Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Churchward House Update and Toddington Kerbs & Paving

Churchward House Report from Jim H - C&M Project Lead

Well a month has flown by since our last Blog and here is my long overdue report on progress.  During that time our efforts have been concentrated on some structural and electrical alterations to the offices which are going to become operational early in the New Year.

In addition a major effort has been made to decorate those offices, painting the walls in Gardenia to hide the awful pale blue. Hopefully when the new brown carpet tiles are fitted these offices will have a plausible GWR “chocolate and cream” theme.

Here are the floor plans for the office accommodation :

First Floor :

Ground Floor :

The structural works have involved removing a surplus door and it’s frame from the Finance Office on the first floor.  A hole then had to be made in the internal wall for this door and frame to become the entrance door to the Operations Office on the ground floor. 

A new stud wall has been built to separate off the Operations Office from the Messroom 

New stud wall separating the Ops Office from the Messroom

New stud wall clad and ready for plastering
and another to fill in the gap left where the surplus door was taken out of the Finance office.  Both these walls have now been plastered and decorated.

Before - Unnecessary Finance
doorway being removed
And after - New stud walling, 
plastering and redecoration


Electrical work carried out by Steve L has included an additional 240 volt socket in the Operations Office plus re controlling the lights in that office so they work on the same switch rather than one from the Messroom area. An additional light has also been installed in the entry area to the Gents toilet which was rather dark. Other alterations are ongoing.

On the first floor we have all but completed decorating the Administration and Finance Offices, the Meeting room and the main corridor. Just the radiators need painting plus a couple of snagging items.

The Future Admin Office looking towards
 the station before work started

And looking rearward towards the yard

Before & After

After redecoration - Looking forward

And again - Looking rearward towards the yard

On the ground floor redecoration of the Reception Office is complete including painting the radiators. 

Reception Area - Redecorated and waiting for carpet

Another view within the Reception Area
with the Car Park visible through the windows

The Operations Office is ready for top coating and radiator painting. The corridor will be next in line for attention.  Oh and we mustn’t forget the tiny Literature Store which is complete and ready to take the new Timetables when these become available. 

We have already started painting both the Ladies and the Gents toilets.

On other issues, the fibre optic cable is now installed as is the new IT cubicle with it’s UPS supply.  The new telephone system will be a VOIP one. I believe this means that Maxine can take her ‘phone with her on holiday, and when plugged in abroad, can answer calls as if she were in her office in Churchward House.  Not a feature I expect to be used very often!! 

So plenty happening but whether it will all come together in January remains to be seen.  Watch this space!!

Jim H.

Toddington Kerbs & Paving Works - Rob W - Designer

There has been a long-term history of flooding of the northern end of the platform and the north pedestrian access gate. This summer a detailed study was done of the kerb levels, the fall of the paving slabs and the storm water flows down the kerb line during heavy rain.  The survey also highlighted a problem of kerb overtopping and standing water remaining on the southern pedestrian access path after storms.

A scheme to rectify these problems was designed and approved to be implemented as quickly as possible during the off season, but without interfering with the Santa Specials or Christmas timetable.

The work was broken into four phases, each of which can be implemented as a discrete sub-project. Only one working area will be tackled at a time, and each work area has been designed to be closed off when customers are going to be be given access nearby.

The first phase started on 30th October when all the necessary plant and equipment were taken from Winchcombe to Toddington, and supplies dropped off by our external suppliers.

Monday 4th November work began in earnest. The first area to be tackled was the north pedestrian access. All the kerbs in this area were lifted and replaced by larger kerbs that gave a 100mm freeboard to keep the stormwater on the road and prevent it crossing the paving and onto the platform, as shown in this picture taken by Stu H from Lineside Drainage recently.

Recent flooding - Showing the route the stormwater
normally takes on its way to the platform

The team of Rod W, Terry A, Keith S, Paul C, Bob W, joined by Rob W began lifting the kerbs from the vehicle gate to the yard right up to the old postbox. 

The first kerbs to be set were the tapers and dropped kerb for the ramp.

Here Rod and Terry are using the kerb lifter to get the first kerbs into position.

Along the way there were a number of important discoveries such as four cables that work the gate hidden just under the surface of the road and concreted into the old kerb line. Each one had to be dealt with by very careful use of power tools and incorporated properly into the new kerbing.

There were also old cable ducts which Neil C gave permission to remove where no longer needed.

By the end of day 1 fantastic progress had been made. All the new kerbs were in their final positions. You can see the difference in kerb height from the last kerb sitting next to the old one.

End of Day 1

On day 2 work started on the complex layout of slabs that create the disabled access ramp whilst maintaining the 100mm freeboard.

