1 Feb 20 – While the cats are away?

The most observant readers may have noticed that our leader (Dave T) is absent from duty – sunning himself in distant climes while his trusty team are coping with inclement conditions. As it happens Dave G was away this morning as well – at a slap up lunch for, I believe, Station Staff. So for a while it looked as if we were devoid of cat supervision, so what mice mayhem ensued?

The mice were in fact very industrious and the weather was kind.  With Ben, Steve, John O, Andy & Mike all engaged in pushing the fence/gravel project onwards and downwards.20200201_1044394325316791183026302.jpg

I guess we completed about 25m metres worth of work and we are now about half-way!20200201_10440242166403549220684.jpg

The sequence is: palings loosened, debris cleared, already painted gravel board is inserted and secured to the fence posts, fence is painted, fresh gravel spread and levelled up.  Job’s a good ‘un.

That is, of course, when all is running smoothly – which it rarely does for more than a few moments on this railway.  Today’s issue was a slightly collapsed/misaligned chamber, in which are various services such as power for the lighting, water supply to the platform etc.  The chamber need to be partially excavated, the concrete foundations ‘trimmed’ and then re-set.  And there was the outflow from a cross-drain to consider!

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At some point this ‘creature’ was located on the embankment:

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All suggestions as to what it might be are welcome!

Bob meanwhile sealed one of our leaking downpipes, polished off various other jobs while John L tended the garden/allotment.

A great morning’s work – for which my thanks to all concerned.  Only another 4 such mornings and we’ll be nearly finished.  Should make it by 7 Mar (opening Saturday of the season.)

Perhaps we can work without supervision after all!

Regards,

Tim

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

30 Jan – Musn’t Grumble!

More nightmare than delight are the ongoing wet weather conditions across Gloucestershire.  I suppose we should be grateful that CRC has no projects which require a lot of labour on our embankments or lawn areas since they are pretty sodden at the moment.  At least the ramp provides a solid footing and much of the painting can be done inside.  But oh for some sunshine to dry the paintwork.

There was the usual post-racing customer-dropped and windblown debris strewn across the Station this week.  Not a huge task compared to the Festival but mildly irritating – why do people feel entitled to drop their fast food wrappers or throw them from their cars? 20200130_1258396708365276282657731.jpg Luckily our fairly harmonious relationship with the Racecourse allows us to put up with such things since they have been known to smooth out our (their!) car park and cut the grass!

Ah well, musn’t grumble as an older generation used to say (usually after grumbling extensively)!

Readers will be well aware of our ongoing path work by the ramp. All carefully estimated and costed in my best quantity surveyor style: 40 x 3m gravel boards, 10 x 800kg bags of gravel and 1 x 20 litre can of Creocote. And then other people decided to extend the task (path on the RHS of the ramp as well as the left) or to ‘borrow’ some Creocote (to paint the car park fence).  And guess what – we’re now likely to run out before we reach the bottom of the ramp!  Ah well, musn’t……..

To be removed and replaced by…

Fresh stuff, matching LHS and RHS paths. At least there’s no fence to paint on that side.

There has been the odd kind comment and question on the re-use of the gravel. Historically (that’s before I started work at the railway in 2014) the area around our equipment pods was a bit of a muddy mess in winter.  A couple of years ago colleagues from, I think, the Platform 2 build left behind a pile of loose hard core/gravel – parked in what was euphemistically called our picnic area.  After some months viewing this eyesore a guerilla band of volunteers barrowed it up the ramp – at great expense in terms of labour – laid some spare membrane and ‘lo’ we had some dry paths around our containers.  So it’s all been ‘free at the point of use’ as they say.  Younger and fitter in those days, I’m not sure I’d be prepared to move so many tons up hill again.  As such our current gravel delivery was placed by the Ticket Office and it’s all downhill from there. 20200113_1007158538949461128236866.jpg

Nice pink bags though!

This latest addition of used, slightly grubby gravel, is simply to bulk up the pathways a bit since, membrane notwithstanding, there always seems to be some losses.  Ah well, musn’t…..

Regards,

Tim

 

27 Jan 20 – Ferroequinologists!?

My classical education is pretty weak to be honest but I know just about enough to realise that ‘ferro‘ is related to iron and ‘equin‘ is about horses. Hence ferroequinologist or train (ie iron horse) buff or railway enthusiast, or even ‘anorak’ if you are feeling harsh!  I will suggest we rename our little shop area in the ticket office: ‘Ferroequinologist’s Corner’ – if we can find a sign board long enough.

My fellow ferroequinologists today included Dave G, Chris, Ian, Roger, Bob, John L, Pete, Mike and Maurice. Very healthy turn out for any day, never mind a Monday.  They were, in no particular order, painting, fencing, gravelling, posting and gardening.

Leading ferroequinologist, sweeper and chief tea maker!
Chris and a good load of gravel destined for the footpath.
20200127_145258719614527074075780.jpgGravel no longer good enough for the public facing ramp paths being re-cycled in a volunteer only area; a good green initiative.
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It must be a laugh doing the painting.
A decent rub down required prior to renewing the top coat.

