Monday, 19 September 2016

Fun in the rain

The more-or-less regular gang of nine turned up today, despite a forecast of drizzle up to 9am, then midday, then later in the afternoon, and in fact it never stopped! It didn't deter us.

The day started with more deliveries. 

BPS came with more cement, more blocks and more ballast. With all the infilling of the blocks, we are getting through the bags of ballast like a dose of salts. Plenty more were brought today, we hardly knew where to put them all.

More blocks came too. Where to put them all?

Not here.... Nooooooo

Oh heck.....

New recruit Peter had a bright idea - load them back onto the Transit (it brought some sleepers from Winchcombe) and drive them down on to the trackbed, thus saving us the effort of moving them by barrow.

We off loaded the sleepers from the Transit.

The sleepers are in treated softwood, and have been cut down to form the verticals that 'support' the planking at the front of the platform (which is really made of concrete blocks).

The BPS driver was persuaded to lift the pallets back on to our Transit, and 15 mins later it appeared at the bottom, where half was unloaded on each side.

Note that Jim managed to get himself into both pictures, but that's because he works so hard.

The Transit then vanished again, only to reappear at the top.

Yep, that's where we loaded those same sleepers back on to it! Work creation, some call that.

In fact we worked out that, as with the blocks, it was easier to take everything down to the trackbed via the Transit.

All the time it drizzled steadily. We decided to see if we could sit it out with a tea break as it was forecast to fizzle out by lunch time, but no such luck. In the end we just took the bull by the horns and got stuck in.

We split into two teams. One, led by Tim, continued with the placement of the fifth row of blocks, as far as concrete infilling permitted this.

The second team continued with concrete infilling, trying to stay ahead of Tim and Lyndon.

The concreting was pretty hard work, certainly for the mixers and barrow wheelers, so there was a bit of job rotation.

Jim G, Peter, Julian and Yours truly shovelled and stuffed the concrete into the holes, while Paul, Dave and Jim H were on mixers and barrows.

It's strangely satisfying to see the mix being gulped up by the holes. When you give them a good poke with a stick, they settle down and some more is poured in.

The pressure on the mixers is relentless. The barrow goes down and back up, and when it arrives back at the top, the next mix has to be ready.

Per mixer load that's 10 shovels full of ballast scooped out of a half empty dumpy bag, with capricious sides that fold in and won't let you take the full shovel out. Two of cement, and a bucket of water. You have to get it right every time, or complaints come up from below.

On receiving a phone call from Ops, we cleared the trackbed and stood aside for a special PWay train that trundled through.
It was ex Gotherington, where other members of the PWay gang had spent the morning loading up the train, and strapping it down very securely. Seeing a train load of materials for the extension going by is also very motivating.

Here's a picture of a happy Lyndon, in charge of the mortar used by Tim on the fifth row of blocks. They are just passing the southern catch pit, with its two rings on top.

In this picture you can see the block laying team catching up with the concrete team. The completed fifth row of blocks stretches away into the distance. Peter is tamping the concrete into one of the holes.

In total today, we filled in just under 100 holes. A barrow load of concrete fills just 3 holes, so that would mean that the mixer crew made up and barrowed just about 33 loads. Pretty good.

We reckon we are now 2/3 of the way down the platform with infill and fifth row. We have reached the gap that we have left ourselves to access the trackbed.

This final picture shows almost the full length of the platform. Almost the whole length behind Julian (lifting the blocks out of the cess) has been filled; the blocks on the right are still loose. The short stretch on the right, and the two slopes still have to be done. At this late point in the day, washing up time, it is still drizzling.

Time to go home for a hot shower and a nice cup of tea.

If you want to see where the train of sleepers went, check out the extension blog.

1 comment:

  1. The GWR would have been proud. Working drizzle is not the greatest pastime in the world,, I know ! Good progress and great pictures. Regards, Paul.