Saturday, 2 May 2015

Saturday 2nd May 2015 - Goodbye to Dot the Drott

 A great Saturday turnout with 19 volunteers doing their best to move the project forward.

 The Signal Box Gang were back in action. The first job was to finish off the slate batons at the rear. Here John and Paul tackle the top batons from the front, whilst Tony hands up the materials.

The morning saw the job completed, which effectively meant the Signal Box is now totally waterproof.

The fitting of the cast iron guttering was the next job to be completed, with all of the correct parts finally to hand.

Here JC applies the mastic to the joints and the Box takes another step to completion.

A pallets worth  of slates was lifted to the top of the scaffolding in anticipation of starting the fixing next week. Here the slates are stacked neatly around the edge of "top floor" by Phil B and Clive. Personally I cant wait to seem them in situ and the scaffolding removed.

Work was continuing at a pace at the northern end of the site on the footbridge. Peter K was wrestling the old rivets out of the roof support hoops, now removed from the old towers,
Here Keith  G is on the painstaking task of removing all of the old paint.

Similarly in the footbridge span shelter, Roger J was chipping the rust out of the joints with the Hilti. Both jobs set your wrists tingling!

Back on the  old Station foundations Ron and Phil were extracting the last of bricks for future use.

I'm not sure that Robin was particularly pleased with their efforts - he feels obliged to clean them!

The  efforts to keep the place neat and tidy continue. Here Jim H is defying gravity with his mower - stripes optional Jim!

An old friend is in the process of being removed from site this week. Our old friend "Dot" the  Drott Shoveller is being put out to grass and restore by Chris Capaldi. I have a great affection for the old girl - we didn't use her much, but she was a symbol of progress 4 years ago and raised my spirits. It was a bit like having a Sherman Tank going up and down the track bed however!

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Wednesday 29th April 2015 - A Very Successful Day!

 Jo was out of commission so Jim H kindly posted this email report to me, as I was away in Manchester today.

The day started off badly as the promised heavy shower duly arrived as we were getting organised.   However the good news that the planning application for the new Sales Shed had been approved, coupled with the sun coming out finally got us into a more positive frame of mind and out of the mess room.

Vic managed to repair a puncture and we now have another serviceable wheelbarrow.  He was then joined by Chris and David who spent the rest of the day raking and sieving the recently deposited topsoil on the station approach.  

The group of BBC trainees arrived on time and were escorted around the site by John B, who like myself, was persuaded to do an interview on camera.  This isn't for a live broadcast fortunately.  The group left us to film in Broadway village before moving on to Toddington.  They were clearly impressed at what had been achieved with the station rebuild, and were keen to come back again to document future progress.

Roger J spent most of the day in the footbridge shelter removing the "crusty" rust which will then allow better penetration for the shot blasting when that takes place. There are five panels to do along each side and Roger has managed to complete the first four of these.

Steve, Terry and Dave started the day recovering the bricks which had been dug out from the old station building site and transporting them either to the north end of the site for brick cleaning, or if broken across to platform 2 to be used for infill when the gap on that platform wall is closed. 

With the arrival of Steve Warren and his JCB attention was transferred to the job of connecting the recently extended centre drain across to the recently cleaned out cess side drain.  This involved transporting copious amounts of pea shingle and several mixes of concrete to complete. 

By the end of the day this task was complete and the water that had been building up in the centre drain was clearly flowing into the cess drain as intended.  So the first milestone had been achieved.

Milestone two was the completion of bricklaying for the platform 2 wall.  This was accomplished by Clive and Peter who both then assisted with the centre drain. We still need some 40 coping stones to complete the northern end of platform 2 but a very significant achievement nevertheless.

With a JCB on site we couldn't resist asking for some mechanical muscle to lift the two double hoops apart from the old footbridge towers.  Steve as usual obliged and with Roger J and myself assisting these were safely separated and lowered to the ground. 

 We then fitted some bracing timber to prevent these twisting out of shape.  For those working on the footbridge this was also a significant milestone.  Only 5 rivets to get out, two bits of welding and probably 4 man days of paint chipping and these hoops will be ready for shot blasting!

And finally the one that didn't quite make it.  The "A" team of John C, John S, Peter Q and Tony commenced fitting the guttering to the signal box.  Unfortunately it was quickly discovered that the corner pieces were the wrong size being 4.5" instead of 5". 
Attention was then switched to fitting the roofing felt and the horizontal battens to which the roofing tiles will be attached.  Three out of the four sides were completed and a start made on the fourth side.  A plan to have the correct corner sections couried to us, should enable both the guttering and the roofing felt to be completed on Saturday, weather permitting of course!

