Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Wednesday 28th January 2015 - Volunteers vs the Weather!

It was a tough old day today - plenty of wind and rain in the morning and wind and dropping temperatures in the afternoon. There were 18 volunteers on site today and 3 contractors from George Law fixing the slip. Jo did us proud today with the photography !

JC in action......
I have to say firstly that it was great to see the bricks being laid on the Signal Box. Tony, JC, Bob W and Paul did battle with the wind in the crows nest. The scaffolding boards were lifting in the wind and Bob lost his hat a couple of times, and JC dropped his spirit level - all rare occurrences!

Bob in action.......

6 courses out of 10 were laid on the gable end corners, inside and out. The brick bat box will be the next thing to be incorporated in the southern wall under the eaves.

Out in the driveway the base for the new shed was being poured. from the Easymix lorry. The heavens opened at the same time which made the job doubly difficult. However it was all covered up by lunchtime  - a job well done.

There was some concrete left over and Roger B and Rod made use of it to fill the potholes in the drive. Roger is getting withdrawal systems from bricklaying on 2C. We had to stay clear of the George Law working area today.

Peter Q on High..
Jim ready to catch him...

Over on  Platform 2B the footbridge span enclosure  continued to get the extra roof batons attached. The windy weather meant that extra care had to be taken when working at these heights.

Further up in the cutting, the banks were continuing to be cleared. Here Brian M is suffering with the efforts involved. Nevertheless Brian, Jo and Steve, assisted by Ian in the  afternoon, cleared another 10m of bank.

Finally a quick report on the slip repair. George Law have placed, layered and rolled, 80t of Toddington Ballast behind the 2C wall. The slip itself has been banked up with spare bags of stone, which has then been filled with 40t of loose stone.

The gabions were delivered this morning, constructed and placed ready for the filling stone to be packed into them. The whole process is an interesting science to watch and understand - I just wish it wasn't happening on my patch!

Stone being delivered!

The Shed
We have many generous donations of second hand goods to sell in the Shed. However, as we  are sorting things out before moving, it would be best to hold off bringing new stock until we have moved. Thank you!

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Saturday 24th January 2015

There were 14 of us today, trying our best to keep the show on the road, despite the cold weather. The easiest job to keep warm at is the recovery of wood for the bonfire, but hard work! The picture is early in the day - by the end of the day all of debris on the bank was gone! A credit to all of the volunteers who took their turn.

A similar job was being carried out yesterday at the furthest point north, by Steve B and Richard. They are working southward.  A great job!

The work continued on the enclosure for the footbridge span. Jim, Peter Q, Dave and Brian spent the day getting the roof batons in place. I think they have a Turner Prize in mind!

We had a disappointment during the week when the slip behind Platform 2C started to move again. The ballast that we retrieved from Toddington was intended to act as the main infill. Unfortunately  the size of the slip in the bank is such that we are going to purchase some free draining stone and install gabions along the last 17m stretch. George Law have been chosen to do this work. It began yesterday and they hope to finish by the end of next week

Here a 360 excavator sits on top of the ex Toddington piles of ballast. A 6 tonne dumper ferries it northward.

There was a real milestone event today when Robin  cleaned the last of the bricks (an ex Paddington one). Its impossible to count how many bricks Robin has cleaned - tens of thousands no doubt. The great achievement is how Robin has turned up each Saturday at 08:00, for the past 5 years, fair wind or foul, works steadily through the day until 15:00. At break time he keeps us amused with interesting facts, or  a merry quip or two. He has served his apprenticeship now, and will be moving on to the next task! Well done Robin - you're an example to us all.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Chipping Campden - Information Distribution


The Gloucestershire & Warwickshire Steam Railway is looking for someone living in or near
Chipping Campden. This is to help deliver GWSR 2015 timetables and special event leaflets to
B&B’s, Pubs, Hotels and other suitable outlets.
If you are able to help could you please contact Graham Radband

or John Mayell

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Wednesday 21st January 2015

 It was a pretty gloomy start to the day, with mixture of rain and cold temperatures convincing some that it was better to stay in bed! However there were 19 of us on duty and we set to at making the best of it.

The work continued on building the enclosure for the footbridge span. Peter Q, never happier than with a sharp saw in hand, continues on the framework.

At the next session we should be getting close to cladding it up.

The banks of the cutting continues to be a focus for our efforts when construction is weathered off. Today we had some extra assistance from a tractor with a flail attachment -it just makes the job easier! Here you can clearly see the team working northward.
Here Clive and Tony getting a fire started on the eastern side  - a bit of competition going on with those on the other bank!

