A weekend at Coventry Railway Centre

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TheSlash

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Hi all

Here's a more detailed version of a working weekend at the Coventry railway centre, attended by quite a few members of this forum on the 4th and 5th of February
Well my day started.... 07:00? I got in the car which drove itself to Southampton airport parkway, arriving a few minutes before Feltham2104 was due to arrive from the middle of know where.
After picking him up, it was on towards Basingstoke for the next pick up, stopping to fill up in Eastleigh.
Arriving at Basingstoke for 08:15, we picked up Coxster who informed us that Seth had told him he wasn't coming.
Moaning and grumbling, i tore across the A339 towards the A34 and made good time. Joining the M40, i decided to stop at a services, hoping to pick up a Burger King, to my disgust, it was closed, it could of been enough to convince me to turn the car round there and then
On we steamed, co pilot Feltham2104 and Stewardess Coxster managed mobile phone traffic very well, relaying messages between me and other people enroute to site.
We arrived at site about 10:30 and found a rather large ballast lorry waiting for access to the site.
Arrangements were made and Feltham2104 and Coxster waited at the site for a key holder, while i went off to Coventry station to pick up FGW Fan, Heart of Wessex and Met Cam.
By the time i got back to site with these guys, Rob had opened up and supervised the ballast delivery
While we wanted for an engineers store key holder, we managed to bump start the dumper and began loading it by hand and with 1 shovel.
We had abit of a disaster with the machines, the JCB, 2nd dumper, roller and tractor were all unavailable for duty
Thanks to the hard work of the gang on the ballast heap, we managed several loads of ballast. We managed to adjust the line of the track using the dumper and generally made the best of a bad situation. As promised, lots of laughs were frequently provided, including 6 on a dumper {CovRC's up and coming circus act :D }
On the homeward leg of the trip, i decided to change a tyre on the car due to it giving poor performance when cornering. This exercised turned out to be a waste of time as the spare had been changed out previous {Don't remember doing it} and gave a very poor ride going home, judging by the noise, it has a severe flat that has failed to improve after 450 miles.

Day 2
Day 2 started on a better note, i had a good sleep and didn't drink the night before, so got up in time for a shower.
I met Feltham2104 at Airport parkway again, this time he told me Damon had cancelled aswell.
So a non stop run to Coventry missing out the Basingstoke diversion meant that we arrived at 10:00, just in time for the opening of Burger King. A nice big cheese burger later, we were on the road again, this time from Coventry station to the railway centre.
A key holder arrived note long after and preperation work began. After much work, the JCB came to life whilst i was fetching Graeme from the station. When i got back to site, we had 2 dumpers and a JCB ready to go
From then on it was pretty mad, we had a much improved supply of ballast to the worksite {for obvious reasons}, we also had more grunt to shift the track into place.
My right hand man Mr Feltham2104 floated around the site always involved with something and generally assisted in the smooth running of the work.
During the afternoon, i got hold of the JCB a few times and demonstrated that i can be just as handy with ballast using a JCB, as i can using a shovel :D
I also demonstrated the top speed of the JCB :D
As the afternoon came to an end, we positioned the correct sleepers into they're 'beds' and made sure they were squared up.
When all this was done, we put 1 of the outer running rails into it's chairs and connected it to the rest of the track, a massive amount of progress, especially with all the ballast that was moved and dumped into position.

