Saturday, 28 February 2015

Saturday 28th February 2015 - Spreading the Resources

In preparation for the new running  season, Toddington Station has had some maintenance on the running line through the Station. This included moving the barrow crossing further south. The Pway Gang and Building Services have put in a tremendous amount of work in over the closed period  to achieve this. A couple of the Broadway Gang have helped out in recent weeks, and four BAG Volunteers went over to help out today.

Here Roger and Phil get to grips with the mixer(That's a proper mixer!), and in it goes at the other end. In the background the Pway Gang level out the ballast (is that Ivor Dixon I see? - You can't keep  a good man down). Thanks to Vic, Jo, Roger and Phil for their grafting today.

 A bit of light relief was a Chinook helicopter doing a low pass.

Back on site, more progress was being made on the Signal Box.The first job of the day was putting the wall plate(s) on. For the uninitiated, like me, these are not the Royal Worcester plates you hang between the flying ducks in your lounge, but a horizontal beam around the top of the brickwork to which the rafters are nailed.

Here JC is actually at the second task of the day which is building the chimney up to the highest point possible before more scaffolding is required.  But in the foreground you can see the wall plate,  held down by a row of loose bricks to keep it level. Tony is the QA man for the day.

Further north the ramp on platform 2C is nearing completion. Bob J and Keith S, kept at it all day.

It was great to see Keith back after being away for a  tricky eye op. We've missed him.

Here Bob J is working away laying bricks on the ramp. He's  on the tedious part of cutting half bricks to achieve the finished slope. Looking good Bob.....

Finally the Fire Starters were at it, with a good fire going. Gordon, Peter K and Graham were on parade.

Thanks to Jim Boyles who looked after the Shed all day. He must have liked it because he's coming back on Wednesday!

A couple of good extra shots at Toddington from Vic - particularity appropriate because we don't often see Jo in front of a camera!

Phil and Jo mixing......

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

The start of the signal box roof!

Jo Roesen reports:

Today was one of those long awaited days, without any rain or frost. All our intended activities resumed with great vigour, and this being a Wednesday, there was an excellent attendance of volunteers at 27, with, at its peak, cars parked all the way down the drive. We don't see that very often. We missed Bill for much of the day, caught up in meetings in our planning office.

Even as your blogger parked his car, he could see that there was a delivery for the box - what's that all about then? It was the timber merchant with a supply of planks, stacked in the background, that will be used for the base of the roof. This then is the start of the roof structure, and more of that later.

First, we had to repair, once again, the damage caused by high winds a few days ago. The dumper garage was once again split open like a tin can, and the bricklayers' shelter was found actually lying on its side, broken in two. After removing the broken sides, it was decided to salvage the roof and put it into temporary storage behind platform 2. Here we see a goodly gang of volunteers carrying the roof up the trackbed.

The shelter for the footbridge centre span had survived a lot better, and needed only a few adjustments to get it back into shape, before work continued with the fitting of the end doors.
We don't have a date for the arrival of the footbridge steps yet, but we are ready for them, and further sleepers were cut today to build up the trestles that will hold up the steps.

As a van will be running tomorrow to collect the new CRC2 running in board posts and Broadway modesty screen posts, we will stop off at Toddington to pick up a few more sleepers on the way.

A successful trip was also made to a firm of shotblasters at Northwick Park to deliver the two crowd barrier posts, which need a thorough professional cleaning, after their 50 year sojourn under the clay. They will be returned to us in a week, powder coated in zinc primer. The cost of this is being sponsored by a volunteer.

Brick laying also resumed. This is excellent news, as we are very keen to fully backfill 2c to be quite sure there will be no further slippage of clay. Here we see Clive setting himself up for a further row of corbelling along the last level section of the platform. Up on top is Peter H supplying himself with reds to back up the previous row of corbelling. One more row of corbelling, and then it's only the downward slope left to do.

In the background is Steve on the mixer, alternating between loads of black, brown and weak mix concrete. The mixer is a petrol driven one and is very particular - left in its normal rest position it will cut out; tipped too far forwards it will run, but empty its mixer drum. You need to know the nature of the beast, and get it just right.

Looking the other way, we can see that job that still needs doing at the northern end of 2c - a few more slabs need to go in to meet up with the supporting gabions, while on the wall it's a question of finishing the corbelling and completing the slope at the end. Bob J is the man on that particular job, and the end of the day saw it almost finished.

 The most urgent part of completing 2c was the positioning of the vertical slabs at the rear. As soon as those are in and the concrete has set, we can fill in behind them and stabilise the bank. We did 10 slabs last week, and here are Rod and Terry just putting in the very last one. Uninterupted today, they laid all 11 of the remaining slabs in only half a day. They are getting good at this; it's a pity the job is now finished.

After completing the slabbing, Rod and Terry helped the brash burning gang down at the northern end of the cutting. Brian has now cut down all the Hawthorns down the left hand side, with a few more yards left to do on the right, just before the nesting season starts.
Strange but true, pulling the brash down the cutting slope and on to the fire is very tiring indeed, which is why there are so many pictures of volunteers sitting next to the fire. Brian volunteered the use of his Freelander again, and we dragged a pleasing number of big bundles down to the trackbed. But many more to go.

