Dave refused point blank to accept the open tin of black oil as well, after on a previous trip it fell over on the back of the Landie. Eeeeuch..... So, no oil out on the track today...
We were back out at Southam, continuing from last week's job of fault repairing southwards from Bishops Cleeve.
Here we are at the northern entrance to the Race Course, where there is a parking opportunity (and a bit of a walk, but hey, we have a wheelbarrow today, thank you, Dave).
Dave also has the master plan in his hands.
We walked down to the RDA crossing, entered the trackbed, and then walked back towards Southam, where we left off last week.
Here is our plucky little group, walking all the tools (and in some cases, picnic and folding chair; priorities, dear reader, priorities) to the start of the works.
We dug out the offending sleeper and managed to manoeuvre it along a bit, just far enough for a new plastic biscuit to go in. Then Foremarke Hall left CRC again, so we had to step aside.
|Can you see it yet?
We decided to await the return of the DMU before addressing the next bit, just along from the RDA crossing where three of us are standing here.
As we rounded the Southam curve we saw the home stretch before us - CRC with its tea making facilities and ice cream fridge in the distance. It was unanimously agreed we would stop for lunch there.
We bagged a shady bench under the trees and waited for the kettle to come back. It had a bacon butty facility on board, we knew...
A Passenger then approached us with the news that there was a fire on the track.
Golly, it was true as well, but just a small one. We did a Mexican hat dance on it, and the pine cone and needle fire was soon out. Little did we know, but it was a harbinger of greater things to come...
As we drove back to the RDA crossing in Dave's Disco, we noticed a cloud of smoke in the shallow cutting between RDA and Southam bridge. Surely not?
John R had remained on site and was already on the case, phoning the fire brigade as we arrived. We jumped out of the Disco and grabbed our shovels.
|'Have a bucket of water to douse those posts.' The RDA ladies come to our aid.
We beat that out with our shovels too. High five !
One of us seemed to linger for quite a long time afterwards, and we think a new friendship was struck up. Every fire has a silver lining, as the saying goes.
Monday on the track
Our usual gang of 3 was on the prowl again. There were a number of seized bolts still to tackle, one on Chicken Curve and the others in the tunnel (Yes!) so we got our trolley out and loaded it up with the generator and tools.
That one wasn't too hard, it just needed cutting off and replacing. Weird, that there are so many bolts which are seized, about one turn away from being fully tight.
Imagine how all this was excavated in 1905 with the Ruston Dunbar steam shovel.
Inside, we cut off several seized bolts and replaced them with new ones. Here is Dave on the angle grinder, watched over by Jonathan on the right. The trolley has two powerful lights on it, run by the generator.
Here is an example of a bolt we cut off.
On closer examination it appeared that, while it was fully done up, The unthreaded part was too long, so it never had a chance to be fully tight.
Check out also the length of thread protruding from the top end, that's too long to be normal.
This system of fish plate relied on an intermediate plate with folded up edges to hold the heads of the bolts in place. That's the theory. In practice however.... the folded up edges break off or end up flattened, so the heads of the bolts revolve infinitely and you can never tighten it up. Work that out in the dark when you are trying to loosen them with the TB2.
Actually of course, it's the trolley with the genny and the lights, fear not. Yet this tunnel claimed the lives of 3 track workers at the end of the 1920s. We remembered that while we worked in there...
Broadway snippets from Monday.
Inside the cafe the fireplace has had the back bricked up to reflect the shape of the insert from behind.
On top, a lintel was placed, and the gap with the concrete blocks that were there filled in.
Next, the insert was tested in situ.
This is just the metal bit of course, what we could find that most closely resembles the original that was used about our railway, several to a station. This insert once had coloured tiles for decoration, but we have asked them to be replaced by slate panels. Works quite well, don't you think?
From the pencil lines outside you can see that two uprights are still due to go in. Then there is a slate panel across the top, and finally a mantelpiece across the full width.
The new slate hearth is on the left, still in its wrapping. That goes in the gap at the front.
Meanwhile, our friends at C&W have drawn up a plan for a counter for the cafe in Victorian style. We were excited to see that they had also thought of a large panel for the rear wall, with shelving left and right of a central mirror. That should look great !
John Rogers has secured us this aerial shot of the fire at RDA:
John has 'friends in high places' we are told :-)