The first day started at Dinas where a works train was assembled consisting of the old tool wagon and the combination mess coach headed by Castell Caernarfon. Tools were loaded up and the journey to Hafod y Llyn began, Paul Bradshaw driving under the supervision of Pete Gray. It was 11:30 before we arrived at the loop where the loco detached, ran round and departed for Caernarfon. A rail was released about 2/3 of the way up the bank and all the rails had been pulled up a few inches by the end of the day ready for pulling back to correct gap spacing.
Day 3. There was a lot of discussion about the best tactic for dealing with the extended task as there are a number of things to consider. Firstly we try to avoid cutting rail because the lead developed by re-gapping is unpredictable and a cut through an existing fishplate hole is to be avoided. Ideally we want a nice clean 5 inches to cut out one hole and create another, or more than 8 inches cut when both holes are lost. Then, if there is too much lead, the sleepers will all be in the wrong place and the work involved escalates considerably. In the end it was decided to re-start the work from the crossing with an initial break on the top of the reinforced embankment. A good move, because the station building makes a very convenient lunch spot.
Day 5 started with the discovery of a Welsh Black cow upside down in a shallow ditch where it had obviously fallen and found itself unable to regain its feet. Another call to Mr Parry and a quicker rescue this time, again with a tractor and strap. The animal was in calf apparently and the farmer very grateful for our report. By the end of the day our extended task was complete.
The last two days saw us finishing off with the remaining small tasks, the sleeper moving, some jacking and packing dips in the track and dealing with some voids under the wooden sleepers by the road bridge and at the Blaenau end loop point. Altogether a satisfying week's work with a promising new technique trialled. We are always seeking new ways to achieve more with less effort. There is after all 25 miles of railway to look after. The Rest of the world Gang works every month split between one four day weekend one month and a working week on odd months. If you fancy lending a hand, why not drop Paul Bradshaw an email on firstname.lastname@example.org ?