Saturday 26 October 2019

All day, and all of the night.


But first, a few words about work at Broadway on Friday.

There was certainly rain at Broadway on Friday, but nothing like what was to come on Saturday.

John and yours truly continued with painting up in the air, on the centre span roof. It's breezy up there, with sleepy cluster flies.

Neal further shaped the 20 timbers prepared by C&W, here seen rounding off the edges.

John concludes the top coat on the supporting ironwork, Cotswolds side

We can work in the rain, if there isn't too much wind, as water does enter the footbridge as soon as there is a breeze. On Wednesday John arrived to paint, but could not as there was condensation on the underside of the steel sheets.

Remember, Wednesday was the day with all the mist. It condensed on the slightly colder corrugated iron.

On Friday it was dry underneath - less so outside - and next to John's dark stone on the ironwork, the sheets in the centre got their first layer of light stone undercoat. The two ends (5 out of 7 sections) are now done.

Friday saw a fire and drive train arrive, a silver experience and hence the only one of the day. There were 2 last minute vacancies, so you could always add your name to a standby list and maybe get a bargain?

Or maybe it was the weather.... note that the cab roof sheet is deployed, it must have been grim reversing up to Broadway, over the long embankment. Not that you'd notice, it's quite thrilling driving a steam locomotive, rain or shine.

Helpfully, there is always a whistle somewhere near the Caravan Club, and when we hear that we drop the paintbrushes and have a look.

These are the last days of 2807 before overhaul, so do come and have a look at her.

Saturday at Winchcombe.

This was the big day of rain, which started the previous evening with strong winds to boot, and which carried on all day Saturday.

We were due to go out recording the turnouts at Cheltenham, and also repair a defect at MP 16 1/2, but the heavy and persistent rain drove us all indoors, with the exception of gallant track walker Dave.

This was the view of the B4632, within minutes of setting off for work.

As the rain continued non-stop all day, we decided to return later via the heights of the Cotswolds edge, rather than drive through this ever deepening lake.

Due to the weather, work on the track was cancelled for today. Instead, we spent the morning 'usefully' chatting over several mugs of tea. A face to face meeting is always better than an email.

Our new visitor 9466 was out today, believed to be its first day of revenue earning service.

Here it is just coming off Chicken Curve.

9466 entered Winchcombe yard in decidedly damp conditions, with passengers huddled in their seats and looking out at mad people standing in the rain, from behind misted up windows.

It wasn't so bad, folks, we've got wet weather gear, you know!

It was a sort of 'tank engine day' today, but without the eponymous character. 4270 was the other contender, here seen passing a large puddle at Winchcombe. A final player was the DMU, not a tank engine, but hey-ho.

One more week and a weekend to go, then it's a month of peace and quiet for repairs here and there, before the busy month of ho-ho-ho.

Saturday 19 October 2019

Food Fair activities

Friday at Broadway

Painting, Painting.... at least it's topcoat now. We're doing the structural steelwork in the roof at both ends, with the middle to do when we have moved the T&G stored there for the time being.

Also watching Neal attach the treads to the P1 stairs.

The treads are reamed out on the platform, then taken up for drilling new holes

The wood is of a very hard quality indeed, so Neal has to get his back into it.

Finally coach bolts are used to attach the treads. Neal showed one coach bolt where the head had come off on tightening. Didn't know that was even possible!

Although only 'showers' were forecast today, it actually came down in stair rods over lunch time. There was wind too, flapping the trousers as you stood up on top, painting under the roof.

The rain water sat on top of the angles...
 Here is Neal on his third tread of the day.

And almost at the top now - just two more to go in this picture.

At the end of this very wet day Neal had got to the top! Yeah ! Now to sort out the landing.

Saturday at Winchcombe and at Gotherington.

 It was Food fair day today, with 4 trains out and about.

Wish we had some food...

Doughnuts and tea this morning were soon gone. We had more attendees than usual (at least recently) and we were 'doughnut poor'.

The Food Fair preparations meant that there were 4 trains out today, of which 1 DMU shuttle. Here is the class 26 outside our mess coach, in the process of picking up the third rake.

The Sulzer engine has a slow and rather pleasing relentless throb, with a tickover speed of just 250 rpm. The absolute red line, we heard, was a mind boggling 750rpm. A bit like slow cooking, or slow TV. Potentially boring, yet somehow fascinating.

