Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Two weeks in one

Monday at Broadway

Back from 2 weeks away, and it's painting again! Plus ca change...

The canopy gang wasn't idle during the break though, and a lot of undercoat has been applied to the supporting members of the footbridge.

On the P2 side, the hardwood treads have been laid in.

They are still loose, as all the holes need to be re-drilled, and then the treads are bolted down.
Monday wasn't sunny any more, there was some drizzle from time to time.

This turned out to be an ideal opportunity to start painting the underside of the centre span roof. On the steps all the corrugated iron sheets were primered, undercoated and top coated beforehand, but when the roof of the centre span was attached the underside was left bare in grey primer.

The supporting steelwork was painted in light stone, whereas this should be dark, something we will now correct.

There is a lot of this centre span roof to do, it looks endless from here!

There are many nooks and crannies in between the sheets, and between sheets and angle iron.

This has been noticed by cluster flies, who have set up shop in there. So when you poke a drippy paintbrush into the gaps, paint covered cluster flies drop out and land on the painter's head !
Meanwhile John is applying a second undercoat of dark stone to the towers, which are still dry despite spots of rain on and off.

Neal has set up camp on the P1 steps and in the picture can be seen drilling holes through the second hand hardwood treads recovered from HIA.

Strange object

The strange object isn't from a wet sponge throwing competition from the local scout fair, but an overlay for the treads Neal made to countersink the new holes.

Once the holes have been reamed out, Neal can drill the rest of the hole to fit the bolt, and then tie it all down nice and tight.

We've been very careful with money, using all these second hand (but in good condition) treads, so we are working nicely within the little budget we've been given.

Upstairs inside the centre span is a vast pile of ready painted T&G (see earlier painting blog posts....) which will go along the sides of the steps.

Larger beams will make a cross type bracing pattern. These have been sourced, and are currently with C&W for cutting to shape. However progress is slow due to the short timeframes available to use the machinery.

Looking east, towards the P1 end.
Looking west.

At the end of the afternoon two large sections (of 7) had been undercoated, and a large number of clusterflies painted brown. Looking from the Malvern end, the progress is quite good, but from the P1 end there is no sign of progress at all...

It will probably be 3 more sessions or so to undercoat the inside roof, then back for a second undercoat. The coverage of a light stone on to a dark grey primer is, as you can see, difficult. When we are done the sheets will have had 3 coats of paint, and it will all look a lot brighter.

A last shot at the end of Monday shows Neal at work on the intermediate landing, while John has completed the second undercoat of dark stone on the P1 towers.

Just to see where we are going, this 02.08.1904 shot shows what the sides of the steps will look like, with the bracing struts criss-crossing down the sides.

You can also see the canopy overhang touching the bottom of the steps, a structure we still need to do, probably next year now. We've already got about half of the structural bits, but more have to be made, and then the whole thing erected during the non-running season (of 2020).

Wednesday at Winchcombe

A lovely sunny day, to walk track, to measure up the track, and to prepare the foundations for the Usk building. Several of us were back from holidays, so we are getting back into gear.

Paul had brought a sizeable number of doughnuts, and he intended them to be eaten. Each volunteer that entered was 'offered' one:

Have a doughnut !

I don't really want to, I'm a stone overweight...

Doughnuts don't weigh a stone,

We ate a doughnut.

What do you reckon, which one is the winner?

Seeing the sun was out a few hopefuls had put on their shorts.

They arrived in a group, was it for a knobbly knees competition?

Lets see.

The track measurers continued their recording of our track assets south from Southam Lane, within striking distance of the end of the line at Hunting Butts. Would they get there by the end of the day?

A group on Saturday is also on the same job but nearer the middle of the line, so we have thrown two teams on it and are working two days a week to get the whole line done.

Five Usketeers continued with the foundations of the hut. We had wanted to be a lot further than this, but ordering of the steel rebar took a great deal of time, as well as administrative things like drawings, and getting planning permission. But now we are really off.

