Saturday 12th saw the completion of the foot crossing at the south end of the platform ramp, with all the timbers levelled and screwed down. Another five or so dumper loads of spoil were then scraped off the Golden Bridge using the mini- digger and trundled up to the north end of the platform where they were used to finish off the new sleeper steps. Once the spoil has compacted over the winter, we’ll finish the surface off with road planings. Last but not least, the Rotabroach machine was fired- up and a number of missing fishbolt holes were formed.
The big job on the Sunday was dragging rails, using Tonys tractor to move all the sixty foot lengths from the large and somewhat haphazard heap down by the static caravan up to the summit cutting. There they were laid out in pairs ready for the day when we build our run- round loop. Iain Davies undertook a gauge survey of our short running line for our compliance paperwork, and the Up side bank between the caravan and the Golden Bridge was cleared of all old rail anchors, spikes and rotten lumps of sleeper.
Duncan reports that thanks to constant sunshine and a good turnout of volunteers over the weekend of the 5th/ 6th, further progress has been made on the restoration of the Fowler 0-6-0 diesel shunter. Saturday saw Duncan joined by Davie, Peter, Tom and the Deans clan, and with such an unexpectedly large workforce, the decision was taken to try and fit the weld- repaired exhaust (both the original exhaust and the spare one had the same fractured securing lug). This was ultimately achieved with a bit of huffing and puffing and some persuasion from the pulley block. The engine was then run up and the exhaust worked fine (this one also had an old nest in it complete with mummified mouse), with the fumes exiting from the correct location through the hole in the top of the bonnet: all very tidy!
The engine can now be controlled by the throttle lever in the cab, a job described as a “swine” due to the presence of a return spring which put the engine to idle when held: the spring has now been disconnected so the throttle will sit where set.
Weld repairs and painting are now complete for the time being on the demountable nose section, and the plan is to refit it on the Track Weekend. Both locos will also be “winterised” at the same time.
Special thanks must go to Duncan’s work colleague who undertook the weld repairs to the exhaust, and who apparently might now be persuaded to sort the cab steps out!
Another task underway now that the long nights are with us is the cataloguing of the archive, courtesy of Roy Perkins and Iain MacIntosh. Back in 1969, Roy was involved with the attempt to save the line as a private concern (also known as the BURC), and undertook a survey of the various structures along the entire route. The scheme sadly failed in the end, as is well documented, but Roy’s photos from that survey form a fascinating record from the “ghost” period between closure and dismantling. Fast forward to recent years and Iain has been undertaking his own pictorial survey of structures, especially those which will soon be rebuilt or refurbished under the northern rebuild scheme.
Once finished, the photo catalogue will be a fantastic reference for those wishing to study the history and engineering of the route from its first incarnation. In the meantime, we might post one or two in the mystery photo section for your entertainment.