Saturday 13 January 2018

Demolition starts

..... of Mrs. B's cherry flavoured sponge cake?
......Paul's doughtnut pile?
..... a stretch of main line for a new turnout?

The answer may be all of them (just to cover our options).

On arrival at Toddington today we were delighted to see the kit of 76077 laid out in the car park, no longer on the wagons on which they were stored up the north headshunt. A sign of things moving at last.

The jobs for the gang today were:

a. Start work on the winter job, i.e. the construction of two turnouts at Toddington south, and
b. Further work at Broadway on the list of outstandings to be ticked off there.

The Landie would bring round materials.

Off went the brave little Landie to Winchcombe, to find a supply of junction fishplates, some 'E' clips (smaller) for the barrow crossings and some blue (reverse) clips, where normal Pandrols don't fit, eg proximity to a fishplate.

In the foreground is a crossing for the first turnout at Toddington, which was later loaded on to a Warflat ready for transport there.

The Toddington gang requested that we bring a Permaquip trolley with us. We dug one out of the lineside grass, broke it into two halves, and got Alan to bring it to the Landie for loading.

That didn't go so well - Landie too small, or Permaquip trolley too big. One of the two, anyway.

Option B was selected, which was to load both halves on to Alan's forks, so that he could drive up the trackbed to the site at Toddy south. How lucky we are to be a former double track line.

We took a socket for the nut runner at Toddington, and on handing it over found that the team there had already stripped the rails from the area where the turnout from the mainline to the yard is to be situated.
The headshunt on the right will have the second half of the new crossover, but is a bit low so will need to be raised, for which the wagons parked up there need to be moved. They carry, we ascertained, a class 37 engine, and another from a class 47. Big stuff, apparently an engine capacity of 220 Litres, as big as your garden rainwater butt.

The sleepers from the plain line were then dug out by Steve, one by one. He later graded the area too, ready for the new timbers for the turnout.

Can you do that bit over there?

At Broadway, the gang was on the case already, ticking off the outstanding issues one by one. In the pictures they are drilling holes to screw down some base plates that were changed earlier. There was also more clipping up, finding the right clips that were not always available on the day the track was laid.

Another outstanding job was to finally bolt on the new check rails on the loop turnout north. To complete that job, we had to order a supply of these square spacers, and from the shavings there you can see that these base plates also had to be drilled and screwed down.

The two gangs met at Toddington for lunch, which gave the opportunity for a second look to see how far they had got at Toddington south, before returning to Broadway for the afternoon.
The plain line length had been completely stripped out, graded, and here Alan is getting a supply of timbers, which were being laid out to support the new turnout.

From above, you can get a good overview of the job in hand. The main line turnout will go in the gap just created, while the second turnout into the headshunt / yard access will go approximately where the trolley is parked on the right.

Here's how far they got just after lunch. This is the start of approximately 50 timbers, getting increasingly longer.

Lookijng north, you can see Alan in the Telehandler emerging from the storage area on the left, with the last of the plain timbers.

The longer ones were only recently delivered, and were still in the car park - they took rather longer to fetch, one by one.

Speaking of the Toddington car park, here is the other side of the frames of 76077. They are being prepared for transport to a shotblaster's, after which they will go to Loughborough for reassembly (of the frames)

Each of the component parts was labelled with its weight. Very neat. This pony truck weighs a ton and a half - did you know that? You can see how it pivots around a pinion at the end on the left, helping to steer the locomotive through the curves.

At Broadway the gang stopped to hear the rivetting (ah-hum) tale of how and where the canopy overhang will be constructed. It's Neal's brainchild. It will be supported by a further arched purlin, as visible in the building itself, top right. There will be a double row of glazing, and a sponsor has offered to pay for the big hexagon shaped lamp that lit the covered circulating area here.

It really was a very riveting tale. Take a seat, why don't you?

Pete sits outside the gents' toilet, which has just received heritage style floor and wall tiles.

We had a peep inside - isn't this great? Red clay tiles on the floor, and white, brick shaped tiles on the walls. There will be 3 cubicles on the right at the back, 3 wash basins with legs at the front on the left, and three urinals immediately on the right.

Then it was a diet of fishplates, one after another.

This one here's a temporary one. It's a complicated situation - a junction from worn flat bottomed rail on the left to new bullhead rail on the right, with different rates of wear, so the fishplates also have to achieve a lift from the worn one to the new one.

