Although Wednesday October 29th was scheduled to be wet, we had a good and dry day until almost the end. The team first collected five standard gauge sleepers donated by a supporter in Reydon. These are of good quality timber – and very heavy indeed. Digger Sean transported them to Wenhaston Station, where they were unloaded by simply dropping the ends on the ground and driving away. The ground, quite literally, shook.
Then our volunteers divided into two teams. One team levelled the ground and laid down the sleepers to form the base for our grounded van body – the first building onsite at the station, and one already given planning permission. Much building-up with hardcore had to be done, as the chosen site is a softish, muddy area close to the drainage channel on the northern edge of the station. The site, prescribed by the planners, is based on its lack of visibility from Blyford Lane.
The small team worked manfully in difficult conditions, and were still completing the job after 16.00, as dusk and rain finally arrived. We now need to affix the sleepers to each other (probably with extra-large staples), and the van body, from Buildings Bespoke of Worcester, can be built onto the base.
The second team affixed the rest of the equipment onto the working gate (the gateposts are still a little wobbly, despite being tamped into 40 inch deep holes: the associated post-and-rail fencing which we are soon to re-instate will support them). Drilling into tanalised and quite wet timber is not easy with a brace and bit – and battery drills don’t seem to like it much either – one of these days we will have to invest in a generator. The newly-excavated 12-foot lengths of original SR fence rail were cleaned up, treated against rot, and stand ready to fix up next time.
Toby provided a small temporary shelter which will be invaluable if this winter is not as nice as the last – it’s a long way to any shelter at all. He also brought an ancient-looking gas burner (designed to heat up a glue pot in a school, apparently) – so we can at last have hot drinks in between our efforts on the trackbed.
John, Maureen and Chris continued with the marathon which is clearing up the twiggery and dead brambles at the side of the trackbed, to make the whole area spruce for our members and sponsors to see next year.