Tuesday 28 June 2016

Canopy work progresses

No news on the actual extension this week, but there is progress in other areas to report.

The fabrication of the replica canopy, being undertaken in the loco works at Toddington, has progressed further, with several more pieces completed or in the course of assembly.

A second length of fascia board is stored outside the workshop, while inside...

... a long piece from the longitudinal structure is in the course of assembly. You can see where this will go in the picture below:

This piece runs the full length of the canopy, while the rafters, of which three have now been made, cross through it at right angles.

The clock and the lamps are not original at Toddington, but do look the part.

While at Toddington, we also had a look at the relaying of the unloading road:

The turnout leading to the two roads in the foreground (one on the left, the other under the spoil heap, which runs into the loco shed) has been moved further back towards the conical tree in the distance. This is to ease the curves coming off it, and to straighten No.6 road leading into the shed.

Here is the turnout in its new position, with a lot of the work already completed. The work going on today was to dig out the unloading road up to the level of the shed, so that this too can be relaid. The dumper in the background took the spoil away. Some of this has already gone to Hayles, where it was very welcome for future infill behind the blockwork.

This relay needs to be completed before we can receive any more new rail. As it coincides with the contractors occupying the extension trackbed, there is no time wasted - it's all part of the plan ! Work on the extension itself will resume once this is completed, and the contractors have released their possession.

Finally, a snippet of what is done behind the scenes:

The replica cast iron worksplates for the footbridge and the canopy have arrived. They are faithful reproductions of an original recovered from Broadway in 1963.

New IN and OUT signs have also been sourced for the ticket hatches in the booking office. Form an orderly queue please - well, this is what we hope to be able to say in 2018!

Tuesday 21 June 2016

Almost done

Drainage work on the culverts at Little Buckland and Peasebrook farm has proceeded steadily and an end is now in sight.

Culvert 5A just south of Little Buckland bridge has been replaced entirely and two new headwalls built L and R. Here is the site now almost fully reinstated, with just a topping of track ballast to go. The current railhead is just out of sight into the curve.

A new item is this French drain, built between Little Buckland bridge and the next culvert along, numbered 4A. It includes two inspection chambers. The field to the right is  a wet one, and includes a small pond, through which the water in culvert 4A flows. It's important that our embankment base stays dry.

This is the other end of the new French drain, with culvert 4A passing from left (the pond) to right, where it has received a new headwall. Andy P's gang have rebuilt the headwall, and also rejuvenated the drain on the northern side of culvert 4A (from which this photograph was taken).
This drain, also alongside the wet field with the pond in it, was actually flowing quite steadily.

Stepping back a few yards shows the end of the new French drain entering culvert 4A in the background, while in the foreground the drainage gang have discovered an additional supply coming in off the wet field on the left. The end of this pipe has been removed, and you can see that it is completely blocked at the broken end.

Still to do on the contractor's side is the fitting of the large diameter pipe (now delivered to the site) to extend culvert 3A, replacement of the PWay ballast at 5A and clearance of the site.

The activities of the contractor to repair the culverts are the main reason the new track was not extended further than 150yds short of little Buckland. A secondary reason is that we need more new rail of course, having used up remainder of the first consignment at Laverton loop. To deliver the rail, you need the bogie bolsters, and to load these, you need the loading spur at Toddington reinstated. And they are very busy with that, so progress at various sites continues.

Broadway replica canopy

A quick visit to the Toddington workshops shows further progress here too.

There are now three completed rafters, here stored in the loco running shed. In the rear is the last of the 4 roads in the process of receiving a concrete floor. A volunteer working on the DMU reported how vastly improved this working environment now is, with its clean concrete floor instead of the dusty ballast that once covered the entire floor area of the loco shed. A great step forward.

Back in the workshop, the steel that made an aborted mission to Broadway in error on Monday has been duly delivered to the place where the roof assembly is actually taking place. A fairly sophisticated saw is used to cut the angles to the correct degree as per the drawing of the new canopy.