Here Steve is doing his job for the day - acting Banksman. Not an easy job, thinking one step ahead all time.

Down in the driveway a prayer meeting was going on about the folly of building your house on sand. In the end the multitude decide to put a  temporary concrete base down.  A job for next week.

John, Tony and Roger in charge....

There were a couple of important deliveries today. The first was the receipt of  6 pallets of new bricks for the Station and Waiting Room. These had been stored for us in the Fairview yard.

The second was the delivery of  8,  20t loads of spent ballast being taken out of Toddington Station. We will use all of this on infill on the platforms.

Finally in the afternoon the weather was judged good enough to lay a few bricks. Roger set to on laying some corbelling on platform 2C.

Finally the best picture this year, to date:-

Jo: Question " Is the footbridge  restoration staying with the xxxxxxx budget"
: Answer -  mass hysteria...

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Saturday 17th January 2015 - And the Fires Burned!

There were 16 volunteers on site today and the cold weather had eliminated any chance of bricklaying.  However we never run out of productive things to do and today the cold wind encouraged us to get the bonfires going. We have a huge amount of cut back debris to dispose of and I was impressed with how well the fires burned and consumed it. There were four fires going in total - here Clive giving his Gnome of Zurich impression is working with Roger J, Jo ,Dave B to keep the upper fires going.
Whilst down on the track bed, JC recounts tales of bonfires past. This bonfire was well tended by Gord and Steve B. Consequently we had to move significant amounts of cut branches to keep it going.

 We resorted in the end to using JC's truck to drag the branches from the banks. This was pretty effective and the bonfire was fed  nicely for most of the day.

Further south, the tricky job of the day was righting the dumper "Garage" which had taken a battering in the wind and was leaning at a jaunty angle. An Acrow prop was used to support the roof whilst Dave H and Brian put some new braces in to hold the structure square.

Work didn't stop entirely on the Signal Box. John S and Peter K continued with putting the remaining  metal floor board brackets in place, which span the void between the lever frame and the trimmers. Nice welding job Peter?!

Vic continued with his one man crusade at clearing the land on the eastern boundary. Its a great job Vic.

We have taken delivery of 7 loads of spent ballast removed from Toddington Station and plan to retrieve another 7 loads this week. This will be invaluable for infill on the platforms.

Finally the contractors have been clearing the planned car park - a mixture of chainsaw and flail. Its coming along nicely.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Wednesday 14th January 2015

A real touch of winter today with snow on the track bed and a wintry blast coming from the north  west. It was a day for bonfires and gradually a fair number of the 18 volunteers on site gravitated towards the warmth!

However there was work to be done elsewhere. The first port of call is the Signal Box. There JC, Tony and Paul were moving materials onto the new scaffolding platform. This consisted of firstly getting the hoist going and then lifting barrow loads of bricks onto the working platform.

To say it was chilly up there would be an understatement. Here JC is gradually turning from red to blue. No bricks could be laid today but everything is set for the next fair-weather day.

The next port of call is over the driveway to the preparation of the hard-standing for our new bric a brac Shed. A birds eye view here, yours truly setting up the laser level to get the slab base level.

Mike S, Terry and Jo did all the hard work of shovelling the sharp sand and unloading the slabs. Good progress was made, and 10 of the 50 slabs were laid before close of play. In the background Vic is filling a dumpy bag with rubbish collected from the patch of ground beyond.

Back up to platform 2B where the enclosure for the footbridge span was progressing nicely. Pete Dave, Brian and Jim were braving the wind to get the final sections connected. Cladding with reinforced clear plastic comes next!

Having rolled the section of ballast added on Saturday to 1C, it is time to turn the attention to fitting out the platform with some of the utilities. Here a line side cabinet is maneuvered past the containers and into position. Terry, Rod and Mike are on the "case".

Finally a flail was heard this afternoon in the planned car park, where we are clearing the whole area to carry out a full assessment of what needs doing to optimize the use of this area for parking.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Tuesday 13th January 2015 - Up in the "Gods"

Cotswold Scaffolding  lifted the Signal Box scaffolding to its final height today. What a day to choose!

Wind and rain made it a pretty unpleasant task - not least for our man, JC who drew the short straw to supervise the lift.

However the job was completed by lunchtime and this allows us to complete the rear wall, the windows and, of course, the roof. Cheers John, I hope you've thawed/dried out by now!