Saturday 15 July 2017

Hello Broadway!

A big day today - we changed from laying track north, to laying track south, but still towards Broadway.
Today the whole gang started laying track at Broadway north, starting at the buffer stop Steve had brought up on Wednesday.

Between then and now, a supply of sleepers from the supply train at Childswickham was also ferried in. This is good, now all we have to do is lay them, no waiting.

The buffer stop brought up on Wednesday is at the back, on what will be the headshunt from the main running line.

Looking from Springfield Lane bridge, the supply of sleepers brought up is vast - there were over 200 of them, from a train loaded with 320.
The main line headshunt will be on the left, the siding on the right.

The first job was to position an extra chaired sleeper under the buffer stop, and then 'tweak' it with the JCB so that it is in the right place.

And then we started laying!  The first set of 4 concrete sleepers goes down.

These are second choice, fitted with non-standard Pan 9 chairs, which hang somewhat awkwardly in our jig. Perfect for the job here though.

The speed with which we got these down was amazing, all helped by the prior placing of the sleepers in the correct spaces. All we had to do was lift them in, and move on to the next pile. Brilliant!

Behind us, Alan was busy with the Telehandler and bringing up the rest of the sleepers still on the wagons at Childswickham. As we reduced the piles at one end, they grew again at the other.
Notice the fine signals placed recently, especially the one on the left, which has a route indicator on it. That was interesting...

A number of spectators ventured on to the bridge off Springfield Lane, and took pictures of our work. We used to be out in the middle of nowhere, but now that privacy is over.

Here's a closer shot of the sleeper type we are using. A number still had their Pandrol clips left in them, which now of course were rusted in. Dave has a good go at them with the keying hammer.

Laying the sleepers with the JCB today was a little confusing, as we had turned round and were now working the opposite way. Calls to swing the load towards 'Broadway' or 'Toddington' now had the opposite effect, which confused our poor JCB operator Steve, until we had the idea of calling out the pubs towards which he should swing. He knew where those were, instinctively. From now on, the instructions from the slinger are: New Inn (north, please), and Pheasant (south please), but 'Malvern' and 'Cotswolds' remain unchanged. They haven't moved.

Lunch time saw us with quite a considerable run of sleepers already down. Beware of the wide angle lens though, they don't stretch as far as they look. We put down 212 sleepers, a pretty good effort for just a morning's work, including going to Toddington first to load up the tools.

Lunch was in the open. It was dull weather, but pleasantly warm. Luckily we had now reached the stacks that were only two rows of sleepers high, so that they made perfect seats for us all. We were 12 good men and true today.

Here's an overview of the site, taken from the top of the signal post. This will mark the location of the first turnout, and you can see that we are approaching it fast.

After lunch - rails ! We stopped laying sleepers, and started to lay in some of the rail that was formerly at Laverton. This is the first rail to go in at Broadway north. There's now some rail at both extremities of the long Broadway station site, and soon the two ends will meet.

This is what sleepers laid 'in the raw' look like - all uneven, wriggling from left to right. You can't lay rail on this, so the next job was to line them all up. Nigel's experienced eye guides the 4 guys with bars to shift each sleeper Malvern side, or Cotswolds 'a touch'.

Look behind you ! This is what the alignment looks like after we had barred the sleepers - much better. It allows the rail laying gang to get on with their job.

Coming to the end of the day, it was time to go back up on the bridge and take a second shot. The buffer stop's in, 212 sleepers and 8 pairs of rails on top of them. At the end of the day we were about half way along the cutting towards the Broadway station platforms.
A second track is still due to be laid on the right.

Zooming in a bit, you can see where we stopped for the day.

There's a lot of clipping up to do on this stretch now, work for the Wednesday gang 'clippies'.

The last rail of the day goes in, No. 16. It gives us 8 panels laid, or 145 metres of new track.

As the rail we are now using is second hand, having been at Laverton Loop before, it is already drilled, so all we have to do is fishplate it up.

One of the last photographs of the day shows the track we laid, with rails on. It still needs a bit of 'tweaking' (by Steve with the back acter) but this is best done when everything is fully clipped up, so that it all moves along when Steve gives it a little push. But he couldn't resist already having a little go today - the picture shows it already better than it was 5 mins earlier.

On the way back to our parked cars, we passed the signal with route indicator and paused to admire it. It all works with levers and wires, and as the signal arm moves to clear, one of two boards is lifted out of a box to reveal itself. We wondered what they said?

End of the day - Childswickham. The sleeper train is now empty, and can now be shunted out of the way so that here too the last panels can be fully clipped up.


  1. Exciting day.... track returns north of Broadway station!

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  3. Fantastic progress, well done to all.

    I will be interested to see how you will lift the sleepers in for the siding. This is when a road-rail machine would come in useful to be able to work from the head shunt and drop the siding sleepers in place.

    1. Road-railer, we wish....
      We will lay the rails down one side first (if I have this down right), then some sleepers, part lift in the rails, the rest of the panel in sleepers, then lift the rail in completely, panel by panel, working backwards towards the station.
      You'll have to wait and see...

  4. Outstanding progress. Thanks for all the photos which give a great indication of all the effort made at Broadway today (and all the logistics which make it happen!).

  5. Excellent progress. It is SO good to see rails down in Broadway station limits. Great photographs, as usual. I think that the theatre indicator boxes SHOULD say 'MAIN' and 'X', denoting the main single line and X for wrong line movement; but I'm only guessing and will have to wait and see like the rest of us. Regards, Paul.

  6. Exciting developments. Broadway on the railway map - again!

  7. Hi,Jo!.Lovely,to see track going in,north of the station!.I'd say,for lifting in,the rails,for the siding,you'll need several pairs,of rail tongs!.Incedently,in my days,on the railway,we called a buffer stop,a stop block!.Great blog,and pics,as usual!. Regards! Anthony.

    1. Yeah. We called it a stop block as well in the Midlands. Regards, Paul.

  8. Martin Lockwood16 July 2017 at 20:37

    Jenny and I took a look at the station site from Springfield Lane bridge today (Sunday). It is wonderful to see the track back on the formation again. Quite a few of the locals were there too, and lots of positive comments. It is surely a fantastic tourist resource that you are restoring here. On the way back to the car we took a look around the nearby campsite. We felt justified since we are both keen campers. It is a really impressive campsite, and they have done a very good job of incorporating the old goods shed into the site. Thre is a real railway theme to the site, and I imagine there will be many opportunities for mutually beneficial interchanges. I may be a dreamer, but might there one day be a chance of constructing a small halt, so that campers can step aboard the trains directly? The new halt at Hailes certainly seems to set the standard. Our congratulations to all of you for your tremendous work.

    1. Thank you for your positive comments.
      We have always been quite friendly with our neighbours the Caravan Club. Many of their visitors wander up the drive to see what's up. I suspect they would be interested in visiting our refreshment room at the station, once it is open, as, I'm told, there are no facilites at the CC. There's nothing better than sitting on the platform with a cup of tea, and watching the railway goings on.

  9. Honeybourne next! Inspiring progress.

  10. Willersey would be nice, as a starter. Nice village, duck pond, 2 pubs...