Wednesday, 16 August 2017

The Latest Post

Wednesday 16th August

19 hale and hearty (apart from a few dodgy knees and bad backs) volunteers today amid fine and warm August weather to lift the spirits, what a change from last Wednesday!

The first job for some, while they were still as fresh as daisies, was the planting of the second running in board post at the north end of platform 1. You may recall its neighbour going in a couple of weeks back.

The holes were dug out sometime ago so all that was required initially was to carry the post a few feet along the platform and position it feet first near the hole. The post in question is a genuine GWR cast iron post , it isn't light and carrying anywhere is not easy, so six of us positioned ourselves around it and with much grunting and heaving extricated it from its position amongst a few other posts and put it down near its new home.

During the intervening time between post one and post two being planted the carpenters had obligingly produced a dummy running in board frame which enabled the posts to be set at the correct height and distance etc. By the time the photo was taken the post was in its hole and had a few bags of postcrete around its base.

After spending the first couple of hours on the post project Brian reverted to the vegetation control. The second photo gives in indication of how much has been achieved in just a few short weeks. The brush cutter being used manages to chop the material to a reasonably small size so obviating the need to collect it all up for disposal.

Also controlling vegetation on the opposite cutting side was Pat using the Flymo to maintain a decent walking way at the top.

The bricklayers...

Bob is working on the northernmost chimney, at great pains to ensure that this one matches its southerly partner. Bob is a great believer in laying out the bricks in tricky situations prior to applying the mortar so that any possible problems can be overcome at this stage. The first course of the second corbelling is what is being laid out here and this course was completed by close of play.

The filling of the gap in the platform 1 wall continues to make good progress, although the wall has been mainly built of recycled imperial bricks it has been difficult to prevent the red bricks at the back overtaking the blues at the front so a course of two of smaller 65mm bricks has been laid to bring the level back. This is the last course before corbelling and before the end of the day the first dozen or so bricks of the first corbel were laid. There will be three courses of corbelling.

The chippies & painters...

Work on the canopy continues apace, two of the carpentry gang are fitting and nailing dagger boards to the front of it as fast as they can to try to keep ahead of the solitary painter. Brushman Graham has been applying the first coat of undercoat all morning and is slowly catching up with the chippies. There are smiles on their faces so the banter must have been to a good standard at this point.

The southern and of the canopy woodwork now wearing its first coat of undercoat

The kerbers...

Obviously with plenty of energy left after early morning work moving and planting posts on the platform Rod and Terry go back to the day job of preparing the footings and laying the kerb stones up the drive. In the fullness of time the drive will be re-surfaced with tarmac and when this has been completed the level of the drive will be near the top of the kerbs on this side.

Elsewhere around the site..

Chris continued to move surplus bricks off the trackbed onto platform two.

Daggerboard Dave, not seen in action for sometime, keeping the chippies supplied with the necessary

Mike diligently applying primer to the remaining bare areas of the canopy

Two members of the P/way gang out for a jolly maybe? Or a test run on the newly laid track?
Did brakesman and pusher swap places for the return trip we wonder?

Thursday, 10 August 2017

As Forecast

Wednesday 9th August

The weather, as forecast, was wet and miserable for all of the morning which severely restricted activities and also restricted the number of volunteers on site to 15.

The view looking towards Toddington at around 9 o'clock today was very dismal.

With just a few, for whom duty called, forsaking the sanctuary of the messroom to get struck in to...

...some more dagger boards, which during the morning was the only viable option as there was some shelter provided by the carpenters "workshop". The workshop actually is impeding progress on another project as the tall cast iron post on the left hand side, holding the whole thing together, needs to come out to be replaced by a GWR style lamp post but our doughty carpenters are somewhat reluctant to lose their haven.

On the side of the cutting Brian continues to make excellent progress on keeping the vegetation under control, its a pity you can't see how much he's achieved in a short period of time. A photo opportunity for next time perhaps. His medium to long term plan is to work all the way this slope to the boundary fence then cross over to the opposite side and work back. He's going to lose some sweat doing all that!

There was just enough room in container 1 to allow two of the painting crew to make a start on priming a delivery of timber which arrived on Monday. There is a mixture of moulded and plain and because they will be used on the outside of the canopy they are both in Scandinavian redwood. The 125mm x 25mm board will be behind the guttering on the drive side and the moulded timber will be above the dagger boards on the trackside

The rain eased slightly later in the morning and, fully kitted out in their waterproofs, the fencing and edging gang could resist the urge no longer. They are preparing the ground for an extension of the kerb stones on this side. These kerbs are lower then those opposite but that is part of the plan, they will be more of a demarcation line as vehicles will be allowed to cross them for parking. We don't have much parking space at Broadway so have to make use of what we've got.

