Ballasting the back siding
During March the regular group of Sunday volunteers set about re-laying the back siding behind the tin shed. When originally laid, the basic levelling had been done by Pat Clifford in a hired mini-digger, with the rest of the work being done by hand using shovels. Because of the levels and gradients involved (nothing in the Forest of Dean seems to be flat) many of the sleepers had to be dug into individual “pits” which was far from ideal. Therefore, we lifted each section of track in turn and removed the soil from around and under the sleepers, allowing ballast to be placed underneath for drainage.
When relaying, the sleepers were spaced out more evenly and a little work was done with the jim-crow to ease out the curves. Fishplates were greased and the spoil which was removed was tipped next to the loop to finish off the re-grading work which will hopefully prevent the ballast rolling off the edge of the embankment. A makeshift buffer stop was constructed by inserting a length of rail into a deep hole and backfilling with rubble. Hopefully this will not prove too difficult to remove as we plan to move the old cylindrical water tank into this position for use as a battery-electric locomotive shed.