Monday, 19 December 2016

The first slabs go down

A great day today (appart from the fog and drizzle) as we got some slabs down, for the first time. This was another milestone for the project, and it made us feel very motivated.

To begin with, tea.

Here is Paul, with two cups ready to go, and rather taken aback by Lucky the labrador, brought to us today by Mrs. Lucky. What are you snuffling in there, Lucky?

Gerroutovit, you scoundrel!

He didn't even notice the freshly caught mouse in the trap, just after the sugar rush, he is. He got a doughnut for his trouble too. Some of us are softies, and he knows it.

Dave P trundled in first thing with another pallet of blues. That must be about the last one for us now, as the corbelling is really doing well now.

We hoped to have Stevie doing some landscaping today, but other things intervened. Maybe lucky next time then, it'll get done sooner or later.

Once he had discharged his load of 400 blues, Dave P was able to try out the new working method we had figured out, on how to get the slabs placed carefully on the platform wall.

Last week the slings approach was gaining ground, but a last minute outsider in the form of Neal won the day, with a set of brackets that fitted nicely under the front and rear edges.

Here is the first slab being lifted.

Dave lifted it carefully on to the prepared bed of mortar.

The placing has to be very gentle, as you don't want to disturb the bed and end up with a crooked slab.

There she goes, handled by Paul with the trowel and under the supervision of Jim on the left.

This is how they did it, with the brackets designed by Neal and assembled in the loco dept. at Toddington. A nice bit of inter-departmental cooperation.

Once the slab is down, there are two worries:

Is it level, and is it in the right place?

With the blue gauge you can make sure that it is the correct distance from the running rail.

As we don't have walkie-talkies yet, a bit of verbal communication does the trick.

'No, not there, there'

Once again the weather was reasonably kind, and the gang sat outside.
To be honest, fine weather or no, this is where we have to sit, as there is nowhere else, unless we all squeeze into the dark and dingey container. It has to rain really hard for us to do that.

Today's menu said 'soup'. Or, if in France, Consomme. But we're in England here, so it's soup and a roll. Very heartwarming it was too, just the ticket.

After lunch, we really got going with the slabbing, and laid 10 in all, which signed off 4 of the bays, a great advance. We'll need some more from Winchcombe, at this rate.

With yours truly on ballasting duty at Broadway this Monday, a new mortar maker was found. This was John, the sorcerer's apprentice.

Dave D gives instruction on where to throw the water. Go on, don't be shy.

Despite all the attention on the slabbing today, a sneaky bit of corbelling was going on at the northern end. Here is Julian placing some of those corbelling bricks, right at the northern tip of the platform end.

We're now going to take a bit of a Christmas break until Januay the 9th. It's not a holiday, it's all those 'looking after the grandchildren ' duties. Look at it another way, we're building up those Brownie points, so that we can come back wih a vengance in the new year.

See you then, and have a lovely Christmas, and a happy new year 2017!

All from the heritage team at Hayles Abbey halt.


  1. Happy Christmas to all, thank you for all of your hard work and an entertaining blog

  2. Great work everyone, what am I going to do with no blog to look at for three weeks! May you all have a wonderful restful and peaceful Christmas and a Happy New Year to all! Great progress here and looking forward to using the Halt in the summer to come. Great pictures and a great blog. Enjoy your break (what is Lucky going to do for treats over this time?!!!)
    Kindest Regards

  3. Lyndon hopes to get back to work on 13th February when he comes back from holiday and he hopes there's still some work for him to do.

  4. A happy Christmas to everyone at Hayles Abbey Halt and thank you for your hard work. Good luck in 2017.
    Mike Rose ( new shareholder in South Wales)

  5. To Paul, keep an eye on the 'drainage dept.' blog, as we will be working!
    Merry Christmas Everyone....

  6. Lucky the Labrador ? I was watching 101 Dalmatians the other day and I could have sworn ...............

    1. Arghhhh - it's the alliteration that misled me.