What was actually under construction at the time of the visit was this:

It's the fascia board, the flat piece of steel plate that runs along the full length of the platform side canopy edge. It will eventually be over 40m long, so is being manufactured in sections.

The mag drill at the rear was being used to drill the rivet holes. The bolts at intervals visible on the right will, once the rivets are in place, be removed and the holes used to secure the woodwork on which the dagger boards along the platform edge will be mounted. The staggered angles at the end are so placed to allow a secure attachment of the next section.

Just to show you where this piece is going, here is another shot of the original at Toddington:

In the last blogpost we showed you the rafter on the right, and the new piece being manufactured is the flat, riveted piece running left to right, to which it is attached. The daggers, with their single row of holes (a double, staggered row is used on the footbridge) are behind. The roof covering is 18 gauge corrugated iron at this level, glass further up. We have been given a source for replica glazing frames.

We'll check in at the workshops from time to time to give you updates as the canopy takes shape.

Friday 17 June 2016

Contractor update

Only modest progress since our last visit a week ago, due to the heavy rain, and the need to await the delivery of a big 750mm pipe to finish off culvert 3B, the one with the headwall well into the embankment. The pipe is now on site, but the contractor is now busy at Little Buckland on a French drain on the Cotswolds side (forgive the lack of a picture, but it's a long walk from Broadway, and the trackbed is not a good place to travel on with a saloon car)

On Culvert 3A the news is better, as this is almost complete. You can now see the concrete infill between the two rows of blues, including the sheet of reinforcing. Another very large tree root was dug out too.

Underneath, there is no longer a need for the pump to do its work, and the water can now flow freely (and it had to, with all these cloudbursts we've been having). With the contractor at work a further mile away, we were unable to speak to them, but it looks like there's a bit of finishing off to do to cap the brickwork.

The other side of the same culvert 3A is done, finished off in this case with an inspection cover, as the actual exit is on the other side of the fence, where it empties into a drain which leads to the Malvern side of 3B.

Walking back to Broadway, we get this view of the as yet unused trackbed. The grass is taking over again, after the intense investigations and earth moving along the side of this embankment.
In the longer term this site would be used by a second loop, but in the short term its installation has been shelved until we have more funds available. Only the run round loop at the station itself will be installed prior to opening.
The line leading into the station will run along the down line, on the right.
You can just make out the goods shed, now owned by the Caravan Club.
Originally, this site held 4 tracks - two main lines in the middle, and a siding down each side.

Broadway station canopy.

Brilliant news here in that fabrication of the replica canopy has really started. A large supply of angle has been bought, and some of the smaller elements are being assembled to test the process, see how it all works out.

Pretty good, I'd say. Here is a first rafter under construction in the loco dept. workshop at Toddington.

A second, the other way up, was on display in the loco shed. The whole thing is made of angle iron and strip, which is simple enough, but the art lies in getting the angles right.
Note the whole thing is held together by temporary bolts. These will be replaced by rivets in due course.

What's that bit for then, I hear you ask. The next two pictures will answer your question:

You can see how the angles at the end of the newly fabricated rafters are influenced by the slope of the roof.
These pictures of the real thing were taken at Toddington. You can also see them at Hall Green, where your blogger went last week to take a detail picture for the loco dept. We are very fortunate that we can just drive up and look at what we are replicating
The attention to detail to get the heritage just right is wonderful. This is what your share purchases are buying, so please consider a top up, as we are not half way yet.

Did you spot the E. Finch, Chepstow builders plate in the first picture? E. Finch supplied all the ironwork on the Honeybourne line, including the station canopies as well as the footbridges. The founder of the firm was a friend of I.K. Brunel.

Two Broadway volunteers are sponsoring this replica below:

This is the original. It was very kindly lent to us by Brian Parsons, not only a former resident of Broadway, but also a former Worcester based steam fireman. He found it at Broadway during the demolition in 1963. Because of its near pristine condition, it almost certainly came from under the canopy, so is an excellent source for 4 replicas - 2 for the new canopy, and 2 for the footbridge. They will be delivered in a fortnight.

