Tuesday 23 May 2017

The Broadway canopy goes on

Bet that surprised you, you didn't know that was coming...

Well neither did most people, it was a snap decision when the loco team learned that they could not use the Toddington car park to make the trial assembly due to a field out of commission for the gala. So it was decided last minute to take the whole lot to Broadway and see if we can assemble it on site. And they did! It looks brilliant. It took all afternoon, but all 6 trusses are up, as well as the 5 ridge purlins, the ones with the beautiful arches.

Tomorrow the steelwork will be further bolted together, and next week the crane will return to lift in the purlins and fascia boards, another day's work.

Because of the scaffolding, it's a bit hard for the man in the street to see what has happened, so here are some photographs of the work that went on this afternoon. It's an exclusive, hot off the press.

Vic Haines came to Toddington this morning and loaded two lorries with all the bits you saw on the Hayles blog yesterday.

Here they are outside the station, with the purlins unloaded, up against the building, and the trusses being lifted one by one on to the steel framework inside the bricks.

It was a race to see who would be ready first - the bricklayers, or the team manufacturing the canopy. In fact the loco dept won by a short head. A few more rows of corbelling remain to be done.

The issues of transport, and assembling the canopy on site were solved by a single vehicle - the crane lorry from Vic Haines at Pershore. They did an excellent job for us today.

The 6 trusses were lifted on, starting in the middle with trusses B and C.

You can now see how far the canopy projects out over the platform in the foreground, and the scaffolding recently lifted takes account of this.

The second truss is lifted into place here.

The weather was so sunny that we became hot and thirsty, and our visiting Finance Director unexpectedly opened his dusty purse to offer us all a drink of lemonade. It was very welcome.

Once the first two trusses were approximately in position, the first ridge purlin was offered up. This connects the two, and confirms their positions.

While we were craning more trusses into position, a member of the crew - there were only 4 of us on site - already started drilling the holes to bolt down the first trusses we had put down.

With the third truss in place, the second ridge purlin could be lifted into place. the canopy was starting to look like something. It was a heart lifting moment, to see this actually being assembled, after so much heartache and discussion. It will look magnificent.

A conflab ensues on what is in its place, what isn't and what is/is not vertical.

It all went extremely smoothly. Only a single piece of angle had to have 1/8th inch shaved off the end to make it fit. It's an amazing testimony to the savoir faire of the small team in the loco dept. Congratulations, guys !

The different elements were initially G clamped together, until everything was properly wriggled into its place and the positions confirmed.

Soon we reached the northen end of the canopy, as truss 'A' is lifted into its place on the end. Beyond this is the canopy overhang, which conncts with the bottom of the footbridge steps.

Besides verifying the positions of the trusses in terms of the 'I' beam running around the top of the building, Neal also checked to see what the platform side overhang was doing in relation to the edge of the slabs below. We see him here dropping a line down to make sure it was all OK.

Now looking back south, with the truss 'A' behind the camera, we can see the ridge purlins in place on trusses B and C, and once again Neal checking with a level that everything is in its place.

A few moments later, the ridge purlin between trusses A and B was also located. You can now begin to see the lovely row of arches on this traditional rivetted canopy; that's what it was all about. There is going to be  a row of glazing with traditional coloured glass all the way along here.

Looking north again in a brilliant spring evening sun, you can see the arches striding along the ridge of the canopy.

Here we can see Neal with the mag drill following on with the gusset plates, which hold the ridge purlins on to the trusses. There'll be a lot more of this taking place tomorrow.

As the sun started to go down, the final truss 'F' was lifted into place at the southern end of the new canopy. You can see a lovely bit of corbelling brickwork on the corner.

Because of all the scaffolding in place around the top of the building, it's a bit difficult to give a good view from the ground of what is going on up above. Here is a shot from the site of the old viewing platform, which has just been taken down. You can make out the southern end truss, sort of.

This shot is from the signal box steps. Still not great photography, but you can see the last ridge purlin being lifted into place at the southern end. The whole of the canopy assembly is visible here. Still to come, as mentioned earlier, are the purlins and fascia boards, which hold the ends together.

Back on top, we can see a close up of the last ridge purlin, which has just been lifted in.

There's a whole row of steelwork up here now, and more to come next week.

A last look at the final ridge purlin going in.

Those arches are just amazing, and it's almost all been made in house, by our very own people.

The fascia boards will go on to the ends visible in the foreground here.

You can see all this during our open evening on Friday, and we'd love to see you and show you what we can. Do come.

Soil nailing progress.

Good, steady progress continues to be made here. The machine is steadily working its way along the embankment, and as of this morning, was a bit over half way along. There are no major issues as far as we know, which is a relief.

Here we see the machine with completed nails sunk on the left, and new nails laid out on the right. The sites of the nails to be sunk are marked out in red. The bottom row has already been done.

In this area at the beginning of the site the nails have had their caps put on, and the fence like matting has been laid out over it. This is what it should look like at the end.

