Wednesday 1 April 2015

Highest, and lowest

Jo Roesen reports:

It was a breezy day today, cold and with showers. A typical spring day then ! We gained new highs and lows today - Bob put the final course of bricks on the signal box chimney, and Rod almost out of sight, was on his knees inside a blocked drainage chamber down on the trackbed. You can't get lower than that.

First the news from the box:
A good sized gang was up on the box, and they were all busy. The first job was to get the soffits fitted to the bottoms of the noggins. This required special nails, so called headless ovals, and they had to be hammered in upside down. Another wind up, surely? But no, part of the strange language of carpenters.

Once the soffits were in, John got out the eave brackets, special wooden decorative brackets that he made up almost a year ago, and which have been burning a hole in the back of the shed, eager to be fitted. Today was the day, at last. They connect the bressumer beam with the underside of the soffits.

At the end of the day, they were on the three sides to which we had added the T & G boards, i.e. the front and two ends. The rear is awaiting removal of the chimney scaffolding, so that the T & G boards can be mounted, starting on the upper side of the chimney. The picture above shows what the eave brackets look lik, once up. Aren't they lovely?

Next came the fascia boards. Note the piece of wood lying on the roof - this is a jig that was made up to imitate the roof line, so that the fascia board can be fitted at the correct height to meet it exactly.
Pete seems to have a word to say to the photographer... possibly he was expected to hold the other end of the board. Calm down, Pete, it just takes a second, and it's for our readers.

With a fascia board mounted along the front, there was a call to bring up some insulation boards that were stacked in the locking room. This is progress indeed !

These boards are quite large, and it was quite windy... handing them up from the ground floor to the second was an interesting manoeuvre, as the wind had other ideas to ours. But we got them on - see JC driving home the three inch flatheads to keep them down on the T & G boards. We wondered how the insulation was going to interact with the battens for the slates, but that was a secret revealed only at the last minute.

 Seen from underneath, this view shows the roof continuing to take shape as the first sheets on insulation go on.

Here's the view near the end of the day, as the last sheet on the front is made ready for fitting. Note the vertical battens already nailed through the sheets on the right. To these will be added horizontal battens, and these will hold the slates. Aha! A layer of roofing felt will also go in between.

The slates still have to be sourced - a question of price and quality. Cheap ones are cheap, but don't last long. Good quality ones cost more.... the decision still has to be made.

If you look at the above picture more closely, you can just make out Bob behind the apex of the roof - he has reached the highest point so far! Not an enviable place to be today though, as it was very cold in the wind, which explains why there was so much interest in working around the NE corner of the roof - the wind was south-westerly !
Here we see Bob fitting the last blue on the top of the chimney. He laid three courses there today, quite a fiddly job, as the middle course is slightly wider to guide the rain away from the side of the chimney below.
At the end of the day Bob had added another segment of chimney liner, and filled in the void around it with commons. The chimney pot that we have will fit over the part of the liner that now sticks out, and will be secured by a mound of concrete that will be moulded over the top of the chimney.
Looking down the chimney now, it's quite a long tube downwards with two curves, until you get to the fireplace. It's sort of tempting to roll a tennis ball down it, but Bob confessed that he had already beaten us to it, by dropping his trowel down the hole.

So far for the signal box. A team will return on Saturday to continue with insulation and fascia boards. The chimney pot itself will be fitted next Wednesday, which will be a memorable occasion. The Broadway Station Blog will be there!

Of course the station isn't just about the signal box, and there were several other centres of activity in progress.
Vic has been wheeling his barrow back and forth between the 'car park' field and the station site. It's quite a long way, and mostly uphill. Contents of the barrow have included Cotswold stone rocks for the wall opposite the station, earth to tidy up the new green fence behind the future site of the new information office. and today, primroses from the embankment there, which you can see him planting here behind platform 2. He is being assisted by Chris and David, a father and son team that spent the day tidying up the site of the wreckage of litter and broken branches resulting from yesterday's high winds. They filled up a couple of dumpy bags (at least) which went down to the north end of the site, where a gang was burning the remaining brash from the embankment clearance.
Brian has now ceased clearing (bird nesting having started) and spent the day cutting remaining stumps down to ground level, so that next year's regrowth can more easily be cleared with a brush cutter.

Preparations for the station build continue, and today a contractor was hired in to investigate and clear the deep drain that is situated immediately south of the former southern end of the old station building. This drain has to be in a working condition to accept the waste from our extended toilet facilities in the new station.
The contractor was equipped with a camera and TV screen, seen here above the reel, and a high pressure hose to clear away and debris and blockages. Both were in use!

So what's down this hole then? Well, this is what we wanted to know as well. For a start, it was very deep, a good 10 feet. Several waste drains fed into it, not only from the wreckage of the station. The drains were cleared of silt and debris, and investigated for origin, destination and integrity.

Here we see the cable form the camera being unreeled and fed into the exit drain.

