Wednesday 6 March 2019

Rivet - Rivet.

Monday at Broadway:

Riveting at last!

Today was the day we came to finally rivet all the bolted sections on the stringers and roof hoops.

Don't want to rivet them on crooked, so a last minute to check that the roof hoops are truly vertical.

The weather was mostly dry but cold, with a rather biting wind. OK if you kept moving, but preparations took a long time, and planting a rivet takes only 5 seconds.

Other than taking the temporary bolts out again, most of the holes have to be re-drilled. The holes go through between two and three layers of steel, and these tend to overlap very slightly. Too much for the rivet, which is a shade fatter than a bolt.

The air drill and rivet guns work off the same air line, so much fiddling about with connections.

Then, at last, an instruction for a 5/8ths rivet from the barbie.

It fits!

A short 5 second burst from both sides, and it's in. Next....

The rivets come long, but sometimes we need a short one. These are sawn to length on this special disk cutter that we have brought with us.

Here's the first roof hoop leg all riveted up. The silver one was done in the loco shed, and hence it's galvanised.

It's very satisfying to know that this leg is now on for good.

Occasionally we get an 'iffy' rivet, like this one. It's got itself a collar it shouldn't have.

Then all you can do is cut off one of the heads and hammer out the remains.

Here's Neal doing just that.  Had to lift the heavy transformer up to shoulder height first (sigh).

Bit tricky taking a photograph of the riveting itself, when you are also delivering the hot rivet with gloved hands and then you have to boot up the camera, with the gloves off again.

Got this one in OK, so enjoy.

When not actually riveting, you can take the ear defenders off for a while.

Here's a handy place to park them. Always wondered why the GWR had a ball on top of their gate posts.

Your grillmaster for the day: Bob, on the barbie. How would you like your rivet done, Sir?

Hammering out an iffy rivet, using a reject cold one. Not going to hold it between finger & thumb though!

At the end of the day: One fully riveted stairway frame.
Hey, it looks the same as that picture last week!
Yes, but now the bolts have been replaced by rivets....

For interest and comparison, a few pictures from the archives.

These show the Henley in Arden footbridge after recovery.

The bottom of the stringer where it meets the cast iron canopy support (now to be a smaller newel post).

Note the corrosion. In one place you could stick your finger through it, the reason we have galvanised the replacement stringers.

Corrosion on the stringer at the level of the intermediate landing.

Note also how moth eaten the bottoms of the original roof hoops were.

Some were completely rusted through.

View of the bottom of the stairs from above. The cross shaped wooden braces are a typical feature of this footbridge design, covered on the inside by T&G boarding.

Looking 'up' the staircase from street level. As the staircase is actually lying down, we are really looking along it.
The HIA footbridge was free standing and did not link in to the canopy extension, and thus the cast iron posts in the foreground are not as tall as those once at Broadway. That's also one of the reasons we could not re-use them.

The staircase had half height windows, as you can see on the left. Some but not all the footbridges of this type had those half height windows. Not sure if that will be replicated, as indeed along the centre span. If we did, it would be better for the conservation of the structure, as currently the rain from the prevailing wind (south) can blow into the centre span and rot the treads on it. HIA had those windows (you can still see the bolt holes on top of the centre span) but Broadway did not.

Tuesday at Broadway (Reprise)

We came to do the other half, the steps on P2. Luckily the wind had let off a bit, as we were fully exposed to it this time. On P1 the barbie was placed in the lee of the building.

Today's chef on the grill: Steve.

Slight problem on starting the gas torch - no gas.

We scratched our heads over this conundrum a lot, until we finally noticed that the supply pipe was attached the wrong way round this morning. It has a non-return valve in it!

So another 46 bolts to replace by rivets. We won't bore you with the whole story, it's pretty much the same as yesterday, although matters went a tad quicker (once we had lit the gas torch, that is)

We did the big lump of rivets in the middle first, broke for lunch, then did the 12 at the top and bottom.

Here's a big lump of nine done.
We've now finished the riveting of the stairs on site. The next step is to put up professional scaffolding, and from that we will put up the roof and its wooden supports.

We had some visitors from Wychavon today, who spent a celebratory hour in the cafe on the occasion of the opening of the new car park. They were our first ever users of the Broadway station cafe.

The car park is now open, the ticket machine is in place and a list of charges up.

If you spend £5 for up to a 10 hour stay, you can claim £3 back off a ticket bought on the railway on the same day.

There will be an electric car charging point as well later on.

The partial parking fee refund arrangement is explained on this notice at the bottom of the ticket machine.

Just in time was the arrival of the tarmac layers, to finish off the bottom of the drive, and to lay three speed bumps down the slope.

Here they are just completing the bottom of the drive, and the drain that runs across it.

The speed bumps are laid diagonally and placed so that the water runs along them and into a gully.

