Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Progress on many fronts

Wednesday 26th April

A bit of a change in the weather from what we've been used to in recent weeks. Lately we've had some reasonably warm April sunshine but today, a cool wind from the north and occasional showers of hail and rain but despite this 18 of us dug out the thermals and turned up for work.

What we've been up to while you were away.

On Friday last our contractors carried out the concreting of the pad, north of platform one, where two of the containers will sit in the near future to give a facility for future maintenance staff.

When the concrete has set sufficiently a small retaining wall will be built along the right hand (rear) side before the containers are lifted into position.

And then last Monday
The usual bricklaying gang started the day working on the extended platform ramps at the north end. This activity escaped the camera lens at the time but what was achieved will become apparent down further down this page.
After the ramps we returned to the station building which in the meantime had had the scaffolding raised to the next level.......

The first job was to check, with a laser level, the levels of the four corners and they were spot on (we knew they would be of course).

Then, John C could make a start on the corbelling setting up all four corners with these specially manufactured bricks using the piece of wood that was, with the best of intensions, going to have "pattern" painted on it but ended up as a "patt".

The first corbelled brick in place
On to today

In the carpenters shop, very nicely sheltered from the biting wind it must be said

Daggerboard Dave, making a welcome return after his recent trip, using a holesaw drill to cut the necessary holes in the boards with Brian, after already completing his shift, in the background and Pete Q on the left ensuring that all goes to plan with these daggerboards because they are being made in advance of the station roof being ready for them (although they are slightly over length just in case).

Footpath kerbing at the Station Road end of the drive had been held up for a few weeks waiting for some serious soil rearrangement to be carried out by the 360 digger. The kerbing gang needed to be able to lay some concrete footings so the kerbstones could laid with the correct slope. The surface had become too compacted, over time, to remove by hand and so John C had a day off from bricklaying to carry out this task.

After the digger had done its work Dave B, in the trench, and Gordon scraped out the residue and made the trench presentable for some footings to be laid. Note newly exposed drain by Dave's right leg, have we seen that before?

So Dave B, who was in charge of the operation, rounded up few people to get stuck in to some to serious concrete mixing.  "Hong Kong" Ron, David, in the background, and Peter Q, seconded from the carpenter's shop as the ones selected. Concrete mixer and necessary materials are located at the station end of the drive while the trench to be filled waits at the other end.

Which is where Peter Q duly delivered several barrow loads of the stuff. At least it was all downhill with the full ones Pete!


The likely lads of the paint dept started the day by painting all of the unpainted lamp post tops. The reason for this is twofold, one is to prepare the tops for installation on the posts and the other is to clear the containers of as much material as possible.

Following that exercise they moved on to the wooden fence running up the drive and gave it a coat of preservative.


While we all were beavering away getting the station as ready as possible others were at work elsewhere.

Busily working on the embankment side opposite the former goods shed were contractors George Law Ltd. The excavator in this view is doing some profiling to the sides but mainly, at this stage, clearing the vegetation so that the soil nailers can start marking out the positions of the soil nails

As can be seen good progress was made today. In the previous view the goods shed can just be seen and the southern boundary of the work can just be seen, The excavator worked north during the day towards Evesham Road, the stretch of embankment being worked on stops short of the road bridge.

Back to the station

Vic, our head gardener, after spending an hour or so on the kerbing decided that the weeds were showing their heads above ground level and needed dealing with, hence, the rest of the morning spent weeding.


Bob W and John S, on the trowel aided, by Tony on the mixer continued the corbelling work started on Monday, this is Bob working on the northern gable of the station building. Good progress was made due in no small part to the quality of the mortar, nothing more frustrating than finding a foreign body in the mortar when trying bed in a brick.

As can be seen corbelling at this level has its downside. Bob W lying down on the job? Its the only way to point the joints hiding under the corbelled bricks and there are hundreds more bricks to lay and point like this before we move up to the next course.

After we had corbelled ourselves out for the day Bob, Tony and John moved to the more comfortable occupation of bedding the slates over the cavity to afford it protection. The slates left over from the signal box roof were used for the job.

As mentioned earlier, the platform ramp extensions. Clive continued to build up the ramp extensions by laying the first course of bricks on top of the 9 inch concrete drainage block that were laid on Monday. This was the view in the afternoon with platform two being worked on. The other platform was done during the morning.

The view from the newly elevated scaffolding across the station building gives an idea of its size

The scaffolding work surface now extends all the way across and over the platform and lands on the trackbed at the left hand side. This should ensure that when the roof is installed it can be safely worked on all round.
As I'm sure you can imagine various suggestions have been made about alternative uses for this area including ten pin bowling, helicopter landing pad, rest and relaxation area for the volunteers. You name it we've heard it.

The railway has recently been given the sign shown in the above picture. Channel 4, the television station, are the kind donors and we have been told the sign originated from Cheltenham St James station and its patina is very noticeable. It is planned to build a waiting room on platform two at some stage so hopefully the sign will find a home there.




Wednesday, 19 April 2017

An Uplifting Day

Wednesday 19th April

 Nineteen volunteers were on site on this lovely spring morning. It was a bit chilly at first but we had a plan. A lot of infill was required on the driveway pavement and being short of a digger driver today we decided to do it the hard way; shovels. We have a stock of spent ballast ideal for such a job and Keith, Ron, Terry and Rod get stuck in.

