After the brilliant sunshine on Good Friday the weather turned typically British for Easter Saturday with even worse promised for Sunday. The harbingers of doom advise another tropical storm with gale force winds is arriving from the Atlantic to bring down our pine needles – their warnings seem to be valid as this is being written. What with weather and the Easter holiday volunteer numbers were down, but that is the last of the bad news for today we moved a couple of long running projects through to completion.
The first good news story is that today Stephen put together our newly delivered “Billy Goat”, fed it with the appropriate fuel and lubrication and hey presto the days of brush sweeping may be over.
The Ledamun brothers took the “goat” out onto the platform and we have discovered that the manufacturer’s claims were well founded. Pine needles, sticks and pine cones all disappeared to be macerated and deposited in the bowels of the beast. The final part of this long running saga, housing the beast, was the proof – if indeed proof was needed – that the “goat” did fit into its lamp hut stable without surgery to that structure.
The second good news story of the day was down to Peter Parlett and Trevor Hobday who had an equally successful morning as the new Severn Trent Water dedicated supply for the water tank was turned on and connected.
This is another very long running project saga involving much blood sweat and tears to trench in the new supply pipe across the face of a steep embankment. After flushing out the new pipes, Peter connected the supply to the Reverse Osmosis (RO) plant and was delighted to see that for the first time he has the water pressure that the system requires for most effective operation.
The Cheltenham Area Group are also delighted with this success as the RO plant has on occasion taken water away from the station toilets and worse still, the coffee machine in the waiting room/shop.
Flushed with these successes and operating outside the security blackout measures imposed by the Plc, we almost managed to upset the carefully organised visit of HRH the Duke of Gloucester who was visiting the footplate of “Dinmore Manor”, our first steam engine arrival of the day.
We should have guessed that an extraordinary event was taking place when several members of the Plc Board appeared in “smart dress” on Platform 1, but as HRH was heading for the footplate our “goat” under control of the Ledamuns was heading down the platform towards the VIP party. A brisk sprint to the “goat” by Stephen averted a diplomatic incident (we think).
Tim, always up for an archeological challenge took up Bob’s request to excavate a long buried duct run on Platform 1 which contains a buried junction that has prevented the replacement of one of the station’s oldest communications cables. In this he was successful and in due course we will insert an inspection chamber over the junction so that a new cable can be pulled through the ducts.
Andrew and Lewis were once again active on Platform 2 extending the underground ducting at the Cheltenham end of the platform beyond the rolled surface prepared by the Broadway builders. This will enable us to insert extra services into this duct in the future without damaging the final top surface of the platform when that is installed. We cannot totally future proof our work, but past experience on the station has shown that low cost enhancements inserted now will save us much work (and expense) in the future.
A great day in project terms and despite the awful weather it was very satisfying to see once again a full car park, well filled trains and very, very excited children.
AND finally, my thanks to all those bloggers at home and abroad who are following our work at Cheltenham. The number of you who have visited our website has surpassed all our (and especially mine) expectations.