Couldn't decide which way to turn today - Broadway extension, or winter works at Toddington? We decided to do both. And send a unit to Winchcombe. Luckily we had a good gang today, despite the freezing weather. We spotted one car up to its back door in a ditch along the road we travelled on, so we took it a bit more cautiously today.
In the picture Nigel has a drawing of one of the points on the table and is explaining what we are going to do and what we need for it. We hotly deny that the word PECO was rubbed off the drawing before we let you see it!
The third sub gang took the Landie to Winchcombe. Or rather tried to take the Landie to Winchcombe. It wouldn't start. Starting the Landie is an art, not a science. You can't learn it, you have to feel it. First of all you have to outwit the alarm system, which takes its job very seriously, both when you try to open the door, and again when you try to start it. Your blogger got over the first hurdle, and then over the second as well (the alarm on the starter) but nonetheless the old girl still wouldn't start. What now? Dave knew the answer.... the ignition barrel is a moody thing, and you have to 'feel' or twiddle it to get it to start. Ah.
At Broadway a minature gang of 2 - your photographer and lonely worker Pete here - set about (re-) clipping up the stretch of track by the good sshed, and later around the bridge as well. Many clips were missing, or had been kicked out again during the welding session on Wednesday.
Another issue was missing pads left and right of the welds undertaken on Wednesday. Instructions on laying were to leave these out as the rail gets very hot, and also has to be moved about to get the ends parallel.
We dragged the heavy Duff jacks along several 100 yards and jacked up each weld just high enough to push a pad under, then pulled in the 8 clips right and left. Job done.
Mostly the pads were reluctant to play ball, and the answer was to persuade them a little using a crowbar.
Fingers under the 1 ton rail are not encouraged. You never know. We use something to poke with, whatever we can scrounge.
Here's a mystery photograph for you. Why won't the rail sit on the pad? Everything seems to be in place, yet it won't sit down and so clipping up is unusually hard work. Hmmmm.
Undo everything, get down on hands and knees, peer into the half inch space underneath. Aha ! A plastic clip has found its way exactly under the rail, invisible from above. Fiendish, but we have the measure of you.
Man, machine and materials can be seen in the picture above. Take a bow, Leigh, he's our fishplate expert. Not many people can say that.
Now who parked that *&*+!$ train just here? It sits exactly on top of one of the fishplates that requires replacement. No worries for us, as there isn't a wheel actually on the joint, but it doesn't make life any easier when you have to crawl in underneath.
Ade enjoys slapping on the sticky grease from a large, sticky bucketful. Want any more grease? Sure?
End of the morning and a dash back to Toddy for tea and, no cake from Mrs. B but from a rival supplier. Yes, we confess, it was Aldi this time. But it was a rather delicious Panetone, which we ate heartily as it was full of air. Hardly any calories, see?
After all this is very difficult to resist, to finish off your salad or sandwiches. Go on, have another slice. Well......
With a couple of minutes to spare after lunch, we were able to take this photograph of the future winter works site for you.
You're at the throat of the loco yard here, looking south towards Winchcombe. On the right is the access to the yard, in the distance the headshunt. It is not in itself connected to the main line on the left, so any loco that needs to go to Winchcombe from the yard has to reverse into Toddington station first.
Our job is to insert a direct connection to the main line here, in the form of a pair of turnouts, or crossover. We recently built one of these at Broadway north. Dismantling of the two lines here will start next Saturday.
Back at Broadway after lunch and the fishplate gang was well advanced. From the goods shed we could hear the intermittent roar of the nut runner slowly recede into the distance, and the end of the day found them here by the northern inner home signal, where the fishplate set had to be exchanged for an insulated one. Job done as well.
Still to do: the area under the ballast train, and the remainder of the 'Clipathon' stretch at Peasebrook, where a considerable number of clips along almost a kilometre still need to be refitted after the stressing excercise.
You will recall that the snowfall put paid to our planned 'Mega Clipathon' and only a handful of volunteers were able to turn up on the alternative date two days later. We should be able to address this over several days over the next couple of weeks.