Saturday 27 July 2019

A lot of diesel action

Friday at Broadway.

Just two of us on Friday.  It was the first of 3 successive Diesel gala days, so there were more preserved diesels at Broadway than canopy gang volunteers!

The first one in was the 'main one' straight away, our guest Hoover Ark Royal.

It says so on the side....
 A bigger picture for you.

As the trains were top and tailed, they rolled in and then went quiet. Then the other loco pulled them out again.

We carried on with our work (although admittedly it was interesting to see what would come in next, and we did look, it's true)

Yours truly was on painting the P1 stringers in dark stone topcoat. We are gearing up for the removal of the P1 scaffolding on Monday.

With this in the backs of our minds we also did a bit of touching up near the top.

 The Hoover was then dragged out of the station by its opposite number, identity unknown.

Not long afterwards, in fact there was a new train every 45 minutes (and we still have two more weekend days to go of this, if you'd like to come along and see) the next loco rumbled in.

Now we heard this one so far away, going thump..... thump..... thump.... that it must have been near Peasebrook, because we couldn't see it coming.

It was the class 26 with its slow Sulzer engine.

Then our 'Green Goddess', the Growler.....

 .... but we kept on painting and cutting wood.

Here's Neal with the mouldings for the third run, up the Cotswolds side of P2. He's just transferring two measurements across the moulded shape, to get a line for the angled cut.

With a bit of help from Yours Truly, and a cup of strong tea, the upper length of moulding was fettled and attached. It's always the hardest, the upper one, as it has to go behind the cast iron guttering and needs cutting to length, shape  and angle.

 Here's Neal with a screw for the very top end.

Nearly done now.

We've got side 4 of the 4 sides still to do, another day's work then.

The weather has been kind, and all the painting that is sensitive to wetness and damp has been done (for now). A bit more under cover remains to be done.

While the sawing, measuring, cutting, hammering etc was going on, a relentless stream of diesels rolled into Broadway.

The Peak was next...

...pulled out by the class 26. There was a lot of ringing the changes at Toddington, which we didn't see of course.

Then the Growler pulled out the next train south
As the rakes were shorter than usual (5 coaches) the locos ended up further towards the building, so this slightly different shot of Broadway with a train was possible.

The last one in (that we saw, we have a life too you know) came in at about 5. We were just packing up, a bit out of sight, but you can hear something unusual in the air, and its a large diesel engine getting closer and closer.

Enjoy ARK ROYAL on the blog, but better still, come and see it for yourself.


Again, a lot of diesel action, and not a lot about men in orange looking after the track. With the gala it was just too busy for us to access the track. This was a bit frustrating, as we had a good turnout.

Instead we ventured out to Broadway, to examine what had to be done after minor damage to the southern turnout following a run through.

The diesel gala carried on as normal, albeit with topping and tailing, which looked as if it was on the plan anyway - lots of loco action to see for our diesel enthusiasts.

Having had a quick look, we stepped aside to let this class 47 hauled train back out. There's a train every 45 minutes out of Broadway during this gala, a very busy timetable.
 Then came the class 37 - no, wait, it's on the tail end here and moving away from the camera.

The stretcher bar on the turnout had got bent, but a quick look at the locking mechanism seemed to suggest that this part was undamaged. S&T will no doubt give a more expert opinion.

We did a bit of measurement to see what size everything was, then repaired back to Toddington, again on a service train (they are so frequent this weekend, there was hardly any waiting.)

At Toddington, we were momentarily distracted by 37 215, posted outside the yard gates. The top is shiny, the bottom all green and mucky - yes, it's on accommodation bogies.

The cab was open for visits, and we were amused to see a pair of mobile steps parked a few yards away and in busy use by photographers for that special angle.

Another distraction - besides the alluring smell of barbequed bacon from a stall outside the Flag & Whistle - was this class 26 outside the loco shed, unfortunately unserviceable due to damage to the No.2 traction motor.

The loco is based on the Llangollen railway.
 Here we have King Edward II and D5310 together, outside the loco shed.

More measurements were taken at Toddington south, where there is a similar turnout.

We installed this one over a year ago, but it has not yet been used as it forms part of a crossover due to be fitted with point motors. These are nearing the end of an overhaul with S&T.

We returned to Winchcombe for lunch, again by a service train. As it rained pretty much the whole day, in greater or lesser quantities, we were glad to get back to the drier mess coach for a strong cup of tea, and Mrs. B's richly filled sponge cake.

On the way we encountered Bert Ferrule listening attentively to the wise words of Jonathan.

Possibly about sourcing a properly clean set of reflective clothing, as Mr. Ferrule's trousers were noted by all only this morning to be alarmingly lacking in thread in the nether regions.

What caused the accelerated wear in this discreet area can only be left to the imagination, but it quite possibly gave rise to the helpful suggestions given here about reinforced trousers.

We await next week with great interest, when all should be revealed. If you see what we mean.

As the 'Hoover' trundled by, a ganger's voice was heard to enquire why it seemed to take far more men to drive a diesel engine, than it does a steam loco. We wouldn't know, but surely that is not the Modernisation Plan result strived for by BR?

Last but not least our own 'Green Goddess' growled out of Winchcombe, as we went our different ways, some to do a 'dynamic track inspection' by train to CRC, and some to return home to - write this blog.

A look over the fence - Quainton Road

Being in the area on a mid-week day, three of us had a look at Quainton Road, which we hadn't seen since the Rewley Road station building was erected.

