Tuesday 7 November 2017

Two train loads

We had a dire weather forecast today, but heigh-ho. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. At least it wouldn't rain until 11 am, but then it would kick off....

Let's get something loaded, make hay while the sun shines (or while the clouds hold back).

In the rubble along the bund were some major pieces of broken concrete, probably from those demolished corrugated iron packing sheds. We collected these in one load and put them to one side.

These lumps came from the area to the left of the green site safe.

As you can see, the former bund on the left has now been removed, and Steve will shortly build a new fence along the shoulder on the far left.

Dark grey clouds are gathering on the horizon.

At 11 o' clock we got a phone call from Steve to say that he had just finished loading a ballast train, would we go down to Peasebrook and help empty it. We went down to Peasebrook. No train, just a biting wind from the left. We sat on the dumper, tipped forward to shelter us.

The train of 6 Dogfish duly came, and we wound open the wheels on each one to get ready to discharge the load.

The class 73 then pushed the train back up towards Broadway, with the Shark between loco and Dogfish positioned to plough the material out of the four foot.
The darker grey shows the progress being made.

The driver remarked that it was now uphill towards Broadway, and he had to give the old girl a bit more welly to overcome the resistance.

Looking back, a good pass here, with most of the sleepers ends covered, as they should be.
Another pass with the plough, and with a tyre attached in front to encourage more ballast to be swept over, and it should look even better.

We returned to Broadway to resume scraping the top of the embankment, in preparation for Terram to be laid down. Beyond the rail head you can see the new stretch of ballast just laid down, and this will be used tomorrow to extend the track. Good forecast too.

Here's the end of the Terram so far.

Adam's mini digger is crippled with a torn caterpillar track, so we see him here in Steve's JCB, scaping the sticky wet dirt into the dumper.

We dropped into the BAG 'cafe' for a quick lunch, passing the S&T gang trying to puzzle out their rodding cranks. No, the rodding cranks are not the chaps in the picture, it's the elbow shaped bits of kit that are bolted to the base plate by the slot under the box, which allows a change in direction for the rods running down to the northern two turnouts.

After lunch, another call from Steve: back to Peasebrook for a second train load of ballast, to be dropped on the last 1000m of CWR, up to the breather, or expansion joint. It's now definitely started to rain.

A slight worry was that the Shark would hit the breather installation, here just in front of the pile being pushed along. Steve was there to make sure it didn't catch. No worries, it just cleared with about half an inch to spare.

Here 's the second ballast train slowly grinding back south towards Toddington, with a tyre attached to the plough just behind the loco.
The sky is now so dark that you can't see the hills, which is bad news for those staying outside. But we came down in the JCB this time.

Back at Broadway, the first ceiling panels were being installed in the station, in the Gents toilet.
Outside the scaffolders took down the rest of the scaffolding, revealing the station on its own for the first time, partially hidden only by the Heras fencing. This is what it's going to look like, chaps. With a canopy overhang still to go on to the right. That should be a big dry circulation area under there.
The cafe was designed to occupy the space behind the 4 windows on the far left. The 4 small windows in the foreground all concern the toilets.

No developments on our Broadway cafe, other than that the subject will be discussed at the next board meeting (see boardroom blog update).
If you are a stakeholder you can always use the GWSR plc website to share how this affects you.

Foundry visit

The foundry that casts our replica GWR lamp posts, ball topped gate posts and finials offered us a tour of their installations, which two heritage minded volunteers gratefully accepted.

This is the 'cooking pot' in which raw scrap metal is melted by the 'cook' (as we are tempted to call him) standing by on the right.

We were saddened to see among the scrap items a number of cast iron railway chairs - lets hope they were LMS !

Could we deliver our scrap chairs directly to the foundry, and cut out the middle man?

Below the raised platform that holds the 'cooking pot' is a system of overhead mono rails that allow pots of molten metal to be transported around the foundry.

Here you can see the contents of the 'cooking pot' being emptied into a transporter crucible, while the 'cook' looks on top right, controlling the pour.

When the crucible is full the melting pot is returned to its level position, and two workers get ready to roll it to the next stage, suspended form the monorail at the top of the picture.

The molten metal is then disbursed into a secondary crucible (the purpose of which was not immediately clear, keep up at the back there).