Thursday 9 June 2016

Contractor's fourth week

It's been a dry and sunny week, which makes for almost perfect working conditions for the contractors, except perhaps for the heat. The flow of water trying to pass through the culverts was relatively modest and work building new head walls could proceed in the dry.

A walk down from Broadway allows this panorama of the future extension trackbed. This was once double mainline track, with 9Fs bearing down and 800 ton iron ore trains.
In the background is Cleeve Hill, an obstacle that the original GWR builders decided to circumvent via a short (-ish) Greet tunnel, rather than a long and expensive tunnel straight on, that would have come out at Southam.

The two walls in the middle distance are those of bridge 3, Pry Lane, and beyond the contractors can be seen at work on the Malvern side. In fact, there are several locations active at once, with men moving from one to the other as requirements dictate. A small amount of work remains to be done at culvert 5A before it can be released to traffic, as it were, and at the moment they are working on 3A and 3B.

The drainage gang was also on site today, and we grasped the opportunity to ask them how the culverts are actually numbered. What is the significance of the letter for example?

Andy P was agreeable to lifting a corner of the veil. It's simple really - each culvert is related to a bridge, and lettered alphabetically going south. Hence culvert 5A is the one the contractors started with immediately south of Little Buckland bridge (being bridge 5) and as it is the first one along, it is 5A.

The two culverts now being worked on are south of Pry lane, bridge 3, and as there are two of them, they are 3A and 3B. Got that? Now all you need is a list with bridge numbers.

Just before reaching Pry Lane, the new fencing recently put in by Steve appeared on the left. In fact there is quite a bit of new fencing in this area now, all ready for occupying of this part of the trackbed.

Steve has also worked on the other side, disposing of a large pile of material from the horse gallops that were temporarily installed on this part of the track here many years ago.

Today the contractors were working on the small stream that crosses under the embankment, here named culvert 3B. In the previous blog update you can see a rather green photograph of the large tree stump that had overwhelmed the exit of the culvert here. Today this enormous stump was successfully removed (see below) and the original headwall was exposed again. It is still in good condition. The encroaching spoil from above is being dug away.

To give you an idea of the size of the enormous stump that was removed, we asked Andy P to stand next to it, and the stump stands almost as tall as he does! Not something our clearance gang would have handled easily. In the background the 360 continues to dig out the area around the headwall; most of this involves standing on a slope.

On the other side of the same culvert you can see a lively little stream, and once again the headwall has been overwhelmed by the spoil form the embankment. It too has been dug out.

Looking at it from below, you can see that about 8ft of ditch has had to be dug to find and expose the original headwall of the culvert, which here was substantial enough to merit its own brick built tunnel. It is still in good condition, but too far back.

The solution adopted for this end is to pipe it back to the fence line. A job still to be done; in fact the contractors will be here for another two, perhaps three weeks.

The next culvert along, towards Broadway, is 3A, i.e. a bit further along towards Pry lane bridge.

Here the solution adopted has been to build a new headwall. It might look a bit thin from above, but in fact there are two courses, with a cavity in between with a sheet of reinforcing, which will be filled with concrete. With the blue bricks in use, it will look very neat.

Here is the bottom end, Cotswolds side of the same culvert 3A in greater detail. A suction pump is being used to catch the small but steady trickle that flows here, so that the brick layer can work in the dry. The rebar in the headwall is now also visible.

Track laying

The welders have been back at Laverton, and successfully welded up all the remaining joints from the breather near the stop board up to the bridge over the road to Laverton. That's it from them for the time being.

Next we need to remove the northern Laverton loop turnout, fill the gap with plain rail and then relay the former, roughly laid headshunt. To do that, more rail will be ordered.

A priority job in the meantime will be addressed at Toddington, where yard end of the loading siding needs to be relaid. This will happily overlap with the time that the contractors are still on site on the extension, so further extension work is on hold for a few weeks.

Harvest Home (as was)

It has gone!

Only the pub sign (on the left) remained as a sad reminder of the railway inn that once stood there. Another at Aston Cross seems to be set to suffer the same fate. We're not drinking enough beer!

A further contractor's update should be possible in a week's time.