Saturday, 23 May 2015

Work continues at Broadway, and with the original blog 'frozen' I thought I would post a few pictures of work that went on today. I hope the Cheltenham guys don't mind me 'borrowing' their blog.

This is a photograph taken a few days ago and shows Peter Q starting on the T&G boarding inside the SB. At the end of the day he had done the area above all 6 windows, except for 4 boards that he didn't have. Below him is the floor, as yet open. This will be boarded over later, when there is less risk of damage from activities above. Scaffolding planks suffice for the moment.

Today, and up above, Tony and the two Johns cut and placed the ridge tiles, seen here on the northern end.
A small, interesting fact: They do not go down on a bed of mortar, but are attached to each other with mortar. This is to allow for expansion of the roof to take place.
Just visible on the centre ridge are the tops of the two cast iron ventilator tubes. The ventilator cowls are shoehorned over the top, and have wide skirts that go over, and grip under, the edge of the ridge tiles. These are of a special pattern, rounded over the top, not pointed. Typical for a GWR box.

Because our roof is fitted with insulation sheets to meet today's building regulations, the tops of the cast iron tubes do not stick out far enough, and we plan to extend them to the correct height. This will then give the cowls enough to hang on with.

One or two minor jobs remain after the ridge tiles. After that, the plan is to wash down the exterior brickwork with a special cleaner, to remove remaining traces of mortar. The joiner can then come and fit the remaining windows, after the scaffolding has been taken down a level. As the scaffolding is rented, it is in our interest to take it down as soon as possible.

Here is a glimpse of our new bric-a-brac shed. It's only a temporary building, so don't worry about the architecture. We will move the bric-a-brac from the old shed out into the new on a date yet to be decided. The old shed can then be taken down and the station building footprint fully revealed. Today's activity centred round the placing of the patio slabs and further sand around it.

There were only 11 volunteers today. That's a bit on the low side, but there was strong competition at Toddington! If you listened carefully, you could hear foreign whistles...

In this picture above you can see Phil painting some marker posts that were placed this morning. It's not much of a development, but represents a big step. These 4 posts designate the area for the footbridge tower foundations, and on the far left you can in fact see the first riser of the original footbridge. It's still there! This area needs to be marked so that a test excavation can be done on behalf of our consultant engineer, who will be designing the new foundations. We are also talking to potential fabricators for the new towers, but nothing has been decided yet. As extension money is limited, we need to prioritise and the BAG committee is currently considering this tricky issue.

Earlier in the week, the BAG committee met to elect a new chairman. We are very lucky that a committee member has indeed agreed to take on this challenging role, and we therefore welcome Roger Brindley as our new BAG chairman.
The position of project manager for the station rebuild, a separate job, is currently vacant, and the search for candidates is on.

Elsewhere on site brick cleaning continued using the remains of  the station foundations, and the new catch pit covers were given more coats of paint.

On Friday the annual BAG open evening was held, and there was a good number of guests, many brought in by London double decker bus from Broadway centre. The beer ran out within a quick 45 minutes, resulting in an urgent trip to the supermarket for some ad hoc bottles. There was an ample supply of beefburgers, but almost all of these went too. People were clearly hungry for refreshments, as well as information about the project. There was a steady stream of visitors to the footbridge centre span where explanations were being given, and at the end of the evening the platform 1a lights came on, and someone had even rigged a light in the shell of the SB. Very atmospheric, that was. All this was accompanied by live music from Mike S and his friends.

At the end of the day today the SB looked like this - the ridge tiles are all up, except for a short stretch in the middle. The name board is off centre, but it's a dummy made of wood, hanging between two window posts. We'll use a tape measure for the real, cast iron one later.

A small gang of 2 will continue on Monday, while a further expedition to Wishaw is planned for Tuesday to recover the last of the wooden planks for the footbridge centre span. Busy busy busy! Wednesday is the next normal working day then, and the last for your blogger, who will take a long awaited holiday in Italy.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Today was the day that the new platform 2 running in board was located on its new posts.

