Sunday 6 October 2019

A day at Toddington, an evening with 76077

Friday at Broadway.

A team of 2 today, and with kinder weather we were able to make good progress with painting the centre span roof inside.

John is making a start here on the Cotswolds end, and when we have done the two panels in the picture there will be another two left, which are a bit inaccessible at the moment as there is a big pile of T&G in the way.
Around lunchtime there was a short cloudburst, which made things very cold and windy on top, so we broke up and decided to sit it out over lunch.

A loud chop-chop-chop brought us outside the mess room again, to find that the sun had returned and an Apache was flying overhead.

Friday is a regular day for footplate experiences, but the trains are very irregular, you never know when one might turn up. Could be any time between 12 and 3.

We caught this one running round by the P2 running in board.
At the end of the day we had done the two Cotswolds end panels in undercoat, and the three Malvern end ones touched up in primer, on the spots where we put Kurust last time.

On Monday we can start painting the structural steel here in dark stone undercoat.

Saturday at Toddington

An interesting day, in several places.

The PWay gang was out measuring again, this time at Toddington, where we recorded the details of 4 turnouts.

35006 and 7820 at Toddington

It was a 'two engines in steam day' and here they are, P&O and Dinmore Manor. It looks as if they are about to set off on a race, but one is ready to leave with its train south for CRC, while the other is waiting for room to run round its rake, and head north for Broadway.

'It says 7ft 1/4 inches here'    ' OK, noted'.
We started off with the north carriage siding, and worked our way south, recording the gauge, length and type of each rail, the cant, wear and type of fishplates, not forgetting the length, type of wood and number of all the sleepers. Quite a lot of information to record on one sheet, and then it has to be transferred on line, also during volunteer hours.

At least you get to see the trains from unusual, non-public angles, such as Dinmore Manor doing that run round to attach to the first train to Broadway. It was a damp and somewhat misty morning, as you can see.

A little later Dinmore returned with the first train from Broadway, about to enter Toddington station itself.

By this time we were on the north turnout, loop to main line, which is the longest we have on the railway, with over 60 timbers.

Here Nigel is using the gauge to record the wear on the head of the rail. Tony, Jim and Pete look on.

With trains passing at Winchcombe today, we had some time to work after Dinmore had passed, before making room for P&O heading north.

During our break for lunch, we had a quick look at the goods shed extension being built at Toddington.

It's very motivating to see that it is being built pretty much in the same style as the 1904 goods shed, although in the non-passenger visible area (i.e. along the unloading road) some detail has been omitted, such as the plinth along the bottom.

This is the same view, looking back up the unloading road.

The use of reds and blues is very pleasing.

On the passenger visible Cotswolds side the plinth has been respected, so you should see a pretty seamless continuation of the blue engineering brick plinth headers along the bottom.

In the picture the plinth headers are covered in polythene to protect the bricks from falling mortar.

From the signal box you can see the size of the new extension, similar to the existing building. The brick and blockwork has reached the level of the arched windows. It will be interesting to see if the new building follows the old here.

At the original 1904 end of the building less pleasing plastic lights and a LED spotlight have been attached to the heritage building.

We met Roger in the yard bearing gifts: 7 small toads that he had rescued from one of the disposal pits. He was on his way to release them in a new hiding place.

Round the back of the shed 2807, our oldest loco, has a young partner : 9466, a modern pannier tank built in 1951 for BR to a Hawksworth GWR design.

The big pannier was in light steam for testing various pieces of equipment, before entering service during its stay with us.

Interesting and somewhat unusual is the injector fitted above the running plate, instead of below.

Over on the far side of the running line there was work on the doorway of the acetylene hut.

The doorway is actually round the back, and is usually invisible to the passing gaze. The arch above it has suffered from subsidence, and 3 members of the Broadway gang are effecting a repair of the archway, and the sagging brickwork above it.

In the picture Paul (he with the mixer and the ever present coffee cup) is cutting a brick to size.

Round the back now, and with newly cut brick in hand, he awaits the judgement on his cutting skills from brickies Bob and John.

Sadly it was a thumbs down - there was a chip in the piece. Well, they're not easy to cut, it's true.

The sagging brickwork is being supported by an RSJ while work goes on underneath it to repair the arch. It's major surgery, but the Broadway team has the skills, certainly after building a whole station.

In the picture a new door frame has been put in, and a new arch of engineering blues is partly constructed.

The problem arose due to ground subsidence, and some rather slapdash brickwork done in 1904. It'll be done properly now.

This view from the adjacent field shows Paul fitting the new door, and progress with the brickwork repair above the frame.

