Thursday, 17 December 2015

More blocks

This report covers work done last Saturday and Wednesday. The pictures for this week were taken on Tuesday, when yours truly was passing through early on a grey, grizzely day.

On Wednesday, two of the gang had to do some remedial work at Toddy, where the wind had lifted the ridge roof flashing off part of the small waiting room on platform 2. Once done, they joined in the fun at Winchcombe.
This picture shows all the sleeper type corbelling blocks removed, and a new line of bricks being laid in front, to continue the former slope as part of the extension length. The signal is 'off' but there isn't really a train due - the class 73 was about with the ballast train at Stanton.

Wednesday was spent by the gang continuing the rebuilding of the old slope section and extending the concrete blocks towards Cheltenham.
Due to a bit of over enthusiasm last Saturday we had to redo a short section to get us back on level so it should be all systems go from here on in.
What also makes this build difficult is the fact than the wall is on a continuous curve so it's a case of short sections at a time.
Progress on Tuesday. The blockwork has been extended since then, and it's piled up ready to go.
One other job that we have been doing is preparing an area behind the B&S shed which will be used for storing edging slabs from CRC2 and other building materials. 

The sleeper ends that were in use as corbels, as well as some original slabs
Most of the work has now been completed, and now that a member has got his telehandler ticket we can get the slabs in from Cheltenham and get them sorted. These slabs are the natural stone ones not re-used at CRC as too damaged. However, there are good ones among them, and they can also be improved by turning on their backs, and sawing off the rough sides. A number have been taken to Broadway for use in the two gaps (now only one) that remained in the platform. Others will be used by B&S for this Winchcombe platform extension, while more still are pencilled in for Hayles Abbey halt, which will be reinstated as a heritage project next year. Did you know? We even have an authentic little waiting shelter for it.

Here's what it used to look like:
Photograph: G.Daniels - GWR collection

Further on a heritage theme, we need a number of GWR cast iron gate posts, the ones with the ball on the end like these:

It might be worth having our own cast, like the lamp posts at Broadway, but we need to order several to make commissioning the pattern worth while. Is anyone else interested? Surely there must be some areas on the railway that would be improved by genuine gate posts?

Further to last week's poser picture, here is the answer:
Yes, it was indeed Cheltenham Lansdown, with 7005 Sir Edward Elgar. In fact, Sir Edward took over from another engine that brought the train in, and John Diston took a picture of that as well, in fact it was the first of the two he took.
Here it is:

The reason I didn't show it first is that you can see the running in board under the canopy, and 7005 waiting patiently in the yard behind - too easy ! The incoming engine was 45552 SILVER JUBILEE. The headboard of The Thames, Avon and Severn LCGB Rail Tour has already been taken off.

You're not going to jump on the track, that chap on the left, are you? That tweed jacket may be the uniform of the day, but it gives very limited protection from passing trains.

We have now found a photographer for the B&S activities, so we hope to be able to show you regular photographs of the work as it progresses.


  1. I'm a little bemused to read that some of the stone platform edging slabs are to be used on the rebuilt Hayles Abbey halt.

    The halt didn't have stone platform edging slabs originally. The platforms were sleeper walls with a bank of earth behind them. The edging was simply a line of sleepers.

    Platforms of this type can be seen at Northwood Halt on the Severn Valley Railway, or The Lakes on the Birmingham-Stratford line (which I believe is the only remaining station on the national network to retain this type of platform).

    I understood the Hayles Abbey Halt project envisaged rebuilding the halt as it was originally. It's a project of the Heritage group, after all!

    Is that no longer the plan? Will the new halt have brick platforms with stone/concrete edging slabs - and/or any other differences from the original?

    1. I am reliably informed that at Northwood there is in fact the requisite gap between every upright sleeper. Whilst the railway Construction and Use Regulations require a safety overhang on all platforms, they do allow for the overhang to be interrupted for short distances (such as to accommodate the vertical supporting sleepers shown at Northwood).

      Since Hayles Abbey Halt is a new single-platform construction, not a two-platform restoration of the original, we need to comply with the current Regulations. It will still look as if it is built on sleepers but with the platform edging upgraded to corbelling and slabs, as per Gotherington. Its platform surface will be as per the original.
      Hope that answers your question.

    2. Thanks for the info. Interestingly, my local station, Hounslow, still retains parts of its LSWR brick-built platforms - with no overhang at all!

  2. I note your comment about the signal being "off". I see from the photo that the home signal is also "off". Surely this means that Winchcombe box is switched out.

    1. I'm not a signalling expert... the PWay train was about, perhaps it's under an engineer's possession? Or 1 engine in steam?
      It did make me wonder at CRC2 once, when the box is switched out, all the signals are off together. A strange sight.

    2. In the 1970s, when the Honeybourne line was still in use, Toddington signal box was usually switched out. All the signals, in both directions, were left permanently at 'all clear'. Effectively, this meant any trains could simply run through as if the signals weren't there. The whole line became one big block section.

      But with all the signals 'off', it created the impression that trains were about to arrive any minute. As a teenager, exploring the line on my bicycle, I remember waiting for ages on the road bridge for those trains - I couldn't understand why they were signalled, but never arrived!

  3. An interesting thought just entered my head. To be precise historically, Hayles Abbey Halt would have to be two platforms. Will this be the case or is it still in the planning stage? As one platform would be permanently unused if reinstated as a two platform halt.

    1. To be precise historically, the railway would have to be double track...
      Until it is, Hayles Abbey Halt will have just the one platform.

      BTW, just to be clear, the front will be faced with wood, so that it will look realistic. It's just that it has to have an overhang, hence corbelling and slabs on the top.