So in the end the day turned out to be a success for the 17 volunteers who signed in today.


Jim H.

Cheers Jim - maybe some more of Jim's photos in the morning!

John B on BBC Camera 

The BBC Team stand no chance against Auntie
Wainwright  aka Julie

The Signal Box Gang in Action

Digger Steve Master Class
Terry, Dave H  and Steve B

Monday, 27 April 2015

Stephenson Locomotive Society Visit

John Blofield acted as host to a group from the Stephenson Locomotive Society yesterday. John reported:-
Bill Amos and his party from the SLS spent 45 minutes at Broadway station over lunchtime on Sunday, and were very interested in viewing the site and hearing about how things are going. They had enjoyed a trip up from Cheltenham to Toddington behind 4270, then had a trip on the narrow gauge railway, which I think was probably the highlight of their day. They kindly left some money in our donations pot to help us in our efforts.
Attached is a photo of the visitors. 

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Wartime in the Cotswolds - BAG was there

Jo Roesen reports:

The Broadway area group set up a stand at Toddington during this famous festival, and your blogger and his wife manned it on the Sunday. The weather was kind, even warm on the Sunday afternoon, and there was plenty of opportunity to mooch around and hunt for some interesting snapshots. It was really amazing how many people managed 1940s dress, all very authentic and with plenty of atmosphere. Here are some impressions of the day:

A superb Citroen, with an open rear and accompanied by a picnic table and chairs. Sheer luxury!

Passengers at Toddington
A burger, quick, before setting off in the Lanc for Hamburg

Wait, these look familiar... Bob and Sue, Broadway and CRC2 stalwarts

2807 glides through the station as 1940 passengers exchange a few last words.

4270 sets off for the Cotswolds. What a view ! We are very lucky here.

A Lewis gun overlooks 4270, about to leave with a train for the south.

This sailor is contemplating a new car - the end of the war must be close. Bring the wife along, in case she doesn't like the colour though.

Then a sudden roar - everyone ran outside to look up:
The sound of the 12 cylinder Merlin engine sent shivers down your spine.

Better get myself a nice calming cup of tea then. How many pence did you say that was? May I see your ration card for the sugar?

A snapshot of the BAG stand. We spread the good word about rebuilding Broadway station, recruited a 'Friend of Broadway station' and sold a few books - mostly to ourselves !
We also met some interesting people - a lady booking clerk, who used to work at Winchcombe, Toddington and - Broadway. She lived in a caravan at Childswickham, and remembered Tilley lamps used to light the station. A Mr. Breeze was the stationmaster at Toddington, sometime before 1953.

We were pleased to chat to Chris Smith from the loco dept. He was a former BR fireman who used to work with Brian Parsons at Worcester. He knew John Diston, who took the famous photograph of The Cornishman heading south through Broadway, with the pigeon baskets on the left. Chris explained that he often helped release these pigeons, and that the baskets in the picture were empty, and being sent back to Birmingham.

The uniforms and 1940s clothing were most impressive.
'Is that your tank out there, Lt Gruber?' ' Yes, I have just given it a little polish'

...but most impressive for your blogger was this M4 Sherman tank. How do people manage to get hold of these? We heard that it was a former target in a firing range, but you couldn't tell that at first sight, except that the sides were remarkably smooth - fillered and rubbed down, it seems, but a great effort! This tank was equipped with a radial aero engine, and if you want to know what that sounds like, you can watch it climb on to its tank transporter here:

At the end of the day, this convoy of tank and heavy US Army lorries crawled out of Toddington yard. It was an impressive sight, and the sound of the aero engine not quickly forgotten.

We watched 4270 leave one last time, and headed home. A great day, well organised and fun. Well done all!

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Saturday 25th April 2015

A slightly more relaxed day today, with 11 volunteers on site, all tackling a variety of jobs. The Signal Box Team were having a day off today but will be back to tackle the guttering fitting on Wednesday - and of course the slates after that!

In the meantime work continued on planning for the receipt of the footbridge steps. Here Jim and Keith S are carrying out the final levelling of the  stools, in anticipation of the  steps arriving shortly. I think we could have earned a bit of money, with passing walkers paying to guess what the purpose of the stools and sleepers were. They were certainly curious!

Keeping with the footbridge, north of the platforms, Roger J was continuing to chip off the worst of the rust with the Hilti along the footbridge span. Our neighbours are being particularly tolerant at the moment - apologies for the noise!

Whilst further north still Peter K was working away at removing the hoops from the footbridge towers. Peter had some success, managing to remove one side of the hoop. A slow but sure job.

I have been re wiring and re configuring the security cameras over the past few weeks with the help of Dave H.
Here, Dave is rewiring the camera, which was subsequently remounted. They are all much more stable now!

