Saturday 5 August 2017

Malvern side siding starts

A large gang attended the start of the Malvern side siding at Broadway north today.
Two days earlier a second buffer stop had been selected and brought up to the far end of the Broadway site by Stevie.

And here it is! Now we have two buffer stops at the very northern extremity of our line.

This second one is identical to the first (made of lightweight 75lb rail) but more moth eaten still.

Almost every sleeper needs replacing, and most of the base plates under it too.

At the moment it's just been dropped here, and still needs to move to its correct position.

Members of the PWay gang examine the new arrival. What needs doing first?

The first thing to do was to get a decent sleeper under the front. In this picture it has been slid under, but the rails turn out to be too close together, so we can't do up the chair screws.

Stevie hopped out of his cab and got right stuck in.

A combination of track jack and a piece of timber allowed the rail ends to be jacked apart sufficiently for the chair screws to go in all the way. Then everything was nice and tight.

The next job.... the stop block wasn't in quite the right place. It's a heavy old thing, so the JCB was summoned in to move it this way and that a few inches.

It had to go further back, and a little closer to the other track.

Leigh sorts out the true position by means of a tape measure and some yellow spray paint. His finger points to a mark on the ballast that signifies the position of the sleeper end. A bit further along then.

Behind him, three replacement sleepers have been slotted in, so the whole thing is already in better shape.

Then we want to start laying out the first sleepers on the Malvern side siding. Where are the spacer boards? At the other end of the site of course.... Jack and Ivor go and get them.

As we are filling this area with track, our usual method of the JCB on the other side of the trackbed to lift rail and sleepers in didn't work here. We tried out a couple of ideas - the first one was this, to bring in 12 sleepers by Telehandler, and lift 4 off at a time and reach them over. OK-ish, but a bit slow and cumbersome. We kept having to pick up the remaining pile again, to move it further back.

After this trial and error, we adopted the idea of a temporary stack at the platform end, from where 4 sleepers at a time could be taken down to the rail head, working backwards towards the station. While the JCB and / or Telehandler were gone, the gang could adjust the sleepers so that they were in line and parallel. After 18 sleepers were laid out the first rails were lifted in. We were using second hand 45ft lengths.

Here the first 45ft length is in its bed, and signals are being given to Steve to move it forwards a few inches, to make contact with the end of the buffer stop.

Four pairs of rails had already been dragged up the previous Saturday, so lifting them in was a relatively simple job.

This end is being steadied with bars, while the other end is lifted into its bed.

While one part of the gang then continued with the next batch of 18 sleepers, others followed on behind to bolt the rails together, and do the clipping up. Despite the use of a line today, the track wasn't quite as straight as we wanted it, after further inspection. Here a group of 4 try (successfully) to bar it across a bit, to get it straighter.

As the morning progessed, the sky started to get angrier and angrier. Thunderstorms were forecast, surely not really?
We were still in the dry, so carried on laying out sleepers, with another group of 4 being brought in by Alan on the Telehandler here. Men on bars stand by to straighten them out into their correct positions.

Just as we were sitting down to lunch, the dark thunder cell in the last picture gave way to a uniform dark grey. This could only mean one thing - rain! Miraculously though the rain seemed to pass us by, leaving only a few spots on us, and we soon took our waterproof gear off again. Mrs. B's chocolate cupcakes remained dry too. We munched in silence.

After lunch, a reflection back on the work done so far this morning. Four panels in already, and the buffer stop (half) sorted out. Doesn't this double track look good! Blue sky soon returned, and it quickly became almost too hot again (it's never right, is it?)

With us having to lift the rail in end-on, it wasn't quite possible to position the Camlock exactly in the middle. The fattest guys among us - yes, you! - were picked to provide some counter weight at this end, while the other end, now featherlight, was barred into place.

After a whole morning on this job, we got into a nice little routine, and we noticed that Steve was not only bringing down 4 sleepers, but, why not, also a pair of rails behind. No time to waste !

This being only a siding, the sleepers we used were of lesser quality. These were the ones we put to one side at Skew Bridge, but they still come in useful. In the picture above, the hoop as a broken top (the two pale circles) so the SHC clip can't be inserted. On the other side of the rail it still can, so it's still useable for the job of supporting a siding.

Once we had used up the 4 pairs of rails brought down in anticipation last Saturday, we began to drag down further supplies, sometimes with a load of sleepers in front (as above) and sometimes alone, as here. In total, we laid 126 sleepers today, which allowed us to lay in 7 pairs of rails. This gives us 100m in the 300m stretch between the platforms and the northern boundary.