Good effort for a bunch of practical ferrequinologists

All is well, all is well.

Tim

PS: Must look up the Latin for someone who is into gravel and fences.

25 Jan 20 – Oh yes there was! Oh no there wasn’t……

I did promise no more blogs on the subject of fencing. Trouble is there was nothing else going on at the Racecourse this morning apart from fence work!

Well that’s only true if you discount the rather busy race meeting and Bob’s ladder-free initiative to clean the CCTV cameras.

Here he is at attention/order arms – about to jog off with the brush in the trail arms position. (Apologies if this is inaccurate, we RAF types generally avoided drill).

Back on task were Steve, Ben and self reaching the 25m lamp post (see below) in our quest to revitalise the ramp-side path.

Steve hoping the Dewalt battery will hold out in the cool conditions.

A certain amount of fiddling was required (as per usual) but there’s not much you can’t fix with a power drill/screwdriver and a bit of imagination. Anyway, after the technical side was sorted it was down to the journeymen to do the basics.

Ben trying to avoid joining the gravel in sliding down the embankment!
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Self brushing at such a speed, everything is a blur……spot the new overalls! T4
Bob claims this shows Steve and I asleep on the job with only Ben working!  As if.

And that was it really, with everyone else on holiday or deterred by the hordes or hibernating.

Only another 80m to go, or 6400kg of gravel, 32 more boards and many many pots of creocote!

Pip, pip,

Tim

23 Jan 20 – All Quiet on the Fence Line?

There ought to be something peaceful about spending time at a deserted railway station – even one between a busy main road and a Racecourse preparing for a meeting! However, not today as no sooner had I spoken to the grass cutting contractor (access to verges required) than the Birdman arrived to restock our feeders. And he hadn’t been gone long when someone else turned up to see if ths railway was running (a polite ‘no’). Then the phone rang and then Bob arrived delivering something.

Never mind, I got some more gravel boards in, painted some fence and laid some gravel. which was not bad considering. The contrast between fence palings newly painted and those which have been exposed to the direct sunlight for 3 years is evident:

The gravel has however, taken slightly longer to disappear down the bank, leaving only dusty fragments and weeds:

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And refreshed:

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……… and no, I haven’t just covered the weeds up!

Which is about as much fence-related blogging as anyone needs!

Tim


20 Jan 20 – Don’t Fence Me In!

Most readers will be aware that I have a policy of minimising images of me in this blog – for understandable reasons: I don’t recognise the old bloke in the pictures as being me,  must be the camera angle, dodgy lighting etc etc.  Sadly, today I had little choice as I foolishly let Bob be in charge of the camera work.  My advice is just concentrate on the fence!

As per previous blogs we are renovating the path beside the ramp and someone, who will remain nameless, decided that we should fettle the fence first!  Which was a typical railway job – took 3 times as long as expected, required superhuman effort and could only be finished by the time it was going dark!

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The fence was leaning over considerably so it was necessary to dig out the posts, remove the concrete, straighten them up (hence the rope) insert concrete supports and then re-fix with new ‘postcrete’.  Easy really!

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And here’s one we (Bob and I) prepared earlier – now in the gloaming light.  At least it has solved our problem about what to do with the old gravel – shovelled into holes along with the postcrete.

Elsewhere, the moss removal team (Ian and Chris) were hard at work clearing the green stuff from our damper areas whilst Dave T carefully tended a laurel bonfire on P2 embankment, Mary tidied gardens and Dave G/Roger painted.

Another week is passing and, assuming other railway issues are resolved (landslips etc – see blogs various) we are on course to re-open by 7 Mar,

Tim

 

18 Jan 20 – Yellow Fever?

A glorious Saturday morning (for a change) and some cheerful colleagues made good progress on more of our winter improvements, through the sterling efforts of Dave G, Mary, Ben, Steve, Bob and Mike.

First off we continued our renovation of the ramp-side path.  Our production line starts with Mike who puts the preservative on the boards. Meanwhile, the second team (self plus Ben) removing any loose vegetation from the existing gravel, loosening palings, inserting boards, painting the fence itself and finally adding new gravel (another 300 barrow loads to go).

That’s the first 15 metres done, 105m left.

Mary, meanwhile, was clearing dead stuff and trimming live stuff.

Watching Mary (& at other times Maurice & John) is always a reminder just how much garden the Racecourse Station actually has to maintain. And that’s not including Platform 2!

With a sense of déjà vu, Steve was collecting wood and strimming overgrown areas of the embankment, Dave G did benches whilst Bob renovated car park fence posts.

Stage 1 of the fence repairs is now complete with the replacement of the new rail and resetting of some of the old ones with stainless steel screws.  Bob notes that: ‘it is important that we keep some of the original GWR wooden posts as seen towards the left of this image since they definitively mark our legal boundary with the Racecourse itself’. Just as well someone can remember these things!

Fancying a short break from the physical activity I strolled down the Platform 1 only to see some strange yellow markings and yellow posts:

What can they be?  No parking signs for steam engines? Gold sediment from a rain-washed Racecourse?  The railway equivalent of crop circles? Who knows – not me!

Regards,

Tim