Previously the water just drained anywhere, as it felt, a soggy lot of runnels and potholes.

The canopy team includes a fervent GWR signalling afficionado, so having finished the riveting, we gave the chairman, our press officer and a journalist a tour of the box.

John - for it is he - here demonstrates the use of the signalman's rag when handling a shiny lever.
The signalman's armchair in the background was not tested. We already know it is the most comfortable thing in the whole box, they always are.

Wednesday at Toddington, mostly.

On this blustery and drizzly day our PWay gang split into two. The larger half decided to spot re-sleeper on the road leading from Winchcombe P2 to the PWay yard - also a very early piece of track - while three of us took the white Landie to our relay site at Toddington to start tidying the site of scrap and sleepers.

Stevie came with us and suggested we load scrap rail.

What, in our bijou little Landie?

Oh these off cuts? Ah, OK, oh well.

The shortest bits went in the Landie, while the longer off cuts (these are from the cut off crippled rail ends) were manhandled into the front bucket of the JCB.

Back at Winchcombe Stevie emptied the front bucket into the scrap container, and then approached the Landie so that it could tip the smaller bits, also into the front bucket.

In this somewhat blurred photograph you can see a load going into the container.

Blurred? Well yes, it was exciting stuff...

Before returning to Toddington for another load we had a quick look at what the larger gang was doing.

Here they are, in the drizzle, levering out several of the rotten throughbolters on the road leading off P2. At the end of the day they had replaced half a dozen of these, a good result in these cramped circumstances.

The Landie gang bounced back to Toddington along the line.

We picked up several loose GWR throughbolt chairs and dropped them off at the 2807 boot scraper factory.

This was just releasing a number of recently cleaned and painted chairs, ready for lettering.

Neat little trolley. Aren't they well organised!

Then back along the rear of the shed to the former relay site. On the way round the shed we passed the Peak, which looks really odd standing on the curve. It looks like the bogie is going one way, while the body is determined to go another.

The three Landie volunteers then started collecting the discarded thoughbolter sleepers from the site.

Not only are these extremely heavy, but some were very resistant to be dragged along the ground with the nips. We turned one over, to find that the bolts on this one were extra long and stuck out at the bottom, held there by a second set of plates.

It was like dragging a plough therefore, or a tractor pull. No wonder.

We rolled it on its side to drag it into position.

Stand back! Let Rob handle this.
We loaded thirteen of these b******s by hand and took them away from the site. Note that we are all retired too! Luckily we are slowly working through the presence of throughbolters on the railway, there shouldn't be too many of these left. When using BH rail we replace them with more classic AS1 three bolted chairs, which we can unscrew before manhandling the sleeper. Much lighter that way.

At the end of the day we returned to Winchcombe to find that there had been another delivery of 100 odd BH sleepers from the NYMR. Great stuff!

Then to lock up the Landie, standing in a huge puddle, with a copy of Old Glory magazine under the other arm while wrestling with the reluctant Landie lock. Suddenly there was a sad splash.

Noooooooooo !


  1. I was watching the riveting, until the webcam went down that is! Couldn't see too clearly from that distance but got the gist of what was going on. Your blog clarified the process though. Pity about the webcam, I am an avid viewer! Anyway, well done on the job there. Also the lineside scrap collection. You all deserve a jolly on the first train come the weekend!
    Regards, Paul.

  2. Like St Blazey I also watched for a while on the webcam on Tuesday and happened to catch the hiccup with the torch failing to light. I saw Neal reversing the hose connection and wondered if there was a non-return valve involved. Very impressed with the slick handling of the hot rivet into the hole then the pounding it into shape - all in a few seconds! Pity there's no sound on the webcam - it would have been interesting to hear the racket. Ah, but hang on - might pick up the odd swear word when a hot rivet gets dropped...

    1. Our record, achieved in the loco shed under ideal conditions, was a turnaround of 31 seconds between rivets.
      Didn't drop any at Broadway, but had to remove two that didn't come out right. It's helpful to 'plan your journey' before setting out with a hot rivet. Also that you are holding it on the tongs in a way that allows you to push it into the hole without fiddling around at the last minute.
      We're getting quite practiced at this :-)

  3. great work on the footbridge , i wonder if Helston railway will be luckier with the St Awful bridge ,sorry St Austell ! When I went to measure and inspect the FB at St Erth 6 years ago as i was on holiday down there , it had new timbers in the stairs unlike Henley which has proved a costly challenge . However, well done to Neal and his team for their hard work , it will look so good when completed this summer .

  4. It's all very well having machines to issue parking tickets, but who is going to police the car park to make sure everyone actually pays to park? Are Wychavon council going to employ a warden?

  5. Will shareholder free ticket holders also get the £3 refund? Otherwise using the car park will be a dear do. :-)