Monday, 19 October 2015

Winter is starting to set in - when the alarm went off, it was still dark, and only 9 degrees outside. Nevertheless, the stalwarts were already buzzing at CRC when I arrived at 08.30.

Today  we continued putting the top layer of chippings on, the layer just below the tarmac. For this, we had 60T of chippings on order from Elliotts, and the two dumpers we had last week.

Both dumpers were already at work at 08.30 - we don't hang around here - but one proceeded down the platform in a most unusual fashion, in fact a series of Kangaroo jumps, interspersed with roars of the engine. Progress was uncomfortable, and somewhat slow. It was Tony at the wheel... 'what's up Tony, got a sticky accelerator?'
' No, my legs are too short and I can only just reach the pedals with my toes. Then, with the uneven platform, every bounce sends me up in the air, off the pedals, and then back on with a crash....'

We agreed to swap places, a shovel for a dumper, everyone happy.

It was a long way down to the coal face, you may be able to see a few patiently waiting faces in the distance here. Despite the very grey and misty start there were 10 of us, and very good turnout. Most were on shovels and rakes at the far end.
With two dumpers on the go, 2 tons of chippings arrived at the coal face about every 5 minutes, and this was more than the (slightly disorganised, until Bob came along) team could handle. Eventually there were so  many piles, JC was called to level them out a bit.

With the blade of the digger he scraped back the piles, but after a while the mini digger dug itself in deeper and deeper, until the tracks filled up with ballast.

Hey, I'm giving it full throttle but I'm not going anywhere....
A neat trick JC knew to get the ballast back out was to lift the mini digger up by the blade and the bucket, until the tracks spun in the air and kicked out the unwanted ballast.

Bob's arrival organised the team a little better, so that there were two groups - one to deal with the ballast as it came in, and the second to level it precisely, using the wooden gauge in the next picture. This arrangement worked well. Here John S has just arrived with a load. After last week's test (yellow, in the distance) today's progress can be seen by the colour red of the fresh ballast just levelled.

Getting the level just right was quite labour intensive, with lots of moving shovels or barrows full this way and that to fill in gaps.

This is the quickest way to fill your barrow, it seems.

An interlude to this shovelling was provided by the S&T railcar, which trundled by with an S&T members only outing. It went up to the head shunt, then came back again. Job done then.

During an interlude while waiting for the third shipment of 20T of chippings, JC spent a few minutes levelling the dumpings from last week among the trees. Let's hope the result is not too deep for the trees' good health.

'' So what do you think of our platform building efforts so far?'
'' Sorry chaps, it's all got to come out again....'

After lunch, the last lot of 20T was addressed, and soon we were left with this tiny pile. Not wanting to leave the site untidy, we scraped up every last bit into the bucket.

Next week, we will handle another 60T, which should see us well over half way. We can then judge how much we need to finish the job.

Today's final picture shows how far we got. Counting the test we did last week, we are at the 80m mark or so, approaching the foundations of the old toilet block. There's quite a lot of digging to do, and the dumper loads are starting to come harder and faster, as the journey gets shorter and shorter.

This week's mystery picture:

Thank you for all your suggestions last week, esp. fre the S&T cell. Very interesting.

Two of us went up to Crewe auctions on Saturday to bid for a GWR platform lamp post (outbid, we must consider casting our own now) and among the items for sale was an ink bottle  from the LNWR, but identical to the GWR example in last week's blog. The asking price was £40 !

Now this week's question. Among John Distons photographs is a set of three of similar size and shape, but without captions.

9649 on shed

9776 in front of it, then 963?

3707, but where? Is this the same place?

The top two can be identified by their shed plates 88D Merthyr Tydfil, but is the third one, of 3707, also in the same row? Is the loco 963X the one behind it perhaps?
Are the buildings to the right of any use to identifying the place? There is also a duty number T12. This could be Treherbert.

Merthyr Tydfil shed closed in 1964, so these are quite old.

Over to you, guys ! Lets try and give these pictures some captions, before they go back to the owner.


Anonymous said...

I believe 3707 is at the same location. In the background you can make out a chimney & gable end which also appears in the background of the pic with 963x.

mike slipper said...

Great blog. Nice to see young Peter there.

Nigel Black said...

Railcar contained Pway plus tamper staff surveying for forthcoming tamping, I wonder if they checked the rail to platform height in P2?

Jo said...

The consensus is that it is the same location.
The last figure on the partial number is likely to be a 1, i.e. 9631.

Then, from a book of allocations Bob showed me today, we get the following periods at Merthyr:

3707 : 11/63 to 9/64
9631 : 11/58 to 11/64
9649 : 10/63 to 11/64
9776 : 11/58 to 5/64

So the picture must have been taken between 11/63 and 5/64, if I have worked this out right.

Many thanks for your kind words of advice, they solved the puzzle !