Down in the driveway more topsoil is  being spread by Jo and Dave H in order to grass seed the area.

You can  see the finished result here. Dave B in the background, continued to tidy up the drive. He was able to ease his back by chatting to the many visitors that came today - Jim B did quite nicely at the Shed!

Talking of doing nicely John Blofield was over at the  Wartime in the Cotswold Event, running a stand, and doing his best to to keep the Broadway Project in the public eye.

More pictures tomorrow.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

The slates arrive !

Jo Roesen reports:

Bill was indeed back in the saddle, much missed, but being Head of Department means meetings! He was called to Toddington today to attend a planning meeting about Broadway station, hence another post from yours truly.
Work on the signal box continued in several areas, so a good day's progress can be reported. Graham spent the whole day painting in the soffit area, with several coats required and indeed mostly already applied. After the knotting fluid is painted on there is a coat of primer, followed by an undercoat, another undercoat and then a final coat of gloss. At the end of the day the fascia board was in gloss, while the woodwork below it was in the second undercoat. We had to keep the work site neat and, above all, dust free! In several areas the GWR two shades of stone could be clearly seen, even if some of it was still technically an undercoat.

Round the back Pete and JC were putting up the remaining decorative brackets, which JC has made. Don't they look good?
It's dark down here, under this 'overhang'...
Pete was in a jovial mood as you can see. These are the last brackets, and up above Tony and John S completed the second half of the T & G boarding on the rear face of the roof, including the insulation sheets. This is now all completed.

Bill came up to see the progress on the roof for himself, and JC was proud to explain how the slates will sit when they go on in perhaps a week's time. Down below, Graham is already painting the brackets, fixed only moments ago. Still to go is the flashing around the chimney, the roofing felt and the battens for the slates. That should result in a near watertight roof then.

Later in the morning Jewson's delivered the actual slates themselves. There were three crates, with something over 1200 slates ready to go. We inspected a few, and the colour and form looked beautiful. We just need to let Graham finish his painting in a dust free atmosphere, and then we can get to work.

''Do you reckon they are having tea without us?''  ''Yes, and probably eating the last of the biscuits too...''
Working within the footprint of the old station building, a second gang continued today with the removal of the last reds still embedded in the foundations.
The reds were barrowed away and stacked by the brick cleaning stand, ready for Robin to attack on Saturday. Yessss ! But some interesting finds were also made. Who would have thought that anything of interest could still be found in the bottom of the old foundations, after the bulldozers had swept over them in 1963, and the site razed. Particular interest was paid to the site of former fireplaces (there would have been at least three, as that was the number of chimneys the old station had) and eventually something did turn up. First of all an old metal teapot lid (not wildly exciting) but then remains of the old fireplace surround, which were identical to those at Toddington. As you can see, it was made of slate and was sculpted. On the reverse of the pieces we found was a number - G368 - so can any reader tell us what this referred to? Which slate mine might have been the supplier?

A second curiosity that was dug up is shown in the
picture on the right. It was found in the remains of the northernmost fireplace.
A close up is shown in the accompanying photograph on the right. It looks a bit like a half sized chamberpot, with a lid with the holes you can see. What on earth was it for? Can any reader identify it? The pot is made of enamelled steel, is white with a blue band around the rim, and has no markings on it.

At the end of the day the 'archaeologists' looked pretty tired. Their site was in the full sun, and it became hot today. There comes a point when you have to sit back, look over your work, and have a cup of tea.

After cleaning (left) and the next one in progress (right)
Before the start of cleaning up

Up at the northern end of the site, Terry and Rod have been busy cleaning out a sizeable French drain, probably installed during the 'blanketting' sessions here in the late 1950s to improve the drainage in this clay cutting. Today, these drains are heavily overgrown, and Rod and Terry set out to clean one out. It proved to be rather bigger than they expected, being up to 6ft wide. In the picture on the right you can see the good job they made of it, and Martin here has started on the next drain along, extracting the pile of brushwood you can see in the foreground.

At the other end of the site, in the 'car park' field, Jim and Roger spent the day setting out the steel supports and half sleepers for the footbridge steps. Eventually this will be the compound where the steps are cleaned and repaired.
Work on the final piece of platform wall on 2c continues, but we are almost there! Here you can see Roger on the very last row of corbelling, working his way downhill to the very end. Peter H is behind the wall backing up, and making up the mixes for them both. The trusty wheelbarrow with the fist sized holes is back in service once again, you can't keep a good barrow down.

Next we should be slabbing along here. Currently our stock of slabs is almost exhausted, but we are on the trail of a potential supply which, after a recent site inspection in outer London, is looking promising. GWR of course !