It's this junction plate that the Landie went to fetch from Winchcombe.

A junction place from old technology (bullhead) to new (flat bottomed) is quite common, but one from used modern FB to new old fashioned bullhead is never seen - rare as rocking horse droppings in fact, we were told.

The rare junction plate goes on.

The sad end of the story was though that the lift achieved by the fishplate was slightly too much, so it all had to come appart again, and the temporary plate was put back on.

Drat !

But the one on the other side was a perfect fit, so at least that's that job ticked off.

The afternoons are getting longer now, so there was still a remnant of sun in the sky as the gang loaded up the tools on to the trolley and took it to the far end of the station for the next job. The rays of the sun reflected off the tops of the rails, and you could see the curve through the station, with still a bit of a kink at the far side of the bridge on the down line. The ballast train has been removed, and may well come out again, reloaded, later next week.

The last job for today was by the southern barrow crossing, which was quickly finished off.

To close, a happy new year from the Extension Blog to all our readers. May your year be as exciting as ours will be !

Our new year's wishes are conveyed by this splendid shot by local photographer Brian Parsons, who caught the Cornishman thundering past the Broadway horse dock siding - then already lifted and the crossover taken out - on a snowy new year's day at the end of 1962. The winter of 1963 was in full session, but it did not stop the railway. We were tougher then. Snow or no snow, we're going to Penzance !


  1. Excellent! A lot going on at the moment! Will the loco be assembled at the Great Central Railway? Aaron.

  2. Looks a bit open at Toddington. Don't need any cold, winds there when you are working!
    A 50% success on the fishplates at Broadway is not a failure, very good in fact. Great pictures again. That last one originally taken in 1962 would make a good Christmas card front. The Gents toilet at Broadway is looking really good. After having worked at Stourbridge Junction, where the toilet was of similar construction, I can see that the tiling is absolutely correct - even if there is no fireplace as was the norm then! The last one that I actually saw lit was at Tyseley in the 1970's would you believe? Regards, Paul.

    1. Leamington Spa GWR station waiting rooms still had open fires into the early 80s as I recall, and the original railway art too!

    2. The construction team was only prepared to give the station 2 chimneys, whereas, before lengthening in replica form, it actually had 3.

    3. I remember doing my D of E in North Wales in 1975. Very early one morning a bunch of us descended off the mountains into Barmouth in order to get our train back to Machynlleth. There were still water cranes on the platforms then, I recall.
      The stationmaster came out of his office to see to us "You lads look frozen!" And handed us paper, kindling, and a bucket of coal "Go on and lay up the fire in the waiting room". It was all a very long way from the officialdom that I was used to. I remarked to the SM about the Great Western cap he was proudly wearing. He looks at me very matter of factly, and his reply was simply " T'sauls bin Gray Wessun yure, boy!"
      Far off days...

    4. In 1999, I was waiting for the sleeper from Truro, back to London, and the Station Supervisor unlocked the waiting room, and turned on the electric fire :)

    5. Yes, on Scout camp 1981 in Barmouth area (Fairbourne), we went to Barmouth station which had the Cambrian Signal Box and GWR semaphores still!

  3. That is definitely the Cornishman, but in terms of the date, surely was new years day 1962, as the train was diverted via Lickey by new year 1962-3?

    1. You are right, I could have explained that better.

  4. Noting the news in the Boardroom Blog about the car park, will PWay etc still be able to access the trackbed opposite the Goods Shed via the Car park?

    1. I should think it would be possible to write this into the agreement with Wychavon, if the access is considered vital. Might have give notice so no one parks across the gate, though!

  5. I suggest that the Gents toilets have a notice which states, "Please adjust your dress before leaving" a railway station sign I recall reading in the 1950's somewhere!

    1. Yes, I remember the sign, too. You could read this sign in the loo of just about every railway carriage in existence, as I recall !

    2. I am sure that I read in an earlier blog (re; signs that Broadway were looking for to either use or replicate, that the GW pattern 'Please adjust your dress before leaving' sign was one, or more of those being sought. Regards, Paul.

    3. We don't actually have an authentic replica - any help / suggestions?

    4. Not sure if it helps but the SDR have one in their Gents at Totnes (Riverside?).

    5. Would they allow us to take an imprint for a new casting?

    6. They have a replica(?) in the gents at Birmingham Moor Street so Tyesley may have an original which could be copied

    7. SVR have one in their Gents at Highley. Regards, Paul.

  6. I,too,remember the "Please adjust your dress,before leaving!",signs in the Gents,toilets,at Evesham,snd Honeybourne,stations,when I,was a lad,back in the 1950s.Could'nt you grind a bit,off the high side,of that fishplate,to level it,up?. Anthony.