Two members of the Broadway gang joined the B&S team from Winchcombe, after loading the rather substantial looking sign. It even sticks out over the end of the van!

With a bit of a struggle the large wooden board was manhandled down the long ramp, and across the track. Well, no, not quite, because when we got to the bottom of the ramp, someone had parked a train in the platform, 7 coaches long. Oh.
Following a smell of freshly brewed coffee, we traced this to the waiting room where £1.50 secured us a large cupful each.
Eventually the train left again, well packed. Good to see! We manoeuvered the board across, and on to a set of supports, ready for mounting.

Can you see what it is yet?
Your blogger, after sourcing, ordering, fetching and planting the posts was understandably a tad nervous - would the board fit as well?

It did!
The fit was perfect, a good example of collaboration between the Cheltenham and Broadway area groups, and B&S, who made the board. Keith, Pat, Pete, Ron and Anon proudly stand by their work.

The letters used here are made of plywood, but a set of genuine GWR cast iron letters has been located since, and will be used when the platform 1 board letters start to delaminate (as plywood eventually does).

For Broadway, a replica set of letters has been ordered from a small foundry, with the help of the SVR who very kindly allowed us to borrow some samples. Thank you guys !

Now let's just check with the original.....
CRC2 in 1966

Yep. That's what it looked like OK.

Back to Broadway for the afternoon, where we noted the following activities:

- Work on the relocated bric a brac shop on the drive. The cabin is now up, and some paving slabs were being laid around it, to make it an attractive place to linger and buy some stuff to help the project. We can't say for sure yet when the stock will be moved from the old building to the new, but one or other will always be open on working days, so do come along.

- Weed removal and strimming to tidy up the site for the Broadway open evening on Friday - are you coming? There will be food and drink, and the opportunity to see the signal box and catch up with the latest news.

- Work on the signal box continued with the placing of ridge tiles, and inside the matchboard paneling above the sliding windows was almost completed (ran out of boards with only 4 left to do!)

- The dumper was back in action at last, delivering 2' x 2' slabs to the new shop area.

- Vic continued his gargantuan task of shovelling Mythe dirt into barrows, and wheeling this out of the car park field, along the road, up the drive, and using it to make up ground under the new steel paling fence behind the new shop. A brilliant effort, Vic!

- More catch pit covers were being painted - the existing ones, only 2 years old, are either delaminating, or have been pushed into their pits by the numerous vehicles we receive on site.

- Members of the BAG committee met during a large part of the day, and another meeting is scheduled for tomorrow, with a large number of issues being addressed. Will we have white smoke on Friday? You'll have to be there to find out... hope to see you there.

Monday, 11 May 2015

The last brick - again !

It was a lovely sunny day today, and 5 volunteers made it down to CRC to fine tune the completion of the platform wall.
At the bottom of the completed northern ramp a little extra brickwork was need to help set out the footpath to the barrow crossing. John S did the honours here. It was hot today; CRC2 stalwarts have long memories of the cold and rainy winter, and keep their woolly hats and jackets on !

Here you can see the nicely finished slope down to the ground at the northern end. Almost all the stacks of bricks on the left have gone, and now it's time to lay the remaining drain pipes to the end. They fit inside each other, but you put some silicone gel on, and here we see JC give the end of the pipe a little prod so that the other end slips in nicely. Lots of banter about that in the cabin !

After the pipes are laid, they are boxed in with scaffolding boards and the void is filled in with pea gravel. In the bad old days we used to have to load two barrows' worth on to the PWay trolley and trundle it down the track, but now that 'the end is near' we can just wheel a load down to the place it's needed. So easy, it's making Brian smile. And he's found a barrow without a flat tire too.

After pea gravelling, the team set out for the other end of the wall to build the next step. Now that is a long walk, so the trolley was pressed back into service. Here are Keith and JC with a barrow of fresh concrete on their way south.

On arrival at the southern end, this is what they did with it. Having built a foundation and the first step last week, a second step was cast today. While Keith looks on, JC gives the step a nice smooth finish.

