Thursday, 10 January 2019

The new pods go in

A good turnout on a cold but sunny day.

In the nice warm workshop Bruce and Ian were fixing the letters to the second Winchcombe R/I board. Barry was preparing scaffold boards and other timbers in anticipation of making a temporary roof on the Admin Office at Toddy, but we don't have any pictures of that as the main gang was at Toddington.
Here the Pods were due to arrive around 10:00 hrs.  
Pods arriving, with crane
In fact they finally made it at 12:00hrs.  
Crane manoeuvres through a well filled car park
 The first pair of new pod flies through the air...

 ... and lands safely on the supports installed earlier by the gang.
In just a short while both new pods were safely installed.

The pods have bunk beds, showers and toilets.

Do they work?

C&M staff were there to test them exhaustively for you.
The old pods are no longer fit for normal service but where watertight may be used for storage for a while. 

Then it was back to the previous job of reinstalling the fence to the playground.
Mick R painting the fence
A peep inside an old pod.


Phil cuts off a damaged section of the old barge board for reuse

Jim M & Austen dismantle the damaged ply furniture which was later taken up to the Loco Dept for lighting up locos.
Further work was done fitting barge boards to the playground fence.
A team from Broadway removed more slabs from P1 and then started to lay slabs once the new electric cement mixer had arrived.  
Professional slab layers at work
 Bob and Terry can be seen leveling the base prior to laying back the slabs.

A brand new shiny mixer was acquired for the job. Don't get it all dirty now! 

It was quickly put to use for the slabbing job.

The mix was barrowed over to the platform, where Bob leveled it out very carefully.

The slabs don't always obey orders and for that purpose a big persuader was brought down  to help get them into line.

Paul, leaning on a broom and without the usual cup of coffee in his hand, spots the cameraman.
At the end of the day they had laid three rows of slabs. Will passengers realise the amount of work that has gone on under their feet?

Thursday, 3 January 2019

Our new truck

With heavy demand for the railway's blue Transit from C&M, S&T and other departments, relief was sought by means of a second Transit, which was sourced by a C&M gang member.

Here is a first picture of it, after it arrived over Christmas. It's very similar to the one used by the drainage gang, which has been found to work well in practice.

We'd like to say it had one careful owner, but this isn't quite true.  Yes, one owner - Network Rail - but it had multiple users in the Pway Dept in South London, and wasn't treated too carefully.  Still, that does account for a reasonably low mileage and it does have 6 seats and a tail lift, which will be most useful. 
Yesterday saw a rather modest turnout, no doubt due to excessive Christmassing, and perhaps the bitterly cold weather.
The first fence panel is fitted by Phil, Martyn and Mike G
Nonetheless, work continued on two fronts. The first was the fencing at Toddington.

Concreting the fence posts continued, after which they were painted.

Finally the fence was erected alongside the play area.
 Here Mike G holds the gate in position.

 Martyn put the last screw into the post.

With the gate in place, you can see the whole of the fence in front of the play area. The new pods will go in front of the older, grey ones in the background.

A final view at the end of the day, with new posts fitted in the foreground, and the gate re-hung in the background.

The last run of fencing will be left until after the Pods are delivered, which should be next Wednesday.  The last touch will be the gravel boards, and then this run of fencing is finished.

In other news Barrie removed and trimmed the storeroom door on P1 at Toddington. This has been sticking for some time.

The second group yesterday worked on the platform at Toddington. Here the slabs, laid back in 1982, have become rather uneven.

All of them need re-laying, so enter the expert Broadway platform slab layers. They are pretty experienced now. They are equipped with knee pads, a level and the trusty vacuum lifter, also used at Broadway.

Note that under the slabs is sand, whereas at Broadway a dry mix was used. The sand is easier to lay, but over time water seeps through and then differences in level begin to appear.

The whole of the platform will be re-done.

Here Dave and Terry are looking into some electric cabling that runs just underneath.
Although Toddington was our one station acquired with the station building still up, it needed an awful lot of work to get it up and running. One of these jobs was the replacement of the platforms, and as a result, also the relaying of the platform slabs.
John Lees photographed all this; you can see his work on the Flickr site here:
More pictures are still being worked on, until CRC is reached.
Here are two of his pictures, showing the platform slab relaying in the first half of 1982:
In the picture, a short stretch of P1 has been rebuilt (it used to just slope down to the trackbed) and a supply of replacement slabs has been found, and piled against the side of the building.

No P2 yet, of course!

