Friday 3 July 2015

Deeper into the jungle

A final working day on the extension ballasting today, with most of the action actually taking place in the jungle towards Broadway, and just a little ballast levelling remaining to be done nearest to the bridge.

Lots more ballast arrived today; for a moment, I thought that the drivers had neatly tipped all the way round my car, but there was an escape route after all. Phew !

The opening shot today shows the area just north of Peasebrook farm bridge, where old piles of greenery were partly cleared yesterday. You can see now that it was indeed once double track.

Further into the jungle then, looking back south from the vanishing point in the last picture. The trees left and right have to stay until the bird nesting season is over, and possibly longer, as this point is only stage 3 of the 3 stage track laying programme. If you want it to happen faster, the clearance gang will be delighted to hear from you, I can supply an email address.

The mini digger was slowly working its way backwards up to Pry Lane bridge, clearing grass, brambles and old bits of Terram. Just visible on the left is the sewage farm, destination of traffic under Pry Lane bridge. Although this (exceptionally brick built) bridge was the least damaged of the 5 'bridges to Broadway', a local resident explained that it was hit nonetheless by lorries going to the sewage farm. There is no escape from lorries, and this road is a dead end too!

The muck so collected was dumped further up the trackbed, allowing this view on the return journey, with the sewage farm now on the right. Nearer the Childswickham Road bridge the embankment is a lot clearer, as a result of earlier clearance work at this location.

In the afternoon the JCB was used to scrape the down side (instead of the up with those piles of greenery on it) and this activity was particularly dusty. The brown material in the foreground is a mixture of dust and a sort of peaty material, put down many years ago for a horse gallop along here. Lift this up and drop it into the dumper, and the dust flies on to the driver, who cannot escape, as the dumper needs moving every 2 minutes or so. The dust is also inhabited by flying ants!

We scraped away about 100yds of this, until we reached Pry Lane, in the picture above. The rest of the trackbed northwards is clear of this 'gallop' material.

You can see the Broadway goods shed peer out from in between the trees, this location is now quite close to it.

Looking the other way from Pry lane, you can see the strip on the down side that we have just cleared.

Running back along here with the dumper, very bouncy when not loaded, I suddenly heard a 'CRACK' . She doesn't usually make a noise like that, I thought.... it turned out that my plastic sandwich box, a gift from Mme, had worked its way loose, fallen in between the wheels and immediately got run over by 2 tons of steel and rubber. Those wheels are merciless, the beautiful sandwich box is no more. Alas.

Now to sell this when Mme returns home ! What will she say?

Seen along the trackside today:

2 buzzards
A beautiful orange coated fox
Rabbits, rabbits, rabbits, rabbits, rabbits...... why doesn't the fox eat the rabbits?

At the end of the day, Steve returned to do a little more levelling, and that was the end of the ballasting week. We have enough level ballast to make a start on track laying, and will report as soon as it starts. Shouldn't be long now.


  1. Jo, we met at the Broadway evening. Congratulations on a superb blog that gives a real sense of the pioneering spirit. Ballasting through the jungle to Broadway. You have revived my faith in the GWSR to produce a fascinating story. Let's hope Broadway is still there when you burst out of the other end of the jungle.
    Mike Rose, South Wales.

    1. Thank you Mike, I try to make it interesting, and I'm glad you liked it.
      Good to hear from you !

  2. Many thanks Jo for this excellent blog

  3. Jo et al, a brilliant week's progress. It really feels like Broadway is close now, especially seeing the goods shed in one of your excellent photos. Any news on a new Broadway blog?