Saturday, 18 October 2014

Saturday 18th October 2014 - The Last Brick Cleaned (For Now!)

It was difficult to know what to headline today - the cleaning of the last brick on site after 5 years of  determined slog by the gallant few, or the setting up of the footbridge for ongoing work.

Jo shifts the last of the reds behind the 2C wall
In the background Robin is cleaning the last few....
 Lets start with the bricks. The piles of  uncleaned blue and red bricks have been gradually dwindling over the last few weeks and today the last one was clean by master brick cleaner Robin Elliott. I'm not sure whether Robin will be please or sorry that the last bit of mortar has been chip off! My guess is that he'll have had a tear in his eye, or was that a bit of brick dust!






John S measuring the correct size bricks for
laying behind 2C



However, as we treated Robin to a new wire brush today I think maybe I will follow up the 60 tonnes of Paddington Station blue bricks on offer - we can't waste a wire brush!









The stairway to heaven and good humour abounds.
Jim(left) has been eating and sleeping this bridge move....



Now back to the footbridge - what a monster structure it is. The game plan for today was to build some steps up to the footbridge floor and to cover the floor braces with wood to make a safe surface to walk on.

This was a slow painstaking job to ensure an absolutely stable surface to work from.
 Here the waterproof flooring is cleansed  of old screws and nails ready for installation.

It really is worth coming along to see the span - it may look forlorn in its current state, but the excitement it engenders for the future restoration of the bridge and the completion the station is palpable among the volunteers. Just look at the faces of the chaps above... 






Embankment clearance (above Johns head!)


There was a sterling effort at clearing the eastern embankment beyond 1C today. Steve B, Ron,  and Vic kept the loppers going and it really is looking impressive.












 A  welcome visitor today was Brian Parsons.


 Brian used to live in Broadway and became a loco fireman based at Worcester. After the end of steam, he was second man on various diesels, including up and down our line. He was a regular spotter and photographer from the horse dock at Broadway station, and was kind enough to let us use copies of the many pictures he took – see http://www.broadwaystation.co.uk/scrapbook2.htm
It was thanks to Brian’s careful notes that we discovered the date the station was demolished – November 1963. We are very grateful to him for his recollections and photographs, and it was great to see him in person for the first time. 


Thursday, 16 October 2014

HIA footbridge centre span arrives !

Jo Roesen reports today:

Eight hand picked men assembled on site today to receive the centre span from the former Henley in Arden footbridge. This was a minutely and well planned operation, which, we can say straight away, went off pretty much without a hitch, and the centre span is now on site !

The eight were split with one at Wishaw, supervising the loading, and the other seven at Broadway, making the site ready for the arrival of the crane and lorry. Fences needed taking out, piles of pea gravel shifted, heavy steps moved about, neighbours warned, parked cars removed, cones set up, CCTV shut down, reception areas marked out, electricity supplies cut off, cables moved, emergency tea making facilities put into place and tested. Oh yes.

About half way through the morning, we felt we were ready. The crane came. It was a very compact model, and manoeuvering it around the place was no problem at all. It was set up outside the original station site, and we waited.

News from Wishaw came that there would be about an hour's delay, which was not unexpected.

But - the devil makes work for idle hands.... we decided to finish off the laying of the new communications cable, and plumbing it to the office. The lamp post on the left had also been on our list of things to do. Once planted, a year ago, it became clear that it was far too high, and so we were keen to substitute it for a shorter one. If you know of a GWR No.1 lamp post that is available, we would love to hear from you!

If only we had a crane to lift it out...
Out comes the non-GWR lamp post.
But wait, we do have a crane, and it's standing idle with the meter ticking. A crew of three quickly set about removing the weak mix concrete around the base, and disconnecting the ducting leading to it. The crane crew were keen to have a go to get their hand in, and to kill time while waiting for the load to arrive.

The lamp post, an old street light from Kingston upon Thames, was removed easily and now awaits disposal. Any takers? It would give our funds a little boost.