Where is our wire for tieing the rebar together? Well, I don't know...
Rob and Paul had an early discussion about the tieing wire, which was reported to have arrived but could not be found. Eventually Rob managed to trace it, in the C&W shed. Well of course!

Neal was tasked with consolidating the shuttering, as it will take quite a weight of concrete for a depth of 450mm.

We have now put in a new layer of type 1, which is much better and better workable. Willy the Whacker was needed to consolidate what we put in, but he wasn't at home. We traced him to friends at Toddington -  most jobs are like this, first you have to find the tools.
In the carpenter's workshop is an interesting pile - this is the wood for the cross braces of the Broadway step sides. Here it is, waiting for time on the machine to be cut to shape.

Over the last 2 weeks the C&M department completed the blockwork around the stop block, and this now looks really solid. It has to be, as the area around it will be back filled and it needs to take the load of potential vehicles that cut across the corner here.

Next is the lining of engineering blues.

Getting the level of the type 1 right took a long time, most of the morning in fact. Dave fetched a bucket of the stuff in the Telehandler, and three of us shovelled it into various low spots that were detected.

Repeatedly Willy the Whacker was run over the new bits shovelled in, but after whacking the spots were found to be too low still. More infill required then, and a second bucket load was fetched.

Finally the level was declared right, phew!

Next we needed to strengthen the outside of the shuttering against bowing out when the concrete goes in.

We got the trusty broken concrete sleepers in again for this job.

Dave P in the Telehandler got them so far, then they had to be manhandled the rest of the way, until they sat snug against the outside of the scaffolding boards..

The platform side was quite a challenge too, as the Telehandler couldn't really get round there. We resorted to a bit of trickery and two iron bars to get those in.

With the shuttering at the right level and well supported, we were able to proceed to the next stage. This was a floor of polythene sheeting.

Having made sure that it covered the floor and sides completely, Neil nailed it down round the edges.

Then we broke for lunch in a hot mess coach. We opened the doors wide, and this gave a grandstand view of them in the passing trains. Or us, if sitting in the train. We waved, of course.

After lunch, those lengths of rebar. Here they all are, cut to length and bent where required. It took a long time to get these, and at a price we could afford with our little budget. But here they are, and we can start laying them in!

Paul explains to a doubtful Neil how it's all going to work
We scratched our head a bit about spacing, but we do have a drawing, but that's not the whole story. Luckily smartphones have calculators built in these days.

This length of bar, and 3 others like it, needed marking with a pen at the interval calculated.

In between were the trains, still reasonably full it seemed to us. They (and all the activities today) were hard to photograph, due to the low and quite intense autumn light we now get.

At the end of the afternoon we had laid in, but not yet spaced out, the first 40 lengths of rebar in our polythene lined 'paddling pool'. Hope it doesn't rain too much before the concrete comes. We reckon we need another one, perhaps 2 days to finish the rebars, then the concrete can go in.

Looking at the picture above, Neil and Paul looked quite pleased with the result today. We made real progess - the shuttering is in, level and reinforced, the type 1 down, level and compacted, the sheet is in, and we have started on the rebar frame.

Now for tea in the Coffeepot.

Today's other steamer was 4270, here rolling into Winchcombe with a late afternoon train from Cheltenham.

Again the light is tricky - the centre of the train is brightly lit, while the rest is in the shadows, and this is after a light sprinkling of Photoshop fairy dust.

The light didn't bother the tea drinkers. We drank lots of tea, no matter that the rake of carriages that came in with 4270 was all pale in the strong sunlight. It was quite warm too.

The measuring team came in with this train, and reported reaching the end of the line at Hunting Butts. That includes the two long platform tracks at CRC.

Well done, lads!

Then the diesel came, with the last train south for the day. A snarl made our hearts jump, because it announced the popular Green Goddess class 37. We've finished for the day, but of course the loco crew have another return journey to complete, then dispose of the engine.