Here Rod W, Terry A and Bob W have got the first ramp slab into position and got the critical heights set correctly. This is now being followed by cut side slabs that will maintain the critical freeboard height.

It was critical here that the top edge of the ramp was the same height as the top of the full kerbs.

The next task was to obtain an even slope from the back edge of the ramp to the slot drain under the gate, which is the limit of the new paved area. The old slabs were removed, and as you can see, this is a complex piece of setting out by the team whilst Rod breaks out the old cable tray base.

The whole area was covered in granular material and then vibrated hard to give a solid base on which to lay the mortar bed.

More slabs were added to the rear of the ramp and then a single line of level slabs set to follow the kerb top level towards the post box.

Here are the finished slabs and ramp at the north gate, just waiting for the specialist mortar to point the joints on the ramp area and around the fence posts.

The day after these photos were taken the heavens opened and all the surrounding areas were totally inundated by flooding (see Lineside Drainage's Blog for details) and yet for the first time in recent years the platform at the north end of the station did not flood - Well that proved that the design was sound, and that the C&M Team had got it in just in time !!

Here is the latest update from the team taken at the end of today (27/11/19).

We are very pleased to have hit our target of getting the north gate ready for the Santa Specials this weekend. The area will now remain fenced off to keep the public safe during the festive period.

That's all for now !

We all hope you find this blog interesting.

Rob W

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

Churchward House Dominates C&M Workload

Churchward House Update

Work on Churchward House has been C&M's primary focus since our last blog. We are desperately trying to get the building ready for the Admin Team to transfer location ideally in January 2020, but with an absolute transfer deadline of March 2020 ready for the new operating season.

Jim Hitchen is C&M's Project Manager reporting to Projects Director Alan Miller and Head of C&M Department Dave Bowie.

There are many changes needing to be made to the building to allow the various teams to have the office space they require and a number of practical difficulties to be overcome such as maintaining fire escape routes whilst altering the layout of some of the offices and creating different work zones in the workshop area.

The first task was to complete the clearance of the remnants left behind in the yard by the previous occupants. the largest of which was the two steel shipping containers.

9th October - Structural Work is Starting

This Wednesday most of the available C&M Team were deployed on Churchward House. Meetings were held to discuss the scope of the works, the critical tasks and any dependencies. It is clear that the more work we do and the more problems we find that the scope is going to keep creeping upwards.

Alan M, Dave B, Jim H, Pete D and Rob W are having to try and stay on top of these issues. Jim is directing operations and Pete is deploying team members to the various tasks. 

During the day Rob W and Rod W broke through the old blocked up doorway off the corridor to form a new doorway to the Operations Manager's new office.

Colin M, John W, Pete D, Mike W and Jim M took down the internal cupboards from what will become the admin office and began the redecoration.

Rod W and Rob W carefully removed a surplus door and frame from the first floor office and prepared it for re-use as the Operations Manager's new office door. 

All the studding removed from the ground floor doorway was de-nailed and then taken upstairs ready to fill the vacant doorway.

In the meantime the outside gang were clearing away all the contaminated gravel with the telehandler and taking it away from Churchward House and tipping it further down the railway yard. 

The water was still coming into the yard at quite a rate and so more trials were done by Pete D, Colin M and Austen S to try and see how we can get the water away. 

10th October - Removing The Old Shipping Containers

Jim H had arranged for a specialist removal company to take these containers away. The original plan was to have an empty container lorry come from slough, arrive at Winchcombe, load one container and take it to the disposal site at Gloucester, come back, repeat the exercise and depart back to Slough.

Unfortunately it didn't quite work out as Jim was led to believe. Here is Jim's record of the whole exercise.

The wagon arrived an hour later than agreed, and when it did arrive strapped to the bed of the wagon was a large double axled trailer.

The trailer was unloaded using the double Hiab unit and put to one side. The first container was then loaded onto the trailer.

The trailer was hooked up to the lorry and the pair maneuvered to the second container. The second container was then lifted onto the lorry bed.

When all were secured there was a major exercise getting both out of the yard.

Despite coning off part of the car park Jim had to get one car moved in the public parking area, and with a very tight squeeze the convoy just managed to get out of the yard and head off out of the station, much to Jim's relief.

In the meantime all the electrical circuits in the building and workshop are being tested by our independent electrical contractor Buzz Electrics. The central heating has been run up and tested and kept on for a day to prove everything works correctly.

All the old phone cables and sockets are being removed from the walls and any holes filled and made good.

12th October - Saturday Working

Pete D, John W and others started investigatory work on cladding and beams so that the new stud wall could be anchored safely. This wall will separate the Operations Manager's new office from the general meeting room on the ground floor.

