After an extended tea drinking session in the mess coach, in the hope the rain would let off a bit while we drank and chatted, we selected our various groups to join for the day:
A. Took the Telehandler to Toddington to recover some second hand sleepers for Saturday
B. Fixed plastic numbered tiles to a stretch of rails for future trackwalk identification purposes. The glue, we were told, was so strong that it would resist all efforts for the tile to come off, rain or shine. Experience will tell if this is indeed true in practice, but you have to try.
It has to be said that group...
C. Replace missing SHC clips on a track defect list at Stanton
...was working from a list which said things like '2 1/2 panels south of the aqueduct' and 'the panel by the apple tree north of skew bridge' and while this was great fun and always allowed us to find the missing clip in question, it wasn't very methodical really. So the tiles could be a way forward here.
Guided by the trackwalk report and desperately looking for apple trees and 2 1/2 track panels, we slowly worked our way south from the B4632 skew road bridge over the line.
This is all CWR here, laid about 10 years ago as the railway slowly started to explore north of Toddington, culminating in the triumphant arrival at Broadway this spring.
This is the sort of thing. For some reason SHC clips, even driven in with a chunky keying hammer, seem to work their way out again from time to time.
If the SHC clip appears to replace too easily, we need to fit an extra rubber pad under the rail. This makes everything tighter.
First though we need to lift the rail up, so Dave here digs a little hole to make room for a little jack.
We got ourselves a big sack full of these clips, so plenty of ammunition to replace missing ones (and often as not the ones adjacent to the ones reported as faults as well). As we slowly worked south, the real object of our desires appeared, tender first. It was 70013 Oliver Cromwell, still in service. Who needs a gala if you are a trackside volunteer?
After lunch it was back to Stanton, to find 'Ollie' returning tender first.
We were getting into our stride now, and did really well, considering that we replaced more clips than were actually outlined in the track report.
Doug acknowledges the wave from the driver here.
Under the Skew Bridge we came across this fledgling in the cess. It appeared to have fallen out of a row of nests just under the steelwork, so it would be a young crow or similar.
The little chappie was quite docile, and allowed Paul to pick him up without any difficulty. We placed him a little further along in the grass.
Finally, two more photographs taken on Monday while at Broadway during the gala.
Before we forget, we are likely to pay another visit to the foundry that makes our GWR replica castings, so if you are interested in a GWR lamp post, a GWR 'BEWARE of TRAINS' notice, a ball topped gate post or possibly a pre grouping 'PASSENGERS are requested to cross by the BRIDGE' sign, now is the time to express your interest to breva2011 (at) hotmail.co.uk.