While part of our team stayed behind to write risk assessments, the main gang repaired over to the southern Winchcombe turnout in order to carry on recording our track assets.

We soon had to stand aside to let the first steam hauled train pull out of the station. The camera angle, obliged by the position of the team standing aside, was full into the sun, but the effect was actually quite good.

 It was 2807, said to be counting down the days when she would be taken out of service for an overhaul, so enjoy.

This was the first service south, so largely empty, but certainly worth filming as the loco climbed up the hill to the summit of the line.

 Next was the class 26, which paid a fleeting visit while running round its third rake, extracted from the sidings, to head north.

After measuring up the point, and with the main traffic now north and south out of Winchcombe, we went over to the other end of the loop through the station, where we fitted two tie bars. Track walkers had noticed that there was some movement in the chairs here, a sign that the timbers need replacing. We will order new ones.

After fitting the first tie bar (which is insulated, to avoid interfering with the track circuit) David measured the gauge. Normal gauge is 1435mm of course; here, in the curve of the turnout a slightly wider gauge of 1445mm is required. It was interesting to see the gauge slowly contract as we tightened up the tie bars.

While at Winchcombe, we broke for an early lunch in the mess coach.

Lunch is followed by the graveyard hour, as any teacher will tell you.

The team arrived at Gotherington north turnout for measuring once more, but a little less enthusiastic.
Being at Gotherington, we happened to coincide with the place where trains were crossing today.  This saw Foremarke Hall piloting the new arrival 9466 from the WSR. This was its first outing with us, and we presumed a test trip with a reserve loco, in case of trouble. It did allow this fine shot of a double header on the railway, not something you see often in normal service.

Pannier 9466 and Hall 7903 were waiting for the down train, here headed by our veteran 2807. This time the gang took shelter on the correct side of the track - for the camera, in any case.

Now you can see why the fireman of 2807 was hanging out of the cab - the signalman at Gotherington was waiting on his little platform to make the token exchange.
While half of the gang measured up the northern turnout, 4 of us addressed a dropped joint pretty much outside the signal box, right under the bobby's eye.

With the down train gone, and its token available for heading north, the double header set off for Winchcombe in front of us.
This is the best shot of the Pannier we got today. There must have been an occasion when, heading south, it was at the head of the train, but we didn't see it. At lunch, or in transit, whatever. So content yourself with this. We'll be seeing a lot more of 9466 over the next couple of years.

7903 and the new Pannier pulled away and through the station, while Dave seems to take a sunbath by the lineside.

As you might have guessed, we're more professional than that, he was guiding Pete in the foreground on the bottle jack to get the lift right for packing the joint.
Job by the box done, the 4 of us joined the other gang measuring. This was the second turnout of the day, the third would be further south, at the other end of Gotherington loop.

How does this signal work then?
What's this bit do, Pete?

Before moving to the other end of the loop, via Manor Lane, we let the next service train past.

This was the class 26, the slowly thumping Sulzer.

We then measured up the southern turnout of Gotherington loop, and that was it for the day. Now there is just CRC to do, one last day's work.

November is a non running month, and work is scheduled on Stanway viaduct involving the removal of several panels of rail. We might be asked to assist with that.

Saturday 12 October 2019

Diesel day

Friday at Broadway.

The joiners at C&W have now finished shaping a first batch of timbers for the sides of the steps

There are 20 of them, 5 for each side, of which 1 short (for the intermediate landing) and 4 long ones.

The longer ones are 7ft in length, so we've laid one out to give you an idea.

They look as if they ought to sit on the stringers, but Neal advised that these are in fact the ones that go on top of the sides.

We've stored the 20 timbers in one of the containers for now. You can see the profile that was shaped on the ends here. Essentially it's a chamfer and two drip grooves.

There is quite a bit of surface work to go on these now, a coat of preservative to start with, then the knotting compound. Neal has to cut them to the exact size as well.

All this took half a day, so not much painting during the morning. Well, none in fact, we were in the van going up and down between Winchcombe and Broadway.

During our sarnie lunch the first of 3 driver experience trains rolled in. Very slowly indeed.