Down in our 'Goods Shed' shop there was a new face today: Jim B, who has volunteered to do some of the stints. Jim is a Broadway man and knows us well; he will be a good ambassador. Do come down and spend some money in the shop, we have lots of railway books and useful stuff, and it helps build the station.

And what was happening on the box during all this time? Lots of progress today ! Thanks to the very supportive sponsors for the windows that we have had, funds have been boosted and a lot of timber ordered. The heavy duty planks we saw at the beginning of the post were used to make a Bressummer beam.
You're probably wondering what this is (well I was) and here is the definition of such a beam:
'A load bearing beam in a timber framed building. The word summer derived from sumpter or French sommier, “a pack horse“, meaning “bearing great burden or weight“. “To support a superincumbent wall”, “any beast of burden”, and in this way is similar to a wall plate.

In our case this is a substantial load bearing beam that sits on top of the window frame structure and that supports the weight of the roof.
Here we see it in situ at the NE corner. It is made up out of 4 planks joined together into a single beam. About 75% of the structure was assembled today, the rest will be delivered next time.A further level of woodwork sits on this beam (see lower photograph). At the rear you can see Tony and Bob finishing off the last row of bricks to be laid. It's all coming together nicely! Only the chimney remains to be raised now, and this is awaiting construction of the roof to see where the flashing needs to go.

Here we see Bob completing the final row of bricks, in this case around the outside of the chimney. We love the interaction of the blues and reds here, very decorative it is.

One final brick laying action needs to be done:

It's a single row of of half bricks, stood on their sides, that form a slope to the outside to match the line of the roof timbers.

Here we see JC starting this row (it was completed later in the day) and you can also see that this last row is at the same level as the Bressummer beam, plus two final timbers on top. Now the whole of the top of the signal box is at the same level.

Taking a few steps back, we can see our 'Shirley' box growing visibly, and looking more and more like the real thing. Can you see what it is yet?

The line of sliding windows is now very clear, they go round three sides of the building. Can you imagine how good it will look, once the scaffolding is taken down? We are just itching to bolt on its own cast iron name board:

But first the roof. Stay tuned, and watch it go up!


Two photographs supplied by our visiting artist Fred Lea:

This one shows the northern boundary fence, and in particular Springfield Lane bridge. It is very rusty, and much of the brickwork is also damaged.
Fred also took this picture of Steve B and your blogger, taking it in turns to fill 'Mitzy the Moody Mixer'.

Before anyone lets the cat out of the bag via a sneaky comment, Yes, it's a pose. My shovel was empty.You just can't trust the internet. Steve is the only one doing any real work here.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Saturday 21st February 2015 and a Very Productive Day!

There were 19 of us on site today - a good turnout for a Saturday - which is just as well because there was much to be done!

The energy sapping job for the day was the continuing infill behind  Platform 2C.
 A procession of barrows were filled by the excavator for the transfer of ballast to the front and back of the recently set slabs.

Note in the background Peter Q is putting the door frame in  the footbridge enclosure. By the end of his session he had a door frame in either end.

The troops lost count of the number of loads, but they were nice and warm by the end of the session!  The exercise included concreting in the last lamppost socket and running the ducting and draw string through.
What I'm  confident about is that this hard work has stop the movement of the clay on the bank.

There are a few more slabs to be set on Wednesday and the following infill will make the job complete, Has anyone got 60 tonnes of good top soil they can let us have, to finish the landscaping!

On the front of the platform 2C wall, Clive was laying the next  section of corbelling. We need to get this up to height in order to complete the infill.

Fun and games over for the moment on 2C the bricklaying team move back onto the Signal Box. What a successful session it was! Only one more  external course to completed the job.

There were only two complaints the wind chill factor made it feel cold and some hail chards came down just to make the point.

Jo picked up on a point of detail showing the window sill in place on the south front corner and the tenon joint that will locate on the bressumer beam, which supports the roof.

Roger and Jim in cogitating mode....
We continue to plan for the delivery of the footbridge steps. Here the stools in place and calculations are being made to rest the stairs at the correct height. Note Jim is standing firmly on the metal stool.....

At the other end of the site Gordon and Dave B were tending a very good bonfire of the tree debris cut down from the banks of the cutting on Wednesday. I have to say it was the right place to be in the chill wind!

Lastly Jo is on a mission to gather together all the Station refit items that he can. Here he has loaded the 2 ticket barrier post, dug out of the Broadway embankment (treasure indeed!)

Here is Jo's explanation:

They are on their way to be cleaned up, shot blasted and coated. These are of course the originals, found on site. On arrival at home, I cut off the jagged remains of the base plates underneath.

Another post in slightly better condition has been lent to us by the SVR and it will be used to cast two additional replicas, to cover both future ticket windows.

