Only 8 people volunteered today, perhaps as a result of the Thomas magnet? Our first thought was to do stone blowing at Manor Lane, but that needs more people than 8.
Plan B was to change 2 rotten sleepers, right by the mess coach. Not too far from refreshments during a hot day.
Today was unusual, because it was Thomas weekend. There were two class 37s out, Foremarke Hall and of course the little blue engine.
Here is the Green Goddess extracting one of the rakes from the sidings at Winchcombe.
The second man on D6948 looks back to make sure that the rake is coming out cleanly.
That face looks familiar... hey, it's Dave F, one of ours! No wonder we are down on numbers today. No doubt we will see him when there is cake around at lunch time.
Once this train too was clear, we managed to pull out the two rotten sleepers. While some look OK from above, they have been marked as life expired by the track walker and it is therefore somewhat gratifying the see them fall to pieces when you do finally pull them out. We weren't wasting our time then.
The best view of proceedings was from C&W's little sitooterie*, from which trains could be observed at leisure while sipping tea from under a parasol. Yes, a C&W parasol. It was brought out first thing in the morning.
These people know how to look after themselves...
* A Scottish term
As soon as the Thomas train had passed the work site, it was the turn of the class 37 to shunt out to just beyond the bracket signal - precisely the spot where we were working.
After changing ends, the crew took it back into the station, so vacating our area again.
Having dragged the two sleepers in and redrilled them, we hit a snag. The bolts would not go in. The 'animal' got so far, gave up, and then was unable to get them out again. We had to resort to the old fashioned 'hand spanner' to undo them and scratch our heads over the reason for the non compliance.
Eventually it emerged that the replacement sleepers were hardwood ones, and this required a larger section drill. The holes were drilled again. The bolts would still not go down. This was a mystery to us, and it was not resolved. What we did do however was search the yard for more worn bolts, and these did eventually go right down, with a lot of insistence from Bert on the 'animal'. After a spot of packing the ballast, it was job done.
After our lunch we had several slices of Mrs. B's excellent sponge cake left. Such left overs are usually hoovered up by Dave F here. By waving the remnants of the cake out of the mess coach window, we hoped to tempt him back into our fold, but the diesel draw was too strong.
You can see that Dave was tempted though. Nearly. Nearly !
At Broadway on Friday two of us had a relaxing time attending to outstanding jobs on the station.
Number one, pending for a long time while we got the length of the door plates right, was the 'BOOKING OFFICE' on the outside of the front doors.
As these are exterior plates, we have used 'clutch' type screws to prevent unkind visitors removing them, even though they are replicas.
Then, on to the end door.
More fishplate greasing is pencilled in for Monday, if we can get 4, or better still, 5 volunteers. Please try to help.