Returning to the gang, now having their picnic outside Toddington station, we found them well into their snap and the cupcakes already out. Need to move fast here to get a fair share.

Minutes later we had a cup of hot tea from the Flag & Whistle, two cup cakes consumed and two more secured in reserve, heaven!

We resumed our measuring task, now at the south end of the station. We know when the trains are due of course, but here you can also follow the signals and, with a lineside cabinet in close proximity, the signalman would also give it a quick ring to say that there was a train on its way. That was friendly.

We went up to ask him about the intended moves of the 'Hoover', and heard that it was booked to go out on a test run to Winchcombe and back. It will also participate in the next diesel gala.

Back on the ground floor as it were the class 50 did indeed move forward past us, and then back again to gain access to the main line to Winchcombe. One day, when the motor driven points we installed last year at the far south end will be taken into use, this zig-zag manoeuvre will not be necessary any more, and locos will be able to leave the yard and proceed south directly.

Once the class 50 had left we resumed on the southern loop turnout, close to the box.

For the third time today Dinmore Manor headed past us going south. Trains are less well filled now as we near the end of the season, but there are still coach parties.

The last picture of steam today shows Dinmore Manor drifting past the signal box, the regulator closed to allow the token to be picked up from the signalman leaning out of the box. This is one of our favourite views along the line, specially when snow or frost covers the hillside behind Hailes Abbey in the background.

You can also just make out the class 47 hovering in the background, ready to take over the last turn of the day.

An evening with the standard loco 76077 group

Toddingon's 76077 'Pocket Rocket' has been laid up in pieces up the headshunt for many years, and as you may know, a group has now been formed to raise funds and complete the restoration of this engine.

The share issue has launched, and an evening with Tyseley engineman Colin Jacks and artist Nick Trudgian was held on Saturday. Supporters came to admire Nick's paintings, listen to Colin's tales of the steam days, question the board on 76077 progress and enjoy some light refreshments.

Two members of the Broadway canopy team also attended. Not sure of the degree to which the light refreshments might be filling, they had a hearty Thai meal in Winchcombe beforehand, just in case. Their fears were unfounded, as it proved, and there were plenty of sandwiches, wine and even some trifle.

In the picture is 76077's engineering director, Andy Meredith, holding the regulator of the locomotive.

Over the years a large number of parts have been acquired, and some of these were brought as exhibits and subjects of conversation.

In this picture Andy is joined by Chris Hinton, original purchaser of the loco and founder director of TSLL.

Chris explained that after outshopping 4953 Pitchford Hall at Loughborough, our contractors Locomotive Maintenance Services Ltd would be starting on the frames of 76077 within the next two weeks. Excellent news!

Over the next 12 months or so the engine parts that have been sent to Loughborough will be restored to a rolling chassis, with smokebox and cab. The boiler is at Toddington. If share applications come in at the appropriate rate, LMS could carry on with the job and the loco could be restored within the next 5 years. It could run on the GWSR with a borrowed tender (the original was purchased for 76017). The loco restoration is estimated to cost £500.000, and a new tender could be constructed for a further £150-200.000.

Among the items on show was this Ross Pop safety valve, an original from the loco itself.

Colin Jacks then gave us a fascinating talk of his career as a GWR fireman and driver in the Birmingham region, where he worked out of Tyseley and later out of Saltley when Tyseley wound down.

Colin had to admit that he was unimpressed by the new Standards when they were introduced. He felt that they should be better than the locos they replaced, but they were not.

This changed after he came to work a Britannia, and he became positively enthusiastic when he drove - a 76XXX ! On a number of occasions he chose to drive one instead of his allocated duty on one of the new diesels.

So our little 'Pocket Rocket' has spent too much time languishing at the end of the Toddington headshunt, and we can count ourselves lucky that a group (TSLL - Toddington Standard Locomotive LTD) has volunteered to take on the task and finish the job started by Chris in 1987. 76077 is ideal for the GWSR - modern, powerful and economical.

76077 arrived at Toddington in 1987. Photograph copyright Andy Bryne.
If you agree that TSLL should finish the job, do please join us. You can download a share application form, and obtain more information, on the owning group's website:

Support for restoring 76077 here

Just to underscore that the wallet is after all mightier than the pen, your blogger has bought a share! Please help them finish the job, there's not enough of us yet.


  1. Jo. I too deprecate the use of those circular "plastic lights"! I wonder how efficient they are - surely a lot of light goes skywards - adding to light pollution and not lighting up the ground which is what is required. There must be more appropriate fittings available which would not look so out of place and which could be fitted with modern LED lamps for efficiency.