March 2006

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WRG feat. SSP plus Ant. Photos on an external link

Looking at the weather forecast on Thursday showed it to be iffy- rain until 3pm Sunday afternoon whereupon it would suddenly brighten up, as usual, just as you are finishing. Then reports of snow on Saturday came in.

To Glanypwll in Fred’s camper vans (A-Team style), pick up the train and thence to Blaenau. Object of the exercise was removal of the Dorfil Siding and plain line the points, so they can be used down on Blodge curve. Mike regaled us of the various switches of switches and frog migrations that have taken place in the past – Blaenau top end used to be at Llyn Ystradau! Anyone with an OO layout and PECO points would understand. Fred had produced a careful method statement and key risks, which formed a handy summary of the job. Intelligent bit of Man-Management from Fredtrack. Maxey and friend drove up and were dismantling the signal gear. He ain't going on no train, fool.

So, dismantle the trademark WRG buffer stop (vintage ’98 – built with help from F-team), lift and trolley out the rails and hoik up the sleepers. Meanwhile team No. 2 had unclipped and unbolted the frog, ready for loading onto an MOD waggon. The newer “green” ones have Lot Number stickers on them – they are the longer ones that are for sale. We were using the shorter grey waggons. Then slew the old rails into the mainline formation. Jonny Ellis rode on The Official Last Train to Dorfil Siding on the trolley, just before the frog was barred out of alignment. You know you’ve been on this railway long when you have to take out what you put in – in my case the frog check rail, which I didn’t install on my first ever PWay day with Bob Dillon back in August 1999… but that’s another story.

All this was protected from Network Rail by blue barrier fence, for it is written in the Book of Fred: ”Thou Shalt Not go on the line (even though thou knows no trains shalt run on the Sabbath). For yea, thou will obey the commandments of Network Rail else thou, being naught compared to the leading axle of a train, shall snuff it,” This was brought home by the scarily quiet arrival of Dylan the orange 153 DMU, who was on the Llandudno service on Saturday. That’s “Dylan Thomas”, whoever he was.

Anyway, in between debating whether Dylan’s career highlight was “Under Milk Wood”, his music or his days on the PWay, the switch part of the points was jacked and packed and Tirfor’d up towards Duffws, ready for loading onto 57 bo-flat and transporting to Pen Cob. New sleepers were installed, two Moreton on Lugg rails were slewed into place and the sleepers packed into position.

That evening, we were comparatively underdressed, as Spoons was full of posh sorts in Dinner Jackets. Ops department, with hangers on, were off to “The Ranch” for a fancy dinner. The Big Carriage Shunt was successful, and platform road had a heritage set of Woolworth’s and Colonel Stephens carriages. Needless to say, the Mooses were on, though Dark Side had runout in bottled form. Heard an interesting rumour regarding the AGM special, which should encourage people along. Spooner’s food was to the usual standard– although what happened to the lamb they used to do? Would Dublin ever stop serving Guinness?

Got back in time for the weather forecast. Snow, and lots of it, overnight. Ho hum. Time to exchange ring-tones. The must have one at the moment is The Alco’s last gasp, though Thomas the Tank Engine raised a few smiles. Ant nearly got his hair cut off by Slap. Psycho analyse at leisure. Brian went to the Ranch Party and had a gay old time. His report back to the rest of us at tea break, while someone was opening a flask, gave the following hilarious (ish) conjunction:

“She had a full length skirt on, but with a slit up to here”

“It’s a new one. You have to screw it to get the top off”

Sunday, and snow. Extracted the train from the 2”- 3” layer at Glan-y-Bleath-Gill, unloading the stone fill to strengthen the ballast shoulder on 6 road. Poor Bloody Infantry. Thence to site, shift the siding rails into position on the mainline, chop off the dodgy end bit, clip to sleepers, drill and screw down sleepers. Brian remembered when it were all plain track there – he installed it in similar snowy conditions back in the winter of 1981/82. Funny how these things run in cycles. The WRG-Team (baa ba-ba, bub-ba baaa) baseplating subroutine went into action and we were finished by 2pm, whereupon it was back to Penrhyn Hostel for late lunch.

So, a grand old weekend, despite the usual wait to start on Saturday morning and the finish dragging on. As usual, Andy Carey will welcome you with open tool-vans if you email him and ask to volunteer.

The Soft Southern Ponce On Tour

And now, all together:1 18, 11 8, 1 18, 1 1 8 (to the tune of The A-Team theme)

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