Further up the site a large team was continuing with the investigation and clearance of the trackbed side drains and catch pits. The intention is to clear our drainage system out fully and back into working condition. Several of the catch pits are completely buried and were cleared earlier. Today Andy P brought down more rings to rebuild the buried catch pits, and a number of underground pipes between them were rodded, investigated and cleared. One or two seem completely blocked, and need TV investigation for the cause.

In the picture above, Rod and Terry are removing one of the rings in situ to get at an ash tree stump that has taken up residence between two rings. Brian is waiting with the chain saw to cut it out, a tricky operation as concrete and ballast are very close.

Eventually Rod had to get on to his hands and knees to get to the lowest point - briefly taking off his hard hat to get in there - and a large team is standing by with useful advice... we have a chart with all the pits, their liaisons underground, and we check these off as they are investigated and cleared, or indeed not yet if properly blocked. Very methodical.

Our last picture for the day shows what Rod has achieved down there on his hands and knees - a bucket full of sediment and smelly slop. This slippery mess is 'spooned' into the bucket with a child's spade (in the corner), the only thing that fits down this narrow space, and the full bucket is then handed up to Terry for disposal a bit further along.

An extra contribution from Rod:-

Hi Bill

Just a quick side drain report. Steve B, Keith and Ron rodded drains 1-12 on both sides today and got the 6 inch plunger through most, a brilliant effort. There are 3 or 4 blockages which need further investigation which have been marked on Jim's plan. Terry and I worked on no 10 catchpit building up, backfilling and moving all the remaining spoil to support the embankment. We then moved on to no11 and with chainsaw Brian's help managed to get as much of the tree root out as possible. We then rebuilt the chamber from the bottom and backfilled again to support the embankment. We had some help from Ian later on, I apologies if I've missed any other helpers. The pictures show the catchpits at end of play; perhaps not quite the right word !! Cheers Rod

Work will resume on Saturday, and for CRC2 it will be Tuesday, given that Easter Monday is a holiday.


Buccaneer said...

Brilliant work, all round, as usual. Intrigued as to what happens between the lowest T & G boards and the fascia boards. Just have to be patient won't I.

Peter Lee said...

Hi Jo

Having googled around a bit, I think the T&G are called Sarking Boards! More commonly used in Scotland, I gather, where weather is more severe, as the boards add considerably to the strength of the roof. Sarking, noggins.. where will it end? Great progress, by the way. What is the insulation made of? And how thick?

richard said...

Great progress

Rod Liddiard -Italy said...

Jo, Great Blog, Bill will have to look to his laurels. Are all the roof timbers pre-treated against the insects that like wood to eat and lay their eggs.

Jo said...

Answer to some questions (as far as possible!):
Buccaneer: That space is filled by the insulation, and two layers of battens, with slates over the top. Remember that the whole thing is on a slope, the roof slope being one side of a triangle.
Peter: I don't know what the insulation is made of. It's standard stuff, big hard sheets of it. Felt about 3 ins thick, at a guess.
Rod: The timbers are all tanalised.

Anonymous said...

The photo with the stack of bricks, why does it say 'do not use'?


Perry said...

Haunching on chimney.

Polyisocyanurate insulation boards; either Celotex or Kingspan.

Jo said...

We got our bricks from all sorts of sources, and they came in all sizes. After cleaning, they were sorted by colour and size. The 'do not use' ones are too big. When building a wall of different rows, you can't mix the sizes up, so anything over 3 inches thick was out. Eventually we will be selling the oversize stuff.

Noel Chiappa said...

Will the roof be OK if it's left without the slates for a month or two, until you can source them? People were warning that the T+G can warp if they get wet, but those are covered now, so they should be OK now, but will the insulation be OK if left alone for a while?

BTW, 'noggin' appears to name any small piece of wood added on to the main beams (and not all roofs have them); the ones on this page:

are in a completely different place, not on the ends of the rafters to hold up the soffits, as with the ones on the signal box's roof. More on noggins here:

Among other things, that's also the name for the blocks that go between joists to keep them on edge, vertically.


Jo said...

Noggin (the Nog) is an old childrens' TV character, hence my wary disbelief at the explanation from the 'experts'.

But you can see now how they interact between the rafters, the soffits and the fascias.

We've had quite a bit of rain recently, but the T&G boarding is still on tight. There's a roll of roofing felt in store ready to go on once all the insulation is on, so the roof will be watertight before the slates are ordered.

Anonymous said...

Great progress! What happened to the slates from the Exminster box? Could they not be used on the roof for this?


Anonymous said...

The authenticy of this replica gwr box goes a little way towards making up for the unseemly desecration of Exminster box

Stu H said...

Just catching up with the blogs, reference the mention of CCTV survey on the lineside drains; Andy and I did a test with our camera on the run from catchpit 1 to 2 on the Malvern side. I'll post the video on YouTube once it has been edited to a reasonable length and put the link on this blog

The condition gave no cause for alarm, however, there is some sediment and limescale that may need to be jetted. It's possible that the 6" plunger will just ride over the top of the obstruction