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Ballast Trains run in autumn sun

Glorious Isle of Wight Autumn weather made for perfect working conditions on the first day of the Civil Engineering Department’s November Working Weekend, Saturday 1st November 2015.

As the first stage of an extensive winter track and infrastructure maintenance programme, a series of Ballast Trains were operated, depositing limestone track ballast along the line.  Full time and volunteer members of the Railway's Civil Engineering and Locomotive Operating Departments worked together to complete all of the tasks scheduled for the day.
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Civil Engineering Manager Pete Corby controls a ballasting run in Whitefield Woods, close to Smallbrook Junction.
The team assembled bright and early at the Civil Engineering Department’s headquarters in Griffins Field, Havenstreet.  Their task was to operate a ballast train over the full length of the line, dropping in the region of 200 tons of limestone ballast along the track.

The ballast was being dropped in preparation for the visit of a Tamper track maintenance machine in early 2015.  The tamper will use the ballast, packing it beneath the sleepers as it adjusts the level and line of the track, to maintain the smooth, safe ride our passengers experience when travelling on the railway.

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Members of the team take a quick break during ballasting operations.
The ballast train was hauled by British Railways Class 03 diesel locomotive No.D2059 and consisted of four ballast hoppers with a ‘Shark’ brake van, the train weighing in at total of 156 tons.  Every vehicle in the train was carrying British Railways black livery and looked extremely smart in the autumn sunlight.

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The Ballast Train close to Ashey Summit.
These Working Weekends traditionally take place on the first weekend of each month and give the opportunity for our full time and volunteer civil engineering staff to tackle some of the more challenging and labour intensive projects on the department’s ‘to do’ list.  More details and information on how you can join the team can be found HERE.

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At lunchtime the Ballast Train returned to base in order to replenish the hopper wagons.  D2059 is propelling the train around Griffins Curve, towards the engineers sidings.

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