Everything is still supended from the monorail, a whole system of overhead rails with its own little switches to change direction, and large handwheels (top left) to raise or lower the crucibles.

A little further along and the secondary crucible is used to disburse sufficient quantities of molten metal to smaller units that travel along the monorail to different casting activities about the site. Two are being filled here.

One area (of several) casting activities was here, where a worker was removing the tops of moulds recently filled with molten metal. Many different types of molten iron are available, depending on end user requirements. We saw parts for hydraulic pumps and sewage pumping stations being cast.

The moulds are made up by another team behind the camera, using wooden patterns from a stock of over 2000, and sticky foundry sand (most of which they manage to recycle).

And here's one they made earlier. Perfect reproductions of the finials that go on top of GWR running in boards. These are for Broadway, two more for a private customer who asked to us to make some for him.

And here's a GWR platform lamp post casting, one of 3 recently supplied.

One was a supplemental one for Broadway (it now stands in the middle of the hole that used to grant access to the trackbed from platform 1), one went to a GWR station and another was for someone's garden.

You can order some for your own railway project through this blog (breva2011 at hotmail.co.uk). This is a volunteer effort; profits go to the GWSR.


  1. Interesting blog. The picture of the Station building with the scaffolding removed looks great; and the section on the foundry brings back memories of my first job - steel testing, in the lab, but tours round the works were always good for a few hours to be lost to the system! Regards, Paul.

  2. The exposed building looks as though it was never demolished, the building team should be proud of their recreation of an Edwardian GWR station.
    Richard George (newish shareholder)

  3. Delighted to see excellent progress being made. Great teamwork. On that other dreaded subject I have commented on the Board's further non-utterance to the effect that the plastering of the café and kitchen should be stopped until the decision is reversed. A plea of "fait accompli" will not be acceptable.

  4. Photos look great. Foundry very interesting.



    That café again!
    To the many shareholders that have contacted me. I have been talking to Wychhaven D.C.

    Wychavon District Council Planning Authority confirm that the plans have the appropriate station rooms designated for use as a Waiting Room/Café and Kitchen. If a shop and store are installed this in breach of planning and an enforcement officer will visit. If a change of use application and fee is received any objections can be lodged and will be dealt with accordingly.

    The meeting was to suggest a temporary shop in the form of a traditional large GWR hut with curved corrugated roof be installed on platform one, where there is space just north of the footbridge. A permanent shop could be built into an unallocated room in the building on platform two. It is vital that services for the café and kitchen are installed now as later retro-fitting would be very expensive.

    I have tried to speak to Richard Johnson direct but was unable to obtain his telephone number from his office although I made mine available to him. I was prepared to travel up from South Wales to meet him. I’m still trying.

  6. Hello Jo, another great report on our new "Lady". It does look so much better without the scaffolding! The foundry visit is an eye opener, did not think that we still did such hard graft in this country anymore! (apart from the volunteers on the GWsR!) We can't wait for the opening next year, it will be very emotional for some we think! BTW, who gets invited to the opening on the 18th?
    Paul & Marion.

  7. More magnificent work on the extension. I am glad the cafe controversy has not diminished your efforts Jo. On that subject I asked the question on the board blog yesterday as to whether a change of use application had been made to the council. Well it looks from Mr Rose's posting above this has not happened. This to me, makes the matter worse. The GWSR cannot be seen to be sticking 2 fingers up to legal procedures. Over to the board next week

  8. To be fair to the board, if you look at the "Design and Access" statement accompanying the planning application, of the main building it says "The building is being designed to include... toilets and waiting room/shop with a small kitchen/snack bar". However, the drawings do show the word "Cafe" and "Servery" - probably drawn by a different person to the one that did the Design statement.

    Having said that, my preference if definitely for a cafe! Like many others, not interested in buying souvenirs, but filling my face, YES!

  9. Yesterday,I,emailed the Chairman,to let him know,my views,on the subject of the café!.The building,certainly looks great,minus the scaffolding!.(I,looked at the security camera,before I,read your blog,and noticed,that the scaffolding,had gone,from the side!). Anthony.

  10. There is a new item on the Boardroom blog saying that there will be a cafe at Broadway, link here: http://gwrboardroom.blogspot.co.uk/

    I am sure that this is the correct decision and we can now get on with completing as much of the station and site as possible in the time remaining before the opening in March 2018. Terry