Friday, 30 August 2019

A quickie

Yes, yes, we're supposed to be on holiday, but it's not until Sunday and in the meantime there have been 2 more days of events.

A trip to Tyseley

On Thursday a select few from the drainage gang, C&M and yours truly took two Transits to Tyseley Locomotive Works to recover a number of useful bricks.

At Tyseley the bricks were stacked in a rather inaccessible area near the yard throat, far from any road. To get them out we had permission to use a Permaquip trolley, which we took with us from Winchcombe, where you can see it being loaded here.

Once at Tyseley we assembled our little rail vehicle and started pushing, meeting another, larger, rail vehicle on the way.

We had 4 wheels, and that big green thing had two more, i.e. six.  Show off!

Arrived at the end of the yard, we found our stack of desirables.

It's a big pile of diamond patterned edging bricks. We were interested in about half of them, the other half being of a different, bigger type that was in rather less attractive condition.

Also of interest to us was a pile of engineering blues, bull noses and some double ended bull noses (they probably have a special name for them too) and this is why we had the drainage gang with us, who have a particular use for them.

Many hands make light work!

We learned that a lot of the special bricks arose from the demolition of the Tyseley roundhouse.

The whole site had interesting corners, such as this one: spearhead fencing, a spearhead gate and a ball topped posts such as in use at Broadway.

This little bijou set was right behind a buffer stop, so not serving much purpose, we felt.

We ran several trolley loads down the line, blocked for us and with all the points set the right way.
Much banging came out of one of the boilers in the background, but hey, this is a locomotive works.

Here is a trolley load just arriving at its destination, where you can see the corner of a Transit with a partial load on it already.

Both Transits were filled with about a ton of material.

In the foreground the diamond pattern edging blocks are being loaded. These will come in useful for both the goods platform at Winchcombe, and the future turntable pit. We need quite a few of these, and the 128 collected today play a (smallish) part in this.

Here is all the material safely unloaded and stacked on 3 pallets at Winchcombe.

Friday at Broadway.

Given the fine weather, we had another painting day. We'll leave the manufacturing to days of less clement weather, which will arrive no doubt quite soon.

Neal and john have been quite busy on the P2 steelwork, which was well advanced at the end of the day. Just a bit of topcoat to go on the tower legs.

You can see in the LH picture that they are dark stone now. In the RH picture the team assembling the bridge a few years back now were a bit too quick, and painted the legs, a structural thing, in light stone, except for the top surrounding the panel. This anomaly is now being addressed. It also gives the towers another 3 coats of paint, covering up the many nicks and scratches they have had as the station building was going on around them.

The GWR painted structural things (legs, frames etc) in dark stone, and the bits in between (panels, infill etc) in light stone.

This lovely light shows today's footbridge to great advantage..

Note in particular that the fencing in front is now complete. What a great piece of design, to get this far from a bare, weed covered demolition site.

Still do do then:

- The sides of the steps, in T&G wood with cross bracing timbers
- The treads, risers, and hand rails
- 'Passengers are requested to cross the line' etc on the two rail posts by the entrance
- The canopy extension, which will reach to just past the end of the P1 roof over the stairs. This will be a job for next year.

A bit more Broadway history

Following the publication of John Lees' pictures of the 2007 clearance at Broadway, Roger Bush was kind enough to send us three more. Roger was part of the gang, and has fond memories.

This gateway gave access to the track for a long time. We're looking diagonally south here, with the fire seen in John's pictures burning near the road bridge on the left.

The gate is approximately where the southern entrance gate to the platform is today, but the platform level today is round about where the white hard hat is!

Looking north.
Looking south, with the far parapet of the road bridge visible on the left.
Those catch pits remained opened for quite a long time, until Jim H made them a set of plywood lids. It didn't stop various delivery lorries from putting a wheel down them though.

P2 on the right was extended almost up to the bridge, so a lot of material was dumpered up to it in due course.