Thursday, 19 October 2017

At Winchcombe

It was a home match for B&S today, they were at Winchcombe, and nothing could get in the way. Or so you'd think. You'd think that they could load up the blue truck with timber from the B&S yard, and drive it the 200 yards to the weighbridge hut.

The truck only got 20 yards when it found itself blocked in by a car from a C&W volunteer. With the two lorries bringing PWay supplies space in the yard was at a premium. Once the car had been moved, the truck managed annother 50 yards, only to be faced with a recalcitrant yard gate. It wouldn't open. A nearby Freelander parked very close to it (but not actually in its way) was the chief suspect, but there was no proof and it took a long time for the owner to be traced from among the milling crowds on site.
Once the car had been moved, the gate opened immediately! It seems that if you park in the vicinity of the sensor, even if not directly in its way, the gate refuses.

100 yards further and the truck finally reached its destination, the weighbridge hut, which was being re-roofed.
A start was made on the weighbridge roof a few weeks back, when the main supporting timbers were installed. Yesterday a start was made on the cross timbers, with quite a bit of time being spent on the trial and error fitting of the refurbished guttering. By close of play one side was done.

The other job, also at Winchcombe, was to dig out a patch of ground at the SB end of the new visitor centre. This measured approximately 10ft x 6ft, and was to be 7ins deep. Its purpose? To prepare for an area of recovered cobbles here.

On the right in the picture is the bay platform, and this whole area is on made up ground, built after the demolition of the station, and once the GWSR had reached Winchcombe in 1987. So the ground was made up out of mud, stones and rubble, quite tricky to dig out.
Here's a historical shot of the same area, just after the bay platform was finished in 1987. Picture kindly provided by Garry Owen. There's no sign of the station building, long demolished, and Monmouth Troy was still to come. Platform 2 on the right - you wish! You cannot imagine the scale of the devastation when the track gang first arrived here. It was a vast empty area. Bit by bit, everything was rebuilt from the ground up.

The ground at the end of the bay was hacked out by hand as you can see here, and barrowed away to a useful area to the far south of platform 1, where a low area remaining from last winter's platform extension was grateful for the spoil.

From here....
... to here.

Note the little test cobblestone in the left hand picture, just to make sure the depth hacked out was OK. To get the spoil away required 30 odd trips with the wheelbarrow down the length of the platform, which the lads calculate as a 3 mile trip in all. Unless they shared it, of course.

In the B&S workshop Bruce and Pat stayed behind, missing the adventures with the van and its obstacle course up the yard.

Bruce was refurbishing one of the Winchcombe platform benches, in this picture it's one of the earlier 'scripted' type. The casting was replaced in the 1930s when the GWR changed its logo to the 'shirtbutton' type.

Pat in the workshop was making up a fence panel, which will go by the new cobbled area to prevent children from slipping through the new 'scaffolding' type railings you can see in the earlier picture.

The visitor centre is now finished externally, so here are a few pictures of the finished product.

North end view

South end view

Detail of plastic guttering and modern security light.
Platform side view with main entrance, but no sliding goods shed doors - perhaps still to come.

Friday, 6 October 2017

More wall work

The gang returned to Cheltenham Race Course to continue their work on the footpaths down from both platforms to the level crossing.

The new concrete roadway makes a fine pad on which you can park your Transit. Hope nobody comes along though.

Some of the guys were in action fitting the Winchcombe weighbridge with a new roof, while the larger part of the gang came to Cheltenham.

Here they spent some time adjusting the gates near the signal box, and then some preparatory work alongside the fence on the platform 1 side, where the second new footpath is going to be laid.

On platform 2 the plinth headers were being added to the low wall constructed last week.
This area of the newly constructed platform 2 now looks so much different from 2015.  All very modern and sensible. The remaining plinth headers have been laid out, but were found to be 16 short. Any more left over at Broadway?

Just to compare, we found this picture taken in July 2015. The B&S boys have done a great job here.
Midway through the day Elliotts arrived a bit unexpectedly to take away the excess spoil taken out of the old roadway before it was concreted in. It was loaded up and taken to Broadway to be used as infill for their platform 1 closure at the south end of the building. 

John here is laying the plinth headers as far as they would go.

At the other end of the little wall Pete was applying the finishing touch by pointing up the brickwork.

A bit of site reinstatement might be nice here, with some grass seeding, and how about a pair of realistic replicas of cast iron GWR 'BEWARE of TRAINS' signs? Your blogger can arrange, as he's about to place an order for a set for Broadway's barrow crossings.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

The CRC2 wall is built

The gang once again arrived with a truck full of kit and material for building the wall along the P2 footpath.

Arriving at Cheltenham, this time with two wheelbarrows on board. Seven volunteers were there to unload it all.

Nice concrete roadway to stand on, guys!

There were no fewer than three activities planned for the day. The first was to build the wall along the slope, on top of the foundations laid last week. It's being back filled here.

The front of the new wall is being faced with second hand imperials for a more period look.

At the end of the day, all of the blocks along the back were up, over half of the facing bricks, and here in the foreground a start has been made on topping out with plinth headers. Nice.

The second job of the day was to install a pair of gates, to allow the footpath off the platform to be closed if need be.

A length of fencing was also put up here, all with the intention of affording the masses of alighting passengers a safe and guided passage from one platform to the other.

One gate has already been hung here, while the second is on the way.

This is an overview of the end of the footpath, showing fencing, gates, concrete footpath and roadway in the foreground, all recently installed by the B&S gang.

