Monday, 2 November 2015

All good things come to an end - today was the Broadway gang's last day at CRC2. This may come as a surprise to you, and indeed your blogger, but things move fast around here.

So what did we do during our last day here?

An outstanding item was the final levelling of the platform surface, a very slow job that was about 60% done last week. Here we seen Peter filling the wheelbarrow to bring to the site, where dips and voids have to be infilled bit by bit with material barrowed in.

Tony and Bob did the actual levelling, and they deserve today's medal. It's a hands and knees job, so that's 200 meters on your knees almost a small pilgrimage! The infill is angular and therefore very resistant to being shoved along by the gauge we were using. It required lots of taking away, and then putting back again of small quantities of ballast.

The day was grey and foggy. Cleeve Hill was obscured during much of the day, except for a miraculous opening in the sky during lunch time, when we managed to sit outdoors and bask in the sun.

Here the gang has just inched its way past the penultimate lamp post - one more length to go.

The other job today was to roll the final surface before tarmacing.

It looked pretty good afterwards, although despite the weighty rumble of the machine the infill didn't actually go down very much.

Now the surface is ready for that final layer of tarmac. A date for this is not yet known.

Our junior apprentice rollers are given a smaller machine with which to gain their spurs.

Just 10 times more up and down, Brian!

A final burst after lunch brought the levelling activity to an end where the platform ramp begins. As this activity was very back breaking, there is much relief amongst the gang.

The remaining ballast was spread out along the footpath to the level crossing, although this part of the job is not complete.

The container was disconnected from the electrics, and will shortly be taken to Winchcombe for further use.

The normal CRC gang will now complete the project, and have already started the process of wiring up the lamp posts.

May we introduce you to the resident CRC gang? Here they are installing an original GWR lamp hut, Birmingham made, next to the water tower. It is intended to house an industrial vacuum cleaner which will be used for dealing more efficiently with the non stop rain of pine needles that produce so much work for their volunteers. With an extra platform available soon, this work will now of course double, so a vac to suck up the needles sounds like an excellent idea.

To round off, a last question and a picture:

Question: What is this star shaped baton for? Several have been found at Broadway around the site. It seems to be made of carbon. The white dot on the end is in fact green (copper?)

And for our final picture, one from John Diston's priceless shoe box. I'm sure you all know the famous 'Cornishman at Broadway with pigeon boxes' photograph, which not many people knew was actually one of John's. We have often used it for fund raising, as it represents Broadway so well. But did you know that he took a second picture that day? Here it is:

It's the same picture, with the same pigeon boxes and John's bicycle parked under the footbridge, but the train this time is a class H freight from Birmingham to South Wales, headed by 2823. The date is not quite clear, but could be 1960. Isn't it fabulous?

The pigeon baskets are stood on the up platform, ready to go back to Birmingham. John, his brother and the other schoolboy photographers that used to visit Broadway often helped with releasing the pigeons.