Monday, 3 April 2017

A happy day

A special day today, the shelter was going to be lifted in. The weather was beautiful, the doughnuts plentiful, the tea hot. We sat outside on the 'terrace' and marvelled.

Our neighbours DLF Seeds were very kind and gave us two big bags of grass seeds, some of which you can see John spreading here on the slopes, which he has prepared with a rotavator.

In the foreground, some edging has also been applied to the rear of the platform surface.

It's looking very neat here. The growing grass should suppress the weeds.

Inside the corrugated iron shelter much banging and drilling could be heard.

It was Tim and Jim who were fitting the angle iron bottom frame that was missing here.

Hurry up, Tim and Jim, a big Telehandler is due shortly to lift this little beauty up in the air!

Here is the new bottom frame that was made. It was measured up here, cut and drilled at Toddy, and fitted on site. This will make the shelter stable again, it wobbled awfully when we moved it here.

Julian and Dave made a little construction at each end of the platform slopes to finish of the ends, which had a bit of an awkward drop into nowhere before.

Paul brought his lead shaping kit and made these little caps for the handrail posts.

It looks like they will be better than the originals!

Lunch was sausages in Tiger rolls with ketchup. We had to fight off the rest of the volunteers to keep two for Stevie, who was working at Broadway this morning, but was expected at lunch time to guide the placing of the shelter on the platform.

Today was Jim's birthday! Jim was looking quite content, everything is going swimmingly and the Heritage Group is earning a good reputation for itself with its first project. Let there be more! Of course the smiles may also be due to the fistfuls of sausage rolls and the warmth of the sun.

Stevie arrived in time to snatch the last two sausages out of the frying pan (in the face of vigorous competition) and soon after our local farmer arrived with his Telehandler. This one had an extended reach and outriggers, and was ideal for the job of lifting the shelter over the fence and on to its new base.

Gingerly the big green machine lifted up the hut and crept over to the fence, from which we all had to remove our cars to a more distant location.

Down on the platform a reception committee of experts was waiting for the big event. All other work came to a halt.

Just then an A400 roared over at tree top height. Could this be a coincidence, with this big event? We think not!

As it flew over and up to the Cotswolds Edge, Steve was re-fitting the straps to the forks of the Telehandler. The machine had put the shelter down to change sides, otherwise it would go down back to front (we thought about this, you know!)

Then up it went, high over the fence....

... and down the other side. Would the Telehandler reach?

Of course the last few inches had to be manhandled this way and that, as it had to stand exactly on the row of bricks on the pad, with the corrugated iron projecting over and beyond the bricks to prevent any water from getting in.

Here it is in position. Now get out your guidebooks of the line, and see if it isn't just like the original.

This shot from the southern end of the platform shows the other rebuild of the end, done earlier in the day. Looks much better.

Loud bangs came out of the shelter, to persuade the new frame to sit exactly on the bricks. They were persuasive, it worked, with a thump the shelter came down the last two inches in the northern corner and now sits squarely on its new foundations.

This shot shows you the interior, and how the new ring round the bottom sits on the single row of bricks.

A call for a group photograph.... OK then:

This is the gang that put the shelter back in its place. Steve and the farmer were a bit camera shy and preferred a cup of tea by the container to celebrate. But we owe them too. Say 'Hi', guys.

As we were tidying up for the day, there was a loud claxon call from the road bridge, and a familiar Dalmatian rolled by.

It was Lucky, accompanied by its owner in a classic car that was being taken out for a spin.

Lucky is now familiar with us (and our left over bacon rinds and bits of last week's doughnuts) so gave Jim a friendly welcome with a few gruff barks.

What is this car then? It was a Lagonda, with a curious radiator cap.

This turns out to be a thermometer, which you can read through the windscreen. What a marvellous idea.

The car was a 1980s barn find, and is completely restored. The paintwork, now over 30 years old, is thick and like new.

The engine is spotless. It has a very advanced DOHC, but alas only a single carburettor.

Lucky and the proud owner enjoy our admiration.

Lucky was very well behaved, and sat meekly in his co driver's seat, getting out only when the tiny little door was opened.

Jim, the birthday boy, is thinking to himself - I wish I could have a go in that....

Two seconds later, and he was invited to go for a spin, sitting in the back like Lord Muck. We took the dayglow orange jacket off him, and at the last minute, just before the car puttered off, we also rememberd his hard hat. You don't go for a drive in a Lagonda in a hard hat.


It was a brilliant day today, and in the warm afternoon light the gang makes grateful use of the new handrail, which we know is just the right height.

In the not too distant future we are planning to have an official opening for the halt, and we are cooking up something special and very suitable. Can't say what yet, but you'll like it.


  1. Super job! I had visions of the hut collapsing in a rusty heap during the lifts! Looks like it needs a good wire brushing and several coats of paint though. Presumably the final touch will be the terram sheeting and the layer of chippings on top along the path and platform?

    1. That's pretty much it, yes.

    2. I presume the shelter is to be firmly anchored to the ground without delay, as otherwise a gale force wind entering the large open front with no means of escape would have it airborne and wrecked in seconds. Would be drastic if all the effort to get an authentic shelter was to no avail for the lack of ground anchors. A piece of angle fitted along the bottom in the back centre section would also be a wise move.

      David P

  2. I was rather thinking of 14XX(48XX) and auto trailer or maybe the GWR diesel railcar fro Didcot, No. 22; calling at Hayles Abbey Halt for the first advertised passenger train to stop there might be fitting. Yes? The halt is certainly worthy of something along those lines as it looks absolutely fantastic. Regards, Paul.

    1. Another candidate just came to mind. No. 93, the steam railmotor would look ideal calling at the halt, with or without the trailer. Regards, Paul.

    2. Now, being a bit pedantic, isn't that a bit too late for steam railmotors, as the halt only opened in 1928?
      The SRM would be excellent with which to open Broadway though.

  3. What an idyllic way to spend a perfect day, AND you get to stand back and see progress at the end of it!
    I envy you guys very much.
    Mark the wage slave.

    1. We were wage slaves once, be patient, your time will come. I used to read Bill's blog from my desk far away....

  4. There is something about the opening event in the new issue of Railway Magazine, which arrived today.
    But I wont spoil things here.
    Great job everyone.

  5. Tiger roll sounds like an aerobatic manoeuvre in a biplane. It looks like a good day was had by all including the new and old forms of transport.

  6. Great Day, great flypast (even though A400 Atlas sounds like 4 large agricultural vehicles going mad!, great looking GWR Halt, great car and cool dog. What's not to like?! Toddington Ted

  7. It looks absolutely superb!.Well done!.lads!.Yes!.No 1450,and autocar,Chaffinch.would make an excellent picture,calling at the Halt!.That radiator cap,with thermometer,on the Lagonda!.I'm a fan'of American Pickers!.They call those,Motormeters,over in the States!. Anthony.

  8. That was me in the A400! I was having a Jolly and asked the crew to slightly divert so I could see Broadway. what a glorious day! And in the excitement I forgot the camera for the aerial shots! I must say what a wonderful site my new hut makes, is Lucky an honourable member of the group?
    such great work going on at the halt, I cant wait to stop there when I visit to see my new abode, will there be some seating benches there or will I have to take my seat with me?
    Paul & Marion.

    1. We plan to put a bench inside the shelter, and another at the top of the slope.

    2. Perfect! have you got a date for the official opening so I can move in?(LOL!) great work by every one there, I will buy you all a beer when I am there!
      Paul & Marion.

    3. As Lucky is rather unlikely to stand for political office!!, I take it you mean honorary member rather that honorable!?! Regards, Paul.