Jo passed me the following of his moonlighting at the K&ESR!
Hi Bill,Here are a few words about the K&ESR working week:
As I originally hail from Kent, where I have been a member of the K&ESR Pway gang since 1974, I still have that inner urge to heed the call when they have their annual working week. This year, it was to replace the last 300m of wooden sleepered track on the whole line, stations excepted. This stretch was half way up the 1 in 50 hill to Tenterden. The K&ESR was built at the same time as the GWSR line, but to light railway standards, so it is a lot steeper and curvier than in the Vale of Evesham.
Others had already dismantled the track in the week before my arrival, so days 1 -4 were spent actually laying 15 lengths of track, using second hand FB rail and concrete sleepers. This was pretty back breaking work, as even though we had a 360 excavator, many individual items such as jacks, rail saws, drills and Bances are very heavy. Days 5 and 6 were easy – a ballast train came with granite brought in through Rye harbour, and this was expertly distributed with an enormous P&T ballast regulator, which you can see in action here: http://youtu.be/Tcuv-6u0buU
I was impressed! The track was then packed, slued, levelled and canted by an 07 tamper, which we watched from the warmth of the LC hut, as it inched its way up the hill. You can see it doing the last 10 yards up to the level crossing here: http://youtu.be/_STxAkon0QA Up to 17 cars waited patiently as it crept over the crossing, but the result was well worth it. I can remember packing this very bit in the 1970s, using only a jack and a shovel !
Day 7 was spent with a steam crane picking up old bullhead rail, chairs and rotten sleepers, in order to leave a nice clean site for the first regular passenger train the next day.
I was back on day 8 (Saturday), to find Broadway station under a thick layer of snow. I followed a set of footsteps, which led linea recta to the tea hut, where I found 2 stalwarts having a brew, prior to starting work. Worcestershire folk are made of strong stuff !
No one can fault Jo's determination to play his part in the pursuit of returning our Railway Heritage.