Down the driveway David and Tony start levelling out the ballast just tipped. Further up the path inspection chambers for the drains and cable ducting had to be lifted. Ply shuttering was made up to create the manhole cover supports and later on concreted up to the level required for finished path level. This proved time consuming to set up because of the fall towards the drive for water run off and the slope up the drive.

By mid morning break we had uplifted about eight dumper loads or about eight ton. Some clothing had to be removed, the sky was a lovely blue and moisture was on the brow. By lunchtime we were winning, Terry got the roller going and by end of day the job was done and about twelve ton uplifted. Unfortunately in the excitement I forgot to take a picture of the finished job.


In the carpenter's enclosure the dagger board production line was in full swing.  Peter Q in the background is pairing up some he made earlier. Whilst Brian T is using the pillar drill with a hole saw and jig to put the hole in the right place where the two boards meet.

I'm not sure whether Peter has dropped off or whether he's just realised how many there are still to do. Just don't tell the painters!

Further along the platform Mike and Ian are starting the process of painting the lamp lanterns, which when glazed will be attached to posts already erected.

On the opposite platform Mike and Graham are working on the canopy roofing sheets. A lot of sheets and a long process, each having to be degreased, washed off and dried and then coated with an etching primer before priming.

There were no volunteers working on the station building today as our scaffolding contractors  CSL were on site to start uplifting and extending the scaffold prior to corbelling and canopy steelwork erection. As well as being uplifted the scaffolding has had to be taken out onto the trackbed to allow for the canopy cantilevering over the platform. This work will be ongoing for the next couple of days and should be visible on the camera.

At the end of platform 1 the contractors have prepared the slab prior to the concrete pour for the maintenance facility base. Some more reinforcing was added today prior to the pour on Friday. The slab will incorporate a retaining wall along the back edge.

After finishing the lamp tops Mike and Ian made a start on the first undercoat of the spear fencing.

 A look later in the day shows the distance they still have to go, two undercoats and a gloss should keep them busy for a while.

Also today a site meeting took place with the contractors, George Laws who will be starting on the embankment repairs on Monday. Vic was mowing to keep the site tidy and Julie and Steve were manning the sales shed.   

Rod W

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Up the British Workers!

Wednesday 12th April 2017

The continuing fine weather has allowed much progress over the last week or so.
Saturday 8th saw 12 volunteers on site. Curbing on the driveway & work around some window arches continued. Up on the scaffold the decks were cleared ready for raising next Wednesday.

                                      "Hong Kong" Ron, Keith S & Robin on the curbing.

                                         John C putting a row of stretchers over the last but one window arch.

Monday 10th saw 6 volunteers on site. John S assisted by Paul C finished the ceiling joist work around the chimney breast. A small milestone reached today - John C completed the window arches!

                                                 John C sizing the last arch brick, then in it goes!

                                  2 pics showing the joist work around the chimney breast.

                                               Bob W & John C pointing up at lunchtime.

Onto Wednesday, and I was so impressed when scouting round the site early in the morning with my camera. So many cheery volunteers (23 signed in.) hard at work before 9.00am. The following 9 pictures were all taken before 9.00am.

John C with Bobcat & Tony on dumper off to collect old ballast to backfill the driveway curbing.

                                             Graham & Mike T etching station roof panels.

                    Brian M with the dusty job of sanding the nice linking piece of spear fencing.

  Dave B & contractor Steve W discussing the area between northern end of platform 1 & the future site of our mess room cabin.

                                                        Vic keeping our lawn tidy.

                                                Terry & Rod checking curb stone levels.

                                                     Tony with another load of backfill

Keith S supplying plenty of concrete for the curb stones. He was later assisted by Pat & David.

 Platform 2 : Gordon & Ron placing in position cut sleepers onto which our storage containers will soon be placed as part of the clearing process for platform 1.

                                               Ron brings another cut sleeper from Brian M.
The last brick in the wall being laid by Bob W, before corbelling starts. 3 out of the 4 rows of corbelling can now be laid. The final row will only be laid after the roof trusses have been bolted in position.

 North end of Platform 1: The slope is being slightly extended & the process began today with Bob W & Clive laying the appropriate number of blocks which were duly filled with concrete, supplied by Paul C.
                                               Yes Clive, quite a few shots of you this week.

 Peter Q & Brian T started the production of endless dagger boards from tongue & groove lengths. These will be needed on the station building.
 Peter & Brian also worked on the station ceiling joists, preparing a frame within the joists to accommodate a ceiling hatch. (Sorry no pic. - Next week)

                                        Stalwarts Julie & Steve "manning" the shop, as usual.

That piece of fencing that Brian M de-rusted earlier has now had a primer coat from Graham & has been attached & concreted in by Rod & Keith S.

The spear fencing behind platform 1, as it looked mid morning. Subsequently Rod & Keith S had time to set up a few more panels for concreting in next time.

From all of us at BAG, we wish our followers a Happy Easter.
We will be returning to duties next Wednesday, 19th, but the Shop will be Open Easter Monday !

Paul Carter