  7. Is there any photo of one out there that might be of help

    1. Yes
      GW Railwayana Auctions November 2015
      Lot 289 ex Station Condition.
      Sold for £400

  8. There was certainly snow at Snow Hill on Christmas Day 1961 Jo. 6 days before your picture was taken. We used to work Christmas days then. My turn was on the 'Big Pilot' at Snow hill. Walk to Tyseley in the snow on Christmas morning at 4.30am. Prepare 'Hall' and go to Snow hill. We hardly moved a wheel and went back to the shed at 2 pm and the railway closed down. In truth we were only used if a Western class diesel that worked a lot of the London jobs had a steam heat boiler defect. It never fell my way to work as assisting loco. Apparently the big diesel would almost run the wheels off a Hall. Happy Days. Rod Liddiard -Italy

  9. I will soon have a couple of "Please adjust your dress before leaving" replica enamel signs, when I'm able I will pass them over for the railway to use

    1. Steve, these signs should be cast iron. I have found out that you can buy replicas on Ebay. As there is a lot of fakery there, one needs to be careful that it is a replica GWR one, as per the one sold at auction.

    2. Sorry, I don't know, but when it comes you can have them anyway, I have found another sold by a railway modelling firm

    3. Thank you, and I hope the scale is right :-)

    4. The comments from Jo Roesen raise an interesting point. He is of course quite right that there are "fake" signs available for sale, but I wonder how much it matters in this instance if an enamel sign is not, as it should be, cast iron ? After all, the lavatories, and other sanitaryware, and pipes, etc., when installed, will not be as they were in 1904. ( At least, I very much doubt it ! )

      Many items of railwayana are not genuine. This is reflected in the price. In the context of the modern plumbing, etc., which (presumably) will be installed, I have to ask : how seriously would a non authentic replica sign in the gents' loo affect the overall Edwardian milieu of the railway station ?

      Do other commenters remember the widespread opposition to the possible installation of PVC window frames in the signal box when it was building ? Now that, I would agree, would have been a massive mistake in a replica building. Happily, common sense prevailed, and wooden frames were installed.

      Therefore, isn't it au fond a matter of context and a matter of scale ? Just a thought ...

      Peter Wright

    5. Peter, these comments are typical of what is used to block attempts at getting the heritage look right.

      - The gate posts on the drive were taken out - why worry, the rest of the station is already no longer authentic
      - we don't 'need' this bit of kit
      - The public will never know the difference
      - No one else cares
      - No one looks up
      - Modern regulations don't allow it
      - There is no budget for it
      - Our Midland one has the same text, so why bother to get GWR?
      - I'm not paying for something the public won't notice

      Add all these up, and what do you get? A passing resemblance, something that looks right from a distance. That what we did in the past. We can do better now.

      We built this station from the ground up, so have a unique chance to get it right. Indeed our statutes require us to 'build and maintain a railway museum for the benefit of the public'. It is our duty to educate, and show people what it was like.

    6. Many thanks to Jo Roesen for his reply, especially as I honestly wasn't expecting such a detailed reply. I was just floating my thoughts to see what other commenters felt. My own feeling has always been : authenticity as far as is practicable.

      Jo didn't say how Edwardian he expects the gents to look. Perhaps he's being modest, but are we really talking about old fashioned lavatories, high flush cisterns, lead piping, et al ? I really don't think so !

      The main thing, obviously, is to get the railway back into Broadway, in a state which satisfies HMRI, Health & Safety, and whomever, so that passenger trains may run. And repairs to the road bridge (together with the weather forecast,) are going to delay this. Not for long, we hope.

      The establishment of a living railway museum at Broadway in order to show the public "what it was like" is very much my own ambition. That is why I am an enthusiast for the project. But, as Jo can tell us, Broadway is a part of the GWSR , a living steam railway, and just to maintain the engines, the rolling stock, and most of all, the railway line itself, is an on going, arduous task. Just look at the work involved in maintenance of trackwork, and in all weathers. Well, Jo doesn't need telling about that !

      I'm glad I'm not alone in my feeling that Broadway should be something special. I still wonder, however, where we draw the line in seeking historical authenticity.

