Monday, 12 December 2016

The first train also stops

Well, you just can't believe everything you read on a blog, can you! It turns out that there was an even earlier train that stopped at the new halt - see below. There's always someone out there who knows better.

Today was a fairly grim day, with just 6 degrees on the thermometer, and a steady, cold, drizzle announced. Unexpectedly for a BBC weather forcast, this was true as well. We spent the first half hour or so cooped up in the container, with Paul feeling miserable as there were only a handful of volunteers. However, a full complement did eventually turn up - 10 people - and the latecomers coyly admitted to difficulties with getting out of bed with these increasingly dark mornings. It's true, it is dark, the car headlights are on, the windscreen wipers are going....

Doughnuts were off the menu today, as not ready when Paul passd the shop, but he was nonethless armed with several chocolate Yule logs, which were an honourable substitute.

After a while, Jim G ventured out of the door and announced brightly that 'Look, it's not black any more, it's only grey!' and with this degree of enthusiasm we couldn't just stay sitting there, so to a man we rose and followed him out there.

Today was a brick laying day. We didn't have a 'plant operator' (to wit, Dave P, who is away for a fortnight) so concentrated on getting as many blues down as we could. We had 4 teams going, and here you can see Paul giving Julian a few tips on how to lay them straight.

Eventually Tim joined us, and was told where to start work by Paul 'I'm not the boss around here, he is', who nonetheless gives a passable impression thereof. Later on he was heard to inveigle Neal into laying down a few bricks:

Paul: 'Aren't you laying bricks today, Neal?'
Neal: 'Er, no........'
Paul, unperturbed: 'OK, you can start over here'

You can see the various brick laying teams in this picture, broadly speaking engaged at the two ends, as the middle has largly been completed to full corbelling height already.

You can't see the Cotswold edge, as it's covered in low cloud.

Paul spent his time giving the installed planks a second coat of creosote. It does look so much better like this, Paul, smashing.

Paul stayed until lunch time, then announced he had a to leave. We were saddened to hear this.

Paul: 'I have to go and see a nativity play'
A voice: 'That doesn't sound very exciting, why don't you stay here with us?'
Paul, sadly: 'Because if I did that, it wouldn't be the Turkey that went in the oven at home :-(  '

At lunch time our friendly contractor Stevie turned up to inspect the site for some grading work he will do next week. We need to clean up the irregularities in the site from the 1960s demolition and earlier works, as well as dig out a suitable area for the concrete slab for the corrugated iron shelter.

Now that we have emptied the container of a good part of our building supplies, there was room for all of today's working party to sit inside in the dry. Here they all are, enjoying a roll each with two freshly cooked sausages in it - delicious! That little warm meal really raised the spirits.

We even had an unexpected visitor -

Winston Churchill !

Gosh. Unmistakeable with that cigar and hand gesture for victory.

Mr. Churchill puffed on his cigar and mused on the state of the nation

'We shall fight them at Didbrook' - didn't he say that?

John dropped in for a while and helped fill in the voids in a recently laid line of corbelling.

Later he went on to the Gardener's Arms, to prepare for the sumpteous meal that awaits the PWay gang on Wednesday. It's always very cosy, with live music and often a quiz at the end.

Jim H, not sure of what to do next, consulted Paul and was quickly found a job.

'You can do the pointing', and a fine job he did of it too.
Earlier, he and Neal assembled the very last pieces of planking that were still missing on the front of the wall.

Here is Jim H helping Neal under what we presume was friendly fire - don't stick your head above the parapet!

At the end of the day, probably not much progress that is visible to the untrained eye. Just more bricks on top of other bricks. However, it's all part of the race for the finish.
- On the far left, the team is just covering up their work.
- In the middle, a sizeable stretch has already been completed with 3 courses of corbelling, and is ready for slabs (if we had a plant operator)
- Nearest to the camera, the first row of corbelling has been laid in 5 new bays.

All in all, we worked on 9 bays today, laid a course of bricks in each, and with 23 bricks in each bay, that gives about 200 bricks laid today. We think that is good progress, given the poor weather and the difficulty of laying bricks on a challenging surface.

So what's this about last week's 03 with slabs not being the first train to Hayles after all?

It turns out that the loco dept beat us to it, and as proof they sent us this picture:

They took the DMU out for a test run, and decided to stop at Hayles for a breather, and to stretch their legs.
And a fine photograph it made too. Well done, lads, and thanks for the exclusive!


  1. that's not a real train ,it's a odd mix of lost DMU's ,en route to Lapland or probably C+W ?

  2. Lyndon was having a gallbladder operation today in a Gloucester hospital. I bet he would rather have been here. He wasn't well enough for me to take him home so he has to spend a night away from his wife, Pat.

    1. Glad the operation seems to have gone OK then.
      Hope to see him again soon. We missed him today.

  3. An appeal:
    Does anyone know how to contact the family of former Broadway signalman Leek, who used to live at Willersey?
    If so, drop me a line at breva2011(at)
    Many thanks for your help.

  4. It was probably the "Grinch" returning to Lapland and wondered where this new station was!! He didn't stop long as the buffet hall was closed! No sausage rolls that day then! and still no station sign!

  5. Looks very BR with a mixed livery unit! Many were seen in the Midlands towards the end of their lives. Regards, Paul.

  6. Does a 3 car dmu fit on the platform length or does one end poke out a bit?

  7. Merry Christmas to you all (including Mr Churchill) and a happy new year. Regards, Paul.

  8. Please can someone kindly advice me of the date that DMU called for the historic record? - thank you - Paul Stewart (Great Malvern, GWR life member and shareholder).