Tuesday 18 November 2014

Lineside clearance progresses

Before the topside track clearance continues, the lineside clearance along the embankment needs to progress towards Little Buckland bridge. Fortunately there was a great turnout on Saturday, and they made good progress. If anyone else would like to join, they are very welcome, don't hesitate! You can work at your own pace, so it's not too onerous, and there are 3 ladies on the job too.

The 'before' picture, almost all bramble here.
Besides a team of people cutting, dragging and burning, the lineside people also have a small flail - like a small tractor - which is excellent at munching brambles. Some of its handiwork can be seen below, in a view back towards Toddington:
Extension trackbed looking south

Burning the thorns
This view above, taken Saturday, shows the Malvern side being cleared, and the bramble disposed of. As someone who has had a few bramble scratches in his life, I can say that this is a very satisfying sight!

This morning your scribe went to Laverton and just short of the bridge found this view - a PWay train of hoppers in the loop. The countryside is very beautiful here, with the distant hills shrouded in morning mist.

The reason I went to Laverton was because I thought I caught a glimpse of a new vehicle on the headshunt, last time I drove along the road to Toddington. And it's true - there it is, a RECTANK filled with concrete sleepers. Beyond it a well wagon with more, and the ELK used to bring the first shipment of new rail. Another is expected tomorrow, to complete the 80 rails ordered in the first round, to take us to Little Buckland.

Just up the line is the current railhead, and even today there was a two man gang on clearance.

The picture above shows the point reached on Saturday, a foot crossing at the start of the curve towards the bridge. The Cotswolds side of the embankment has not yet been done, but a start was made on Saturday, and they will be working back towards Laverton loop. This will open out the view of the hills, which, as a passenger, is one of the big draws of our line.

A little further down the line we saw Stevie Warren unloading a second ELK of old Bullhead rail. With the two vehicles the loading on Wednesday will be easier, and the rail can stay on board for the foreseeable future.

Steve is now occupied with the replacement of the user crossing at CRC, but will return to the extension in a month or so to complete the track level clearance to Little Buckland. If time permits, more concrete sleepers can also be brought up - this is a fill in job, not so urgent, but there are lots of them to come!

In summary therefore, this is the order of play:

- Lineside clearance
- Trackbed clearance
- Ballast spreading, on terram
- Laying out sleepers and rails
- Track laying to Little Buckland.

A second stretch can then be considered, later in 2015. Completion to Broadway will need further funding! Luckily our wallets will get a year's respite. I must say, it was rather satisfying to contribute to the Bridges EIS scheme, and then get money back from the government.


  1. What's the difference between lineside clearance and trackbed clearance, is lineside stuff on the side of the embankment and trackbed clearance just the top? And if so, why does lineside need to be done now? Surely it would be better to conentrate clearance on the trackbed so things can actually be laid down and concentrate on lineside later?

  2. In the first half of your comment Alex you seem to have answered your own question, correctly I believe. As regards lineside clearance, I can only imagine that the P-way and other construction teams will want to know the state of the embankment they are ballasting and tracklaying as we all know how fickle embankments can be on the GWSR! The years of growth have meant that its difficult to see how good the embankments are and where the culverts are etc so my guess is this is why lineside clearance is so important. That's my take on it anyway

  3. Can I have a tip please?

    How do you ensure the greenery burns well- I took down an elderflower tree in my garden with 'live' twigs albeit leafless as its November, but can I get it to burn (even the 'logs)? No!

    I presume the stuff you cut down is in similar sap-laden state, so any advice?

    Steve Leamington

    1. The elder is added to the bonfire only when it is really blazing, because - it doesn't burn well! Sorry!

    2. Thought so. Thanks!

  4. Photo number 4 is beautiful.