Reversing up the station approach.
Finally, at around lunch time, the centre span arrived on its low loader. Because of the height of the load, it did not fit under the bridge and went down Broadway high street instead. Anyone photograph it there? What a good advertisement for the railway that must have been. We are here.
The first lift is made.
The low loader reversed up the drive, and parked beside the fence. The crane was set up outside the B&B. We unloaded four heavy trestles from Wishaw, which were lifted on to platform 2, where the centre span will reside for the time being, while it is being worked on. Also part of the load were the two trestles that support the centre of the two staircases.
Once empty, the centre span was lifted off the lorry and parked on platform 1. You can see a video of it being unloaded here:
http://youtu.be/VA-P8X5cYhs
The final destination of the centre span was at the end of the completed section of 2b, and this needed several lifts. After unloading the centre span, the crane moved to a new position for a second lift down on the trackbed. A load of pea gravel needed moving along a bit, but with the help of George Law's mini digger this was easily done.


The four supporting trestles were then dragged along 2b to their new positions, and levelled. On the right you can see the newly made framework for a protective 'shed' which will encase the centre span for when work is carried out on it.









Once firmly established in its new lifting position, the crane extended its huge boom once again, and gave the span its second lift. It was moved from behind the office and cabin (in the picture above) to a position in front of the brown container (just off to the left in the picture).





The crane then folded itself up again (quite a laborious business, there is a lot to it) and moved along the trackbed to the third lifting position, now by the brown container. From here the final lift could be entertained. In order to clear the lamp posts, containers and B&B hedge, the footbridge went way up into the air.








Given the clear riskiness of the operation, management retreated to a distant and elevated location, from where extensive arm waving could be practised.

Meanwhile, a friendly Robin had spotted the diggings by the lamp posts, and got away with a huge worm. Well done, little chap !


Would it fit?
At one point, the centre span was exactly square across the trackbed, thus giving us a good idea of what a footbridge here might look like, albeit much too high today. The length looks about OK, guys, that's a relief. So it should be; the HIA and Broadway footbridges are almost identical, which is why we were so grateful when we were able to secure it.
The waiting trestles are on the platform on the right.
Coming down for the final resting place.
Finally, the span was lowered very carefully on to its waiting trestles. This temporary resting place is only a few yards from the actual location of the original footbridge, so when it comes to final assembly, the next and final lift should not be too difficult.
Job done ! Well done Jim and crew. Brilliantly executed, that was.
Within its temporary shelter, the span will be cleaned, repaired and painted. The remaining pieces - two towers and two stairways - will follow in due course.
Oh - oh....
Today's lifting went without a single hitch - well almost. A platform slab got broken, fortunately by a volunteer, and not the crane. It can be replaced.

As we tidied up the site, we were approached by a Canadian couple staying at the B&B. They were most impressed by our plans to rebuild the station true to its GWR heritage. ''It will be a jewel of the world'', they said.

Let's make it so !

Signal Box Updated Painting

Fred Lea our Railway Artist has taken time out to update his super painting of the Broadway Signal Box. Thanks Fred - brilliant as ever!

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

15th October 2014 - A Busy Day!

I was on a shorter reign than usual today but  I did get to  see a tremendous amount of hard work going on  among the 27 Volunteers on site. The weather stayed friendly enough and a wide variety of  jobs were on the go.  Where to start?

Well it was great to see the Fairview lorry  back, with Richard in charge, laying the last of the coping slabs on Platform 1C.
Steady as she goes...

Steve in action cutting the final coper....

The slice of coper being moved into position....

In she goes... brilliant!
Well done to the team - Rod, Terry, Roger B, Peter H et al. Thank you - a real milestone in every sense of the word.


On the other side of the track bed the first proper bricks were being laid on  Platform 2C. Bob Jones  worked on the first course of stretchers with Clive  and Roger completing the intial set setting out. That first course of bricks always looks a bit lonely, but you will be able to monitor progress over the coming weeks. We have the shelter lined up, so we should have no wet weather excuses!.

Roger B was Duty Officer for the day and here is his report on the platform progress:-

Hi Bill

The Team were progressing on two fronts today, brick laying on 2c and platform slab laying on 1c.
Clive, Bob Jones and I laid out the piers for the first course of blues, and 50 Blues were laid before the rain moved in.
On platform 1c the team of Terry, Rod, Peter H, Richard from Fairview and I laid 7.5 platform slabs on the slope to complete platform 1 Slabbing, a great result.
Thanks also goes to Steve who manfully cut the half slab in a cloud of dust.
Once again a great team effort on two fronts.

