It’s fair to say that working conditions down at Apedale have not been ideal this weekend; hailstorms, even snow did not make for pleasant working conditions. Especially when the key job has been continuing to dig out the hole for the new wagon traverser. This part of the site is on made-up ground, which makes for really tough digging – a mixture of sticky clay, bricks, you name it. But a hardy team persisted, and the pit now extends to its full size. It’s not obvious from the photos what’s going on – so let me explain. The traverser car has to sit below ground level – so that the rails mounted on the car sit at approximate ground level. Hence the hole. To prevent the hole sides obeying gravity, ex-BR concrete sleepers are being placed to create solid edges to the pit. A drainage pipe is visible in the mud, and the concrete sleepers are hauled into place by being slid on scrap rails which just happened to be lying about. The next steps are to mortar-in the concretes and seal the pit ends. The pit bottom will then be skimmed with ballast, and 24 feet of 4’0″ gauge track laid. This is a novelty for all of us, and means yet another track gauge on site. But that’s what the traverser’s wheels are set to, so there it is.
The mud and weather gloom was lightened briefly by a rather splendid rainbow, captured by one of the team on his fancy-pants camera thing. We were going to dig for the crock of gold, but we were all fed up of digging by that stage, so we drank tea instead. If you know where the crock of gold is, or can offer firm leads on any leprechauns, get in touch here.