Wednesday 4 November 2015

More ballast down

There are currently about 300 tons of ballast stored at Little Buckland, and more is on the way. We therefore need to move some of it and on to the future trackbed, to make room for more.

The 6T dumper for this job was delivered to Broadway in error. Your blogger received a phone call, had he seen a large dumper by any chance? He had. Would he drive it down to Little Buckland, where the JCB was waiting to fill it? He would.

 The journey down, about a mile, was rather pleasant. Here is a view of the trackbed between the Childswickham Road and Peasebrook farm. It's good to see this new bit of clearance, a great job done here. Interesting too, that old ballast bin still there. Odd to think that the last trains along here were hauled by class 47s, and they are still running! Our trackbed though was very overgrown.

Can you imagine that coal train that came down here in August 1976? Just a few minutes more, and it would derail on Chicken Curve at Winchcombe, thus effectively closing the line. Such is fate.

Down at Little Buckland bridge - bridge 5, with the extensive abutment repairs - Steve was waiting with the JCB, and off we go. It's time we did more ballast spreading, because just peeping round the curve are the sleepers we laid on Saturday, that lot of 400. The red arrow marks the spot. One more day like that, and we will be over the bridge. But we still have to lay the rails in. For at least the next two weeks the PWay gang is on other duties. Regular running has now stopped, so this is the opportunity for track maintenance on the running line. End of the month, and trains will run again for Santa, so this is a window of opportunity for them.

Here is the pile of ballast that we are addressing. We need to shift at least a third of it, to make room for further deliveries expected tomorrow morning.

Proceeding up the trackbed with the loaded dumper, this is what you can see. The trackbed has been cleared and levelled, and new fences have been put in alongside. The little orange crosses on the left indicate the height of the ballast to be achieved.

A short length of ballast has already been spread out in order to narrow the piles and let traffic through.

The thin white stripe in the distance is the site where we are now dumping this ballast - it's the roll of Terram being spread out.

Approaching the work site, you can see the first piles already dumped on the Terram, with bridge 4, Peasebrook Farm, just beyond (white posts)

The red arrow marks Broadway Goods shed, now in the hands of the Caravan club.

Peasebrook Farm bridge is the limit of phase 2, about 800m beyond the end of phase 1.

It's quite a long drive up to the drop. The factors limiting the speed of the process were the size of the bucket on the JCB, and the number and size of the dumpers.
More dumpers (or bigger ones) and a faster digger would make us more productive, so a call went out for a 360 with a larger bucket.
Enquiries are being made for a second dumper tomorrow, preferrably a 9 tonner. Not easy to get just like that, let's see tomorrow what they came up with.

Just before lunch, the 360 delivery service made a call.
Further up this road is Buckland Manor at the foot of the hill, which the 1904 contractor Walter Scott purchased, because he liked it here. He then became master of the Broadway hunt, so it all connects!

This is more like it! The 360 excavator fills the dumper in just a handful of drops.

Here is how far we got at the end of the day, with light starting to fail. About 30 drops were made, each involving two 800m drives, so we were quite pleased with progress.

We hope to be a bit faster tomorrow. The distance will slowly shorten, and there should be an extra dumper on site - keep your fingers crossed !

1 comment:

  1. Brilliant work guys. Congratulations all round. And one of the best blogs around.