This panoramic shot gives you the impression that the machine has almost finished, but that's a trick of the (camera) eye. Where it's standing is a bit over half way, but still good progress.
A bundle of 'nails' (actually hollow tubes) can be seen in the foreground; also the pump for pumping up the cement slurry is visible, together with its compressor.

The road along the bottom has dried out again, thank goodness.


  1. A true testament to the dedication of all involved. I'm grateful to you all for having re created such a great piece of railway history

  2. Now I know why the camera is not working, you wanted to surprise us all, and what a wonderful surprise.
    I look forward to seeing it all on Friday

  3. WOW. Wonderful! Marvellous! Fantastic! the words do not do justice to the magnificent achievement of putting up the canopy steelwork. What a surprise! I am lost for words. (My better half would say, Good). I just had to re look at the pictures again and again to let it all sink in! Great work and wonderful co-ordination from the crane driver. - Inch perfect. Well done the loco dept. too. Have a good celebration now fellas. You ALL deserve it! Regards, Paul.

  4. Totally magnificent and that goes for the structure and the teams involved in its re-creation. 'Bloody Marvellous' comes to mind but that probably isn't very politically correct.

  5. Gulp! Wow, that was unexpected. Very well done to all - those thousands of rivets have paid off! Glad it all fitted together - some precision fabrication there. What about the overhang at the northern end - does that require some columns to support it?

    1. The overhgang at the northern end should rest on a pair of square columns that it shares with the bottom of the footbridge steps - see it still in place at Hall Green.

  6. Outstanding! I can only echo the previous comments regarding the efforts of some very skilled and determined people to do justice to a soon to be reopened Broadway Station. Given the recent atrocity in Manchester, your blog update today provides some comfort and faith in what people can do. I know it's no comparison but your blog has cheered me up no end. I will be visiting on Friday for the open evening and for the Gala the next day but this development will really "put the roof on it" so to speak! Toddington Ted.

  7. Fantastic work. Look forward to seeing it without the scaffolding in the way.
    Well done all.

  8. Congratulations on your 'scoop' Jo. Your blogs are so informative and great to read. Quality journalism like yours really is appreciated.

  9. What a great surprise! I could not believe the pictures! What an amazing job done by all! Jo, another scoop for you! This makes all the comments of Broadway not being ready for 2018 total wish wash. Are you all having a good lemonade on Friday night? You all deserve it after this effort. A great move forward for Broadway and the GWSR. Well done to all.
    Paul & Marion.

    1. Steady on, there's still a great deal to do yet and quite a bit of it is weather-dependent. Additionally, Broadway station interior will need fitting out etc but, I'll admit, that life will be much easier once the roof is on. Then there's Platform 2 waiting room to complete of course but that will happen after the Station is open for business. Toddington Ted.

  10. What a lovely surprise!.I,certainly,was'nt expecting that,for a few weeks,yet!.The way,that it's all fitting together,1st time,is a tribute,to he loco guys,who assembled,and riveted it,all together!.It'll look really great,when the roofing sheets,have been put on!. Well done!. Anthony.

  11. Fantastic! Well worth the effort

  12. Best news I've had for a long time, it was a lovely surprise, but why wasn't it reported by the rebuild blog? I am very grateful of your frequent updates, which seem to be more frequent than of any other of the blogs on the railway, keep up the marvelous work you all do, we must be the envy of all the other heritage railways, it will be a station in a million when completed.

    1. Remember there were only 4 of us doing this.

  13. What an amazing sight! And so unexpected, too- that it all went together so well is testament to the craftsmanship involved.
    These photos remind me of the images by Sydney Newton as he recorded the Great Central being built. You must all feel v. proud, and as Toddington Ted says above, following on from the terrible things in Manchester, this is a quiet reminder of what a small and dedicated team working together can achieve. We can do great things still, in this country, and you guys are testament to that.
    Mark T

  14. It's interesting to compare these photos with the ones of the station demolition to see the same pattern steelwork being reinstated.

  15. High Wycombe is a GWR station. This photo shows what Broadway will look like at platform level. The roof structure is the same, although the trusses do pass through the pediment. Will that happen at Broadway?


    1. Thank you for the photo, puts it in to perspective, professional work at its best by the team.

    2. No, the trusses will pass over the top. Otherwise it's indeed similar. See the canopy at Toddington for what it will look like.

    3. I've read somewhere that the corbelling will consist of 4 rows of bricks which judging by the completed corners is about in line with the top of the steel framework and the base of the trusses. This looks like the same arrangement as at Toddington shown in one of Jo's earlier posts:


      The post mentions that there will be a total of 7 trusses constructed. Presumably the seventh will rest on the two square columns supporting the canopy overhang at the footbridge end (as mentioned in Jo's reply above)

  16. Yes many congratulations on achieving this important step so soon. You have achieved wonders. Make sure you have a good celebration before pressing on with the job.

  17. For the hooks and chain on the spreader bar can you colour code them so that you know which way round they go. Blue side of hook to blue side of header bar etc. In the time saved you might just be able to put in another 4 sleepers making Broadway that little bit closer. Adrian. Turin