Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Tuesday 15th April 2014 - Collecting Bricks from Avonmouth - Part 1

Jo and 5 other Volunteers made the trek down to Avonmouth to assist in the loading of the bricks from the  Midland turntable. It was never going to be an easy task, given the remoteness of the site and  so it proved. Here is Jo's story of the day:-

Hi Bill,

Here are today’s pictures.

Cutting to the chase, there is a 26 ton lorry on its way to Broadway with 28 dumpy bags on board. He will arrive tomorrow at 08.30 to unload – Vic will be there to help, as will I. He will return to Avonmouth on Thursday at an hour still to be advised.
The ‘Moffett’all terrain fork lift was only just able to carry the bags, the terrain was really a bit too rough for it, but thanks to the lorry driver Mark, after checking with HQ, we decided to give it a go and in the end it did work. A lot of dumpy bags unfortunately either burst (too old; they decay in sunlight) or else their loops got cut by the sharp forks of the brand new lift truck. We must try to improvise something to protect the loops, perhaps an old inner tube from the garage? At the end of the day the field was littered with the wrekkage of broken bags, and we had quickly used up our small supply of new bags reserved for back up. We also decided to lighten the load of each remaining bag to give it a better chance of surviving the bouncy trip across the old sidings, so this means we will need say another 20 bags on Thursday to bag up the overflow, and also re-bag some of the older ones, which are not going to stand the strain of the bumpy ride. We took the best and newest bags today.

We were a team of 6 on site – Mike, Vic, Terry, Brian, Pete Davis and yours truly. However, for Thursday we may be one or two fewer, so any additional hands to help re-bag the blues in the older dumpy bags would be very much appreciated. We must be off site by Thursday pm, as the BPC are expecting contractors imminently to start clearing the sidings site, and during this period we will be barred from attending, and our gatherings may be lost. In any case, it is likely that up to 8 bags may have to be left behind, as we had 64 bags on site, and only 28 got taken. The poor driver bounced around for 3 hours in an unsprung fork lift, and had to stop when various aches & pains started to manifest themselves. He did his best under very trying circumstances.

We have also assembled a pile of +/- 100 bull nosed large edging bricks and these may be collected at a much later date, when the contractors have moved off site again. They are on the turntable side of the fence and out of the way, so no harm done.

Best regards,



Anonymous said...

Has Peak Rail expressed an interest in the Turntable edging? It would be a shame to let them go. Keep up the excellent work.

Jo said...

If / when we get the edging stones, we will either use them for the horse dock, or else sell them on.
I did contact someone at Peak Rail, but got no reply.

Buccaneer said...

Sorry you had such a frustrating day. Hope Thursday goes better for your team. Have been watching your efforts from afar with great admiration.

Eric Oberlander said...

How about taking down some wooden pallets, lifting a bag onto a pallet to carry it across the rough ground on the forklift, then hoist it off the pallet onto the truck. A lot less strain on the handling straps?


Anonymous said...

yes, wooden pallets, good strong ones should do the job and save your bags.

Jo said...

We considered pallets but opted for the bags:
They worked once before (at Taunton)
We have no ready supply of pallets in fit condition (need to be extra strong)
Pallets need to be taken down in a separate truck, bags can go in the back of the car
We offered the fork lift driver the use of one pallet (found on site) for under a bag, but he preferred not to.

For part 2, we have found some plastic drainpipe which we will fit over the sharp forks, principal cause of the ruptured bags. We will also have a new supply of bags, and will put fewer bricks in each. Should be OK then. The first load arrived safely at Broadway this morning - result !

Anonymous said...

Talking of Taunton, I have heard the Avoiding Line bridge (or the Ferodo Brake Lining bridge as it once had an advert painted on it) is to be replaced after all. Apparently, it has been decided that it is not strong enough for doing the job of a road.

Garry said...

They were always going to replace the bridge in Taunton.
The plan is (as far as I know) to pile behind the existing 'wing walls', remove the old bridge, slew in a new RC deck, then bolt on the old side walls to make it look like the old one.
Were the Broadway team able to coerce any of the spear fencing away from the job when you were down here last? If you are still after 'blues' there is that very large warehouse still standing (just) which might help in the future.

Jo said...

We did not get any spear fencing and are still interested - we have none at all at Broadway. It needs to be in good condition (not bent, hit by cars etc) and what we saw at Taunton, being up on an embankment, looked pretty good.