Thursday 1 June 2017

Part 2 of the canopy goes on

Today we erected the second half of the steelwork on the heritage Broadway station canopy. It all went up very easily, fitted perfectly, no issues to report. Piece of cake, this heritage stuff. Turns out is was cheaper than the contested first design too.

Prior to the big erection day, the team had been down to position the purlins, fascia boards and intermediate rafters around the station building.

Here you can see a row of them placed along platform two, ready for the Vic Haines lorry to lift them in.

There was just a small team of 4 on site, but everything went very well indeed.

We started on the forecourt side. You can see one of the purlins going up here.

It was accepted at the top, and with a bit of to-ing and fro-ing it was supended between two trusses.

The crane lorry driver is on the right, and he controls the lift from a box around his waist.

The second item to go up was an intermediate rafter, a short piece that connects the ridge purlin to either the ringbeam (here) or the fascia board (platform side).

It is wriggled through the purlin in the middle.

With all the purlins correctly located on the forecourt side, the lorry reversed - with some difficulty, half of the trackbed being blocked - into the platform 2 road between the platforms, and lifted in one of the platform side purlins.

This was followed by another of the intermediate rafters, which was steered through the gaps between the scaffolding poles.

The intermediate rafter was pushed into contact with the ridge through a gap in the purlin. This was quite tricky, but it did fit in the end. The bottom end of it connects to the platform side fascia board, once that has been lifted in.

Last of all, a fascia board is lifted in. These are quite heavy.

There is no natural place for them to hang, so they are supported on jacks and secured with G clamps for the time being.

With the fascia board supported and clamped, a mag drill is used to bore a bolt hole through three layers of steel.

The fascia board is then bolted on at each end, and later on we will change these temporary bolts for proper rivets.

Here's a view of the forecourt side of the canopy, with everything now bolted on. There are no fascia boards on this side. You can start to see how much of the canopy structure is up here now.

On the original building, all this steelwork rested on sandstone blocks on top of several rows of brickwork. In our construction, necessary due to the requirement for insulation, the walls are hollow so the canopy rests on an invisible internal frame. The forecourt side of the frame can be seen here above the blue plastic sheet.

When the purlins go in, they are placed on angled brackets half way up the trusses. There's one already in place on the right, and we're pleased to say they all met at the right place.

Note how the top half of the purlin goes over the truss, and the bottom half under it.

Platform side, the top half above the purlin is glazed, while the bottom half is corrugated iron sheets. Forecourt side, everything is corrugated iron sheets.

Another purlin and another fascia board go in at the northern end:

The fascia boads were made up in 3.5m lengths, then joined together in 7m pairs, and these were then lifted up into place. Here you can see one about to  be married to another, again with bolts to start with, to be replaced by more solid rivets in the next stage. This is the last one on the northern end, the assembly job having started in the middle to avoid distortions.

This is a view along the line of ridge purlins, with everything that is in sight fully assembled. Big, isn't it!

Near the end of the afternoon, the last purlin is walked to its final postion, at the Signal Box corner.

And the last fascia board is secured to the ends of the trusses and intermediate rafters.

It is amazing that everything fit without trouble, and is nice and straight. On the first assembly day we skimmed 1/8th inch off one of the ridges; today we cut nothing off at all, it all just went into place without grumbling.

Today we had the Vic Haines lorry to do the lifting; in 1904 and with the track already in place between the platforms, a rail mounted steam crane would have been used. In 1904, the whole structure would have been test assembled in the E. Finch yard at Chepstow, so that no holes would need drilling on site, just riveting up.

Here is the full length of all the fascia boards together. Outside will be dagger boards and a gutter, inside you will see the steel and two  original works plates.

Our hearty congratulations go to the gang in the loco department who went for the heritage option, designed it, manufactured it, and finally erected it. Well done, lads!

We also thank our shareholders who helped pay for it, but look what quality you got for your money!

With all the assembly work done, a fair number of holes still remain to be drilled ( a bit under 500 in fact, but many have already been done) so here are some pictures of the finished product:

A view through the canopy, from the southern end
The completed canopy, from the signal box steps.  It's still a bit difficult to make out though, with all the scaffolding in place. Wait until the sheeting is on, and the scaffolding removed, then it will look even better. It should all be done by September.