Roll of honour {Day 1 attendes}
Slash
Feltham2104
Coxster
Blackfour
Met Cam
FGW Fan
Heart of Wessex
SERA01UK

Noteably absent
Seth? {Made the GCR the week previous on a Saturday?}
Joy54? {Still heading to Euston?}

Roll of Honour {Day 2 attendes}
Slash {top man again}
Feltham2104
Met Cam
SERA01UK

Noteably absent
Coxster {didnt seem to negotiate pick up times?}
Seth {alcohol poisoning? ASBO'ed?}
FGW Fan {MIA?}
Heart of Wessex {Still riding home from Saturday?}

Cheers for everybodies efforts over the 2 days, we didn't plan to shovel all that ballast by hand Saturday, but at least it was an insight into what i do at work {apart from **** around}
The next working party will be 2 weeks time
I've got 1 or 2 photos and a few videos, but they were all taken on my phone
 
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Coxster

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I posted here that I was unable to attend. Due to them bloody p-wayers (not the Eastleigh lads though I must add), it was impoissible for me to get to Basingstoke until about 09:15/09:30, half an hour before you arrived at Coventry! Not even the first train of the day (excluding the 00:15 departure ;)) got me to Basingstoke until quite a bit AFTER the agreed time anyway so it was better for me to pull out of the second day than consider delaying you guys but 45-60 minutes.

Sorry about that.
 

heart-of-wessex

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as for me not going sunday, F*** off :P

it was a rather hard ride home actually, more cold than going up and just desperate to get home caused a longer journey as there was an accident on the A350 (again!) where i basically had 1-2 miles left, i had to go an extra 4 miles to get home round a long way!

Still got home on one tank again (once your at 60 i try and stay there more fuel effiecient) so 5 litres for 80 miles aint too bad and for a fiver.
Still the fossebridge 'big dipper' was something else, 80x steeper than the lickey lol.

still i hope to bring £20 next time im up to join, ill aslo be taking VT up instead!


Thanks for a great day out guys!

James.
 

Techniquest

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MIA? Me? I didn't have a chance to come up whether I wanted to or not! I would have arrived at the same time as you'd be wrapping things up for departure! Here's why:

After TheSlash dropped us off (again, big thanks!), we hung around for the 1816 Pendodildo to New Street, we did NOT want to get the stopper 323! Metcam, heart-of-wessex and I all board the service. h-o-w and I have a debate on whether it's a shop or a buffet, although I used both terms for it anyway. We leave metcam to get his Voyager (poor soul) to Manchester, whilst heart-of-wessex and I walk to Moor Street. We see 168005 waiting on a signal clearance, so we managed to bash it to Snow Hill. We then get the similarly delayed 150013 to Stourbridge Junction, after scoring off a couple of trams!

Here, we see 153356 on the Town branch. Just before it's next trip off, we see what could have been a Turbostar coming down the line from Birmingham. It turned out to be 168002, still not 003! 153356 leaves just before it pulls in for Kidderminster (which it then provided with a ECS move towards Birmingham!). We get the 153's next run, after I submit via my hands what I thought of the Chiltern unit...

After we return from Town, we finish the meet at Stourbridge when James got a CT 170/5 to Birmingham. I got 150217 the other way just after he left to Worcester Foregate Street (I did NOT want to wait 50 minutes in Great Malvern again!). Wondering around, passing time, missing two bus numbers, I eventually got a bite to eat at McDonalds, getting 170115 after seeing 150217 run back to Birmingham and Dorridge. Pulling into platform 2 at HFD, roughly on time (I didn't care to look), I watch an ex-CT 158 terminate at HFD and run straight back to Cardiff, a 3-car 175 go on the last train to Cardiff of the day and get my SO 2311 bus home. I got home around 0015 Sunday morning. Waking up at 0704 Saturday, you can guess I was tired. I eventually hit the bed over 18 hours after leaving it!

Apart from obvious tiredness (shovelling ballast used more energy than I had provided my system!), the first CT service of the day and for that matter ANY service to Worcester and beyond in that direction, was not until 1336 or so! I'd have probably hit Coventry mainline around 1600!

Nevertheless, big up to the day, it was a fun and interesting day! I doubt I'll ever get to shovel ballast again, so that's a nice unique way to spend a Saturday! Normally, as I was on a rover, I'd have been on the 0909 (or whatever it is) to Newport, changing for a HST and doing countless FC bashes, station ticking, whatever. So it was a welcome change!
 
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