.....with a difference, the PWay gang and a couple of S&Ters came to replace the bent switch at Broadway south with a plain rail. An unusual and interesting exercise.
The first job was to remove the fishplates and chairscrews holding down the bent switch and its attendant stock rail.
It wasn't a big job, and it was good to see many had made the effort to come out on a non-working day (for the PWay group, many of whom also hold down a normal weekday job) and so we all pulled together, even assisted by two of the Broadway canopy gang.
The switch was soon loose and can be seen being lifted out here by Nigel in the Telehandler.
The base plates for a switch and a plain rail are not the same, so new base plates had to be fitted.
Bert Ferrule had his eye close to the ground to supervise Ade, who was knocking each base plate this way or that, to get them all perfectly in line.
Neal was itching to help too.
The length of plain FB rail sourced from the Winchcombe yard was then taken off the bogie flat and brought round to the site.
Here it can be seen next to the switch that has just been removed.
Next it was 'measure twice, cut once' as the plain rail was cut to size to fit the gap exactly, minus half an inch for the two fishplate gaps.
Ade does the cutting, as Neil has another look at that damaged switch.
Once the right length the plain rail was lifted into the gap left by the switch. Piece of cake really, and the weather more or less left us alone, despite the dire forecast.
All this is perfectly repairable, but it's a lot of wasted hours for the team that really wants to get on with the normal job.
|Straight on only, please.|
Here's the plain rail in its place, all clipped up already. The viewing platform is down to one last viewer, a sign that the job is nearly over.
In the meantime our trains to Broadway will have a locomotive front and rear, a more expensive arrangement but one that we hope will not take too long. We now have a way forward, and the switch is out. It will be sent away for repair on Monday.
Meanwhile, back at the farm.
The canopy team was a man down today, due to a funeral. The two remaining ones loaded up the last 10 painted boards into the centre span, and did a few odd jobs such as painting behind the dagger boards - where it was still dry, despite the increasing rain which was making its presence felt.
We also had a sort out of the risers we have in hand for the treads. Some material was unfortunately lost when it was decided to burn all the woodwork from the steps saved from HIA, but a few representative pieces were smuggled under a tarpaulin, and saved for future inspection.
The P2 scaffolding will be removed on Monday, so we cleared that too. We have now done all we can from the scaffolding, so it can go off hire.
We have now found two watches and two caps! The second watch has not (yet) been claimed.
Saturday - take a survey!
|Got me doughnut, got me tea, do I have to work as well?|
Saturday was an interesting day as we met to work out how to do a complete survey of the track assets of our railway.
Survey or not, the day always starts with jollity and doughnuts. Steve dropped in for a visit but suspicion soon deepened that he was only there for the doughnut and chat, as long walks turned out to be on the cards for today.
The starting point for our survey of the line was to be the breather north of Stanway viaduct. Tricky to reach by car, so we opted to take the ECS from Winchcombe to Toddington.
Motive power for this trip was 47 376, the FREIGHTLINER loco. It had come to Winchcombe to pick up the rake parked outside our mess coach. Six of us got on, the seventh (ahem) was offered a cab ride to Toddington, which was hard to refuse. The offer included a tour of the engine compartment. Now that is interesting.
Nearest the cab end was the room with the blower motor, and on the right, one of the fuel tanks.
Don't shoot us down if we haven't got this all 100% right, it was the first time on board a class 47, so show a little leniency, if you please.
Note the tiny door into the next section.
Space quickly became an issue. There isn't any!
The decision by the designers to squeeze what is effectively two engines side by side into the very modest British loading gauge meant that you had to shuffle along sideways to get alongside.
Look how the crew member has to stand sideways on in order to stand there at all. It's not a place for claustrophobics.
This is the main generator.
The class 47 has a 12 cylinder engine, in two banks of 6. However, rather than link the two rows of 6 cylinders with a common crankshaft in a 'V' formation, the 12 cylinders are stood side by side in two rows of 6. They are linked by gears. That makes for a wide construction, hence the lack of space for humans.
The rooftop windows were a good idea.
At the other end is the auxilliary room - not much more space in here either, so we didn't visit. Looks dark and oily.
While abroad, yours truly would get calls from a friendly driver on a freight locomotive, using the on board mobile. Once we missed his call, and tried to call straight back. We got a recorded message from a reproving female employee telling us not to call the driver on board the locomotive while he was driving it!
We trundled cautiously over the high Chicken Curve embankment. It has a permanent 10mph speed restriction on it. It felt pretty stable from the class 47; less so when bowling along in a Landie along the sloping ballast.
Hayles Abbey halt was passed, still looking good.
You could also feel the beneficial effects of all the packing of the joints we did a few weeks ago along the Defford straight, which was happily confirmed by the loco crew.
We trundled into Toddington, where the second man gave up the token to the waiting signalman leaning out of the window.
Our ECS train came to a halt at the north end of P2 at Toddington, where the 47 was due to run round.
On P1 the class 45 was waiting with its train for Broadway.
We needed to get out here and walk the rest of the way to Stanway.
As trains can't run round at Broadway at the moment, they are topped and tailed, and the tail end of this train was provided by King Edward II.
That tender is a lovely blue, isn't it?
Although our line has a full set of quarter mile posts, we also marked each rail with a number.
This was done by spraying on a panel, and then removing the paint for the number. This made the number stand out really well, but wore down Bert Ferrule's finger. We advised him to use a different one after a while...
We did about half a mile of our 15 mile railway this morning, ending by the turnouts at Toddington north. We will do the double track between the platforms at a later date, as well as the turnouts themselves.
We stopped to let 2807 head off for Broadway.
Lunch was taken back in the mess coach, as that is where Mrs. B's cupcakes reside. Can't miss those.
After lunch we returned to Toddington, this time by car, to continue the track survey south, starting at the signal box.
The new loco mess facility works are coming along nicely.
Some blocks have been laid and the many services that run underground are being laid out.
There was no work today though, as it is the weekend.
This new mess block, attached to the goods shed and showing a similar style - at least along the trackside - will replace the current trusty mess coach used by the loco crews.
Here it is, Mk.1 TINA.
Does anyone know its proposed fate, when the new mess block is opened?
We got to the end of the stretch we relaid, by the southern turnouts that we also put in place.
The Peak, returning from Winchcombe, is just running over the same stretch here.
While returning through the loco shed, we came across this rather splendid class 26 No. D5310, now on the Langollen railway.
During our diesel gala it was failed with a defective bearing in the No.2 traction motor, and here the bogies have been removed and the traction motors taken out. Very impressive.
Lastly, the walk through the loco yard shows one of the two GWR yard lamp posts recovered, refurbished and re-erected in the yard. This one has a new ladder and platform.
We are now waiting for the manufacture of the big 6 sided replica lamp tops by a specialist manufacturer.
It's a slow process though, much patience is needed. Drawings have to be created and there is a 12 week lead in period too.
In the meantime, why not enjoy some more of John Lees' early pictures of the GWSR trackwork? About another 80 or so have been put on the Flickr site, now reaching the 2007 period.
You can see the latest pictures here: