Saturday 26 March 2016

Dismanteling - part II

Today we had another day on recovering the loop at Laverton, with something over half dismantled by the end of a very windy day.

Last week we worked at the northern end of the loop, taking out a number of rails and stacking the corresponding sleepers in a nearby pile. Today, we addressed the southern end of the loop.

All of the loop had already been de-clipped, and today we gathered up the remaining biscuits and SHC clips and put them in the Landie for storage at Winchcombe. A trolley was used to ferry the baskets around that held the track fastening materials.

While the trolley was still about gathering up the loose fittings, a second team started taking out the rails - oi ! We were supposed to run our trolley back through there!

Oh well - we will have to lift it across to the 'main line' - you can't do that with a real train though.
Here the telehandler is dragging back the first rails for storage by the turnout.

Meanwhile, a third team continued de-clipping the main line southwards, with at the moment every other clip removed. The end of this job is one panel short of the 'breather' joint in the continuously welded rail (CWR) which here is at the level of the DMU, which has stopped at the current limit of operations. The last panel will be a 'fixed panel' in the future CWR extension.

Looking back the other way, we can see the limit of current operations, and on the right, the CWR breather. Once all the new rails are in place and the track welded up, this will become one continuous stretch of CWR right up to the Childswickham Road bridge.

At Laverton Loop, it is the loop (here on the right hand side) that is coming out, for transport to Broadway. It is of slightly lighter section, but good for the station. The main line is 113lbs flat bottom rail, and will stay in place. However, as it will be welded to form CWR, each rail will have to be cut to remove the bolt holes, and shifted south to close the gaps, then welded. The two north and south loop turnouts will be removed, and replaced with plain 113lbs rails. This is the reason for the stacks of sleepers at each end.

As it happens, the Clearance and PWay gangs are working in parallel at Laverton at the moment.

In the foreground Dave is removing the turnout fishplates, while on the left a large clearance gang is removing bramble growth from the lineside - this reappears very quickly.

For lunch, the clearance gang form a circle of folding chairs in a secluded spot, and eat outdoors.

The PWay, however....

 ... make a dash back to Winchcombe, where a bevy of top rated chefs have been preparing a superb meal for us all morning.

Mushroom soup, soaked up with bread and butter, followed by hamburger, beans and chips done to perfection.

This is followed by tea, and a cupcake from Mrs. B's kitchen, this time topped by two very seasonal chocolate Easter eggs. Who could resist?

Have another? Why, yes....

After lunch, back into the job in hand at Laverton. Here the Telehandler has started to extract the concrete sleepers from the space under the rails removed from the southern end of the loop. Another group has de-clipped the curved section of both turnouts.

We are being watched....
Although a Latin American creature, this Anaconda has escaped from a local zoo, and was surprised from its winter slumber by the noise from the clearance gang. Stand well back !

Oblivious to the danger from this redoubtable creature, Alan and 'Bert' continue extracting sleepers from the loop, and stacking them in a pile by the southern turnout, ready for use when this is replaced by plain track.

About 60 sleepers are required for each of the two pieces of plain track. After that, the remaining sleepers, now from the central section of the loop, are stacked on the bogie flats, ready for use elsewhere.

After the loop has been dismantled, the gang is ready to work on the actual extension again. The share issue is now open, and the biggest item on the extension budget is ballast and rails to get us to Broadway. Will you help?

Saturday 19 March 2016

Dismanteling starts

Now that the running season has started, the Pway team is able to revert to the task in hand, laying track to Broadway!

The next task is to dismantle the loop at Laverton, and take it to Broadway. During this morning, the team started unclipping and took out the first few yards of rail.

The fishplates were removed, leaving a pair of rails on the sleepers, just enough for a rail trolley to roll over them.

In the background is the PWay train with the rest of the newly purchased stock of rail last year, which will go in here, replacing older rail laid on a temporary basis.

Why no Pway gang members visible? Well, they couldn't resist the lure of a cooked dinner in the PWay mess coach at Winchcombe, so went back to base for lunch.

Yours truly had a hot - almost too hot - dinner by the fire being built here by the clearance gang. They are working along the Malvern side of the embankment along Laverton loop. The extension from here on is now fully cleared by a joint effort between volunteers, and a contractor with a flail.

The PWay gang was soon back from lunch and attacked the remaining clips with vigour. The SHC clips, especially those with a fish tail, proved quite resistant to extraction. The 'biscuits' were prised out on hands and knees and scraping away at the ballast and brambles.

Meanwhile, normal services continue, but stop short of the loop. Here you can see the DMU that has arrived at the repositioned stop board, having come from Toddington.

At the northern end of the loop, rails and then concrete sleepers were being lifted and stacked along the former headshunt. The trolley is bringing clips, pads and biscuits for further use at Broadway. They were manhandled on to the Landie for safe keeping at Winchcombe.

The intention is to start at the far end of Broadway station with the headshunt and northernmost point, with a siding next to it. This and the loop will give the appearance of double track. When and how they will be taken to Broadway has not yet been decided.

On the to-do list is also the bit between the Laverton loop headshunt, and the start of new rail near the curve in the background. The bit in the middle is temporary track only, and has to come out again and be replaced by main line quality rail.

RIP your blogger's camera, defeated by the PWay dust. It made a little crunching noise in the lens, having ingested a particle of granite. A new one will have to be organised before the next posting.