Monday, 6 March 2017

A heritage asset arrives

A special day today - we had Stevie for the whole day. He arrived with a tractor and trailer, bearing a 3T mini digger. This he used to complete the platform infill, and dig out the base for the slab that will support the GWR corrugated iron shelter that we have.

Lucky arrived precisely on time, and found that half a doughnut had already been set aside for him.

We hope he knows the difference between doughnut, and a sugary finger!

A bit of morning limbering up then - another pallet of cement is delivered, and put inside, under the kitchen table. Yes! Something wrong with that?

After a quick cuppa on arrival, Steve set to work digging out the remaining half of the waiting room site, so that we can put in some shuttering for the slab on which it will sit.

While this drew a lot of spectators, a gang of three split off to put in the edging panels, which will designate the limit of the gravel on the footpath.

We did the Malvern side, and the Cotswolds side was prepared, but still needs finishing.

The surplus soil from the waiting shelter area was then transferrd to the rear of the platform by means of an ingenious shuttle involving the Telehandler and its bucket. It was interesting to watch, although not for all.
Those handrails are just the right height, aren't they, John?

After a bit of see-sawing backards and forwards, the right spot was found for the spoil at the southern end of the platform. During the day, this little gang worked foward until it met the already higher section in the middle. The back filling is now pretty much done, but we still need to borrow a roller to compress it a bit.

Trains are running again, and we are back to anticipating eagerly what this might bring. A distant toot announced the class 73, which then trundled through with a partially filled ballast train, destination: the Winchcombe relay. A bit more on the shoulders is required there to make it perfect.

Check out the now fully back filled platform, and neatly raked slope in the foreground. The slopes will be seeded with grass, thanks to a generous donation from our neighbouring agricultural company.

Lunch today was a sad affair - no Paul, no cooked lunch ! It's at times like these that you realise how you took his hot meals for granted.

Glum faces consumed their own picnics. It just wasn't the same...

Did somebody say tea? Steve gallops back to base in the mini digger, having just completed the landscaping in time for lunch. It's a tight squeeze through all that kit there.

Then came the exciting bit: Steve had reserved the second half of the day for fetching the corrugated iron hut from the donor's garden at Toddington. Can you see it in the picture?  (next to the tree on the left)

How's that all going to work then? We were all eager to see how he was going to move it. If you were too, read on!

Dave P on the Telehandler was chartered for the lift.

The bottom of the hut is somewhat moth eaten, and lacks a ring beam, so it's not suitable for lifting. Plan B was to use a friendly brick to take out two window panes, but fortunately this was superceded by plan C, which was Tim and Neal, who put in 4 lifting lugs through the roof.

As you can see, it was a good plan, as the hut duly came off the ground, all in one piece.

Dave P reversed and then set forth forwards down the garden, guided by Steve who manoeuvered the shelter through the narrow gates.

Then turn left, and gather speed through the field to the tractor and trailer nearby. Nothing can go wrong now !

We even had time for a quick group photograph, with the help of a board director, no less.

But will it fit my trailer? A tough call, that one, and the answer was, Er - no. Too wide!

The loco dpt. was persuaded to offer up two sleepers, with which we were able to support the bits that stuck out a few inches over the loading gauge. It's a tight fit, mind. Who was at the controls for those millimetre precise liftings?

Yes, it's our Dave. Say 'Cheese', Dave. Oh, you already have...

Tightly secured - not too tightly, mind, don't bend it - the little load started off along the overflow car park field, interupted by a brief pause to see if it wobbled. It didn't, so OK to proceed.

We jumped in our Telehandlers and cars and followed what looked like a perfect Gypsy caravan slowly trotting down the road. Here it is crossing the overbridge by Toddington station.

There was some relief nonetheless when it arrived safe and sound at Hayles.

Dave reversed in first, and so doing was able to lift the shelter off the trailer parked at the entrance to the bridleway.

Four men stationed at the corners carefully guided it around the bend, easily avoiding the two neighbour's cars parked at the corner, although the owner, without panicking, did come out to eye up what we were doing. It was, as Steve would put it, 'foin'.

Here it is in situ, in a temporary resting place. We're going to leave it here for a while, so that we can make up the slab on which it will sit, and also so that we can rectify any issues with it (it must be 100 years old at least). One thing we noticed straight away is that the 4 corner posts are of different lengths, it would seem because they were cut down with an angle grinder when it was removed from its original location at Usk.

The last picture of the day shows the site after landscaping, and with the sun shining. All the slabs are down, the platform is back filled, the slopes are graded, most of the handrail is up. A small team is busy preparing the shuttering for the concrete pour for the base.

See you next week !


  1. I see the waiting shelter comes complete with greenery. How thoughtful. LOL. Although the said greenery has diminished somewhat in the transit from its home to the halt! Regards, Paul.

  2. Oh St.Blazey, stop picking holes in my new residence!! once HAG have sorted the base, then the corner posts it will look magnificent! I can't wait to move in, hopefully this summer,(LOL!!!). The whole Halt is really coming together now, a great team effort. The sun is always shining on this project, where else would you find accommodation, food and a pet as well! Not to mention a team who all work so hard and are always smiling no matter what the weather. A great Project nearing completion that deserves an award all on it's own!
    Paul & Marion.

  3. Broadway Station,will probally,pick up an award,or two,when completed!.And so should Hayles Abbey Halt,too!.It's looking good!.It'll be ecen better,when it's finished!.

  4. More general buildings point but Malvern Road engine shed is about to be demolished.... any reclamation to be done?

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  6. Just an enquiry - how come the platform end slopes don't go right down to the ground?

    1. Seems like the modern way.... network rail always seem to install square ended platforms these days and this pattern has been copied at CRC too. H&S Requirement I presume.

    2. Seems like the modern way.... network rail always seem to install square ended platforms these days and this pattern has been copied at CRC too. H&S Requirement I presume.