Friday, 10 February 2012
The Cob puts on a bit of weight
We've been watching the widening of the Cob in Porthmadog with interest on our various expeditions to town. The big yellow eight wheel Scanias of Jones Brothers have been rumbling through loaded with unfeasibly large rocks, disturbing the froth on my cappuccino as they pass. Today I actually managed to remember my camera and we sauntered down to the FR station to have a nosey about.
As everyone probably knows, the cob is being widened to provide room for an extra platform, to accomodate Welsh Highland Railway trains. Last year, every time a Welsh Highland Railway train used Harbour station, it had to run on to the cob then set back into the main platform. Things became tense when the Ffestiniog railway trains also needed to use the station, requiring some nifty timetable work to make sure the two railways didn't get under each other's feet. Factor in inevitable delays "out the line" and it's amazing that things actually went as well as they did.
The construction work started on Wednesday January 11th with five lorry loads of stone tipped in the first half hour. At first, the stone was sourced from nearby Garth (Minffordd) quarry, but it now appears to be coming from a location north of the town, causing a good deal of annoyance to local folk, who wonder why the lorries don't use the by-pass.
The original cob was built in 1811. This little enhancement to the original design is going to use 250,000 tonnes of rock.Seeing the nifty machine today with it's giant picker tool, lifting 20 tonne rocks as if they were brazil nuts, I reckon it puts the original builders of the cob a good few notches up on my respect chart. All they had were hands, crowbars, horses, carts and shear legs.
A view from last summer for comparison
Another balmy scene from last summer.