An early call to arms came, to get an extra day in for lifting the track off the viaduct, in preparation for drainage works to be undertaken on it by a contractor.
Eight volunteers made it, which is an excellent turnout, given the midweek day and short notice.
We loaded a lot of equipment into the two Landies, you never know what you might need, and the Stanway viaduct is kinda in the middle of nowhere. It's a mile from the nearest road, and you can't just go and get the rail saw when you suddenly need it.
Near the viaduct we built up a pallet with sides and trollied it out to the site.
Steve had a good go at releasing all the fishplates, and we were lucky that none of the bolts were seized (we had brought the rail saw just in case).
Nigel provides a helpful boot to stop the bolt heads from spinning. You can't do this job on your own.
The viaduct has 9 panels of track on it, and our job was to remove 11 in total, with two extra ones at each end.
The 60 foot lengths of rail were taken out and stacked at opposite ends of the viaduct.
At the end of the day we were well over half way, with a second day of work arranged for Saturday.
Saturday at Stanway.
Lots of work to do today, to dry and clear the remaining pieces of track from the top of the viaduct. We've got half the rails still to remove, and all the sleepers.
Luckily the turnout was quite good - 14 of us.
The first thing to do was scrounge round the yard to find all the bearers we could muster, for the 260 or so sleepers we will need to store.
John here already has an armful.
But what are those two gang members doing in the metal recycling skip?
Between deliveries, the stackers could ponder the meaning of life. Dave in the distance was picking up the next load with the Telehandler.
Here's the sleeper removal team.
You can see how they pulled the sleepers out with nips, and then stacked them in a small pile in the foreground, for an easy pick up by Dave.
Hard work though.
Having picked up a load, Dave the reversed down the bridge, round the pile of rails and on to the growing stack in the distance.
This is the view towards Stanton, where the fresh ballast is stored for the drainage job on the viaduct.
Soon we had a respectable length of cleared trackbed.
The drainage pits of interest to the maintenance job (starting in a week's time) are right in the middle, underneath where Steve is walking here. they are currently buried under the ballast, but were visible when this was double track.
After we had stored about half of the sleepers at the northern end, we moved to the southern end to join the gang there that was also just starting the same job.
It looked for a while as if this could stretch into a third day, but with the whole gang concentrating on the second half of the sleepers, we suddenly accelerated.
We had two teams now on the same job - Dave in the Telehandler and stacking, with a second team lifting out sleepers and making stacks of 8, even 12, for him to take straight away.
The sky continued to look angry, but it spared us, we remained dry and despite the clouds overhead, often in the sun in the latter half of the day.
Nearly there now, as Nigel directs Dave in the Telehandler to come nearer, so that we can load him up. Then all he has to do is drive it to the storage stack at the south end.
|Tim, Pete and Peter enjoy the moment of fame.|
And here we are, the last sleeper. We did it after all! Everything removed in two working days. Mind, it won't be that fast when we have to put it all together again.
Now it's over to the bridge gang to use the space that we have created for them. We will be moving to the southern end of Greet tunnel for our next project.