Friday on steels.
A bitterly cold start last Friday, with drizzle, driven in by an icy blast from the north.
Although we are under cover there are no sides to the construction, so any rain does come in, at least on one side, depending on the wind.
On Saturday it was the north-west, so we worked on what was dry in the south east corner.
Later in the morning the sun came out, and we could spread our activity to other areas.
Yours Truly put on primer after turning the angles round, while Neal had a belt sander to try and improve on the shotblasting results.
As you can see there are still rusty areas, and patches of millscale.
Next week will see a delivery from Barnwoods of the curved sections of the ridge purlins.
After sanding away for quite a while, Neal came to show us his hand. This had been blasted by the sanding detritus, and was quite black.
The picture doesn't do it justice...
The steam yard was quiet, but our attempt to get a portrait of 5526 was somewhat frustrated by the new safety steps that have sprung up in between the locos.
This is the best then that we could do. At least you get a glimpse of 2807 as well.
|Picture by Robin Springett, with thanks.|
Just outside Toddington yard we came across this flail, which was hacking into the brambles that separate us from the narrow gauge railway.
You can see that expenditure continues, despite the lack of income at this time of the year.
Saturday at an AGM.
Saturday was the annual general meeting of Toddington Standard shareholders. We thought we'd support them, and make a donation towards the boiler appeal that has just been launched.
|Photo: Toddington Standard Ltd.|
Above is the current state of play, as witnessed by Ian. As you can see it's looking really good, this is a project that is moving along very nicely. On display at the meeting were new bright yellow Timken roller bearing axle box covers, and a brass casting of the indicator wheel from the reverser box, which has now been fully sponsored. Other sponsor items remain though, check out their website below.
|The boiler on 9th february 2017 in the North carriage siding.|
What we have to pay for next is the overhaul of the boiler. Above is a picture of how it was when it was stored at the end of the north carriage siding at Toddington. The boiler is in generally good condition, but there is work to be done on damage incurred while waiting for rescue at Barry. The work will shortly go out to tender, and as an estimate we think the work will come in at £150.000, although it is not unusual to find more problems once the boiler has been opened up.
We have a little money in the bank, but that is being used to buy components, as for example the three tender wheelsets recently bought from the Bluebell. What we would like to constitute is a fighting fund for the estimated £150.000, so that we can go ahead with the work when the successful tender comes in. It is not economical to stop work half way, while the group tries to raise the rest of the fund that is still needed.
If you want to help us, above is the link to their support page. If the £150.000 appeal is successful the aim is to have the loco running - on the GWSR of course - by 2026. That's in just 2 1/2 years time, if we can raise the cash for the boiler repair.
Why not see if you can spare something?
Tuesday on steels.
Two arrivals came on Tuesday:
This is the boiler for 3850, freshly overhauled, and...
For Yours Truly it was a day of painting undercoat, here on the 40 or so angles that will make up the trusses. We are very keen to get everything at least in undercoat, in order to pre-empt any rust formation.
As you can see considerable progress has been made.
John spent the day on the steel for the fascia boards. This has been the trickiest to clean and paint. With a combination of scouring, chemical treatment and shotblasting we have got the steel clean, but a coat of primer itself does not prevent the formation of rust, so we have had to re-clean some of it, then primer anew, before putting on the undercoat that will finally protect the steel from the weather.
As you can see John too made good progress. We worked until the sun went down, and the moon came out too!
Wednesday with the Usketeers.
A cold journey to work, with 0.5 degrees showing on the car thermometer. The temperature 'climbed' to 3 degrees during the day...
The lads from the PWay changed a rail a little outside Winchcombe today, another job ticked off a long list. In the picture you can see the delicate ballet as Martin in the Telehandler carefully lifts a rail off the ELK, without touching either vehicle stabled at the end. He got there though, without any bumps or scrapes..
Thanks to a late picture by Paul we can see where that rail went.
This is the end of the Defford straight, looking at the start of Chicken Curve.
The new rail is in, supported by special lifters as the old and new rails have different degrees of wear. Or none, in the case of the new rail.
Meanwhile back at Winchcombe the contractors continued with the new S&T building (the picture was taken during a tea break here) and it looks like the footings are complete and block laying is about to commence.
A railway style building is a silent hope for many, but it looks a bit unlikely.
Over to the Usketeers then.
We had allocated ourselves 4 different tasks today.
Paul has finished shortening the gate to a more normal 10ft, and can be seen here preparing to plant the gate post.
Behind him is a pile of cut bamboo saplings, which we trimmed from by the fence, where they had entered the railway from a neighbour's property. Bamboo is an invasive plant. The new fence will go from the hole for the gate post up to the fence in the background.
Dave had a relaxing day, if we may take this picture as representative.
Unfortunately the picture we took of him digging and completing the stone wall did not come out. Almost single handedly Dave spread out all the earth that he brought in the Telehandler last week.
That deserves a rest, doesn't it?
C&W were busy in P2 at Winchcombe today, where the yard shunter was attached to two coaches in a rake. Our best guess for this activity is testing the brakes, as we forgot to ask for more details. Too busy, see?
Paul having finished resizing the gate, we took the opportunity of this dry day to paint it with Creocote. Hope that works as well as the original Creosote, which we are no longer allowed to buy.
Our last Usketeer shot is of Dave and Paul adjusting the newly installed gate post.
Right next to it will be a concrete grandfather post, which will support the wooden upright that Dave is holding. From that the fence will go off to the left, up to the edge of the yard where the bamboo was.
The wooden materials are under cover for drying out, before we give them too a bath of Creocote. The concrete post will keep the wood away from the ground, and so prolong their life.
A bit of history.
During these cold, dark winter evenings we have been scanning in several hundred photographs taken by Paul Fuller in the early 2000s while laying track with the PWay. In due course, once all have been scanned in, these will be put on the Flickr site, available top right by the blog header. Several other people have also offered their photographs for scanning, and have been put on the site.
One photograph immediately stood out, it's this one below:
|Photograph by Paul Fuller.|
There were no details available with the print other than the date - 25 02 2006 - so we have asked around a bit.
This is what we found:
It's an old army lorry, a Bedford 4.9 litre straight six petrol. Possibly a Bedford RL type, which was the army version of the civilian S type built in the 1950s. It came to us via Dowty's of Ashchurch, who used it to trial automatic couplings on a sloping track. The rail wheels were welded on! There was a big concrete weight in the back. On our railway it was never used and eventually it was taken away, as evidenced by the picture next to Winchcombe signal box. It went to Titley Junction for restoration, but was judged to be beyond repair, and was finally scrapped.