Saturday 8 November 2014

Saturday 8th November 2014 - and it rained - a lot!

Well it was a very wet morning, with a glimpse of the sun in the afternoon. 11 volunteers braved the weather and quite a lot of progress was made.

Vic clings on so that he doesn't go off piste....
The most challenging task  probably  was keeping upright on the slippery northern boundary embankment whilst adding the uprights to the fence, The target was to finish off the job today.

Well by lunchtime the job was pretty much complete - just some gaps to fill at either end. It was really a great job.

Here another view from the Springfield Lane Bridge. In the distance you can see the smoke from the bonfire on the eastern embankment.
A team of four kept the bonfire fed for most of the day with the clearance material chopped back on Wednesday. I'm sorry there was no photo - sack the photographer....

We are expecting the HIA footbridge towers to be delivered on Monday, where they will be stored and stripped of useful bits ready for inclusion on the new towers.

Here I felt obliged to try out Jim's little stairway to heaven, which will be pretty vital in reaching the towers in the wet conditions. I am looking forward to getting the towers on site so that work can progress on this very challenging project.

Of course some lucky ones found an indoor task to avoid the downpours. Here John S uses the loaned magnetic drill to open up some holes in the lever frame braces.

Here Jim is also caught cursing the generator - well it doesn't run on fresh air!

It was a good days work by everyone - there is  lots more planned for the week ahead. Keep watching!


Anonymous said...

Why the fence? Is the plan to push to Honeybourne no longer the next step after Broadway? I realise the GWR do not own that trackbed but thought agreement for this to happen had been reached?


Toddington Ted said...

Mark, I would assume that the (temporary) fence is being installed as, unfortunately, scoundrels, mountebanks, vandals, thieves and ne'er do wells need to be at least encouraged to keep away. Not just that but, as the Broadway site gets busier and the rails and works trains arrive (remember, works trains ran to the GWSR's Cheltenham RC Stn 3 years before it opened to the public) there will be a need to keep the temporary northern boundary clearly defined for public safety because, as you say, the line to the north is not GWSR property and may never be, who knows? As I understand it, no agreement with the owners of the trackbed north of Broadway has been signed and even if it were (like Munich in 1938) we all know what can happen to agreements! However, I'd like to think that Honeybourne will be the next goal, but I'll leave that for my children to see! As a matter of interest, how much do you think it would cost to get from Broadway to Honeybourne and what would be the return on investment if you could afford it? (I think it would be worth it by the way but I'm not bankrolling it!)

Dave said...

The web cam has been on the LSD again!

Anonymous said...

Will the footbridge be built exactly as it was or will the opportunity be taken to expand the width? The reason I ask is that at the time these bridges were built they had to handle little traffic whereas when you put them on a heritage site the use becomes enormous. I know from personal experience that it can be a struggle to cope with the crowds, especially going 'against the flow', and that's not taking into account the dawdlers and the photographers waiting for that special moment from that special vantage point. I don't know if it's possible but now would be the time to build it to cope with bigger crowds without ruining the period look.

All best wishes. I'm enjoying following this blog enormously.


Dave said...

Honeybourne may not be the next step. Extending south from Cheltenham RC probably has more potential in terms of attracting passengers. Either option is years into the future anyway,and meanwhile we need to make the Broadway site as secure as possible.

Bill said...

Re the camera - I wish I'd been on some of that!
The internet connection to the www is on a very poor link. We are getting our own system installed this month. The on site security system is not effected by LSD.

Norfolkman said...

Re: The security fence to the north of Broadway station: In the long term it would be great if the GWR could operate a service from Honeybourne Junction to Cheltenham High Street. These days, many Heritage railways (ie North Norfolk, Swanage Railway etc)have either opened up are striving to open up connections to the National network or, trying to extend as near as possible to town centres, rather than being isolated lengths of track running from the edge of somewhere to the edge of somewhere else.

Anonymous said...