Here's a ground level view of what we put in today. Isn't it brilliant! And just look at that sky, can it get any darker? About 5 minutes after this picture was taken the first lightning flashes started to appear, but we were lucky and the thunder cell passed us by, just. We stayed dry, although it suddenly got quite cold and windy, after the hot sweaty sun only moments earlier.

A final shot of our work from above, standing on Springfield Lane bridge. On the left is the headshunt for the main (platform 1) running line, while what we are laying now is a storage siding off the platform 2 loop, on the right.

More PWay work on Monday, ballasting and 'tweaking' the track at Peasebrook, in preparation for stressing the last of the 3 kilometres of CWR.

Friday - a day at Broadway

On Friday small team of 3 put in an extra day at Broadway to install lamp posts on platform 1 north. This was possible after the removal of the storage containers that had stood there for the last 4 years.

There are a total of 6 lamp posts to plant, as well as the posts for the platform 1 running in board. All the material for this (i.e. the replica posts) had been sourced earlier and pre-positioned; now came the time to put them up.

It takes a lot of preparation to plant these posts. The sockets for them were put in several months ago, with the exception of one, which was in the place of a non-heritage streetlamp still requiring replacement. It currently helps to hold up the little carpenters' shelter, but will be removed before then end of this month.

In this picture the precise depth of the post is being verified. The hexagonal base needs to be below ground, the round part of it showing above.

Once the depth is correct, the underground conduit is inserted into it and the draw string pulled through.

Then the post can be fixed in its socket with a weak mix of concrete to hold it steady.

This is one of the replica GWR platform lamp posts that we have commissioned, and which we sell to third parties to raise funds for the GWSR. If you are interested in any for your railway, drop us a line at breva2011 (at)

A final check with a level ensures that it is upright this way, and that. It's not as easy as it looks, as the posts are slightly conical, so you have to allow for that when taking the levels off the side.

At the end of the day we had planted three posts, visible in a row in this picture. Between the two more distant ones you can also see a taller running in board post, which we also put in. When this has set, we use a dummy board to establish the exact position of the second one.

Up on the canopy, some additional scaffolding has been erected around the two chimneys being built. This will allow the top courses of corbelling to be added, as well as a typical GWR stone slab which features as part of the decoration.

Another use of the heightened scaffolding around the chimneys is for an 'aerial' picture of the canopy construction works. This view will not be seen by many, and even then only for a short period of time, so enjoy this one.

Visible in this view from above is the extent of the woodwork now being fitted to the rivetted canopy steelwork. This supports the corrugated iron sheets which will finish off the roofing here.

Some of the initial supporting woodwork has had to be removed again, and fitted with more robust timbers, and ones which feature a chamfer of the right angle to correctly support the sloping sheets which will be laid on top.

This was the 'first draft' of the supporting timber a few days ago, with the sheeting resting only on the edge.

Members of the heritage canopy team discuss the routing of the cables and pipework, and how a fireproof ceiling might be installed.
In the background is the heightened scaffolding to complete the chimney stack.

Over the new front door (the original building did not have this, but for today's passenger volumes it is preferrable to route people through the building, rather than round it) a canopy is being installed.

The method of construction is in modern welded 'C' section steel. Fingers crossed that none of this will be visible from below when it is finished.

Finally, a last look from above, this time looking north:

On the right hand side there will be corrugated iron sheets, while on the left there will be glazing in the upper half, and corrugated iron sheets in the lower. The platform is below the scaffolding planks. The roofing sheets of the correct specifications should go on in a month or so.


  1. The Malvern side siding is looking good. Funny weather at the moment all over the Country! In St. Blazey we are usually first to get the rain coming in off the Atlantic. The station building comes on whilst you draw breath, well almost! Great work by everyone - Well done. Regards, Paul.

  2. Lamp posts now have first undercoat on

  3. The pace of work that is now happening at Broadway is incredible. Have we got sufficient materials to link up the running line and station to the North end works now that the sleeper pile at Gotherington is empty, I remember it being put there. I thought the pile at Winchcombe had been cleared on the run to Cheltenham. Also is there still more new rail to come ??
    Keep up the great work folks, only another seven months to go before you can get a good rest.

    Dave Scott ex Loco Dept.