Regards


Roger

Prior to Richard  arriving to lay the slabs, the infill behind 1C needed topping up with some clean ballast to make it easier to walk on. Without JCB help, a team decided to do it the hard way -  yes shovel and barrow  with help from the dumper here and there!
Smile please - you are enjoying yourselves!

Tidying up...
Peter Q gives some advice on shovel technique....
 There was a tremendous amount of hard work involved and when I walked along the infill later on  it was super smooth. It will allow the completion of the backing slabs - Oh joy I hear them cry....

On other fronts Peter T and  Ian H were  fabricating some new lamppost sockets for 1C. Good timing I think!


 Work started on the clearance of the eastern embankment beyond 1C and where the old horse dock was. For those unfamilair with the horse dock, I know Jo will oblige a a short resume!

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Saturday 11th October 2014 - A day of Blocks and Bricks!

There were 14 of us on site today - the odd rain shower blew through, but generally work proceeded at a pace.  

The main task for the day was to complete the block work on Platform 2C. The brick laying shelter was moved into position to allow work to continue during the showers.





Roger and Clive in action....


Work then continued  and  at the end of the day, all 60+ blocks were laid, and ready for the blue bricks next time. It really was a great day's block laying.












First by the barrow load...
In parallel with the block laying 2 small gangs were selecting the right size blues and reds to start the brick laying on Wednesday. These were stacked front and back  of the wall in convenient piles, ready to hand for the brick layers.










Then by the dumper load...
Eventually the dumper came into play for recovering the backing bricks from further up the track bed. It was hard graft but it means that work can start promptly next time.











Of course there are always those who run for shelter from a drop of rain....

In other areas, Robin continued with the brick cleaning and Vic grass seeded the bank behind 1B.

Peter K fitted the angle  attachments to the lever frame that he made last week. Peter is a wizard with metal work of all forms, and  I don't know what we would do without him (and his helper Tilly)


Finally for today Brian and I pulled the Cat 5 comms cable through the new ducting. it just remains for us to terminate the ends.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Wednesday 8th October 2014

The weather forecasters didn't quite get it right today - a fair old storm blew through at lunchtime and gave everyone a soaking, but otherwise it was a bright day. There were 27 Volunteers on site -  a great turnout!

There were 3 main activities on the go.  Firstly block laying continued on Platform 2C.
Here is Roger B's detailed report on the days activities:-

Another block in the wall....
The Weather Man got it wrong !.

Apart from a Deluge at Lunch Time we had glorious weather for Block Laying.

The Team Terry, Keith, Tony, Clive and yours truly managed to lay 160 metric blocks on Platform 2c today.
The first course of Blocks is complete and over half of the 2nd course is also finished.
We should now be in a position to commence Brick Laying next Wednesday.

Paul  worked tirelessly on producing the "muck"..


Finally a big thank's to our Senior Muck Man, Paul Carter who provided us with excellent quality mortar all day and also entertained us with his prolific banter!, Regards Roger 









Jim weighs up the alignment of the sleepers




The next big event at Broadway will be the arrival of the centre span of the footbridge. This is to be temporarily placed on platform 2B for refurbishment. The Span is 40 feet in length and weighs something over 8 tonnes.Jim H is masterminding the project has been busy setting up sleepers to rest it on and a  massive shelter for ongoing work.




Tried cutting a sleeper in half? they're surprising tough...

Jim also took time out today to inform the neighbours of the potential for  disruption as a result of the heavy duty transport required to bring  the span in. The disruption should be minimal and of short duration - please bear with us.






What  a great effort going on here......



On the north west embankment  9 volunteers continued to cut back the vegetation on the embankment. Of course its a glorious excuse for a bonfire, should we need one!

A variety of other tasks happened today, small in themselves but vital to the overall project progress.

I chaired a meeting of our Site Health and Safety Committee and  a signal box construction review meeting. Work will continue at a pace on the Signal Box next Wednesday.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

A Video Tribute to the hard work of the Broadway Area Group

Keith Edwards with his drone took this video of the Broadway Station Site yesterday. It encapsulates all of the hard work of the Broadway Area Group over the last 5 years. I salute you all. Bill

Click > Broadway Station