Sunday 4 December 2016

Getting ready for more ballast

With the current track laying almost at Peasebrook farm, preparations are now being made to handle the ballast delivery for the next track laying session, from bridge 4 at Peasebrook to the Childswickham road bridge.

This ballast can no longer be delivered to Little Buckland, as track has now been laid there and there is no longer the room to receive the lorries.

The new ballast delivery point will be the strip of land to the SW of Broadway road bridge.

On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday a contractor was busy making the site ready, using a 360 excavator and a 9T dumper. A large pile of rubble and earth had to be cleared out of the way, and most of this was moved south to the other end of the site.

This is the area in question, seen from the top of the bridge.

The pile of dirty ballast in the foreground is infill still required for the station site. In due course it will also be removed.

The path down the side, leading to the Childswickham Road, is a 'Permissive footpath' over railway owned land.
Copyright: Brian Parsons
This is a picture of the GWR notice that stood there in 1969. If anyone has an example of this they no longer want, we would be interested in securing it for re-use at Broadway.

At the end of Friday, this is how far the contractor had managed to clear the site. It needs to be big enough to take a good dozen lorry loads of ballast, a loading area and a turning point for the two dumpers that will be used to shuttle the ballast down to Peasbrook farm bridge. It's quite a long journey, and each load will give you about 3m of initial ballast bed, on Terram. We will be very busy here soon.

Looking back towards the road the area cleared already looks quite effective, but we had a bit more to go behind the camera until a minor mechanical defect called a halt on Friday, just before it got dark.

Conditions were a bit testing - on Thursday the temperature at 8am was minus 5 degrees celsius, the ice had to be scraped off the dumper seat and the excavator was very reluctant to start.

By Friday close, about 700 tons of material had been moved.

It is hoped to start the deliveries of ballast in a week or so. The dumping site still needs a bit more preparation (final spoil removal, ground preparation, new double road gates)

A quick visit to Toddington found that the process of riveting the canopy roof sections had started in earnest.

With concreting the floor now almost completed, the opportunity was taken to move the riveting process out of the workshop into the main shed.

The photograph shows a fascia board with one row of rivets completed at the top.

The people in the workshop also felt the cold, but they had an answer - a genuine Romesse stove, from one of the former Honeybourne signal boxes. It has provenance!

It was lit during the visit, and clearly radiated a glow around for several yards.

At Laverton, the replacement tamper was out again over two days. It handled the section from the former loop to over the bridge (the recently jacked up area) and on the second day, up the straight and round the curve to Little Buckland bridge. The final section, from Little Buckland to Peasebrook farm, will be handled by the original tamper, once the gearbox is repaired. The CWR can then be stressed.

There was quite a bit of interest in the old picture of Laverton bridge after the last post, so here are two more pictures, taken at the same time:
Looking south

This one was taken trackside, and shows the view looking south (road bridge in the distance, telegraph poles on the Malvern side).

The halt has already gone, and the PWay hut on the left is also no longer there today.

Looking north
Looking the other way, in the period 1960 - 1976. You can make out the pilasters from the road bridge under, and the wider paths in the cess left and right hint at the timber built halt that used to occupy his spot. In the distance the double track will sweep right into Little Buckland curve.

The state of the track is remarkable - it is well kept, with new ballast and exemplary packing on the right. This was a double track main line, with heavy freight trains of iron ore and coal.

Thanks to Tony Harden for the use of the photographs


  1. So. A new 'Ballast Central' depot, closer to Broadway. Very convenient. The facia board looks 'the business'; and it's nice to see a signal box stove reused. In the West Mids. they were known as 'bombs'! Regards, Paul.

  2. Is there no way you could load and move the ballast to the rail head, by, well, rail?



    1. It's not going to the rail head, but along the trackbed beyond for the next half mile or so, spread out all along the way.
      Once that bed is in place, we can lay sleepers and rail, and when they are in place, we can indeed move ballast by rail, dropping it with the Dogfish.

  3. What you need is one of these things.... a temporary LC panel at the railhead so they can jump on and off.

    Just out of curiousity, how are they going to get the ballast up the slope - is there an access road to the trackbed there? I didn't see one in the pictures.

    1. There is an access slope, near the entrance to the site being prepared. Then we run along the trackbed until we meet the spot the dumping has reached. We did this with the rest of the extension so far as well, it works OK.
      It's cold and windy up there though. Let's hope the weather turns milder when we get going.

  4. Regarding the sign Jo can these not be copied as the lamp posts were? I'm sure there can then be a spin-off selling copies to rail buffs

    Barry Matthews

    1. Yes, several original examples seen on various auction sites on the Internet tonight but so far no replicas, Companies such as Newton Replicas can produce stuff like this as long as they have an original to copy. (I have a replica "do not lean out of this cab..." etc GWR cab plate) It still costs of course but, as you say, there could be a market for this as numerous heritage railways are in GWR territory. Toddington Ted

    2. They sure can be copied, but you need an original first. We still have a year to find one, but a gift would be even better.

      Also of interest is a GWR 'BEWARE of TRAINS'. There are many non-GWR examples around on the internet, and indeed on the GWSR. We need two correct examples for the platform ends at Broadway.

  5. Perhaps a metal detector might find the original sign like the one at Hayles?

  6. Perhaps a metal detector might find the original sign like the one at Hayles?

    1. Given the position (alongside what was then a main road) of the original sign, I would guess it's now sitting in a collector's stash somewhere or even sold by auction, who knows? Toddington Ted.

  7. I bet the Broadway builders are getting excited with this work going on! BTW will this be a car park for Broadway station when it is all finished?

  8. Mr A,Locke,from Evesham.5 December 2016 at 15:15

    I've worked over that section of track,at Laverton,a few times,when I was a fireman,on BR,at Honeybourne,during the early 1960s.The halt,was still there,then.

    1. If you have any memories of working over our line, do let me know at breva2011 (at)
      I've had a couple of stories from firemen,one of which was of an ammunition train splitting in half at Broadway!

  9. Hi Jo. A quick question if you can answer it please. In the first picture of this current blog there appears to be brickwork remains being dug up by the contractor. Any idea what this brickwork was the remains of? Regards, Paul.

  10. Hi Paul,
    It's the remains of some bridges at the Mythe, Tewkesbury.
    When they were demolished a few years back, we thought they would be a great source of bricks for the Broadway platform, so we negotiated that the remains would be brought here.
    Unfortunately we got very few bricks out in practice, as the spoil had a high proportion of earth in it, and the bricks were in fridge sized lumps that would not come appart.
    Now the stuff is in the way, so we moved (most of) it to the other end of the site. It took 2 1/2 days!

  11. A quick Google search turned up a few links that might be worth following up.

    It might be possible to obtain the bidder's details from the auction house & ask the owner if an air drying clay cast impression could be taken in order to cast aluminium reproductions for the railway?

  12. Thanks for the links.
    I tried this once before, but without success.
    Luckily we still have a year and a half, we'll just have to keep our eyes open on Ebay etc.

  13. A CNC router could be used to produce reproduction signs in aluminium as an exact copy from a photograph, warts & all. OTOH, how about a 3D printer to produce a pattern for sand casting? Perhaps the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust could handle the casting, if the railway shops are too busy?