Sunday, 27 July 2014

Saturday 26th July 2014

 There were 11 volunteers on site at Broadway today, and 4 others on a mission to retrieve some bricks from the grounds of Gloucester Hospital.

At Broadway the Signal Box has reached another milestone, with the joists being laid  on the cabin floor - but I'm getting ahead of myself!

On Friday the main scaffold was lifted to its second level, thus allowing the brickwork to continue and the windows to be installed. JC and John S came in to supervise this. This was completed during the morning, with some extra scaffolding  put in place to accommodate an electric hoist.  On Saturday morning the hoist had not yet arrived and efforts to manually hod bricks up and bucket mortar up made the crew realise that house building in the old traditional way was hard work! Fortunately Brandon delivered the hoist by 10 am and with a  quick lesson on which button to press, it was all systems go.
The main task for the day was to get the joist slots laid on the rear wall as a precursor to installing the joists. Here are Bob W, John S and JC doing their best to get on with the job, without me wittering in the background!
Eventually the brickwork for the joists was completed and it was then possible to install the joists themselves.  A  small milestone here, with the first joist going in. 
Progressively the remainder go in, leaving room to shift the trestles from below. 
However best laid plans were thwarted when the power went off in Broadway, which meant there was no power for the hoist or the cement mixer. Maybe it was a blessing, because the weather was extremely warm, really too warm to work in. Nevertheless the Signal Box is all ready for the next workday on Wednesday and there will be more to report then.

At  the northern end of the site. Clive was a lone warrior continuing with the corbelling brickwork on 1C. He did however have Robin and Peter for company in the background, cleaning bricks!
Jim H  had reminded me several times that a top coat of paint was yet to go on the project office. Well yesterday was the day - He and Brian got stuck in and and by the end of the session, three sides of the cabin were resplendent in shiny battleship grey!
Down in the Driveway, the final  tidying up was going on,  after the removal of the trees. Dave B and Bill V slogged away at this all day. It was  rather unfair that I crept into the picture!

One of the biggest and most triumphant successes of the day was the retrieval of some 2000+ reds and 600+ blue bricks from the Hospital grounds in Gloucester. John B, Terry, Dave H and Steve B made the trip over to repallatise the bricks, ready for transporting to Broadway. The Transport (and a great deal of help) was again provided by Terry's chum Paul from Tecton Timber. 

This exercise was a triumph of persistence. It was 2 years ago that the bricks were pointed out to us by a supporter, and since then we have been trying to unstick the red tape to release them to us. Saturday was the day for collection and the lads did a stalwart job, that meant 15+ pallets were repacked and the first delivery made to Broadway, Brilliant! These bricks will be used on the filling in of the platform wall by the Signal Box and mean that we will not have to scratch around to find the required number of backing bricks. I am only sorry we don't seem to have a photo of the event - I stood there watching but didn't think to take a photo. Sorry chaps!

Postscript - Dave Holdsworth comes to the  photographic rescue! Thanks Dave...

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Wednesday 23rd July 2014 - Broadway Shines!

Apologies for the "delayed" post but I was unable to get time on the computer last night. Wednesday was a great day for the Broadway Regulars. Although the arrival of the fully dressed  bracket signal might seem  a small step, for the volunteers it is a very real manifestation of progress and compensation for all the "blood sweat and tears" expended on  more mundane things.

Talking of "blood, sweat and tears", it really was a sweltering day for the 16 volunteers on site yesterday. The jobs in hand didn't make it any easier to cope with. With the impending completion of the Evesham Road Bridge it was decide to clear back the  adjacent embankments of all vegetation. Brian, Ron and Dave slogged away at this all day, and I'm sure a few pounds in weight were lost in the process. A photo of the action didn't appear from Jo - perhaps he can delve a bit further on his camera?

Here is Steve taking one of many loads of cut vegetation up to the bonfire.

Work continued on Platform 1C, both on the bricklaying and starting the infill of the void behind it.  The latter is no small task. It has begun by depositing any rubble that can be found in an even layer behind the wall and then covering with ballast. What was remarkable that the determined efforts of the gang working on it (Terry, Mike, Gord, Dave and others) managed to get a 9" deep layer along the whole length and depth of 1C. Again I'm sure a few pound were lost, and aching backs were the order of the day.

What was less obvious to the casual onlooker was Tony B  laying the backing bricks on the top courses of the Signal Box. All that could be seen was the top of his HH. Well, with support from Paul and  Steve, the job was pretty much completed. The joists were loaded inside the box, ready for installation. The scaffolding is going to be lifted to its second position on Saturday. Watch this space!

There were a  a few other important jobs completed also. The white gates at the bottom of the drive have received a couple of careless lorry strikes and needed removal for repair. In doing this we also decide to paint the old GWR gate posts that remain in situ. Any lorry that comes into contact with them will know all about it!

Mike offers to touch it up in light stone, but the owner declined!
Finally The garage had a interesting visitor (with a rattle) in his US Hupmobile. What a magnificent beast it was! The only one in the UK apparently.