Re Honeybourne or Cheltenham extension
In the early 80's, I wrote to both Cheltenham and Stratford Councils. Stratford said 'they did not want anymore tourist from the line as the road were already clogged.' Cheltenham was also insistant that the line would not enter there boundry beyond the present limit.
Also, from the newsletters that the CSR, I think, that BR was prepared to let the GWR buy the rest of the line in principle.

Burt Pembroke

Anonymous said...

Looking at Google earth of Cheltenham. The GWSR isn't really that far away from Chelthenham Spa station. Possibly once Broadway is reached, then Cheltenham Spa? Exciting times ahead! Aaron

Toddington Ted said...

Sorry guys, we've been here before. Forget ever going into Cheltenham borough boundary. The time to do that was in the late 1970s when the trackbed was intact. Even then, this would have been difficult and Burt is quite correct in his post regarding both Cheltenham and Stratford councils' attitudes to the nascent GWSR as far as my memory serves. The only Cheltenham based organisation (apart from certain individuals from that town of my birth who joined the GWSR) that supported the new railway was the Management of Cheltenham Race Course and they could see the advantages that the tourist railway would bring. Meanwhile, I believe the A40 trunk road still runs through the fair town of Cheltenham does it not? It was awful in the 1970s and, as for the area of High Street Station, well 24 hour patrols would be essential if anything of any value was placed there for railway use! Perhaps I'm doing my old town a disservice though as hindsight is a wonderful thing. Best we like what we have (CRC to Broadway) than try and have what we like.

Alex said...

Just because it was rejected in the 1980's doesn't mean it still will be. The track bed from Broadway to Honeybourne was offered to the railway for the princely sum of £5 if I remember, but a farmer objected to the sale and the legal costs would have been too high for the railway back then. Hence why we only own up to Broadway :(

Having said that I don't really see much advantage or practicality to extending beyond Broadway or CRC. If we get to Honeybourne all there is is a mainline connection, there's not a lot else. A boring modern station vaguely close to a Cotswold village not quite as popular as Broadway. Going the other way you go through more housing and other built up areas of land where it is quite likely that security will have to be erected, and there's only a chance that we get a mainline connection at the end of it.

On top of that the railway really is reaching its limit of what it can achieve as a purely volunteer run railway. Extra mileage equals more turns for guards, TTIs and loco crews plus station staff, signalmen etc. That's not to mention the fact that we'd want to be running more frequent train services so more coaches and locos will be needed, which aren't really available.

However, if the Broadway - Honeybourne section could be done relatively cheaply (no idea how much infrastructure) and perhaps CRC donated some money towards it so they could accept mainline trains to the racecourse) that section could be used occasionally, for incoming mainline rail tours for the races or for visits to Broadway, and as an extra for galas, or maybe operated like the CVR currently run their extra branch, only running on some days.

Frankly I'd sooner see the section between Broadway and Toddington doubled before extending any further, s that would increase flexibility hugely, as once finished, that will be the longest unbroken section (if Laverton loop is still being taken out and moved to Broadway?) And speaking of Broadway, shall we just focus on that for the present?


Anonymous said...

Pretty good Alex but the issue with the £5 offer as I understand it was the legal obligations of owning the bridges. Work to any of them, 8 or 9 would have bankrupted the railway. The risk could not be taken.

You can't do extensions cheaply. Broadway to Honeybourne is about twice as far as Laverton to Briadway. So in today's terms our current estimate for the latter of £1.5m would be £3m and from what I have heard the 8 or 9 bridges going north are in a far worse state than the 5 we have just about repaired so the costs would be considerably higher. I don't think a REAL business case can be made. Peter

Peter said...

Some very informative comments above from many parties. I'm really looking forward to trains to Broadway (2017 I reckon) - when I first became a member, (and then shareholder), we had only just got to Winchcombe and all the talk was about Cheltenham RC in the distant future. I would still hope that we can get to Honeybourne, for the benefits of its main line connection and a platform waiting for our line, but accept that it is a long way off. Nothing wrong with a long period of consolidation and funds-building after Broadway though, but the railway has overcome so many obstacles in the past that we should all believe that nothing is impossible!