|Scraping away at the rear of the platform|
Progress was slow. The main reason was the discovery of a 4 - 6 inch base of concrete at the rear, and the mini digger was too lightweight really to deal with this. We had to resort to manual destruction of large slabs of concrete with a keying hammer. The leftover pieces were then too big or too awkward to be scooped into the dumpers, and in some cases it was quicker to stop digging, and lift the pieces in by hand.
Last week, we did 35m of the rear, and this week we did the same again. So that's about two thirds of the 100m length done, i.e. we have to come back again to finish the job next week. There were mutterings about getting a bigger digger...
|The Dexion strip at the rear is trying to hold the running in board up.|
The platform 2 running in board did not entirely survive the digging operation, and, given its age and less than perfect authenticity (the posts are made of plastic, painted dark stone...) , it was agreed to try and replace it with a new one, similar to the one on platform 1. At the end of the day, it looked like your scribe had got the job ! Gee, I didn't see that one coming....
|The platform edging committee.|
We scratched our heads over the nature of the rear of the platform. Was it made of slag stones, like platform 1? If so, where were they? How far back, how deep? An exploratory dig was made. Eventually, a sort of wall made of loose stones was found, but no slag stones. A chat with Bob Stark revealed that there had been slag stones for at least part of the length, but in the early days these stones had been thrown into the centre of the track by vandals. These stones typefy CRC, and may have been cheap and common during GWR days, but they may well prove hard to find today, given the much reduced, and modernised state of our steel industry.
|The view at lunch time. Once again, it was hot and very dusty indeed. The water bowser was on another job, we learned. Paul is dreaming of tea.|
|Bob and JC install the new distribution box - believe it or not , Paul is in the picture. He is on his hands and knees behind the box. Don't be shy, Paul !|
While the digger and the dumpers worked on the rear of the platform, another team started to prepare for the installation of GWR lamp posts. The electricity supply as found was sourced from the below ground level GPO box in the centre left above, but it was water logged and not ideal for electrical distribution. A brand new box was sourced an erected; however, it is not very heritage, and later perhaps a more traditional box could be found? How about one of the green cast iron telephone cabinets you see along the roadsides, now increasingly replaced by more modern cabinets? Anyone know how to get one? Other ideas?
|JC, Peter Muir, Bob Stark and Bob W ponder the works. Paul gives the bright new distribution box a hard stare.|
|Dig deeper, Paul. Much deeper !|
Having prepared a cable route, thoughts turned to the installation of the lamp posts themselves. JC marked out the position of the rear of the platform, and then the site of the first three lamp posts. Brian and Paul then dug the first two holes. Easier said than done - this was into solid, original clay, which was hard as rock. Due to the depth, a pick axe could not be used on the deeper bits; stabbing at the bottom with an iron rod was the only way to prise the stuff loose.
|At the end of the day.|
At the end of the day, we had achieved another 35m dig at the rear of the platform. We almost made it to the southern end - 5m still to go - but weariness set in, and at 17.00 we decided to call it a day. Tiredness can be dangerous, and you really have to concentrate when loading the dumpers, or running one up and down along the platform edge.
In the picture above, the digger and dumper set off for the cabin. The dumper is filled with slabs of concrete, and the keying hammer with which they were broken up. The posts on the right show the platform rear edge, and the position of a lamp post.
Next time: You scribe climbs into the attic of the booking office, and makes a find.