      With many thanks to the brave volunteers of the GWSR.

      Peter Wright

  10. So much work going on but at least Mrs. B is providing some sustenance for the PW Gang!
    Paul & Marion

  11. Hi Jo,
    Many thanks for another very interesting and well illustrated blog. I have been an avid reader of the various blogs of the GWSR for several years now and take my hat off to all the volunteers who put so much effort in to create and run the railway. Several months ago, I offered the S & T department a number of items of signal box equipment and, finally, I have made an arrangement to visit Winchcombe later this month to deliver them. Although I haven't noticed any catch points on the railway, I wondered whether there were any, as I also have an original Great Western - or I think it is - 'Catch Points' sign behing my Welsh Dresser. I had envisaged putting it up on a wall when I bought it but, it's weight being what it is, this is never going to happen! In fact, when I collected it from the vendor in Bristol, it rolled against my fingers, nearly writing off my job as a professional musician instantly! Anyway, if the railway has any use for it, I should be happy to donate it. Just let me know. In the meantime, keep up the good work and the interesting Blogs.
    All the best,
    Barry D. Friend

    1. We do have one set of catch points (or are they trap points? I forget the difference) to protect the northern headshunt at Toddington. So can't hurt to ask S+T if you're seeing them anyway.

    2. Thanks Alex, I'll get in touch with S & T again and see if they want me to bring it along.

  12. Peter Wright hit the nail on the head, authenticity as far as far as practicable. The station has been built with poetic licence, many things have been done different from the original construction for many reasons, ie; modern building material or methods, health and safety, cost and time to name a few, we are all aware and understand this. The new station is an improved version on the original, although it looks and performs like the original, although it now has a disabled toilet. The original toilets would have been of Burlington bell high level cisterns of cast iron construction with a copper down pipe to the bowl. These worked quite different to the modern flush cistern flushing on the down stroke. The construction material being cast iron, copper and brass, with not a hint of plastic. I have noted several visual modern items which in my opinion could have been done differently to portray a station of period design, namely the electrics in the signal box so far. This is not a criticism, I am pleased the station has been built to any standard, things can always be changed later as funds allow, but common sense prevails

    1. I'm so glad Steve Cherry agrees with the principle: authenticity as far as is practicable.

      It is possible, if your careful, to avoid too much compromise, but I would emphasise you have to be careful. Otherwise, you run the risk of creating a pastiche in the pejorative sense of the word, when you are in fact seeking to replicate an authentic historical ambience. And it's so easy to fall by the wayside.

      Jo Roesen seems to be thinking the same thing when he quotes just some of the reasons people will give for not doing things right. In fact, I would add to Jo's list of comments. Being told "You're just being pedantic" is a comment I often hear. I don't always know how to answer. Is historical accuracy the same thing as pedantry ? I don't think so. If I point out a glaring anachronism, am I therefore a pedant ? I hope not.

      I thought the BAG showed very sensible thinking when they re-sited the red GPO telephone box to a less conspicuous location further away from the Edwardian railway station. Visually, it's a massive improvement. So was the replacement, (I forget how long ago,) of the ex Council lamp posts with accurate GWR replicas on platform 1A, if I remember rightly.

      Historical accuracy is fine, if it's done with common sense. Where compromise has to be made, that should be done with common sense too.

      The present high standard of Broadway station has been achieved using common sense. I'm sure its high standard of excellence will be maintained using common sense.

      With apologies for the length of my comment (if anyone is still awake and reading it), but this seems to me a most important topic.

      Peter Wright

    2. I fully support the BAG and Jo in their efforts to deliver the rebuilt Broardway as a faithful representation of a period GWR station to the best of their ability and the size of their budget.

      The station roof is a good example where taking the extra effort and determination to get it right has produced, what in my opinion, is the crowning glory of the station.

      The signal box windows and the replica GWR lampposts are examples of where the BAG had a choice of practicality or authenticity. At the time the BAG did not have the funds to go down the authentic route so they appealed to their wider support base and the blog readers. Fortunately many people were happy to donate funds to support the heritage aims of the BAG and this has resulted in the excellent authentic look of the signal box and platform lampposts.

      Getting the heritage aspects right is important to many people so well done to Jo and the BAG. I am sure that there is more to come and, when finished, Broardway will be an absolute gem.

    3. Yes, I agree. Well said, Paul.


  13. cafe update would be nice great news on carpark hope they tidy up plat 2..