A view from under the tree on platform 2
A few steps further back, a shot through the footbridge centre span. If only we could see it from above....
Mysteriously, a ladder appears and then this 'aerial' view is possible.
A last view, from above again. Everything is now in place, or at least everything major. Some corner brackets still have to be made, and the canopy overhang at the front here, which should rest on the bottom of the footbridge steps. This allows passengers to cross the line, walk down the steps and out from the platform, all under cover. Toddington didn't have this, but a good example can still be seen at Hall Green.
Impressed? It was worth going the extra mile for a heritage job of which we can feel proud for many years.

Finally, a quickie looking north, just to show you the freshly ballasted northern section of the track, where there will be double track to see, incorporating two turnouts and two buffer stops at the end. Three signal posts are in place now.


  1. Simply in awe. GWSR has been very lucky to have such clever and committed people. I put my own oar in about the original overturned decision, was pleased to see the loco artisans come to the rescue, but to see this result is a wonder.

  2. Philip Pankhurst1 June 2017 at 22:20

    Other railways have acheived minor miracles - the Pickering roof, Kidderminster station, the Bluebell extension for example, but this tops the lot in my view because of the minimal use of anyone else apart from the working members of the railway and the sheer quality and authenticity of their work. Brilliant !

  3. I echo all of the above and would like to add that it is all the more fantastic considering the limited space to 'swing a cat' as it were! I worked at Highley on the SVR (prior to the footbridge), and we put in some graft but it seems to count as nothing compared to the work that I view here! A hearty WELL DONE to all who have participated to make Broadway a reality thus far and beyond. Humbly, regards, Paul.

  4. Wow! This and Hayles Abbey halt are dreams come true for this shareholder and gwsr member since 1983.

  5. Wow! This and Hayles Abbey halt are dreams come true for this shareholder and gwsr member since 1983.

  6. It's very hard not to see some major awards being won by this, and not just railway preservation awards either. NOBODY builds this kind of stuff anymore, certainly not to this level of detail and I suspect the hard work is going to seriously pay off in the future once it's all up together. IMHO the railway should give some serious thought to starting fundraising for the P2 waiting room and bridge completion as soon as possible to capitalise on this. In the case of the P2 building it may even lower costs in some respects as I suspect it may end up cheaper to dig the foundations and pour the concrete now before the track goes in rather than wait and have to hire an expensive concrete pump later because they can't get access using regular lorries - won't matter too much if they can't get the bricks straight away as they can be more easily brought in by train.

    1. I couldn't agree more! Once this building is finished it will look as if it was built in 1904, just like the signal box looks already as if it has always been there (which in my view is a much better structure than the original Broadway wooden box!). This is serious heritage restoration/construction and I for one would certainly contribute to a Platform 2 waiting room and footbridge. An outstanding job by skilled and dedicated people. I'm looking forward to seeing the roof panels going on!

  7. Great progress with the canopy and so many other related projects on the railway - as an example of project management it gives 'Crossrail' a good run for its money!

    One question - will the canopy overhang be constructed along with the current work or does it have to be built as an integrated part of the footbridge steps?

    1. The canopy overhang should rest on the two columns at the bottom of the footdsteps - you can see this at Hall Green station, where it has stood since 1908.
      This needs the footbridge tower to be positioned in line with the building.

    2. So to the extent the photo looking along the ridge purlin seems to show otherwise, the footbridge is in the wrong location?