Here is the class 37 running round, outside our mess room. It's still dry, but the afternoon was awful, it absolutely bucketed down. Again.

 A bit later the second turn rolled in, and we caught it here by the signal box.

You can't see Cleeve Hill (should be visible in the background) so it's going to rain again soon.

We took shelter up in the centre span, but it was only of limited help. It gets wet up there. Despite the roof and the dagger boards, the rain gets in. It sits on the edges where two angles grip the steel side sheets. Despite the shotblasting, the bridge has started to rust here. With stronger wind such as on Friday the rain reaches right in and soaks the treads inside. This is not good.

What are our friends looking at now?
John has now completed the top coating of the Cotswold end roof panels - that's three coats of paint applied. Time for a little relaxation, as he and Neal stare over the side of the bridge.

Down below the Growler came in for the third time.

At the moment we are in the privileged position to take these pictures from the footbridge, but in the not too distant future - next season we hope - you too will be able to stand up there and watch, although you won't be able to go down the P2 side until it's been built.

Finally we added a little detail to the booking office, replacing the initial plastic leaflet holders with home made copies of original GWR ones. They are a joint effort: Dave of the Broadway gang made them, while Alex of C&W found the original design, and then lettered them in gold, with black shading. Get your LOCAL TIME TABLES here.

And don't try and pay on board the steam rail motor, you need to buy your tickets beforehand at this booking office! Now all we need is a visit from the steam rail motor. We have seen pictures of one at every one of our stations in the early days, except - Broadway. Why not put that right one day?

Saturday at Winchcombe (mostly)

The measuring gang was out again today, to size up the more complicated pointwork along the line, the plain line having been largely done now.

It was busy straight away round our mess coach, as this weekend is Diesel gala and two locos came into Winchcombe at once, one to pick up the third rake and the other to proceed into the station itself.

In the picture is the class 37, which has a surprising acceleration, if there isn't an 8 coach train behind it. It shot out of the picture.

Class 24 D5081 is thumping away outside the mess coach, but we are already on our way to Toddington to do the last turnout there.

At Toddington we came across Bert Ferrule and Dave undergoing training on the track, and we stood aside to let the class 47 pass.

Then we spoke to the signalman and for a while the training and measuring teams worked side by side.

Having extracted its rake from the sidings at Winchcombe, the class 24 made its way to Toddington and beyond.

It's right on top of the turnout we want to measure here.

Turnout vacated, we were able to get going, starting with the gauge here.

This new turnout, which we placed as one of a pair a year ago, has now received its point motor, but it's not connected up yet.

The 'Hoover' then pulled out of Toddington, so we have a few more 'Hoover' pictures in this post, as it's going to leave us soon.

Going the other way, and while we were still on our first turnout of the day, was the Growler. The railway was very busy today, and the car park at Toddington was full.

Under a slight glimmer of sun we managed to catch the class 24 with a shorter train of 5 coaches, looking quite realistic as it passes the advanced starter.

With the southern turnout at Toddington ticked off our list, we went on to Winchcombe to start on the turnouts there.

The first was this one, leading to the C&W sidings.

Just before we climbed back into the mess coach for our sandwiches the Peak arrived. There was certainly a lot of variety in the motive power today!

Lunch was very interesting today as we were able to talk to the trainer, and discuss our track access issues and receive a lot of practical advice.

Next in the line up of today's diesel locomotives was the class 26, here just short of the platforms where a crossing train was waiting. This often means that the Toddington train has to wait at the bracket signal, and you get a bit of a bark as it pulls away over the short distance into the platforms.

 The crossing train this time was our Peak.

The second man is checking that no one is trying to open any doors as it pulls away. People do funny things.

To our surprise the class 73 was also in the parade today. What a lot of different diesel engines on the GWSR !

And finally, as promised two more pictures of the 'Hoover', as it's a rare bird on our railway.

Here is 'Ark Royal', about to set off from Winchcombe.

By this time we were on our fourth and final turnout, that's about as much as we can measure in a day. Next week it'll be the southern turnout near the tunnel, then we move on to Gotherington.

To say ta-ta for now today, here is 50035 'Ark Royal' pulling past Winchcombe signal box.

Another successful day for us, and we're about halfway through the turnouts. The closed season is upon us soon, and then we can get on with more extensive and more interesting track works.