Monday, 26 September 2016

Infilling starts

A drizzly day, and at 8.30 only 3 volunteers. Where are they all, is this it?
Half an hour later, we were eight, phew! Must be the Thomas effect, it was a hard day's work yesterday.

The day started with a delivery:
We had 20 tons of stone chippings delivered, for filling in around the drain at the rear of the platform.

Of course, for some the day doesn't start with 20 tons of stone, but with tea and a bun.

We were further entertained by Julian, who produced a large chocolate cake, which didn't stay large for very long.

Then, to work. One of the reasons we were cramped for space in the container was an enormous roll of pipe in the back. This was extracted today, and rolled down to the trackbed.

Once down, it was cut free and an attempt was made to unroll the coils into a long straight piece.

Paul and Julian walked away unrolling it.

Unfortunately, the coils followed at a respectful distance, and rolled themselves up again behind them! Dave intervened and held on to the tail end.

There was an air of 'It's a Knockout' about it all, and some hilarity.

After some struggles with the coils, which had a mind of their own, the pipe was laid at the back and a start made on covering it with the stone chippings.

It was quite tricky getting loaded barrows down the steep slope and on to the spot where it was needed.

If only we could back fill a bit, and make ourselves a road.

Idea! Get the Telehandler from Winchcombe, and throw in a first layer of back fill. Dave P was dispatched to get this, and the bucket to go with it.

Dave duly materialised on the trackbed with the Telehandler from Winchcombe, but without the bucket.

After a further journey to Toddington, he returned equipped with the bucket, and the process of adding infill started. Quite a milestone for us. Here goes the first load.

We put the first bucketfuls of infill around the southern catchpit, so that we ended up with an easier road for the barrows of stone to get to the bottom level. Dave D christened the new road, while Tim had a rest from shovelling.

In this picture you can see Dave P starting to infill further along, while the stone barrowers were busy on the southern section.

Don't ask, we don't know what they were doing in there either. Looks important though.

The 20 tons of stone sort of dominated the skyline outside the container, and a rolling team of two spent all day filling wheelbarrows. Warm work, which was just as well, as it drizzled pretty much all day long.

At the end of the day, all the stone that we needed was filled around the blue drain pipe, so that Dave P could tip in the infill wherever he wanted without hindrance.

A highlight of the day was Neal finding an original GWR 'Forty Shilling' trespass notice! It was almost completely intact, with traces of white lettering still evident, just a corner missing on the top.

We mused on the value of 40 shillings today. Can you still get a coffee for £2 ? And the alternative to payment of 40 shillings was one month in prison.

Here is a detail view of the notice. The missing piece on the corner includes the letter 'Y'.

This spurned us on to see if we could find any more pieces. Could they still be there?

It's a long shot, but Rick set out with a spade and scratched around.

Believe it or not, he found the missing 'Y' and several other small pieces. Perhaps they can be welded back on? Unfortunately, we couldn't find all the missing pieces, but Dave P has a metal detector, so we will have a go next week, also on the other side where a second notice would seem logical.

At the end of the day we had put some infill along almost all of the platform, with quite a lot along the north end, and a modest amount along the southern bit. We would quite like it to be 50% filled along its length, as that would aid the concrete block filling enormously, and we would no longer have to wheel the barrows through the remaining gap and on to the trackbed. If we leave the infill over the wet winter, it should settle down a lot.

This was pretty much the situation at the end of the day. A lot of infill at the top, and a start made at the bottom. A drain and stone chippings underneath, with the pipe laid into the two catch pits.

Finally, we afforded ourselves a group photograph with our find of the day.

For the record, the team today was (from L to R) Julian, Dave P, Jim, Rick, Paul, Dave D, Neal, Tim and behind the camera, Yours Truly.

Now we need an 8ft piece of bridge rail to re-erect the notice, so if anyone on the GWSR comes across one, please let us have it. (we need a second at Broadway by the way, and a GWR 'BEWARE of TRAINS' notice to have or copy)


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you Val, that is very kind of you.

  2. What a find, well done all.
    Wouldn't there be four of these signs, 1 at each end of both platforms? Two signs can be seen off the north end of the platforms in the 29 Jan 2016 building blog.

  3. A milestone today indeed. Backfilling started and an archaeological dig as well! Couldn't help laughing out loud at the roll of drainage coil as the same happened to me, (a few 'cough', years ago),on the SVR with a roll of alcathene piping that was destined to be the delivery pipe for coach toilet watering and then, latterly, to a parachute tank. Uncontrollable things, coils! Well done to all of you, especially in the inclement weather that we must now expect, on and off, until the Spring next year. Regards, Paul.

  4. Well done everyone . Can't wait until next week

  5. It feels like a real platform when you start back filling. Congratulations on all your hard work, it looks great.

  6. There is a piece of rail at Broadway when we remove it from the fence line