Saturday, 31 January 2015

Saturday 31st January 2015 - snow !

Jo Roesen reports:

A look out of the bedroom window explained why it seemed so bright when your scribe woke up this morning - there was snow on the ground!

The car park at Broadway was also covered, but it hadn't held many back, there were at least a dozen volunteer cars. The place was abuzz already, with Vic shoveling back fill into a barrow from the Mythe pile, and Tony removing the weather sheet from the newly cast 'Goods shed' foundations half way up the drive. The new 'Goods shed' shop building is expected to arrive in March, when we will return the current building to its owner, and vacate the current site for the construction of the station foundation slab.

With the low temperatures today, brick laying wasn't possible.

This picture of the box shows from another angle how far we have got - you can see that the corner on the right is now as high as the door, with a much lower bit on the left, where the front is. This lower area is where the big sliding windows will fit in, sitting between solid hardwood frames that support the roof.

News on the window frame front is twofold:

a. A message from our friendly carpenter today was to say that the framework had been completed, and dry assembled in his workshop. It looks massive, we heard! When the brickwork on the rear wall, and its chimney, is completed, we will be ready to accept this frame. Just one or two dry, warm brick laying days to go.

b. Inside the frames go the sliding windows. There are 14 in total, and so far we have 5 brave sponsors who bought a window each, at £250. This willingness to sponsor was one of the reasons we were permitted to build the frames in hardwood instead of PVC, so if you too could help, we would be very grateful. A cheque to the BAG or a donation via 'My Donate' on this blog would do the trick. We need another 9 sponsors.
On the same subject, we are still in need of rollers to support the sliding windows. We have 12, and are looking for another 16. If you know where we can find some more of the GWR originals, do let us know.

Looking at the snow, a large gang decided that making up a fire was the best way to spend the day.
We attacked a huge pile of brash, the result of a clearance exercise at the northwestern boundary. Getting this to start was tricky in the damp conditions, but we managed it, as you can see.

After a while, the fire really took hold and it became so hot that we had to stand several paces back. It was very satisfying to see the bramble burn, especially when your leg has just been scratched to shreds while dragging the brash down the cutting slope.

Here is a view of the fire from Springfield Lane bridge, with our new northern security fence in the foreground. The slope on the right was cleared by a gang of two with a chainsaw, while the lower slope on the left was cleared by a flail mounted on a JCB. There's plenty left to do.

While one gang was getting warm by the fire, a second one continued on the shelter for the footbridge. Dave and Brian here are on top of ladders putting in extra braces for the shed, which, once covered in a sheet, is expected to get quite puffed about by the winds we have been seeing recently, so it has to be strong. Jim has taken a step back and assumed a management role, with his arms crossed. We are in good hands.

Jim reports that additional drawings are being prepared to provide designs for the extra height required for the footbridge to meet new NR minimum height requirements, and also for the smoke hoods to be put back. We believe they were removed after the end of steam, to provide the extra clearance, and as we are running steam engines, we need to put them back..

Once the shelter is up and covered in robust sheeting, we can go out and get quotes from a shotblaster to clean and paint the span. We are also looking for someone to construct the replacement towers, the originals being too far gone to restore.
While the volunteers were hard at work, contractors were also on site to address the slip that has occurred behind 2c. Here we see them digging in the gabions. A nice square space had been made for them to go into, but overnight small falls of clay had heaped up on the exact spot they were meant to go, necessitating some hand digging to get them in today.

The excavator here is being used to collect and take away the spoil that was being dug out. In the foreground is the northern ramp of 2c, to give you some idea of where this is taking place. And yes, there was lots of slushy snow about, on top of the clay.

In this last picture later in the day, the contractors have got the row of the gabions in at last, and are filling them in with large diameter hardcore (small rocks). They have already used the piles of Toddington spent ballast dumped underneath the bracket signal, and you can see that the rear of the platform, where the excavator is standing, has been back filled. They will carry on next week.

If you can help with the sliding windows, for the rollers or an offer to sponsor one, do let us know.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Wednesday 28th January 2015 - Volunteers vs the Weather!

