Dave P kept the promise made last week, and brought his metal detector. Here you can see three volunteers staring intensely at the ground - see anything?
We investigated the area where the GWR cast iron notice was found last week. The metal detector bleeped a great deal, and we unearthed several bits of wire, a bolt and - two more pieces of the shattered corner of the sign. Success!
We put all the pieces we had into the corner, and this is what it produced.
Then we set to work again to see if we could find the missing oval piece, but alas, no luck. We had a lot of false readings, as the cutting side is covered with ash which contains lumps with a high metal content.
Paul made the mixes, and attacked the bags of ballast with vigour, reducing them by two whole bags, an enormous effort.
After a while he began to slow down a bit, and Neal took over, Yours Truly also having several goes.
All in all we got through three bags of the stuff, and filled in all the fifth row right up to the northern end.
More concrete infill is needed at the southern end, where Tim and Lyndon were working
Tim arrived bearing a large mattock, and dug a trench to carry the drainpipe directly into the catch pit on the end.
They then back filled this area with gravel, and started to lay the rest of the fifth row of blocks along and then down the slope just visible here.
This brings us near to the end of block laying.
A bit more work is needed on the northern end, where Neal was cutting blocks to size with his disk cutter.
The mystery was soon solved when we saw a pack of hounds in the distance, spread out over the trackbed where the train had passed only seconds earlier.
We resumed filling the fifth row of blocks with concrete, which was very satisfying.
It was such a perfect day, and lunch 'on the patio' outside the container was a real pleasure.
|A study in orange|
These will be filled from 14 lorry loads of ballast just received at Stanton.
Finally, following a tip off from a reader, we have found two colour photographs of trains coming through Hayles Abbey Halt when it was still open. For Copyright reasons we can only show you a low resolution version, but you can buy your own better quality image from Colour Rail, it's only £1.15.
What is interesting about this first colour picture is that it tells us the definite colour scheme of the buildings, and the material used for the platform surface - granite chippings, not ash as we had supposed. You can clearly see the hooks on the poles that carried the hurricane lamps at night.
A similar photo that we have also acquired shows the Cornishman coming through, and a glimpse of the running in board on the left. The background colour scheme was dark brown, not black. Does anyone know why? The pictures were taken on the same day, only minutes apart.
In the not too distant future we will be able to replicate this scene with Foremarke Hall, and our rake of Maroon Mk1s.