We all had a good nose under the bonnet where a straight 8 flat head lurked. The engine reminded me of the straight 8 flat head that propelled the family's 1942 Pontiac on which I learnt to drive in the swinging sixties! Happy memories!

Wednesday 23rd July 2014 - Hot and Dusty at Wishaw

Four troopers went  to Wishaw to continue the good work on the Broadway Footbridge.
Here is Jim's Report:-


A hot, dusty and at times rather smelly day for the four of us present at Wishaw today.  The smelly bit was down to the farmer depositing a skip in the outer yard, where the main span is, and then proceeding to tip rotting vegetables into it for most of the morning.  We certainly noticed an improvement in air quality after it had been removed.

The prime objective was to remove all the remaining timbers from the walkway of the main span.  By 10:30 these were all out and the remains of the screws which had held down the plywood were being chiseled off.  
Main span with all floor timber removed

The tarpaulins had done their job and had kept these timbers dry whilst collecting large amounts of rainwater, which in turn had opened up gaps in the roof.  In clearing away the excess water I managed to get about half the timbers wet so a drying out period was needed before we could stack these ready for their 300 yard trip to our storage container.  Thanks to our colleagues at Moveright International this was done in three trips and by forklift truck.  As part of this exercise the timbers have been numbered so we know in which order to put them back.
 Roger J and Ian removing the last of the screws

Having sorted out the timber recovery Ian then spent a couple of hours trying out out a couple of Hiltis to chip off the worst of the rust on the main span.  Our recently donated generator worked brilliantly.  Unfortunately the large Hilti expired very quickly although it had certainly made a great impression where it had been used. 
Ian trying out the needle gun
The needle gun was rather light weight for the areas we were attacking.  So we may need to look for some better equipment if this exercise is to continue.
The floorboards drying off in the yard

Peter T spent most of the day working on the staircases trying to drill out some very rusted in screws.  Late in the day Roger J managed to prise off some more rusted bolts from the spare staircase, which we are using as a training ground, before we try the same thing on the two staircases we want to preserve.  Having had a closer look at these staircases there doesn't seem to be any metallic cross bracing under the stair treads.  This means that the timber steps provide the rigidity between the sides and may account for why there is so much heavy duty timber and such a large number of screws holding things together.  We may have to review our plan for dismantling in view of this.

All floorboards safely in store

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

The Bracket Signal - All Dressed up and Ready to Go!

The S & T  Boys did Broadway proud today by dressing the Bracket Signal. Here are some photos from various sources. What  a brilliant job!

Thank you to all concerned!

Monday, 21 July 2014

The Bracket Signal Post Arrives!

Platform 2  now boasts not only a Signal Box but a signal as well (well almost!)

 Vic Haines Transport brought the freshly prepared signal post, including bracket and dollys over to Broadway and used their HIAB skills to assist in mounting it in its final position. Malcolm Walker and Neil Carr supervised the operation, with BAG Members Dave Bowie, Vic Smith and Peter Quick in attendance.

I know what the next question is when is it going to be dressed out in all its finery. All I can say is "it won't be long"

What I would like to do is to thank all the sponsors who have patiently waited for its arrival and to thank  the BAG members who turned up today to help out, both on the tree exercise and the bracket post erection. The photos are a nosegay of the pics taken by Dave, Vic and Jo and are much appreciated also.

Monday 21st July 2014 - Tree Surgery

For some time we have realised that the Corsican Pines  to the right of the Driveway were not going survive unless we sorted them out with some careful tree surgery . We took advice from  a professional arborist and based on  his  recommendations we requested the TPO's on 6 trees be lifted.  This was granted by the Tree Protection Officer at Wychavon DC.

 Today was the day for implementing the recommendations. In summary there were 3 trees ( 2 pine and a larch) that were too close to, and taking the light from the larger trees, and 3 that were in imminent danger of falling on their own accord.
Start of Day

The Acrobatic challenges

The end results..... 

A great Job by Vale Forestry

Sunday, 20 July 2014

A Sunday Special!

 I don't recall anyone working on Sunday at Broadway before, but John C has some time constraints at the moment and is keen not to slow progress on the Signal Box. He had a useful work mate in Jo, who also sent me this report and pictures:

Hi Bill,

JC and I did ‘half a day’ on the box today, although I couldn't help noticing  that John started at 07.30 (!) and, leaving at 14.00, he in fact did most of a whole day. John will email you a short report separately. On one of the pictures you can see from the colour of the mortar that 5 rows were laid recently. All round, the reds are up to joist level, with just a bit of backing up front and back left to do before they can go in.

I made a few mixes and generally backed John up. During an idle hour, I dug up a few more shards, and can report that I have most of the constituent parts to a little coffee cup. Just one more bit to go ! Shares in Superglue manufacturers are rising….

As you can see, the brickwork is now so high that it is difficult to lay another row, without moving up to the next level of scaffolding. I counted 32 rows up from the rear damp proof course. Quite an achievement.

Best regards,