Wednesday 21 June 2017

The hottest day

The Wednesday gang suffered from a number of notable absences today, due to personal reasons. A slightly reduced, but no less willing gang under the leadership of Robert split into three today.

1. To clip up the last three panels on the extension (the hottest job)
2. To bolt down the shelter bench at Hayles (brought their own chairs, sat in the shade and watched the trains go by; it's a tough job, but someone's got to do it)
3. To stack more sleepers at Skew bridge.

The landie busied itself round all three sites, delivering bearers to Gotherington, a generator to Hayles and bags of pandrol clips to the rail head. A report from a  DMU driver and by those there today finds that the DMUs stop there quite a lot, 5 times out of 6 yesterday for example. One enthusiast frolicked around the halt all day long.

We kicked the day off by going up to the rail head via Little Buckland.

We found the sleeper wagons loaded on Monday parked by our current unloading area (which is now almost a mile from the rail head near the Childswickham bridge)

Bearers neatly stacked by the lineside from Saturday's sleeper laying were found, and loaded into the back of the Landie.

Now to go and find the others at Skew bridge.

A gang of 5 remained in the full sun on top of the embankment to clip up the last three panels laid.

We then drove the loaded Landie back down the trackbed and - whoa, what's this? The incredible heat we've been having these last 5 days has pushed the rails out of line here. Luckily it's not serious, this part of the track has not yet been stressed, ballasted or clipped up. Interesting but not surprising that the buckle took place between two heavy groups of vehicles on the loosely laid track - it had nowhere to go.

After arrival at Gotherington we offloaded the bearers, finding that the gang of 4 there had already made a good start. How did we notice this?

Another of the piles of sleepers has gone! Just the one sleeper left there on the edge of the jungle. Quite a few rejects hidden in the back of this pile too.
The next pile is quite small, then there's another big one, and we think a smaller one behind it, but completely overgrown. We'll have to see what is useable when it eventually comes out.

Now on to Winchcombe to get the genny for the guys at Hayles. Seeing all the doors to the C&W woodwork shop open, we stopped by to thank the team there for the very professional job they did on repairing the GWR stationmaster's table for Broadway. It really looks smashing.

Imagine our pleasure in finding that they had also made a start on the GWR wooden platform bench. This was from another GWR steam railway, where it was felt to be too badly damaged to repair. Not for our guys - just look at the magnificient job they are doing on it. These all-wood platform benches (designed to stand under the canopy, you can see one in the 1904 trackside picture of Broadway) are pretty scarce, so we are lucky to find one. Eddy and Colin have made a smashing job of this too, just the planks left to go on it, it would seem.

After dropping the genny off at Hayles, we carried on to Little Buckland, with 200 Pandrols on board for the clipping up gang.

We found the B&S gang by the sleeper wagons, busy building some sort of a framework next to the track. We can't tell you what for, it's a surprise, so you'll have to wait and see.

By now it was getting quite hot - the temperature was 32 degrees C at the end of the afternoon. Here's a view of the buckle in the unstressed track, in between the sleeper wagons and the 6 Dogfish. that will be sorted out when the train moves along, and the track is cut to size and stressed.

At the rail head, we found the clipping up team grateful that we had brought them another 200 clips to do (No, not really, they didn't really thank us for this gift)

Clipping up is slow and tedious. Just look at the seemingly endless expanse of clips behind them. And there's plenty more where they came from.

Our arrival was the trigger for a lunch break, taken in the shade of the trees by the goods shed.

We are now so close to Broadway that we can nip down to the garage shop and buy 5 ice lollies. They were the last ones too ! Hope they get more for tomorrow, we are back on riveting the canopy again, and that gang likes ice lollies too.

The Landie crew joined in with the clippers and had one last push to get the job done today.  The newly laid track is now fully clipped up right up to the penultimate panel - that last one has two rails in the 4 foot and is best done when they have been laid.

Close that gap with sleepers on Saturday? At least it will be cooler then.


  1. Arguably the hot summer of 1976 caused the derailment at Winchcombe. As we approach Broadway we had the hottest June day since that fateful year for the railway.....symmetry?

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  3. Well done to the clipping up gang in this heat. Not gone unnoticed that there are no pics of the Hayles contingent watching the trains go by! The platform bench looks very good. All hands to the pump? Well done there! I suppose its not too unexpected that you got a track buckle, with the heat the highest that I can remember for many years. As you say, It's as well that it is not on the running line, and can be corrected. Regards, Paul.

  4. Well done for hard work today.

    RE: “…the buckle in the unstressed track, in between the sleeper wagons and the 6 Dogfish. that will be sorted out when the train moves along, and the track is cut to size and stressed.”

    Will those rails be straightened, by the careful ‘nudging’ of the sleepers back into line, by the long arm of the JCB?

    Or, will those rails have to be taken out of the track bed and then straightened individually?


  5. That carpentry on the wooden bench is outstanding. They have saved the legs and arms which are the areas that are probably the most distinctive. Great job!

    I wonder if the kinked rails will pull back in line when the temperature drops to normal??

  6. We'll see what we do with the kink later on, it's not a big thing. There's a good chance it will disppear as the temperature cools again, and if not, a nudge from the JCB will sort it.
    You don't have to straighten individual rails, they don't kink, they are very flexible, like macaroni.

  7. Cracking job, gentlemen. I've been following your, the BAG blog and the S&T blog for several years and eagerly look forward to reading about the progress. I also look forward to riding over it in the next year or so.

    Just so you don't feel hard done by, I was driving Erlestoke Manor today on a line a little north of yours. That was seriously hot...

    All the best,


  8. See the C&W blog we added the seat in the afternoon.

  9. Excellent work gents, I know how hot it was on Wednesday working as a Tree Surgeon - But the end goal is in sight and soon you'll be enjoying a beer on the first train to leave Broadway.

    Just a little thing which may or may not be of use to the railway, Raxstar down in Eastleigh are about to cut up a load of ex BR wagons, including a lot of 'Seacow' Ballast Hoppers and 'Sea Urchins', If any are of use or interest to the PW teams or if any other railways require them, they better get in touch fairly quickly.