Monday, 8 May 2017

On the home straight

A busy scene at Hayles today, with lots of volunteers doing lots of different things. It was sunny and windy, ideal weather for painting, so that's what some of us did.

Right at the beginning, it was time to move the sign for one of our principal sponsors over to the fence, so that we can envisage moving the container. It should be taken away very soon, so that we can tidy up the site.

Talking of tidying the site, the road end is still a bit of a jungle, although we have exposed the GWR bridge rail fence post at the end.

Rick here is having a go at the rest of the vegetation, so that we can clear our fence line and put in a replacement post and rail fence, with a gate in the middle.

A bit further along, a group was shovelling chippings into barrows to beef up the path on the slope, and the rear of the platform, where it was a bit low.

This also gives us the space to build the post and rail fence through here.

Today we went to fetch the running in board posts prepared by B&S. As Julian was there, with Paul's lead working kit, we asked him (nicely) if he would put some of those lovely caps on the ends. Which he did, as you can see.

B&S also found two 'grandpa' posts for us to use. We noticed on the old photographs that the RIB posts were on such supports, concrete posts in the ground that hold up the wooden ones, which stops the actual posts from rotting in the ground.

Good idea, we'll do that too!

Got to dig deep post holes in stony ground though, a bit of a struggle but we got there.

At the end of the morning, the RIB posts were actually up - here is proof. The grandpa posts hold them up from behind. The Loco Dept. provided the 200mm bolts, another fine example of departmental cooperation. When the concrete has gone off, the actual running in board can be bolted to the posts. Shouldn't take too long, but we are ready for it.
You're going to say, hey, that RH post is taller than the other one. You weren't going to say that? Well, it is. It's nearly 2ft taller, and the reason for that is that it will hold a hurricane lamp from a metal hook at the top. That was the basic lighting this halt had. Those lamps were brought out from Toddington each day.

Julian was very busy about the site today. Here we see him touching up the white paint on the handrail posts.

He was then seen sweeping the platform. Eh?

That seems a tad OCD cleaners, or is it?

Ahhhhh, it's to have a nice clean, dust free surface to paint the white line along the platform. Well. Julian did have the white paint out.

It's quite a slow job, so today he got about half way, the rest will no doubt follow next week.

Chop-chop-chop - CHINOOK  ! We heard this one before we could see it, it came from the east out of sight, emerged over the Cotswolds edge, and then swooped down into the vale over Toddington.

It just about missed Hayles, and turned steeply twoards Dumbleton Hill. Jim G reckons we are in a designated low flying area here, and we do see these transport aircraft at treetop height quite a lot. Great fun, our boys up there.

This is now our plane observation rail. Did you see it , lads?

Nah, we were just drinking tea.

Lunch time was brilliant. Here we are on the 'terrace' with our mugs of tea after eating our sandwiches. Mrs. Dave baked some cakes, which Dave very kindly shared with us all. A railway magazine was passed round. The newly arrived swifts circled in gangs overhead, it was a lovely spring day.

Great was our joy when Paul came back to see us, after an uncomfortable stay in hospital, now somewhat better.

Paul is almost back to normal, and hopes for a cooked lunch next time are rising. We certainly missed those beefburgers in tiger rolls with ketchup.

Paul was in fine spirits and full of fighting talk, that's how we know him !

After lunch, the greater part of the gang started to address the remaining part of the path up to the end of the bridle path. The ground is uneven, and some unkind person has tipped a lot of old motoring rubbish on our land - a rocker cover, a headlamp bulb, an air filter, a rod with a gearwheel on it, a car jack were some of the bits we found. All that is interspersed with rusty thick GWR wire. It lasts 100 years, we can see that.
Here the guys are putting up the first of the posts for the post and rail fence.

Then the next post, which Paul is holding up, while Peter is shovelling in the concrete. When all was done, the whole thing turned out to be too low, so a lot of pulling took place afterwards. Now it's about OK.

In the background John is sorting out some topsoil for us, while flattening the bank of a pile of dirt we found there.

We had the use of the blue railway truck today. It took away a whole pile of rubbish - there is more - and while it was available, we used it to fetch  the gate and the posts for the entrance from the bridleway.

These were given an immediate coat of Creosote, before they are dug in next week.

Here's that gate. Doesn't it look good? Dave has all the bits for it too. That'll go up next week.

Today we had a visitor from Cornwall, who knew all about us from reading this blog. Amazing. He was kind enough to bring us two rolls of chocolate biscuits for next week. They will go very well with tea. A nice example to set, any more out there? We like biscuits, and cake.

All, day Jim H and Dave P scraped and sanded that shelter, to make it ready for painting. Finally the northern end was ready for the first coat of primer.

Dave P had a good go at the front too. Here the yellow paint that it originally came with turned out to have been applied to the corrugated iron beneath without a primer many years ago, and as a result was bubbling and peeling. Not a good surface for a repaint, so it all had to be scraped off. This side is already in banana yellow undercoat.

Meanwhile Julian, unperturbed, continued to paint his white line.

Jim very carefully painted the window frame. We had a bit of a discussion about the colour (peering at old photographs) and the colour white was agreed on.

At the end of the day, freed from paint scraping, Dave P had a go at the tree stumps below the container.

Chop them with an axe, that's right. Give 'em what for.

This was less successful than you might think, as the roots were very rubbery. The ultimate weapon was then selected to finish them off - a chainsaw. That worked.

The chainsaw buzzed as the others looked on in amazement. It's a rather untidy bit below the container, as it is dominated by a sawn off ash tree, which is sprouting again from multiple little branchlets.

No trains today, so you'll have to make do with this zoomed in shot of the painting works in and around the shelter. Behind are the two long and short posts for the running in board.

The grass has been sown all over the bank, but it won't grow as there is no rain. Several voices have called for rain. You don't hear that very often in an English spring.


  1. Does look good. When I was based as Guard at Kidderminster, when we were 'spare', we did various little jobs around the station and one of those jobs was always to redo the white line - which did via a special white lining brush that did the top and front of the platform edge at the same time. Whitewash (Snowcem) was used and after a while we got good (neat) at it!! The main addition being another person with the Snowcem mixed in a watering can preceding the person with the brush. Did you know that it was 'handed', so that you always brushed towards the direction from which trains would come? Unless you had island platform where thing were reversed, that is!! Anyway, the platform at Hayle Abbey looks very neat. Regards, Paul.

  2. Looking good!.I,paid a visit to the Halt,on Sunday!.I,videoed the trains passing through!.According to the weather guru's,there will be rain,by the weekend!. Regards. Anthony.

  3. Dropped by today just too late to get a picture from the footpath of P&O passing the halt. However for all who love the blog photos the real thing looks even better.

  4. Brilliant effort everyone. Is there a car parking area?

    1. Not really - you're supposed to come and go by rail :-)

  5. I was planning to visit Broadway and thought it would nice to visit you. However, I believe the lane is very narrow for parking.