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.|
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.|
|The first lift is made.|
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:
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).
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?|
The waiting trestles are on the platform on the right.
|Coming down for the final resting place.|
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....|
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 !