the end of the existing roof sheets, which he had taken off a few weeks ago to allow the fitting of the wooden side beams of the steps.
An issue with the existing sheets has been that they were not carried over far enough over the end, where a thick moulding still has to be attached. After sleeping on the issue, Neal decided that there was enough meat left in the overlap to pull the last sheet out a bit further, so this is what you see him do here.
To finish with Friday's work, here is an interesting find from the ash along the railway.
There was indeed a brewery with this name in Wrexham, and it brewed only lager, no bitter at all. It was set up by two German immigrants in 1883, after they came to England and weren't impressed with the beer that we brew here ('what is this, it's all warm!'). They thought that the beer they knew back in Saxony and Bohemia might sell well here, so they looked for a good spring and found a suitable one in Wrexham. The lie of the land also allowed underground storage, which is where the word 'lager' comes from. Lager beer is allowed to rest for 3 months before it leaves the brewery.
After some ups and downs the brewery eventually did well, when it sold its Pilsener to the army. The beer travelled well too and it was sold, inter alia, on transatlantic liners. There is a photograph of a GWR train leaving Wrexham for London, loaded with 1700 casks of Wrexham Pilsener for the Cunard Line. The brewery used the sidings by Wrexham station to ship its products
And there is a connection with the Honeybourne line too. The GWR was a customer of the brewery, and served Wrexham Pilsener in its restaurant trains. Broken china from the GWR restaurant trains can be found along our line if you know where to look, and the ash tray was probably thrown out as a corner had broken off. Thanks to a badger digging it up we now have this echo from the past, a bit of our history. We have surprisingly few artifacts or documents from our history, so this is a welcome find indeed. Perhaps it can be displayed somewhere one day?
Saturday at Didbrook.
First, select your Landie. But one didn't work, the battery was insufficiently charged, just a series of clicks were the symptoms.
Luckily we now have two Landies, and we managed to start the white using the blue.
Problem solved, now to load up tools, generator, Kangos, and off to Didbrook.
At Didbrook we continued with last week's job, i.e. dealing with a number of dropped joints and twists between the two bridges of Didbrook 1 and Didbrook 2.
Interestingly, one of these underbridges is a brick one, while the other was replaced by BR and the material chosen was concrete.
Didbrook 1 was also the end of our first ever piece of running line, just 700 yards long in 1984.
Bert Ferrule and Steve were soon rattling away with the Kangos.
There's a touching little scene in the background, where Tony is either giving Jim a plaster for some little graze, or else he is stealing his watch.
We had the DMU and two steamers out today. This is the second, being the Welsh coal tank 4270.
What can you do? The best but expensive option is to relay with concrete sleepers and new FB rail. The cheaper, fall back option is to cut off the crippled ends, and move the rail ends back together again. That is what we did at Winchcombe by the tunnel, and more recently at Toddington last winter.
After lunch we moved along a bit and reached Didbrook 1, the brick built one.
We found a rotten sleeper and decided to do that one, in passing as it were. Neil is just taking off the chair screws here, while in the distance Bert Ferrule and Nigel are looking at the next joint. Behind the camera, the gang is packing the previous one. It's all go.
It was about here that the 1980s relaying gang finally started to disappear round this bend towards Didbrook, to whoops of joy from the volunteers at Toddington as the relay of the lifted track was finally off the long straight out of Toddington and out of sight. One (still with us, you know who you are) ventured that we would never get further than Didbrook! Oh ye of little faith, miracles can be achieved, the preservation movement has shown that repeatedly.
Such a long time ago....
After Neil had released the sleeper from its chair screws, Tony came and pulled it out with the pick axe. It was split down the middle, not so obvious from above but well spotted by the gang on the day.
Bert Ferrule then pushed in the new one. It looks easy enough, but it soon collects a fistful of ballast under itself and then jams against a chair. It needs persuading with a crow bar from behind, then it's in.
After it had vacated the scene, we bolted down the new sleeper and packed it with the Kangos.
Job done, plus of course several dipped joints cured. For a while.
Will anyone notice? Seems unlikely, but we know in our hearts that we have track in good condition.
You may have noticed the Cotswold stone houses in some of the pictures. These belong to the little village of Didbrook. Neil on the gang is a native of the village (he has moved away now to the distant town of Winchcombe) and he was able to tell us a few things about life there.
The other house we could see from above was immediately below us.
Didbrook is an estate village connected to Stanway house, we learned. Many of the houses in the village had the little shed extension on the left. It served a a privvy, laundry and coal shed. There was an upper Didbrook and a lower, and as people did not migrate much until recently many families were related to each other. One group of villagers came all the way from Scotland to work on the estate.
So much for a bit of history. What will we do next week? Do come and visit our gala next weekend, see the blue King on a former double track GWR main line. There's also an interesting Caledonian blue tank loco, as well as a B1, so we think we'll have 8 steam engines in action over three days (Sat 25th - Monday 27th)
This is the company link for more details:
See you there!