Here a first batch of slabs has been laid, on sand. 

On the right is a Midland yard lamp post, used on a GWR platform. In those days, you were lucky to get anything at all. Today, we strive for greater attention to detail, and the Midland post was swapped for a GWR one.

Behind the ex Barry locomotive on the left is the spot where this month's PWay relay has just started.

Yes, the track is that old, and it was second hand even then!

Thursday, 20 December 2018

Cracking On

Another good turn out, and a busy day in C & M.  

In the picture you can see Mike putting a second coat of gloss on the new door for the Gents toilet at CRC.  This is now ready for installation early in the New Year.

The next picture shows the 2 Running In Boards.  The one furthest from the camera is awaiting the letters.  The nearer board had a coat of primer applied during the day.
Pete took a team to CRC and finished installing the modesty screen outside the Gents toilet.  Unfortunately there is only one photographer, and he was helping another team at Toddington, hence we don't have any pictures of Pete at work there.
An overview of the new pod site there shows where the work has been going on, at the north end of the car park. On the left are the existing pods, next to them the site for the new ones, and then on the right is the childrens' playground.
After lunch the CRC team joined the other team at at Todddington and made a start levelling the ground and laying a foundation layer of ballast for the footpath alongside the new Pods.
Phil and Terry levelling the first new post.
Setting the corner post.

The fence line begins to take shape.
Rod pours another bag of Postcrete.

The main activity was again centered on removing the last of the rotten posts in the fence around the children's play area.  This job was rather time consuming as the remains of the rotten posts were still buried in about a foot of concrete.  However we did manage to get them all out in the end and also do a first fix using Postcrete on all the new posts.  The team will need to top these off with more concrete next time, then paint the posts and finally re-fit the fence panels which are in quite good condition. 

Overall view of the playground fence posts going in.
Phil, Terry & Rod tackle the last rotten post.

With the fence posts back in, a start could be made on a footpath which will run between the bases of the new pods and the fence separating the new pods from the playground.

Jim M, Mike G, Austen and John are in action here.

This is a shot of the pods we already have. They have two beds in each, and a small toilet facility. Bigger than some Japanese hotel rooms, and so useful for people from far away, or early risers for warming up engines.
It appears that due to logistical issues the new pods will not now be delivered until the second week of January.  Hopefully the site will have dried out by then.

Pete and his gang also managed to do a quick job for C&W, where a supply cable, formerly outdoors until the barn extension was built over it, is now indoors but in an open trench.

The cable was covered in a layer of concrete mixed on site, and nicely levelled off.

Almost invisible now.

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

More podding about

There were three teams in action today.  Barrie, Bruce and Ian were again working on another running in board in the workshop. There are 2 under construction at the moment, but the cameraman was unfortunately not there to see them for you.

The main job at Toddington was to continue work in preparation for the pods.  There is still no date for delivery but we hear that things are moving on that front. 

The first picture today shows the pod area where a manhole cover was moved to one side last week. 
In its previous location the original manhole would have ended up precisely under one of the pods.
The main activity today was to erect posts to support the new boundary fence between the pods and the children's play area, and to remove some of the rotten posts supporting the fence to the play area.  

Rod baling out a hole near the water pipe
Post hole no 2 is being excavated by Rod Terry and Keith
Phil joins in to check for level
In the end just about all were suspect so they have all come out bar 2, which have been left so we can set line and height for the new posts next time.  

Row of posts, from the car park
Pete starts to back fill near the new manhole
We also wanted to expose the water pipes to the existing Pods to see if these can be used for the new ones.

Austen coats the buried sections of the new posts with preservative
Before lunch we managed to do all the main posts; then after lunch intermediate posts were installed.

The stock of removed fence panels.  These will be fettled up and reused.

In the picture on the left you can see the pile of recovered fence panels by the toilet block, and in the foreground, two of the older posts remaining to help set up the line and height for next time.

In this final picture you can see the whole row of new fence posts. They run alongside the cast concrete bases for the pods when they arrive.

In other news Pete, Austen and our cameraman worked on the roofs of the Admin offices. These are nearing the end of their lives and leaks are beginning to appear. The gang tried to make them waterproof once again for the coming winter season, with a mixture of sealing up splits and covering with tarpaulins. Alas, on that occasion no photographs were taken, but we can reveal that the information office now sports a bright green tarpaulin hat.
The sooner these functions re-locate to our newly acquired offices in Winchcombe the better. (May 2019 is the suggested date)