While the step casting was going on, Brian was on painting duty nearby. The new running in board posts needed a final topcoat for extra protection.

Once this is dry, it is ready for the board itself to be bolted on. It has already been fabricated off site.

Rumour has it that Pete from B & S has this 12ft board secreted somewhere behind the sofa at home. You can bring it now, Pete !

Amazingly, the gang had done all this by 10 am, so after a short tea break, they moved on to Broadway. What they did there will appear on the Broadway blog in an hour or so.

So what happens next at CRC2? We need to organise some good quality infill material. Initially we thought we could get some leftovers from the contractors building the new stand at the racecourse, but they have passed the demolition stage and that source has now dried up, alas.

As a number of key personnel will be on holiday and there is a bank holiday Monday coming up as well, it is likely that the infilling will take place in early June. The slabs will follow shortly after. The remaining Mondays in May will therefore take place at Broadway. So try the Broadway blog on Mondays for a while.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

The last brick!

The last brick went in yesterday ! One year and 7 months after we started this 200m long wall, the last brick was laid yesterday. What an achievement. Well done our little team from Broadway! Two jobs at once, but our labour saved the GWSR a bundle of money on contractor's fees.

I'm sorry this post is a bit delayed (I can see a lot of clicks on my blogger dashboard yesterday) but while making the marital bed on Monday night, my back went into spasm and I am 'off the road' for a few days while this sorts itself out. Problem of an old war wound, set off 20 years ago while digging out sleepers on the PWay at the K&ESR.

Due to this, and a few hols, there were only three guys at CRC2 today. We've never had only 3, but look at what they did. Here is our opening picture as they take the plastic sheets off the job. It's been raining (but then stopped) and there were high winds. There's just one more layer left to go, now on the final 200m section, aka the slope.

Johns 'O' and 'C' and Bob did the honours, and here we see Bob, having put on the last row of corbelling bricks with JC, pointing up his work. It's a bit tricky when your nose gets nearer and nearer to the deck!
After the corbelling it's the backing up, which is a bit more laborious, as it uses three times as many bricks. Here we see JC Just starting the backing up at the bottom end. This always needs plenty of mortar, so he's using two spots.

Then the last brick goes in, and it's time for a celebratory photograph. If that is meant to be a selfie, you forgot the camera, John ! All that is left to do on the wall now is a nice layer of 'slop' on top.

Oh, but they did that as well! Here it is, the new platform wall on CRC2, finished! All this while dodging the trains too, as Tuesday was an operating day, with 4270 and the DMU out on patrol. John O, on mixer duty, was put under a bit of pressure as they wanted a lot of 'slop' and they also wanted the wall finished by lunch time. This they did, and then it was time for:

What a charming cake - too good to eat, surely?

This wonderful creation was lovingly made by Bob's wife Sue. Aren't our wives wonderful? Thank you, Sue !
What a shame the men put a knife to it.. and then proceeded to eat it up too. I am informed a slice has been put in the fridge for me, next to the mouse trap bait. Ah.
Seeing the lovely cake on offer, the signalman quickly threw his levers to 'danger' and came down to scoff a slice! 

So the wall is now finished, but that is not the end of the job. 
What still has to be done? Here is a non-exclusive list:

Finish the drains at the rear, cover in pea gravel
Part back fill, then raise the pea gravel to a second level
Back fill the rest of the platform
Build a pathway to the level crossing
Reconstruct the brick catch pit by the former waiting room
Plant the remaining GWR lamp posts, set out electricity supply for them
Place the copers, over 200 of them, a major job involving a road-railer
A final top layer, then tarmac
Repair the rear wall of slagstone in the southern half
Approach ramp from the road bridge - not sure what the intention is with this.

The running in board posts need a second coat of paint, then the name board can go on. Anyone fancy a go?

Finally, we received a request to put a set of steps at the southern end of the platform.

Here on the left, this is where they will go. On Tuesday, they were able to put in the first one, at the bottom end. Must have been a hell of a walk with a 90Kg barrow load of concrete. Can you see the other end of the platform from here?