It was a tough old day today - plenty of wind and rain in the morning and wind and dropping temperatures in the afternoon. There were 18 volunteers on site today and 3 contractors from George Law fixing the slip. Jo did us proud today with the photography !

JC in action......
I have to say firstly that it was great to see the bricks being laid on the Signal Box. Tony, JC, Bob W and Paul did battle with the wind in the crows nest. The scaffolding boards were lifting in the wind and Bob lost his hat a couple of times, and JC dropped his spirit level - all rare occurrences!

Bob in action.......

6 courses out of 10 were laid on the gable end corners, inside and out. The brick bat box will be the next thing to be incorporated in the southern wall under the eaves.

Out in the driveway the base for the new shed was being poured. from the Easymix lorry. The heavens opened at the same time which made the job doubly difficult. However it was all covered up by lunchtime  - a job well done.

There was some concrete left over and Roger B and Rod made use of it to fill the potholes in the drive. Roger is getting withdrawal systems from bricklaying on 2C. We had to stay clear of the George Law working area today.

Peter Q on High..
Jim ready to catch him...

Over on  Platform 2B the footbridge span enclosure  continued to get the extra roof batons attached. The windy weather meant that extra care had to be taken when working at these heights.

Further up in the cutting, the banks were continuing to be cleared. Here Brian M is suffering with the efforts involved. Nevertheless Brian, Jo and Steve, assisted by Ian in the  afternoon, cleared another 10m of bank.

Finally a quick report on the slip repair. George Law have placed, layered and rolled, 80t of Toddington Ballast behind the 2C wall. The slip itself has been banked up with spare bags of stone, which has then been filled with 40t of loose stone.

The gabions were delivered this morning, constructed and placed ready for the filling stone to be packed into them. The whole process is an interesting science to watch and understand - I just wish it wasn't happening on my patch!

Stone being delivered!

The Shed
We have many generous donations of second hand goods to sell in the Shed. However, as we  are sorting things out before moving, it would be best to hold off bringing new stock until we have moved. Thank you!

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Saturday 24th January 2015

There were 14 of us today, trying our best to keep the show on the road, despite the cold weather. The easiest job to keep warm at is the recovery of wood for the bonfire, but hard work! The picture is early in the day - by the end of the day all of debris on the bank was gone! A credit to all of the volunteers who took their turn.

A similar job was being carried out yesterday at the furthest point north, by Steve B and Richard. They are working southward.  A great job!

The work continued on the enclosure for the footbridge span. Jim, Peter Q, Dave and Brian spent the day getting the roof batons in place. I think they have a Turner Prize in mind!

We had a disappointment during the week when the slip behind Platform 2C started to move again. The ballast that we retrieved from Toddington was intended to act as the main infill. Unfortunately  the size of the slip in the bank is such that we are going to purchase some free draining stone and install gabions along the last 17m stretch. George Law have been chosen to do this work. It began yesterday and they hope to finish by the end of next week

Here a 360 excavator sits on top of the ex Toddington piles of ballast. A 6 tonne dumper ferries it northward.

There was a real milestone event today when Robin  cleaned the last of the bricks (an ex Paddington one). Its impossible to count how many bricks Robin has cleaned - tens of thousands no doubt. The great achievement is how Robin has turned up each Saturday at 08:00, for the past 5 years, fair wind or foul, works steadily through the day until 15:00. At break time he keeps us amused with interesting facts, or  a merry quip or two. He has served his apprenticeship now, and will be moving on to the next task! Well done Robin - you're an example to us all.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Chipping Campden - Information Distribution


The Gloucestershire & Warwickshire Steam Railway is looking for someone living in or near
Chipping Campden. This is to help deliver GWSR 2015 timetables and special event leaflets to
B&B’s, Pubs, Hotels and other suitable outlets.
If you are able to help could you please contact Graham Radband

or John Mayell

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Wednesday 21st January 2015

 It was a pretty gloomy start to the day, with mixture of rain and cold temperatures convincing some that it was better to stay in bed! However there were 19 of us on duty and we set to at making the best of it.

The work continued on building the enclosure for the footbridge span. Peter Q, never happier than with a sharp saw in hand, continues on the framework.

At the next session we should be getting close to cladding it up.

