Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Ever more beautiful

That's how this little halt is starting to look, especially when seen in today's sunshine. Just look at the mist on the Cotswolds Edge this morning:

This is the view towards the hill behind Hailes, and the abbey used to stand at the bottom of it, on the left. Those monks always knew how to pick the prettiest spots.

First things first, a cup of tea, a doughnut, and a natter.

We're going to miss these little get togethers, when the halt is opened. We sit in the sun, and listen to the larks. Soon we will have the container removed (going for scrap, it leaks like a sieve).

There were several teams on the go today, we must have been a dozen or so. This team spent the day on the path, putting down the Terram and filling in with stone chips. Note the handrail, which is now finished and fully painted white.

At the northern end the rail for the trespass notice awaits installation, and the first train of the day chugs by. Steam came out of the chimney, and hot air from the cab: 'Oi you, get on with it !!!' Never been joshed from a moving locomotive before. Of course, we took no notice. (sniff)

We've had a couple of interim sessions with 2 and 3 man teams, so there has been good progress on the shelter. The back was rubbed down, treat with Kurust, and a coat of primer applied.

Here Jim is fixing screws from behind to hold one of three notice boards that will be placed inside.

The roof has had a start made on it with black Hammerite.

Talking of black, this dirty hand print on the newly painted and virginal white handrail got Jim H foaming at the mouth. Who committed this heineous crime?

Did you hold on to the handrail? Did you?

Soon after, a second train trundled by, under the blue timetable. Again we were jeered at, this time by a member of the PWay-cum-guard. We know your name...
Oh well, I guess it's irresistible to tease the one you love. In fact, he must love us a lot, because he did it every time the DMU went by.

The path is rather rough near the top, and in the area where Minnie used to ply her trade, the ground is soaked with semi hard concrete.

Paul and Dave are scraping off the top layer here, so that the edging boards can be extended upwards, and another sheet of terram put down.

Dave is using Jim H's Hilti, which is a marvellous machine for this sort of stuff.

Elsewhere, Tim and John raked and levelled the top of the bank. It was cleared of stones, so that the grass will be on a level and clean surface, should anyone come along to mow it. John also sowed much of the second bag of grass seed that was donated to us. All we need now is a bit of rain - please.

An exciting step forward today was the planting of the two rail posts, one at each end of the platform. These will carry the cast iron trespass notices, warning people not to go any further.

A team of 8 carried the rails down to the platform, just like the good old days. No photographs of this though, the whole team was holding on.

The posts were secured with concrete, and the notices will be bolted down with shear nuts. We just need to wait until the concrete has gone off, and the posts stand secure.

Post holes for the running in board were also dug.

Again the loco hauled train came by, under a wonderful blue May sky. The gang building the path stopped to take a look and wave.
You can just about make out a first fuzz of grass on the slope by the platform. More grass has been sown on the bare strip in the foreground.

Jim and Dave spent almost the whole day on the shelter.

Here you can see that Dave has finished the roof (we have switched to Bitumen in the end, as we needed so much paint that the Hammerite became too expensive) and Jim has started on the undercoat on the rear. Coincidentaly, this is the same colour as the top coat applied to the shelter at Usk goods yard. Our top coat however will be GWR light stone.

After Jim H completed the undercoat at the back, 4247 drifted by again.

Jim H and Dave take a breather from painting, and paint stripping.

They will be back on Thursday to advance the painting of the shelter a bit further.

Meanwhile, the top of the path is starting to turn the corner. The edging is being continued around the bridge rail posts, but it will then change to a post and rail fence, with a gate somewhere near the far end.
Isn't it funny how it always takes a lot of chiefs, and one Indian?

Here Paul and Jim, (single handedly!), fill the many wheelbarrows of stone that are required for the path. We had 20 tons of the stuff here, then another 20 tons.

In the background, John and Tim have started on the next bit, which is to prepare the ground where the shelter was parked for repair. It's too low there, so a few rocks and spent ballast are being thrown in the void.

This is the low spot where the shelter was parked.

The path of stone chippings will come through here, and end in a gate just off to the left.

The blue line shows our property border; the camera is positioned on the bridle path.

The last picture of the day shows 4247 coming through, chimney first. It's started to cloud up a bit, and this picture is not an easy one as to get the loco chimney first, you have to take the photograph into the light.
Dave is putting the final bit of concrete into the northen rail post hole, while John stands next to one of the holes dug for the running in board, which will stand at this end of the platform.


  1. Nearly there! Besides the noticeboard, is there going to be a bench inside the shelter to sit and wait (out of the rain!)?

  2. Already it seems as if Hayles Abbey Halt never really closed or disappeared! It's great to see it coming back (well half of it) even better than before; especially as, a few years ago anyway, it was never in the GWSR.s plans to rebuild this halt. I hope a seat won't be placed inside the shelter otherwise there will be people who'll just set up home there! Lovely photos on a lovely day.

  3. Do you plan to install two posts for oil lamps?

    1. Yes! One post will be one of the two on the running in board, the other will stand alone at the bottom of the ramp. They will have hooks on the top, so that you can hang a Hurricane lamp on them.

  4. I think that originally the roof would have been coated with 'gas tar', which was easily available from any gas works. Great photos. The actual moving image when transformed with a stills camera can transform what you see. the mind can take what it sees of the trains passing through the halt and change the facts to make the trains CALL at the hat , just by looking at the photos. Wonderful thing, the mind! The halt just gets better and better! Sorry that you all will become redundant soon - or will you? Have you a next project already in mid? regards. Paul.

  5. Interesting that 4270 is being reported as 4247. Still on holiday or do you need a trip to Specsavers? Excellent report otherwise!!

    1. Got 3 of the 4 numbers right :-)
      Confusion arose, as you suspect, by the visit to Bodmin last week.
      A course of pills should do the trick.

  6. Well done Jo your eyesight is OK it's the others, well that's what I say! So someone reads the blogs, to TT yes I will need the bench seat inside, were else can I sleep in my new abode, I did ask for a small table as well but got no answer to that, I will just have to make do...
    Great work by all the HAG team, I ask again, where can we go to for someone to give the team an award for this beautiful project, it looks really good, I cannot wait to see it in the flesh, just a shame I have to be elsewhere on the opening day, so well done all.
    Paul & Marion

  7. I'm looking forward to the opening day!.(And the Gala,the weekend before!).I,took a still pic,of 7820,Dinmore Manor,from the top,of the path,the other week!.I,have it as my desktop screen background!.