The day started cool enough, and it was overcast and warmly pleasant.
The job at the moment (we have others lined up) is to resleeper the C&W back road head shunt. A start was made last week; today we almost finished the job.
|Then - January 1989.
In 1989 services to Winchcombe were barely a year old.... (8th March 1987). At least one of today's gang was part of the team that laid down the track, and could well remember how some of it was propped up on bricks right at the back. Needs must, in those heady early days.
Back to 2018 then, and here is Steve jacking up the rail end so that a replacement sleeper can be slid in. (we were going to say 'new' but that would not be true, they are all garden quality now, second hand second hand)
The old one is dragged out. Compost quality sleeper, anyone?
Note that only one pair of nips is required, unlike for the new Jarrahs.
The bed of the old sleeper is dug out to remove roots and grass. There was no ballast here, just some ash, at best.
Nigel has ordered a basic supply of ballast to enable us to bring the track back to level again.
Having waved ' Ollie' past, we insert the replacement sleeper. Most of the bad sleepers were replaced last week. This week the job was to finish that off (see picture) and to insert the rails and start packing.
Then it was all hands on deck, men on bars, to revolve the bullhead rail back into its position in the jaws of the cast iron chairs.
Back by the mess coach. Dr. Landrover had called and was giving our trusty Landie a well deserved once over.
The Landie is quite old now, but spares are plentiful and above all, cheap.
It's also been quite reliable, requiring just a few basic parts to keep it going and street legal. Not a big deal for Paul.
A symphony in blue - enjoy it, while it lasts.
Despite the mirthful derailment, a second trolley was produced, but this time with more competent drivers in charge. It was loaded with a ton of ballast.
And then a third trolley appeared, also loaded with a ton of ballast. This one had a single driver, and a supervisor behind. That's life.
We jacked the relaid track up quite high, as this ground here is made up and has settled over the 30 years after the track was first laid.
Back at the base, we had a 40 ton pile of ballast to play with. This was loaded by the Telehandler into the trolleys, fitted with removable boxes.
|We are resting. It's hot, you know.
Sadly, the King was facing the right way only one trip out of two, but it's still a King, and soon it will have gone back to Didcot again, so enjoy it while it lasts.
Thanks to the well thought out positioning of the trolleys, shovelling the ballast under the sleepers was manageable, despite the strong sun.
Every now and then we dropped a jack, and moved it along a few cribs to hold the track up to its proper level.
As the sun burned hotter and hotter, the shovellers were starting to look a bit weary, brave men.
Thoughts started to turn towards a cold drink in the Coffeepot. The Coffeepot is the big advantage of a PWay base at Winchcombe.
We threw the tools into the Telehandler bucket, restored everything to the 10 ton van, and allowed ourselves a drink in the shade of the station canopy. Bliss!
|How blue can it get?
A few tidbits from Broadway
There was a small gang at Broadway on Friday, tidying the site after the gala days. Mike and Graham were painting the platform edge and the cafe respectively. A wheelbarrow load of pine needles was extracted from the gutters. We really need to think of a system to allow the water to drain into them, but keep the pine needles out, for example a 'comb' like fitting over the top that is available commercially.
The board itself will be used for REFRESHMENTS, letters for which we still need to have cast.
Finally, if you have subscribed to blog updates by email (see top of the column on the right) you may have experienced some delays in the last few days. It seems that Blogger have had a software bug, which is being worked on and is hoped to be rectified some time next week. The page view counter is also currently not working, possibly for the same reason. Patience then.