The quote of the day goes to JC  who announced to the Mess Room that he had "Compo stuck in his zip" - I thought the First Aid kit  might be required but JC  quickly went on to explain that he had  leaned across some wet mortar and blocked up the zip on his jerkin.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Wednesday 18th February 2015 Footbridge Progress

It has been our intention to get the footbridge stairs down to Broadway for some time now, and we have been thwarted on a number of fronts. However it moved  a step closer(only a little pun intended) with the delivery by Vic Haines Transport of the 4 stools to rest the stairs on.

In addition you can see we purloined 2 very sturdy work benches.      

I am in awe of the skill of the drivers of the HIABs when  unloading their lorries with such precision. Precision is the name of the game with positioning these stools by the way. The stairs are large and extremely heavy.

When the HIAB had finished his work with the stools he was persuaded to give us some time to clear some of the track bed to create more storage for bricks - the old bridge trestles and the lampposts waiting installation for instance.

On the subject of the footbridge, the span enclosure was being worked on all day.
Here you can see the end walls of the enclosure have been started. We have had various suggestions as to what we can grow in it in the meantime, from whacky baccy to tomatoes. I think the lads working on it have heard all the variations now! Thanks to Jim and the bridge crew today - we're making progress on yet another front.

One last diversion, the brick laying shelter has been titivated up to extend its life. A pretty neat job, but it does get heavier to move!

A great team effort today with lots of smiles of satisfaction.

 I will pack this report in now as I seem to be leaving out more words than I'm typing.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Wednesday 18th February 2015 - Part 2 - Platform 2C

It was difficult to choose the order of these posts, which might imply that one was more important than the other  - not so - if you were to measure them in terms of  urgency, and blood sweat and tears, then the work on Platform 2C should be  at the head of the list!

The job  firstly involves laying 3x2 council slabs vertically along the rear of the platform. Setting them in concrete and keeping them level and vertical -  it strains all the muscles and the patience!

Here we see the job towards the end of the day when an heroic 11 slabs and a lamppost socket had been installed. There are perhaps another 11 to go.

However prior to that, a good deal of discussions had taken place on the best method of keeping the levels right when there is not a completed front wall to use as a datum.

In the end the laser level was used, but even that put up some resistance and required re assembly.

In terms of continuing with the front wall, a good number of bricks were laid by Clive, with Peter H backing up. As you can see the ballast at the  rear of the wall makes this particularly difficult  - a certain amount of gymnastics are require!

A great job was done by Rod, Terry, Clive, and  Peter H and all who persevered  with this today.
Thank you.

EO Part 2

Wednesday 18th February 2015 - Part 1 The Signal Box

There were 4 major tasks going on today and in order to do them justice I will summaries them in separate Posts. There were 21 volunteers on site today and an almost springlike day lifted the spirits and made every part of the site construction take on a new dimension.

 We have had great support on all fronts for the work on the Signal Box - For those supporters so generously sponsoring a window - thank you - they are in the process of being manufactured by Paul Richards Joinery at Whitney. However today was the day for completing the window frames and continuing with the rear wall.

Here Paul and his colleague are tapping in the vertical posts which make up the verticals of the window frames, and importantly take the weight of the roof through to the brick wall.

It was a pains taking process and you can see that a cold wind was blowing through, by the  hooded jackets!

Eventually the top rail was located to hold the whole frame  square. Paul and his family have history with the Great Western Railway and this shines through with the attention to detail that has been applied to the frames.

At the rear of the box a full gang were working on the bricklaying. Great progress was made, especially as part of the job was to bring the chimney and its flu lining up to current level. There are just 3 courses of  external brickwork remaining - this will take one more good session to complete. Work will then proceed on the roof structure. I cant wait!

Thanks to the  SB BAG Volunteers today, JC, Bob W, John S, Tony and Paul It was great to see the result of all their hard work.

Finally thanks to Paul Richards who went the extra mile in every sense of the word to finish off the frames today. Here is a good shot towards the end of the day.

EO Part 1

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Steaming to Broadway - the 1000th Post!

It seems difficult imagine that the Steaming to Broadway Blog has been going for  more than 5 years. During that time I have enjoyed reporting the hard work of the Broadway Area Group Volunteers and their extraordinary achievements.  This is the 1000th post! None of it would have been possible without the volunteer's grit and determination, born out of the common desire to see steam trains departing once more from Broadway Station.

Of course the blog wouldn't have succeeded at all without the support of you, the Blog Followers. Your enthusiastic following, makes the reporting  all worthwhile and I hope you will continue in the future, right through to when we report the first train pulling out of Broadway's Platform 1. What a day that will be! Your enthusiasm is often expressed in donations -  I have to say, that's what has kept us going, and I should add, that's what will be needed to keep us going in the future.

As for the future of the Steaming to Broadway Blog - I will try  to keep it fresh, interesting and accurate - not always easy after a long day! For several years I have had the help of my friend and colleague Jo Roesen. His never ending stream of cleverly observed photos are always the cornerstone of the posts. Thank you Jo. As we move forward I may need a bit more help!

So Blog Followers, keep the faith and hopefully  Post 2000 will be made up of pictures of the Broadway Volunteers with their feet up on Platform 1, reminiscing with the usual "do you remember......... preface.

Thanks all,