Wednesday 1 November 2017

Interesting finds

Two days spent digging away at the bund on the embankment by the former signal box...
It's a slow job, but it's all got to go and the good news is that it reveals the site of a siding that might be of future use to us.

While two of us were digging away at the bund, Steve was working on his own in between the platforms, levelling the ballast to the correct height for laying, and taking away the excess to the space between the southern end and the bridge.

At the close of play yesterday he had (roughly) filled it all in, so that the ballast infill now stretches all the way up to the station road bridge. The area with the correct level so far is where the JCB is working in the distance. He's a bit over half way along there.

With that area filled in, Steve took an interest in the rail head at Childswickham.
Now that the fence has been relocated to the correct curve, we could, one supposes, recommence laying track here....

First a layer of Terram, and some ballast on it though.

Meanwhile, we continued removing that bund. It's amazing what came out of it. It's principally ash, with red and blue imperials, concrete pads, stone, and the stumps of trees that self seeded here over the years.

Some of what we found was potentially useful:

There were so many imperials in it, some of which were in near perfect condition, that we asked a couple of people in other departments if they weren't interested in collecting them. B&S were first with a positive reply.

They came with the blue Transit, and were soon picking up the several hundred bricks put aside yesterday and throughout today.

The little stacks and piles of imperials were scattered about the site, as the recoverer and stacker was also the dumper driver, and we didn't want to leave Adam in the digger with nothing to do.
The appeal for interest in the bricks was no false alarm, B&S left with a complete truck full, which means about a ton in weight. A single blue imperial can cost anything between 50p and £1 at a reclamation yard.

What else did we find in the demolition rubble?

Well, how about this: An axle box !

Extraordinary, what on earth was it doing there?

Here's a close up of the cover. Not very visible on the left (i.e. the top) are the letters 'RK' and at the bottom what we presume was the foundry: W.R. Ltd  . No evidence of a railway company, perhaps that points to a private owner wagon? Can anyone say any more about it?
Should it go for scrap, or does someone want it?

In the centre of this shot is a 'foot' of sorts with the inscription GWR on one end and GWR Signals Dept on the other. Who knows what it was for?
Does anyone want it (for a donation perhaps)?

Finally, the 'piece de la resistance', this row of spikes, on a bar with 6 screw holes in it. Now we do know what that was... it was part of a row of spikes fixed to the top of GWR toilet cubicle dividers, to stop people 'saving a penny' by climbing over the cubicle wall and making use of the facilities for free. Almost cartainly from Broadway station, but how it got to the other side of the bridge (while tracks were still down during the station demolition) is a mystery. You can actually see one in place at SVR Kidderminster station, an authentic rebuild.

Given the large lumps of concrete in it, the most likely source of the demolition rubble is the former goods shed extension on the southern end of the goods shed. Some of the concrete plates had angle iron attached to it, which would point to the nissen hut type building that stood there until some point after track lifting took place. (see end of report for historical pictures)

This is a channel rod for pointwork, 5m long. We left that for our S&T guys to discover, it may well be useful.

In the station area itself a migration took place at precisely 11 o'clock. Strange. What could the reason be?

Well, of course it was elevenses and today there was a special treat from Keith.

It was his birthday.

We asked him 'how many then' and he said '21'.

In case of any doubt, this referred to the number of slices. The cake was home made, and particularly tasty. You could tell.

Many happy returns, Keith !

After lunch, more dumps. That bund, once dug up, was quite voluminous and here you see the result (of maybe half of it) down in the 'car park' where it has been parked. Concrete lumps carefully separated in the middle.

This is where it all came from. It was a one track wide strip on the right, exactly on the site of one of the sidings in front of the goods shed. It's going to be quite a useful area; we could perhaps even get a siding back in?

A freight train then appeared at platform 2, towing a single ballast wagon. It didn't exactly thunder through the way the 1960s iron ore trains used to do here, but picked its way carefully between platform walls and catch pit rings in the middle.

Having rolled out a length of Terram, Steve started to ballast the area beyond the rail head.

There is a plot afoot to start a second track laying front here next Wednesday, while the other gang heads south between the platforms on Saturdays.

This points to a golden spike somewhere near the southern turnout!

Near the end of the day - the bund is still not fully cleared, but with a bit of luck tomorrow - we did a bit of site tidying up.
Adam managed to get all the concrete slab bits into the dumper with the mini digger (which needed great skill) but this huge tree stump from a self seeded willow defeated him, and Steve had to be called to use the split front bucket.

It felt a bit like 'open wide' and - 'whump' - the massive tree stump dropped into the dumper, shaking it from side to side.

Forward vision was impossible, we picked our way to the dumping site by peering round the side and driving very slowly.

This is where we are at the moment. The bund is removed up to the bottom RH corner, with another 20 yards to go up to the wall where the old wooden signal box once stood. Beyond the rolls of fencing wire the bund is recent. We put it there using spent ballast to enable the fence line to continue, but tomorrow it too will go and then all will be level. The fence will go on to the shoulder of the embankment. The gate and fence will need to go as well.