After lunch conditions had improved sufficiently for the kerbers to remove the excess clothing and make a start in laying the kerbs. Conditions under foot remained very soggy so much so that Terry's knee pads were not enough to keep his jeans dry, he had two very wet knees when he came to the mess to sign out. The galvanised tool on the ground behind Keith is something that we purchased a few months ago to help with the lifting of heavy objects like kerb stones or paving slabs. It allows two people, one at each end of the rig, to take part in the lifting and positioning.

Because of the weather no serious attempt was made to work on the station building today. However, after lunch the bricklayers thought that they too ought to show willing and that maybe some bricks could be laid on the platform wall. Wrong! Everything was so damp that the blue engineering bricks wouldn't behave, they "swam" around on the mortar and any attempt at correcting them just made the, by now, very wet mortar run down the face. So that was abandoned after a dozen or so bricks at each end and the brickies transferred to the rear of the wall where they were able to lay some of the, more absorbent, reds.

A very good photo of a seldom seen view, the inside of our bric-a-brac shed. Steve and Julie (I'm sure you can figure out who is who) are holding up some recently donated prints and pictures. Visitors were rather scarce today but if you are in the area call in, they would love to see you. The shed is normally open on Saturdays and Wednesdays. No money is left in the shed overnight!

Thanks to Paul for providing a selection of photos because the blogger's camera was having a bad day




Wednesday, 2 August 2017

It'll Be Fine

Wednesday 2nd August

This morning 23 volunteers signed in and everyone was expecting a wet day and with all our jobs being out in the open we all expected not to get a lot done. How wrong can you be, we only had some mizzle mid-morning and got loads done.
Graham, Ray and Vic got straight on with undercoating the original spear fencing on Station Road just in case. 

Mike made a start on priming the gable end of the station roof, it had previously been knotted.


Later on in the day the spear fencing looking smart in it's undercoat and the sun is shining. As this fencing is original and had a lot of corrosion from years of neglect, it has had two coats of the primer used on the roof and will now get one more undercoat before glossing. Obviously the Heras fencing will be removed when the station entrance and footpath is finished off.....


.... Mike is just about to finish the priming of the gable end .....


,,,, and as it is still fine Graham has decided to do some more of the detail highlighting on the GWR replica lamp posts.


On the bricklaying front Paul, Clive and John S carried on with the brickwork on the platform 1 gap. They ended up having a cracking day and there are now only two more courses before the start of corbelling. Ian and Dave helped with supplying bricks and mortar.


Chris meanwhile carried on with the moving of bricks purchased at the same time as the station bricks, they will be eventually used on the waiting room, but of course they have to be moved from the trackbed before tracklaying begins.


Up on the roof, after completing the gable end, Peter Q has started attaching the dagger boards to the front facia. Don't know why he looks so happy, look how far he has to go.


Down in the carpenters shelter Dave and Bryan carry on with the dagger board production. However, a slight delay as the electricians were on site to PAT test all our portable devices. A very important inspection to keep us all safe, thanks lads.


Back up on the roof Neal is doing some welding on a bracket he has manufactured to give extra support to the timber of the gable end. The bracket matches the design of the canopy steelwork such is the desire for it all to look right. I apologise for the poor picture but Neal had wriggled right in amongst the trusses to fit it and, by the way, he had only taken his welding helmet off briefly to speak to me.


On the forecourt side of the station more of the wall plate and lead flashing had been fitted and you can see a cocking strip has been added to support the roof sheets at the right angle,


 Also you will see in the next two shots that on Monday the RSJ's had been fitted that will support a small canopy, with a lead roof, cantilevered out over the main door of the station.


You can see in this shot that the main steels go right across the width of the station and are fixed to the steel ring beam of the station framework.


Our electricians, from Buzz Electricals, were on site today continuing their installation. Here you can see where the conduit is being fitted and the cables run for the canopy lighting.


Also paying us a visit today were the scaffolders to erect platforms around both of the chimneys so they can be safely finished.


 Here you can see both platforms finished and on the main scaffold Neal is using the extra width fitted at the same time to continue his work on the main door canopy steelwork.


