A cool and cloudy weekend, trains running to TyB, which gives the WRG gang space to play with baseplates at Tafarntrip.
The usual procedure was employed: one team went ahead with a Stumec unscrewing the old clips, the rails were jacked up, baseplates slid underneath and Pandrol clips pulled on with pan pullers.
Then the exciting bit: one man drilling, one greasing and knocking in the screws and one Bance'ing down the baseplates. Add sundry workers inserting gauge bars, moving the jacks up and dropping out materials and you've got an efficient team steadily progressing to Blaenau with nary a hitch
The bombshell came like a punch in the stomach via text message on Saturday night. Old friend of the railway, Fred Dibnah, had lost his battle with cancer. Suitably sombre we descended on the Spoon, while Mike espoused the joys of the Harz Bahn.
Back to the hostel for postprandial beers, check up on ceefax for news on Fred and an even more severe bombshell in the form of a derailment on the Berks and Hants line.
Sunday, and work continued at Tafarntrip, with a friendly visit by Fred Howes. Earl was running around with "RIP Fred" chalked on the up smokebox – "I don't think that refers to me".
Finally, skive off work to ostensibly hand crank the points for Palmerston, ex-works with a test train of the Victorian YTS set, as the loop track circuits are switched off. Jonny asked nicely for a ride in the tender during the run around. The sun duly came out for Adrian, Alex and the guys whose names I don't know to pose with their steed, and await Rabbit's arrival with Earl for a path back down.
TyB had a relaxed atmosphere, comencent with the quiet puffs of coal fired Palmerston – passengers coming for a ride, rather than desperately rushing for a connection at Blaenau. Very different experience to summertime. Not wishing to waste the oppotunity, it was time to a ride home in an RAF waggon, following special permission and safety briefing. Bogie carriages seem a bit tame after riding in a loose coupled unsprung waggon, with nothing but sacks of Pandrols to aid comfort.
So, a productive and enjoyable weekend. The FR certainly shows its charm out of season.
Photos on this external link