  8. OMG! WOW! FANTASTIC! I have said this before and others are also saying it, this has to have some sort of award for workmanship and authenticity.
    This just gets better and better on this heritage line! Now that I have had to give up aviation, I decided to look at my second love of engineering and model railways, so I have been to several heritage lines for ideas, the GWR here impressed me the most, also because our dear old little dog, Dodger, was made most welcome, not the case with a lot of the other lines! So we became shareholders as we thought that this line needed more support, are we glad we did! Although Dodger passed on last year (age 17) we have returned several times, with friends who have dogs, and they too comment on the high standards of workmanship and commitment of the volunteers (and that well behaved dogs are welcomed!)
    What a great team the GWR has, is there nothing that they can't do? They also do a better job than Network Rail from what I have seen, and cheaper! Can't wait for my next visit in two weeks time, I will bring the doughnuts for you all and make the tea for a day!!
    Again great work by everyone.
    Paul & Marion

  9. Amazing,congratulations everyone you all deserve a pat on the back from us all.

  10. Magnificent - takes my breath away.

  11. An Excellent Job!.That steelwork really is the biz!.Broadway,will really be a station,to be proud of!.And to think,that the plc,wanted to build,a similar building,to the one,at Racecourse!.I'm glad,that good sense,prevailed!.Yes!.I,too,would be willing to donate,to the Platform 2,building!.Lets finish the job!. Regards, Anthony.

    1. Indeed. If it's worth doing it's worth doing properly.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. Please can we get this straight. The plc did NOT want to build a station as the racecourse. The overall effect of the canopy would have been the same as it is now constructed but the overhang would have been supported by beams cantilevered out from the steel frame. As now constructed it is a great credit to all concerned but do not think the previous design was simply cobbled together. Now just enjoy what we have!

    4. Well, the original planning application (W/13/01373 on Wychavon DC website) showed the platform wall of the station building extending upwards to the pitched roof. So it would NOT have been anything like what we now have. (See the "typical section" part of drawing BW010.)

  12. Absolutely fabulous. Can't wait to board a train there.

  13. What a beauty!

  14. In response to the comment of 18.55:
    Yes, the footbridge is in the wrong location, as evidenced by the canopy ridge photograph.

    1. Jo, I don't think that is the case - if you look at this photo of Hall Green canopy and the footsteps arrangement, it is in fact offset from the ridge line of the main station canopy. So Broadway is OK (and incidentally as shown in the original planning application W/13/01373 on the Wychavon DC website).
      Hall Green pic:

    2. The Cotswolds side of the steps needs to be exactly in line with the facade of the building, when seen from above. As built, the footbridge is about 2ft off centre.
      I am told the bridge is also higher than before, requiring more steps, and the gap between the end of the building and the bottom of the steps now also looks much shorter than the original.
      How we can correct this situation into an original, heritage appearance - if at all - remains to be seen.

    3. Edit: Malvern side of the steps needs to be in line.

    4. Thanks, Jo. I understand now. Bit of an engineering compromise may be needed here??

    5. You can see how the original used to line up here (just scroll to bottom of the page)

    6. Sorry missed a bit of the end, try this:

    7. Yes, that's it, the canopy overhang and the bottom of the steps shared a common pair of cast iron posts, as still visible at Hall Green.
      With the footbridge recently built 2ft more to the right, there is a big problem to continue the heritage reproduction of the GWR canopy.

    8. What was the reason for the bridge being too high? There aren't plans for overhead catenary equipment are there?

  15. Excellent work by all, and a big thanks to Jo for keeping us regularly updated on all aspects of the extension work - A lot of other organisations (not just railway could certainly learn a thing or two from the GWSR blogs.

    One question I do have, and I know this seems to be a little bit of an issue at the moment with some of the comments it seems - When it comes to the connection between the Canopy and the Footbridge steps, which piece have to come first? I.e, is getting the funding for the footbridge steps integral to completing that stretch of the Canopy? Or can that stretch be complete and the footbridge stairs 'slotted' in when the funds are available? Until then, Thanks for all your hard work and I hope you can have a well deserved beer tonight. Until the station opens, I'll have to marvel the engineering efforts from afar. I'll certainly echo the comments, Broadway will be a station to envy!


    1. It's not really a money issue.
      And it was a half bottle of rose, thank you :-)

  16. Congratulations to everyone who has contributed to this outstanding project and executed it to the highest standards. Larger organisations in the railway business can learn lessons from you.

  17. It fair takes my breath away! If there is beauty is naked steelwork, it is here. Heritage wins out every time: "if a thing's worth doing, it's worth doing well. Well done everyone - not least our colleagues in the loco dept.