Friday, 21 July 2017

The Long Slog

We've been living out here in the middle of nowhere for just over two years now. It remains a strange, wonderful, challenging and very different part of the country for us but overall we still love it, apart from the wind.

Ah yes, the wind.

I hear you saying "Yes, the fens, they get the full blast of the winds blowing from Siberia. It must be one of the windiest parts of the country, you know"

Actually, it is very rare we get winds from the East, which is a pity because most of our trees would protect us if we did. And the Westerly winds we do get aren't, notionally, that dreadful.  What they are is relentless and, frankly, depressing. Especially cycling home against them.

What has all this got to do with the railway?

I always knew building a 7 1/4" line single handed would be a challenge but I think I underestimated the impact the weather would have on construction. The truth is it just isn't any fun to be crouching down in the wind trying to fasten ridiculously small fish-plate bolts.

I'd been relying on having some balmy Summer evenings to get things done, with the Easter long weekend providing an early season boost.

Easter ended up being devoted to clearing out the sheds of all the things that become surplus to requirements when you move from a six bedroom house to a 2 1/2 bedroom cottage.

We have had some balmy Summer evenings, but then there is cycling to be done, and BBQs to be cooked.

Never mind, I thought. Issy is off for a week's leave in June when her step-mum is coming to stay. I'll take that week off and do a mix of day trips with them and days working on the railway.

Which was a great plan until the day beforehand when poor Barb got rushed to hospital with life threatening sepsis. Issy and I got to spend three days together, one of which was a total washout, and on the other two we had days out. to Skeggie and the rather wonderful Peckover House. Incidentally, I'm sure I read somewhere that Teddy Boston lodged at Peckover House during his curacy in Wisbech, but I'm not sure where.

Barb, incidentally appears to have made a full recovery, I'm glad to say.

The rest of the week was dismal wet and windy, apart from the final Saturday. Fortunately, by then I'd had time to plan a detailed set of actions so we made massive progress with the whole of the "yard" laid to give Teddy proper access to the engine shed and a stock siding enabling the wagons to be stored out of sight.

Another weekend's work saw the tramway extension get underway, with the eye watering 8' radius curves that Teddy seems quite happy with.

So now, after 20 months, the ELR has extended from an end to end run of 30m to a current 55m.

Not exactly massive progress is it?

Well no, but we've actually laid a lot more track than that when you take the sidings into account. And given the nature of the ELR  some of the sidings are probably best thought of as short branchlines.

And it completes my plans for phase 1a and 1b of construction. 6 months late, but hey, you can;t have everything.

Better still phase 2 just involves laying 30m of plain track so 2018 should see rapid progress.