The third activity of the day was on the mirror image of the path, over on P1.

To begin with, the ground had to be cleared so that a 1.5m wide footpath down from the platform can be built.

Up to now the northern exit from P1 led through a (mostly closed) gate into the race course grounds next door. Transit from one platform to the other was not made easy, least of all by the absence of a properly built pedestrian crossing.

Now it's all coming into shape.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Preparing for a wall

The following week (after the last blog post) the B&S gang returned to CRC to cast the foundations for a retaining wall along the footpath from the new platform 2.

Here they are loading up the truck with the kit and materials at Winchcombe, before setting off for Cheltenham to start the job.

Conrete blocks, cement, wheelbarrows, a mixer, it all has to be shifted down to the far end of the line.

Two guys stayed behind in the workshop to work further on some benches and fence panels.

This is the path that leads off platform 2. It has to skirt round a signal post, hence the 'S' bend. On the left is a higher area on which the CRC2 construction team had their mess room container (happy days eating mini swiss rolls in the sun here!) and this falls away rather sharpish on to the new path below.

Phil strikes water

To address the sharp drop, a retaining wall is being built here. A trench was dug out on the left, and then the mixer was swung into action to fill it with concrete for a base.

Meanwhile, Pete delivered a door to the CRC station group. This will be used in a shelter to be placed at the end of the path here.

Here is the concrete being tipped into the trench.  On the right is the trench, now equipped with the foundation for the wall.
How come the guys are wearing waterproofs, when it seems to be sunny? In fact some heavy showers came down between shots, and they ended they day working in wet clothing. All part of the job.

The end of the day shot. Now you can see that it's been wet. The concrete blocks are stacked neatly on the right. They will be used to build the wall, which will then be faced with bricks and topped off with a row of queen bricks. About two thirds of the trench was filled on the day, one third still to go (and the brick laying!)

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Concrete goes in

Due to holidays, a bit of a 'late finish' to this post relating to work on September 6th, but the B&S gang doesn't sit still!

The first job of the day was to remove the two gate posts on the field side, and to rehang the gate so that it opens the other way.
In the foreground is the reinforcement netting in the roadway, which was due to be concreted in later in the day.

A restraining post for the gate was also installed.
Holes were then dug to install longer posts for a pair of gates which will go across the newly laid path off platform 2.
Finally, on the gate post side of the day's business, posts were installed ready for a fence between the gates and the field.

At lunch time the ready mixed concrete lorry arried, leaving the gang a 20 minute window to get it unloaded.
This crossing sees quite a bit of traffic on special days, so a sound base to resist deterioration by the many vehicles is needed here.

The paths left and right have already been finished, so now it's just the middle, with its reinforcement matting, that needs filling in.

With the concrete in, a length of timber is used to level it off.

Minutes later, four and a half cubic metres of concrete are in place, and the B&S gang review the fruits of the labour. Not forgetting Jim, who took the pictures today.

This closing shot at the end of the day shows what was done today. Concrete roadway gone in, gate rehung, posts installed for a gate off the path from the newly rebuilt platform 2. Quite a nice little list of jobs for a day.

More in the next instalment.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

More work at CRC

Yesterday 5 members of the B&S gang were back at the level crossing to progress the surface on the Malvern side.

The pathway from the end of platform 2 to the level crossing itself is now complete, and very neat it looks too.

Next, the bit of path right outside the signal box door was laid with its final surface of concrete, after installing a drain as well.

With that bit slowly going off, the team turned towards the crossing again, to start the path from the crossing to the signal box. Thanks to the edging stones laid last week, they can get this nice and level.

Off camera, a B&S member is mixing copious quantities of concrete, as the path gets longer and longer.

Finally, at the end of the day, the path reaches the connection to the door. Just a small panel left to do now. They didn't do the whole lot, because otherwise the signalman would be trapped inside his box. Can't have that.

A start was also made in digging a hole for another restraining post.

Next week then they will complete the far end of the signalman's walkway, as well as the central section (here on the left) for vehicle traffic. This will require a large readymix load of concrete.

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Back to CRC

Another busy day was spent at CRC yesterday, working on the level crossing by the signal box.

Lining out
The first slabs go in

Some edging slabs were laid to mark the footpath line from platform 2 on to the level crossing.

Here it is completed at the end of the day, and now waiting for a topping off.

On the other side a similar path was prepared:

This one is for the signalman, for when he comes out of the box (door top right) and walks along the new path, over the crossing and on to platform 1 to exchange the tokens.

They then dug a hole - B&S like digging holes - and you can see them here with their arms well down it. It needed a good going over with the Hilti to get through the rubble in the ground.

This is for a new gate restraining post...

... which you can see here in situ, being fitted with a catch.

It gets windy round here, and we don't want the gate blowing about with all the people using the crossing.

Finally the gang dug a trench along the Malvern side of the new footpath leading from platform 2.

This is where a small retaining wall will be built to hold back the earth on the left, a lump of ground where the mess hut from the CRC2 platform construction team used to stand.

Happy were the days when we sat there drinking tea on this hump outside the mess hut, watching the activity of locos running round.

Lastly, a look at the weighbridge hut mentioned in the last blog post. You can see here that the roof is having some serious renewal being done to it to kick out the woodworm found there.

On the left are three large Grundon bins, and an authentic type solution is being worked on so that they are removed from the public eye. Plastic wheelie bins is not what we are about. More news on  that shortly we hope, in what could be a fun little project.