We still had just under 40 blocks topside, and a similar number down on the foundations, so Lyndon started to shuttle the top ones down, until we had about 80 trackside. There were no trains due at all today.
In this picture you can see Paul, returned from his holiday up the Kiel canal, laying the lower course of blocks on the last part of the concrete foundations that was cast a little lower. Earlier, we had Stevie Wonder round with a petrol powered disk cutter, and he cut the lower row of blocks down to a thinner size. Now they fit.
Jim H made them a huge mound of mortar to be getting on with.
It's quite slow but satisfying work. You chip away patiently, until you have a semi circular hole on one side, then turn the block around and start again on the other.
But spot the deliberate mistake here... this block ended up with 3 weep holes. It seems that the Olympic commentary on the little portable radio that Jim brings in was very distracting, and you chip away in a little reverie.
More towards the centre of the site, Lyndon and Tim spent the day in the catch pit, measuring and cutting, and carefully laying the blocks around it. They need to rise to a shape at platform level that mirrors the shape of the concrete ring and its standard sized concrete lids.
It's quite complicated.
The second row of the platform wall has just been added behind Tim. You can see that the mortar is still wet, although that didn't show for very long as it was quite hot today, up to 25 degrees, and we were working under the full sun. Lyndon and Julian had to sprinkle water every now and then on to the mortar piles, as well as on the blocks to be laid, otherwise the mortar doesn't stick to them.
|Do you reckon that's going to come out level?|
Having extended southwards to the tip of the southern platform slope, Paul now worked slowly backwards towards the tower laid last week.
Here he is with a plank across the gap, making sure that the next course up to the individual block on the right is level.
There seemed to be some sceptics in the vicinity though.
Round about lunch time a mile stone in the build of our new platform wall was reached - we laid the last block in the bottom course. There are now some blocks - one, two, three or four courses high - all along the platform. Many more blocks, on top or behind, are still required, but you can now see the complete shape of what will be.
Jim is 'buttering' the end of the second to last block, while Julian is preparing a nice thick bed for the last block, about to be laid by Paul.
In the background you can just make out Lyndon and Tim.
Yours truly drilled all the remaining rebar holes through the blockwork, now that the bottom row is fully in place.
Jim had a go at diagnosing the problem. Is that a brickie's hammer we see there, Jim?
The doctor with his little hammer says it's probably fuel starvation due to a dirty carb.
Right down at the southern end now, a third course has started to go on. Again, because of the heat and bone dry concrete, the blocks need a sprinkle of water to make the mortar stick, otherwise it just falls off again. Julian is doing the honours.
At this stage, only the half beyond the two volunteers standing in the middle has a second, rearmost row of blocks. You can see that we've left ourselves a little gateway in the middle, through which we bring all the supplies from topside. A little bridge made of two pallets brings the barrow road to the rail edge.
The location of most of the blocks laid today is plain to see, as the mortar is still dark.
The project is going really well, we are on budget, and morale is high!
Finally, you might be interested in this timetable extract of our line:
Believe it or not, this was photographed on Thursday, in situ, on an old GWR poster board, still attached to the station building platform wall. It dates from 1944. Where? Ahhh, that will be revealed after the September holidays. We are planning a small heritage asset recovery.
The timetable confirms what several people have related to us i.e. they took the train to go to school in Cheltenham, both from Broadway and indeed from Hayles Abbey Halt, where the first train of the day duly stopped. You can see that it started off from Cheltenham at 06.40, ran up to Broadway, did an about turn and then stopped at all stations down again until it was back in Cheltenham at 08.20, where the school was. Do schoolchildren still do that today?