Meanwhile down the drive it was time to start fitting the kerbs on the garage side of the drive. These will be fitted flush to mark the edge of the drive but still allow cars parking in the few staff car spaces to drive over them. It took a while to set out the line for width and levels and initially some difficult digging in very hard ground full of large stones and tree roots.


 Mike, above, had to give up trying to dig out one such stone and let Terry have a go with lump hammer and chisel.


Later in the day the width and level being checked from the kerbs on the other side. After a moments panic we remembered  the kerbs on the right are 75mm lower, as they sit flush, so we hadn't measured wrong after all. 

Elsewhere Pat is seen with a new acquisition, a quite old petrol Flymo which although smokey works well and can be handily lowered down the steeper bits on a rope leaving the operator on a safe footing at the top.


Brian M, pictured in last weeks blog, spent his day making his ankles hurt using the strimmer on the cutting sides. Over the past couple of sessions he has cleared a huge area, there is as much behind me as in front. Really lets signal 39 stand out in all it's glory.

So a day which started off lacking promise turned out fine.

Posted Rod W

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

A Day of Two Halves

Wednesday 26th July

 The morning started as forecast, wet. Still twenty three volunteers turned up and we decided to start with a doughnut from the selection Graham had brought in because it was his birthday. This didn't take long and we soon had to make a start. The chippies had the best place to work undercover whilst they finished off the production of the dagger boards for the gable end. Peter Q and Dave assisted by Ray start the hole cutting.


Later in the day during a drier spell Ray is applying knotting before the boards are taken up to the roof...

 ... where Peter and Dave are fitting the boards in place, Dave tapping the T & G of the boards to a tight fit while Peter makes sure the bottom is in the right place.

By late in the afternoon this part of the job is done. The boards levelled off at the bottom and nailed in place. You can see where the canopy reaches the station wall, the boarding steps up to flashing on the corbelled wall.


A final view from the other end of the station shows the boarding in place with just the tops to be trimmed to the profile of the roof.

Also on site today were our electrical contractors, Buzz Electicals who were busy with the first fixings, running a myriad of cables rain or no rain. Most impressed that they pressed on come what may.

Later in the day , with the sun now shining through onto the cafe/shop floor, you can see the cables coming from the roof and the start of fixing in the respective places for the lights, power sockets, etc.

Early on in the rain it didn't look as if any work could take place on the gap in platform1. This picture shows that on Saturday and Monday the ducting and drain had been shuttered and concreted and more blocks had been laid.


But later on although still threatening, Bob W assisted by Terry and Mike had decided to lay a few blocks.

By mid afternoon after, Tony had joined in the laying from the other end, Bob was able to lay the last block of many hundreds that had been laid for the two platforms. The length of which, measured by PWay this afternoon at just over 214 metres.
Several hundred blue bricks were also barrowed into place so that bricklaying can commence, probably on Saturday


A job tackled early on while the rain stopped play on other jobs was the retrieval of a heavy armoured power cable that had been laid to the shelter where the spear fencing was fabricated. Mike up on the cutting side having sorted out a twist in the unweildly cable.

Looking the other way behind the containers, Terry pulling the cable through the eighteen months worth of undergrowth and into the clear. Terry, Mike and myself then managed to coil the cable back on to a couple of drums and these were put on a pallet as mechcanical help will be required to move it. We are hoping to reuse the cable elsewhere on the site.


Also hard at work was Brian on the strimmer starting to cut back the aforementioned undergrowth now the wild flowers have died back, In the foreground is a little Corsican pine propogated by Jo from one of the original trees. You can also see the scaffold where S & T have been working on signal 39 and in the background the timbers where the turnout has been started by PWay.

Pat similarly attacking the undergrowth on the opposite side of the cutting behind the equipment containers.

By the end of his day Brian had cleared a large area. The angle of the cutting side plays havoc with your ankles, To give his ankles a rest Pat spent an hour or so with the mower on the flat areas by the signal box.

Finally a picture showing the repaired original spear fencing on Station Road, three panels are the originals insitu. The panel nearest the camera is one that was repaired by Peter K from a badly bent original. As the extended top rail of the first of the original three is built into the bridge and all three are still attached to their original ground mountings it was decided to leave them where they were, this meant the last panel had to be dug into the ground as over the many years of footpath relaying by the council the bottom rail had been buried. We therefore dug the earth out and concreted the bottom of the fence level with the footpath. The panels have now all been cleaned off and primed by Vic and will now be painted the same as the other spear fencing. Julie and Steve manned the shop which enjoyed some visitors despite the weather,

Posted by Rod W