It's certainly an impressive building, and the relocation on this vast site is a triumph. The site now has a focus, and entrance, catering facilities and a shop.

Outside is the impressive bulk of an SAR 25NC. Sadly this has been stored outdoors and is now showing signs of rusting. The boiler sheets have been removed. We have seen several locomotives 'rescued' on a plinth, and inevitably the weather gets to them. For LT survival they really need to be indoors.

Those vehicles that were indoors, here inside the Rewley Road station building, were of course safe. Two tracks have been laid and these house a handful of unusual locomotives and carriages.

Many other locomotives and carriages are distributed around the site, but we couldn't visit everything during our admittedly very brief visit (and the siren call of the George and Dragon in Quainton village was hard to resist)

The piece de resistance is clearly the LNWR dining car, a fabulous 12 wheeler. The inside has been laid out for breakfast, with imitation croissants, bottles of champagne and in this picture, even a pipe.

Also stored outdoors (but it is rather large) is this 3 car Sentinel steam powered rail car. Amazingly, it was built as recently as 1951, and through a pair of 6 cylinder steam engines driving two bogies via shafts the unit could reach 60mph! It was exported to Egypt, and returned to the UK in 1985. There are plans to restore it to working order.

As is probably well known, the site comprises two yards, one each side of the former GCR main line, which (annoyingly no doubt) is still in use by an occasional freight train. This picture shows the original main line station on the up line.

From the footbridge by the original station you get a commanding view of the down side yard, from where the tramway to Brill also once used to start. We didn't have time to investigate this part of the site though.

Looking the other way from the footbridge you can - whoa! is that a train coming in the distance? - see the occasional freight train passing underneath on the original main line, now singled. This is a landfill train, hauled by 66 170, headed for a disposal site at Calvert. A lucky catch, there can't be that many in a day.

Interested in lamp posts (as we are) we checked to see what sort of lamp posts there were at Quainton. You can't help doing that once your interest in the matter has been sparked. All this started with the search for original lamp posts for Broadway, their horrendous cost second hand and the decision, helped by a generous sponsor, to cast our own GWR replicas.

Most (all?) the posts at Quainton seemed to be modern, albeit with replica tops, but we found one on the down platform that was an original.

Recognise it? It's a GWR one, in fact a No.2 post, which is a slightly taller one that was used for station approaches etc and which sports the holes for a ladder bar at the top. These are needed because of the greater height.

What struck us as odd is that, instead of burying the post in the ground (2ft of the casting should be below ground), this one was stood on the deck, and then surrounded by a little brick wall.

The platform side of the building was a mixed bag (in heritage terms).  The wall lamps with correct tablets and oil lamps inside were great, as was the poster board with an excellent replica timetable, which gave the times for a quick trip to Baker Street to see the King's coronation. Wonder how they got hold of that!

Less good is the modern cantilevered bench, and the unsuitable miniature advertising sign copies in a row along the top, which have all faded into pink and rusted as well.

The original enamel sign advising caution with beggars was attractive, as was the original gents' urinal on the platform, albeit that the look was somewhat spoiled by the conversion to modern urinal bowls. We too did this at Toddington, first converting the original slate urinal to wall mounted bowls, before stripping the whole lot out and converting the intact original Gents to an empty storage room.

The cubicles on the up platform were also still in existence, and formed part of the lovely atmosphere of the original building of the Metropolitan railway. Just look at the little decorative finial on top of the divider between the two cubicles.

The GENTLEMEN sign on top is quite unnecessary however. In fact it is an outside hanging sign from - the Great Western Railway!


  1. Thank you for your interesting comments and compliments about Quainton. The lamp post may well be a GWR one but was here when we arrived in 1969 and is seen in older photos, too. The brick plinth was added in recent times to stabilise the post as the foundations below it are mostly just mud! No, I don't know why it wasn't dugout and reseated either. Of course, if we knew you were coming we could have shown you so much more of our 25 acre site and, yes, that line through the middle can be a real pain at times and results in a lot of careful planning!

    1. Hi Tony, sorry we couldn't stay longer but we were really doing something else in the area, and thought we'd drop in for lunch. As it was mid-week the cafe was closed, so we had a quick look, then went to the pub! More time on site next time, promise.

      Maybe you can find more authentic, perhaps GCR style benches? Ditch the modern ones, and the ubiquitous GWR memorial replicas with only two castings (should be 3).
      Take down the rusty pink miniature advertising signs, is my advice. Otherwise I can't fault the up side building!

  2. I find the pictures of the damaged southern points at Broadway intriguing. Presumably the loco was travelling south down P2 and failed to set the points. It seems the wheel flange ran through the lower blade in the pictures, but the upper blade was held by the facing point lock? So what happened to the wheels on the upper side of the photo. Did they ride over the switch blade? As the lock it still intact, can the points still be used to allow steam locos to run around their stock?

  3. Jo (I assume) thans for taking the time with this blog at the end of your day. Very interesting (particularly the Broadway south points incident. (Does raise some questions though as Tony Lister says.
    Powli Wilson

    1. Powli, Peter, thanks for your interest. As the run through has only just happened and nothing is certain other than the photographs, I don't want to hazard any guesses about who/what/how. It's all fixable, but it will cost money :-(

  4. Jo is unable to transmit any blogs until next week as his telephone line has developed a fault and BT are waiting for a cherry picker to investigate.
    Can I thank him for all the hard work he puts into these blogs after a day's work on the railway.
    Mike Rose.

  5. Just starting an extension on to Verney Junction route. HS2 and East West Rai will affect the site