Here's looking the other way. The disturbed flat area on the left is where the bund once was.
The embankment is very wide here, you can see how it easily accommodated 4 tracks next to each other. It's huge really.
One could imagine a reinstated siding here, with perhaps a waiting DMU stabled in it to allow a loco hauled train to go by?

Another atmospheric shot. It's so easy at Broadway. The extension train sits on Childswickham Road bridge, with the rail wagons close behind. The Terram is rolled out and there are now 5 heaps of fresh ballast waiting to be levelled, ready for track laying in a week.

A bit of history.

George Bryant, former signalman at Moreton in Marsh, took these photographs of the goods shed during track lifting in the late 1970s. He was kind enough to share them with us.

Here is the goods shed, bare and open, with the windows thrown in. Note the corrugated iron (fruit packing?) shed attached to it. It is no longer there today. The down line is being lifted in the foreground.

The corrugated shed stands on a raised platform. It is probable that when the shed and platform were removed that the brick and concrete slab rubble was taken to the northern side of the goods shed, from where we are now removing it again.

This view across Station Road bridge shows that the area immediately south of it on the left (where the box and the siding were) is flat and grassed over. Consequently, the rubble can't be from the 1963 demolition of the station, as it clearly isn't there in the late 1970s.
The up line has already been lifted here.


  1. I notice Terram was not laid through the station but is being used on the line approaching from the South. Is there a reason for that?
    Andrew Harris

    1. The station and cutting had 'blanketing' applied to it in the late 1950s, so there is plenty of good ballast and drainage under there.

  2. Regards the axle box, the NRM has a similar item listed online at:

    Listed as "Axle-box Cover, Cast iron marked "WR Ltd RK 525 8X3""

    so seemingly of some interest?
    Do we not have an archiving department who'd appreciate artefacts found on our line? Might it have come from the runaway coal train in the 1930's at Broadway?

    1. It could well have been part of a wagon damaged back then. The GWSR does have an affiliated group (not too sure how formally affiliated it is so don't wish to muddy any waters) at Toddington called the Restoration and Archive Trust. They have a small artefacts museum at Toddington.

  3. Thanks for the update! Having visited site recently, I noted that there will need to be a lot of fill used on the drive to bring up the level before the asphalt is applied. Will that stuff from the bund be suitable, I wonder?

    1. I don't think so, it's too variable, and has a lot of vegetation in it too.

  4. Great progress and interesting finds! WR Ltd is almost certainly Wagon Repairs Ltd, the axlebox is clearly damaged and was probably left behind following repairs by a roving repair gang, possibly of a Private Owner wagon, however it is a large size bearing at 9" by 4 3/4" (length by diameter of journal), for instance most BR passenger vehicles were only 9" by 4 5/8" and bogie wagons were typically 10" by 5".
    Keep up the good work it is a magnificent achievement.

    Malcolm (in Canada)

  5. I'm not certain, but the square "foot" marked GWR signal may be the base of a TSR marker, with the marker post fitting in the hole, but dont take that as definite!

    1. The oblong plate in the centre of the 'finds' pic is part of a ground anchor for telegraph poles and sometimes signal post,s in weak ground.
      The tin hut may have been a "Provender" store for a local seedsman .
      John Barcy, Paignton

  6. A belated "Happy Birthday" to Keith, he is 22, 'cos last year he said he was 21! As for the work done on site there are great strides being made, is there enough spare rail and sleepers to put in the sidings at this time? I see the Southern Goods train is still lost on the line, some one needs to have a word with the driver, his lamp code is wrong on the front! Another great report and pictures of the site and the old pictures are wonderful. We are looking forward to next March, keep the updates coming, it is getting exciting to see the progress there.
    Paul & MArion

  7. Thanks for the updates which I await eagerly. It's wonderful to see the site coming together. Can't wait to see the first engineering train venture into Broadway's platforms (not literally, you understand). Regards, Paul.

    1. Hello Paul, have you looked at the Broadway station blog and the last posting?
      Paul of Paul & Marion

  8. Some very interesting finds indeed. Many thanks for the excellent photos and blog, as ever.

  9. There used to be a company called Wagon Repairs Ltd, who had a facility in Gloucester and at many other locations round the country. I believe they were owned by several of the major wagon producers, including Gloucester R. C & W

  10. Dare we to dream that the track from Toddington will reach the Broadway Station limits by Christmas? When's that last bit of CWR stressing due to take place again...?

    Shame there's no access from Platform 2, otherwise it would have been conceivable to have Santa trains stop on that side without impinging on the building works on the station - oh well.

  11. That bund,looks as if it,was pretty long!.Yes!.Perhaps a siding,could be put in,there,to stable the DMU,or even locomotives,during galas,as at Cheltenham,Racecourse!. Anthony.

  12. That raised shed from the 1970s was thus designed and built to deter rodents and other interested parties. Farms did something similar, using cone- shaped stones to keep the little terrors well away from edibles. In the farm case it would be grain whereas at Broadway it was fruit. Another useless fact worth digesting.

  13. Never mind a siding, the more sidings there are it's more likely that they'll be filled with "scrap" eyesore vehicles awaiting restoration - you see them on most heritage lines. Besides, if there's any track spare it would be nice for it to go into the extended loop that was originally planned. After all, the signal is there for it on the bracket!