The banks of the cutting continues to be a focus for our efforts when construction is weathered off. Today we had some extra assistance from a tractor with a flail attachment -it just makes the job easier! Here you can clearly see the team working northward.
Here Clive and Tony getting a fire started on the eastern side  - a bit of competition going on with those on the other bank!

Here Steve is doing his job for the day - acting Banksman. Not an easy job, thinking one step ahead all time.

Down in the driveway a prayer meeting was going on about the folly of building your house on sand. In the end the multitude decide to put a  temporary concrete base down.  A job for next week.

John, Tony and Roger in charge....

There were a couple of important deliveries today. The first was the receipt of  6 pallets of new bricks for the Station and Waiting Room. These had been stored for us in the Fairview yard.

The second was the delivery of  8,  20t loads of spent ballast being taken out of Toddington Station. We will use all of this on infill on the platforms.

Finally in the afternoon the weather was judged good enough to lay a few bricks. Roger set to on laying some corbelling on platform 2C.

Finally the best picture this year, to date:-

Jo: Question " Is the footbridge  restoration staying with the xxxxxxx budget"
: Answer -  mass hysteria...

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Saturday 17th January 2015 - And the Fires Burned!

There were 16 volunteers on site today and the cold weather had eliminated any chance of bricklaying.  However we never run out of productive things to do and today the cold wind encouraged us to get the bonfires going. We have a huge amount of cut back debris to dispose of and I was impressed with how well the fires burned and consumed it. There were four fires going in total - here Clive giving his Gnome of Zurich impression is working with Roger J, Jo ,Dave B to keep the upper fires going.
Whilst down on the track bed, JC recounts tales of bonfires past. This bonfire was well tended by Gord and Steve B. Consequently we had to move significant amounts of cut branches to keep it going.

 We resorted in the end to using JC's truck to drag the branches from the banks. This was pretty effective and the bonfire was fed  nicely for most of the day.

Further south, the tricky job of the day was righting the dumper "Garage" which had taken a battering in the wind and was leaning at a jaunty angle. An Acrow prop was used to support the roof whilst Dave H and Brian put some new braces in to hold the structure square.

Work didn't stop entirely on the Signal Box. John S and Peter K continued with putting the remaining  metal floor board brackets in place, which span the void between the lever frame and the trimmers. Nice welding job Peter?!

Vic continued with his one man crusade at clearing the land on the eastern boundary. Its a great job Vic.

We have taken delivery of 7 loads of spent ballast removed from Toddington Station and plan to retrieve another 7 loads this week. This will be invaluable for infill on the platforms.

Finally the contractors have been clearing the planned car park - a mixture of chainsaw and flail. Its coming along nicely.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Wednesday 14th January 2015

A real touch of winter today with snow on the track bed and a wintry blast coming from the north  west. It was a day for bonfires and gradually a fair number of the 18 volunteers on site gravitated towards the warmth!

However there was work to be done elsewhere. The first port of call is the Signal Box. There JC, Tony and Paul were moving materials onto the new scaffolding platform. This consisted of firstly getting the hoist going and then lifting barrow loads of bricks onto the working platform.

To say it was chilly up there would be an understatement. Here JC is gradually turning from red to blue. No bricks could be laid today but everything is set for the next fair-weather day.

The next port of call is over the driveway to the preparation of the hard-standing for our new bric a brac Shed. A birds eye view here, yours truly setting up the laser level to get the slab base level.

Mike S, Terry and Jo did all the hard work of shovelling the sharp sand and unloading the slabs. Good progress was made, and 10 of the 50 slabs were laid before close of play. In the background Vic is filling a dumpy bag with rubbish collected from the patch of ground beyond.

Back up to platform 2B where the enclosure for the footbridge span was progressing nicely. Pete Dave, Brian and Jim were braving the wind to get the final sections connected. Cladding with reinforced clear plastic comes next!

Having rolled the section of ballast added on Saturday to 1C, it is time to turn the attention to fitting out the platform with some of the utilities. Here a line side cabinet is maneuvered past the containers and into position. Terry, Rod and Mike are on the "case".

Finally a flail was heard this afternoon in the planned car park, where we are clearing the whole area to carry out a full assessment of what needs doing to optimize the use of this area for parking.