A cold, breezy day today, very welcome after the heat yesterday but after a while, uncomfortably cold - some had to go and get their jackets, who would have thought of that? It started OK, nice and sunny....
We have new neighbours here, we're right next to a stable, and this is - a horse.
We said a cheery hello to each other.
Here we are, all assembled at the current rail head. For those in the know, it's about 3/4 along the rape field just before the sewage works on the left behind the trees. We're now well away from Peasebrook Farm (and that horse).
Alan has been dispatched to collect the first load of sleepers from the supply train. It's miles away (well, maybe the best part of half a mile) and you can just about make it out in this picture as the dark shape on the track.
The rail wagon in the foreground contains 20 rails still. More have already been ordered, for delivery on June 12th. No pressure then...
Here's another view of the same thing, from the other side. The dip in the middle is bridge 4 at Peasebrook Farm. This area is due to be welded at the end of the month. We will be using CWR up to a 'breather' (expansion joint to the laymen) at Pry Lane bridge, the next one along, after that it will be one weld every other joint.
The team puzzles over the arrrangement, until Bert Ferrule brings sound advice.
One small team sets off towards Broadway with an essential task: determining the exact line the sleepers will take. They hammer in these battens, and for the shorter distance by the sleepers we use a rope, which is pulled forward (in a rather satisfying way) every now and then.
Is that a curve we can make out? Is that really the start of the curve into Broadway station?
Then off we went, laying.
The hooking up team steps well back as the jumble of sleepers leaps up from the stack, and dangles into a sort of shape.
Instructions to Steve for the jib movement are:
and a new one we heard today:
Oh heck, we'll have to bar it...
We did 160 sleepers by lunch time, which could well be a record. An early start, good weather, a plentiful supply and two machines with no hitches/punctures contributed to this success.
In the background is the rape field, with in the bottom corner the hedge around the sewage farm - we are now next to it.
But what's this in the background? Steam? A kettle? A surprise gift to visitors to the gala was the part opening of the extension. The stop board has now been moved to just beyond Little Buckland bridge, and what you see is the 'Laverton' shuttle (now the Buckland shuttle?) in the form of GWR 1450 and its auto trailer, just setting off for Toddington again.
Our cars are parked on the wide bit by Little Buckland bridge, it's the only place we can use to get to where we are working. But it is now increasingly far away from the rail head. We are scratching our heads over a new place to park, further up the line.
Back at the rail head, we surprised ourselves by how far we had come. Here Steve points out to Dave the different areas of the sewage farm, a place where Steve has actually been on a maintenance job, so he knows it well. Further back is the spire from Childswickham church, it's a new vista for us every day.
During the day, Leigh did an excellent job of temporarily clipping up the newly laid rails, ready for the welding team.
Dave and Neil help by lifting the rail ends to the correct height, so that Leigh can do up the special G clamp bolts. In the background is the Cotswolds edge, with Broadway village just out of sight on the left. The barns in the middle are alongside the B4632 which follows the line.
On the left the Pry Lane end of the sewage farm, and the sweep of the ballasted curve into Broadway. By the end of the jib of the JCB you can make out the pilasters of Pry Lane bridge, which we should reach next time. This is also where the breather will go, then it's a change to more fishplates again.
This picture at the end of this rather dull and windy day shows exactly what we laid today. And we are definitely on the final curve, there's no mistaking that. The track has started to swing left.
The team is loading the tools back on the Landie here. Broadway goods shed can be glimpsed at the rear. We're on the curve.
And finally: More kettles!