More work was done on removing unnecessary fitments and electrical equipment and work was done to work out where the services could be routed to form the new mess room.

The group also recycled the old stud timbers to form a new stud infill where the superfluous office door had been removed. This will soon be covered with plasterboard both sides and skimmed with plaster.

16th October - The Office Refit Gains Pace

With all free C&M members dispatched to work on Churchward House again the planning group began to assess all the new issues that had arisen since last week and began to plan how these would be addressed.

In the meantime Rod W and Phil T set about building the Operations Manager's new office door from all the component parts retrieved from the office upstairs. 

Believe it or not, the downstairs doors are different sizes to those upstairs and so the lads had to make a 50mm infill panel above this door to fix the door framing to the brickwork opening

Finally the door fittings were fitted and the architrave added. You would never have guessed that this door its frame and all the fittings were recycled from upstairs !

In this last picture the structural framing has been exposed ready for the new stud walling to be built below to split this large area up into two separate office spaces.

Pete D, Colin M, John W, Jim M and Austen S all set to re-decorating the new Admin office. Here Colin who is camera shy can be seen busy painting the walls.

Downstairs in the workshop John W has new skirting boards and architraves and is cutting them to size before applying several coats of paint.

There's loads more happening on a daily basis, but that's all for now ....

Thursday, 3 October 2019

More Activities at Churchward House, Work on The Raft and the Woodstore at Toddington

Churchward House Yard Clean-Up Continues

This Wednesday the C&M Team have been doing extensive work in the yard at Churchward House. From comments on last week's blog I will aim to include some external shots of the site so that you can see the extent of the clearance work that has been needed. 

The first picture shows where the team have taken down the external lean-to and begun to clear out all the muck that had accumulated below it. Pete D led a team of John W, Jim M, Austen S, Colin M and Terry A. This shot shows the last of the brambles and greenery being burnt on the upper level. 

The upper level is about 2m higher than the yard, and following the ongoing saga of seepage on the rear yard retaining wall, we found out last week that this raised area carries a high-level culvert that feeds the ditch which runs down the western boundary of the station site.

Our colleagues in Lineside Drainage had cleared the sides of the ditch near the outfall to do investigatory work for us. This picture taken by Austen shows the outfall and the rear corrugated fencing to the upper area.

In the second view you can get a better perspective of the levels involved and can just see the top of the workshop to the right behind the fence.

Back down at yard level Terry A is seen here clearing the muck between the retaining wall and the back of the workshop. Just out of shot were John W and Colin H who by this stage had formed a human chain of diggers and shifted an enormous pile of mud soaked gravel which was dropped into the middle of the yard. 

The water you can see behind Terry has all seeped into this low area through holes in the retaining wall.  We are still trying to see whether the cause of this water is leakage from the culvert or natural groundwater coming off the higher ground outside our boundary. Either way we are going to have to route it into the railway's drainage system

Back on the upper level Colin H, John W, Jim M and Austen S were stoking the bonfire and clearing years of muck off the concrete base.

In the next photo you can see the rear of the main building and the attached green workshop area. The containers left behind by Cook's that can just be seen, are going to be removed and taken for scrap.

Whilst all this activity was going on Dave B, Alan M and Jim H were having meetings with various parties trying to firm up where all the required facilities were going to be provided in the main building.

In this picture a team from S&T were discussing the facilities available on site and what others would need to be acquired for their use. The giant heap of muck in the middle of this picture has all been hand dug from the back of the workshop and left to dry out before we move it with the telehandler.

Toddington Woodshed Fencing

For the last couple of weeks a team from C&M have been working hard on installing new fencing posts to go around the wood store area at Toddington Station. Rod W, Terry A, Keith S and Bob W have all been doing a grand job setting the posts into Postcrete ready for the new fencing wire to be applied. The two photos taken by Terry show the posts in the last remnants of golden sunshine taken last week.

The fencing wire and gate have deliberately been left off  ready for the concrete base to be poured and levelled.

It certainly has tidied up this part of the site.

Weighbridge Hut Base Update

The Heritage lads have been hard at work on the steel reinforcement again this week. Two hundred specially formed plastic spacers have been fitted underneath  the lower layer of bars and a good number of the crossing bars fixed with tying wire. - That's a painful job that really tests the muscles in your forearm and wrists.

The team are now working on the stirrup spacing bars which will support the upper layer of the cage.

Well done to that team, you're certainly making good progress. It will be good to get the concrete in and cured before the first frosts of winter arrive.

That's all for this week. The team will be back in action again on Saturday !