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Another fortnight and another stretch
The team manage to fit the rails into the sleepers laid a fortnight ago: 18th Feb 2017
Looking South along the new platform Looking North toward the platform
Well done, all.
Another 3 panels of track laid
The dry weather on February 4th allowed a small group of volunteers to lay enough ballast and sleepers for a further 3 panels of track, which takes us out of the immediate environs of the shed.
First, we had a short length of tump ...
... which soon became a pair of tumps ...
... and out into the outer yard.
We look forward to the next stage of development.
Money raised via GiveAsYouLive during 2016
During 2016, our supporters have kindly donated over £100 to the railway by on-line purchases made via the GiveAsYouLive portal. For those of you who have done this, thank you very much. If you haven't done this, please consider doing it during 2017.
Christmas - shopping for gifts and goods?
If you are buying your Christmas gifts and goods online, please consider buying them through the Give As You Live portal, and donating a proportion of the cost to the railway
The railway will be holding its AGM this Saturday (24th September) at the Blaengarw Rugby Club from 11.00am. Documents relating to the meeting can be downloaded from the Members' area of the site.
Platform gains blister slabs
The next stage of platform construction involved the laying of blister tiles, leaving the completion of the drainage system and the laying of tarmac before the job is finished.
As part of our commitment to safety, we will be fencing the communityroute/trackbed if and where it isn't already. This will take time and we will do so as we move the line further and further down the valley. Here is the first stage of the fencing that will separate the two entities alongside the loco shed.
The work was done on Bank Holiday Monday, and is currently 50m long. Further panels will be erected over the next month or two.
Why not come and join us on a Wednesday or Saturday - we have plenty of work to do.
Track Panel 2
Congratulations to the small team of dedicated folk who installed the 2nd panel of platform-side track on Saturday 30th July. Notice also the additional blocks placed onto the platform extension base in the second photo.
'Safe Use of Pesticides' certificates
Further to the discussion about Japanese Knotweed, our trained volunteer has agreed to allow a picture of his certificates to be posted on the website - but they will also be displayd at the shed.
Japanese Knotweed Control Measures
A start has been made on the long job of controlling the Japanese Knotweeed that has sprung up across the valley over recent years.
As the patch of knotweed stood at the end of June 2016
Users of the Garw Valley Community Route will have noticed that some of the Japanese Knotweed alongside the route between Oakdale Crossing (Llangeinor) and Pandy Bridge has been cut down. This work has been done by a qualified volunteer from the railway who is practising training to use a number of methods to control knotweed and other invasive vegetation. As the plants at this point stood 10-12 ft high, and are within 10m of the river, spraying at this time is both impractical and any drift is potentially dangerous to the river and other vegetation.
It will be noticed that the cut plant material has been left on site and that as little as possible has been left on the pathway. The law concerning Knotweed control requires that everything is left on site, so once it has dried out sufficiently it will be burnt. It is expected that the plants will regrow, but when they reach 1-1.5m in height, they will be sprayed, which is a very effective form of control.
This is the start of a long programme of control of Knotweed and other vegetation along the transport corridor which will last for years. The public will be informed of any control activity – be that spraying or burning – by means of signage on the path at the time, and beforehand via the Gazette, Bridge FM and any other suitable means (eg the railway’s Facebook page).
As it lies towards the end of July 2016
The public are asked not to take any of the material off-site as it can very easily sprout – even a bit of leaf is sufficient – and spread.
Platform Track - The First Panel
The weekend of 16th and 17th July 2016 saw the installation of the first panel of track alongside the new platform. Saturday saw several volunteers levelling and compacting the ballast that had been delivered and laid earlier in the summer, before laying the first 4 sleepers at the northern end of the line. All this took place in dismal weather that made the sighting of levels, the moving of ballast being added or removed to ensure the correct levels and the use of equipment difficult.
Sunday saw a brighter day and a number of new ways of laying and spacing sleepers that had been developed overnight. The result that the remaining sleepers for the panel were all in position by the time the smaller workforce - mostly of younger folk - broke for lunch, and by the time people left at 5.30 both rails had been placed into the chairs, and been keyed in, to ensure their security.
Our Shark Brake Van
Our volunteers have over the past few months been hard at work restoring our Shark. The pictures below show the shark as it was and now with restoration being carried out.
The Board would like to thank all our volunteers for the excellent work they do.
Sleepers Arrive in Pontycymer
On the 20th January 2015, 4 lorry loads of railway sleepers arrived at the Engine Shed. These will be used in the track that will run along side our new platform.
Our excavator is now fully functional following sterling efforts by volunteers who replaced the main arm yoke pins and bushes that they had manufactured in-house during November and December 2014.
With funding now in place, work is well under way on the Pontycymer passenger platform that runs down the east side of the Loco shed, the first 30 meters of wall being completed during the weekend of 9/10th August 2014. Two lorry loads of concrete were poured into the footings for the front of the platform on the 20th August with blocking commencing on the front wall the 27th August. The bottom picture shows progress reached on the 13th September.
The top of the platform was started on the 22nd December 2014.
With our excavator now repaired. excavation commenced during the weekend of 17/18th January on the gradient north of the platform and, subject to weather, installation of the capping beams on the platform will continue.
On the 28th January further work was carried out laying the beams as shown, during the summer work continued on the dry days so that by the 21st July the platform was in a much more complete state as shown in the picture on the right
This is the first of at least four platforms that will be built along the line.
Fire Brigade Exercise
A total of four Fire Engines and crew came from Pontycymer, Maesteg, Cowbridge and Pen-Y-Bont and took part in a fire exercise at the Engine Shed on the 29th July 2014. Around twenty firemen were involved in the exercise which was to search a smoke filled train for passengers, although on this occasion the firemen searching were blindfolded as no smoke was used.
It is hoped that further exercises will be carried out later in the year.