Maintenance and canopy gangs together today, and a sunny start to a blustery day.
And we had the visit from Stevie, he with the do-it-all JCB.
We find him here on P2 with Neal, scratching their heads over the foundations of the P2 building.
How big would the hole be? Where would the spoil go? How do you get machinery on to P2...
Those two slots in the foreground, by the way, are 'biscuit' joints.
You learn something every day.
Neal spent the blustery and later rather wet day three quarters of the way up the Cotswolds side of the steps. Since us painters had pretty much sabotaged his activities on the Malvern side, by painting everything that he touched.
Well, we don't want that woodwork to rot, do we. Don't want to come back and do it all again in 10 years' time.
The long timbers along the bottom are cut to size, but not yet made to fit. They have to engage with each other, and 'swallow' as it were the angled uprights, with their gusset plates and rounded corners, where square timbers don't fit.
Here Neal is making a small cut to fit the timber for the highest section.
Now of course we have to put preserving fluid on the areas he has cut, and paint 2 layers of undercoat on the rest. That'll be for Friday.
Back in the ever popular mess room (popular as it has a heater and a kettle...) the new GWR waiting room bench has been installed. Firstly to keep it in dry storage until we build the new waiting room, but while it waits, why not use for the volunteers too?
With the long cushion on top, it instantly became very popular. Much better than the narrow, wobbly bench with slats we had before.
Wednesday at Winchcombe
Last Friday we picked up the replacement weighbridge building window, repaired by our friendly carpenter in Willersey. He did a fine job not only by splicing in a bit of new wood along one corner that had signs of rot, but also by freeing the two sliding windows. He pointed out that they ran on little brass rollers, and that one has seized, and hence worn a flat spot.
John fortunately has a contact that might be able to make us a new roller. One of the catches is also broken, but we may be able to fit a replacement from the sash window industry, it is a brass fitting that looks as if it comes from a sash window.
So now we have a new operator's window, and a repaired original door. Remain the 2 smaller side windows, which need complete replacement. We have the bits of one, and are have spoken to another department that may be able to help.
Then on to Wednesday proper:
No doughnuts, but Swiss roll, just as good - no, better, as it adds variety.
But on to today's work.
It was a slow start, there was some behind the scenes debate and to begin with, actually on the platform site and doing some serious brick laying was only Jules, plodding away stoically on his own.
Notice anything different about him, compared to last week?
Yes, he's got himself a little cushion! He reports that sitting on a one ton icy rail for a day does not do your backside any favours, and he sure wasn't going to let it happen a second time.
In between making up mixes for the gang, we had a look at the river Isbourne works.
In the picture you can see an interesting improvement, as the contractor has dug a new course for the river altogether.
Due to the heavy rain we've been having these last few days the river is in spate again and here it is using both old and new channels.
Back to the Usk platform, and another mix from Maxie our friendly mixer.
At last the brick laying is coming off the ground and when stepping back you can actually see that a brick wall is rising here. It also means the lads don't have to lean over so much anymore, that was painful on the back all day.
PWay at Greet tunnel.
Carrying on from Saturday, a sizeable gang, well bolstered by slices of Swiss roll, assembled by the southern portal of Greet tunnel.
|Inspecting the job at hand for the day.|
These pictures are by Bob, to whom our grateful thanks, as we can't be in two places at once.
From the blue smoke being emitted by the impact wrench you can see that chair screws are being removed here so that new ferrules can be fitted.
Just this side of the team are two new sleepers fitted on Saturday - that's a different job, just as important, on the same stretch.
With the low winter sun, this job was in the shade.
In the distance is the second half of the team, which is putting new sleepers into the gaps left by the rotten ones being drawn out by Stevie in the JCB.
Paul on the left is holding the ferrule extraction tool, the one that doesn't work very well. It has a conical screw thread on the end, but it isn't very good at grabbing the old, wooden ferrule, probably due to wear on the thread.
All in all they replaced and packed a respectable 32 sleepers, which is really good going.
A bit of heritage
Behind the scenes work continues with manufacturing and sourcing the interesting paraphenalia that make a station a Great Western one. Some of what we need comes up at auction, so we watch those and strike when something interesting comes up.
Other things are unlikely to come up in the form that we need them, or never come up, so we make replicas.
One of the items that we need to make are the WAY OUT signs. At the time of writing neither can be fitted as they hang under the canopy extensions at the bottom of the steps, but we need to get ready.
Here is what they looked like:
At the moment in a small workshop near the station we are making poster boards and the two hanging signs for the exits. Having bought one or two original V boards (for over the doorways) and one original WAY OUT sing (but without the necessary pointing hand) we can see that two types of moulding were used around the edges:
Boards like WAY OUT could be seen from both directions and were suspended from a truss. They had a double sided moulding, like the one on the left.
Having shown them a sample from a board found at auction, we went to a lovely little company in Brownhills (north of Birmingham, with an enormous miner in the middle of a roundabout) and they made us these mouldings in tulip wood. It comes out really great.
So in the picture above we have a work in progress for the longer board on the left, in the original Broadway picture. This one will be double sided, and hence (if you are still with us) it will need two pointing hands, one pointing left, and the other one right.
The letters are from our private collection, sent to a small foundry that reproduced them in Aluminium. The pointing hand is from a 'brass rubbing' obtained from a friendly neighbouring railway - we all help each other.