    1. The sleeper site at Gotherington is not yet empty, but everything has been sorted and stacked. Some more still needs loading, then the site will be +/- empty.
      For the bit between Childswickham and Broadway north it's a mixture of what we have, and some more that has to be bought.
      We won't be getting a good rest anytime soon. After Broadway, we will be relaying a part of Toddington as part of the winter works.

  4. What is the current status of the track-bed between the station and Childswickham bridge following the embankment stabilising work? Is this now ready for relaying or is it still being monitored by the engineers?

  5. Not sure about that. As far as I know it hasn't been released yet. However, it is of no consequence to us, as we are now occupied at Broadway north, and will be for several weeks yet.

    1. Thanks for the reply - great to see some double track again on the northern track-bed! Presumably you will be able to lay as far as the southern turnout regardless of the release of the soil nailed embankment section.

  6. Im not sure of the exact dates for every bit, as not everything is within the PWay's control.
    Suffice to say we have enough on our plate with the two turnouts to lay in at Broadway north for the foreseeable future. We shall see which bit is freed up first after that.

  7. In the dust & the grit of the railroad tracks,
    The GWSR PWay team, stoked up on snacks,
    Mrs B’s ‘Chocolatey’ hand-made cupcakes,
    From a special recipe known only to ‘the few’.

    Buffer stop re-positioning by Steve’s JCB,
    Inches back and forth of nudged on the ballast bed.
    Buffer stop track jacking, lifting that rail,
    Three newer timber sleepers go in without fail.
    Then checked by tape measure, with spray paint sprayed.

    In the dust & the grit of the railroad tracks,
    The GWSR PWay team, stoked up on snacks,
    Mrs B’s ‘Chocolatey’ hand-made cupcakes,
    From a special recipe known only to ‘the few’.

    For the Broadway North Malvern side-siding,
    Four at a time, on the sleeper laying.
    Those ‘high tech’ spacer boards come to the aid.
    When 18 ‘odd job’ lesser quality concrete sleepers laid,
    Second hand 45 ft. rail lengths lifted on those sleepers all in line.

    In the dust & the grit of the railroad tracks,
    The GWSR PWay team, stoked up on snacks,
    Mrs B’s ‘Chocolatey’ hand-made cupcakes,
    From a special recipe known only to ‘the few’.

    Lifting the 45 ft. rail lengths in on the rail.
    Steve’s JCB can’t camlock in the middle of the rail,
    Requiring those with the ‘beef’ to ‘counter weight’.
    That’s where Mrs B’s special chocolate cup cake recipe is so special!
    Have you heard, the special recipe is only known to ‘the few’?

    In the dust & the grit of the railroad tracks,
    The GWSR PWay team, stoked up on snacks,
    Mrs B’s ‘Chocolatey’ hand-made cupcakes,
    From a special recipe known only to ‘the few’.

    Never on the ‘railway’ of GWSR PWay endeavours,
    Was so much owed by so many on the GWSR PWay team,
    To this special Mrs B chocolate cup cake recipe!
    Known only to ‘the few’.

    Again, well done to ALL those volunteering for the GWSR PWay Team.


  8. I used the railway today with my teenage sons... parked at Toddington, caught the 10am train hauled by the fantastic 35006 (which I cleaned and painted parts from as a 13 year old in early 1984).. at Cheltenham we made for Cleeve Hill for a strenuous 13 mile hike back to Toddington. Fantastic day was had, coming from Warwickshire we eagerly anticipate catching the train from Broadway next year as it will be nearer to home and we can alight at hayles or Gotherington for our hike.

    1. There must be several variations to this possible.
      Your blogger got off at Gotherington, and walked over the hill to Winchcombe for lunch. Great !
      Amazing that you got your teenagers to go for a walk. 'So unfair !'

    2. My lads love walking so that's not a problem... just got the mickey gently taken for being a railway enthusiast! But they loved the train ride really.

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. Things,are moving along nicely,at Broadway!.And to think,that in a little under 8,months,I'll be able to stand on the platform,at Broadway,and watch a train,arriving!.I,visited the Railway,yesterday!.Got some video,and still shots,of 35006.Great!. Regards1. Anthony.

  10. Just a thought about the Running-In board. Presumably there will be one at the other end of the platform for Up trains that are running in? The north end board was ok when Platform 1 was for Down Trains only but is now at the wrong end for arrivals from the south!

    1. We are putting the RIBs back where they were.

  11. And the six million dollar question (hopefully they won't cost that much!) When is the footbridge going to get it's steps?