A very Merry Christmas to all our readers!
Merry Crimble everybody, we wish you all a very enjoyable Christmas holiday. Welcome to your Holly and Ivy edition of Trackpack and I hope that your halls are decked with barrow loads of the stuff. This year I am writing this little newsletter at Wootton, sitting in the old groundframe building with a generator outside bashing away to keep the power going for the computer. This is because the station extension is well underway and I am providing a fetch and carry service with the Permaquip trolley and trailer whilst the other lads are busy leaf busting. I’m sorry the Trackpack is again very late but work at Wootton has been taking priority over the last couple of weeks and as always our newsletter production is the first thing to go up the creek.
The Santa trains have been running since early December at weekends and all has gone well, lots of happy visitors and we have made sure that trains are safe to run to Wootton whilst the works have been going on.
The weather has been kind to us so far during the work but the last couple of days have been a bit chilly and my fingers are a little numb now so forgive any keyboard slips I may make as I sit here in the balmy surroundings of Wootton with the temperature hovering round freezing.
I know I bang on every year with much the same message but it is heartfelt from us all. A big Christmas thank you from all the full time team, here at Havenstreet to you, the volunteers that make the railway what it is. Without your generous help the railway would struggle to survive and never manage to do all the things it does. Thank you for your help and assistance and we wish you all the very best for Christmas 2011 and a happy and prosperous New Year 2012.
January 2012 Working Weekend – Saturday 7th & Sunday 8th
We have a longer running season now than we ever thought possible a few years ago, with lots of wages to pay and important projects to fund it is a necessity to keep the money rolling in. Our short break for engineering needs keeps getting smaller and we have but a short time to complete all our major works before we need to hand back the railway for the February half term running.
With that in mind the plan for January is to start the move of the points at Wootton. The engine release points will need to move between 3 and 5 metres towards Havenstreet to provide a longer headshunt for the Ivatt Tank loco’s, when they are ready. Whilst we are extending the platform at one end we are encroaching on available space at the buffers end, but the overall net gain will be enough to accommodate our longest trains at present. So dismantling the switch and crossing will be the order of the weekend and moving everything up the selected distance and re-assembling it all again. Lots of work to complete then, and along with fitting longer rails for the headshunt, it should be an interesting weekend’s work.
All those willing to accept this mission should report to P.Way Headquarters at 8.30am on Saturday or Sunday. (Or both days if you prefer!). If it is more convenient Wootton residents or others can muster at Wootton Station. Be aware you will be entering a Worksite though. The usual precautions apply.
What’s been going on?
Fir and Foilage Fry as Flames From Fires Fly Far
Part of the preliminary tasks at Wootton before the major works to extend the platform and provide the station buildings were to cut down some trees that caused access problems, overhung the platform or were getting unsafe. This provided much fuel for fires and made for a major cutting and burning weekend at Wootton. Several trees were felled during the weekend too, which provided additional fuel as the weekend progressed. A good turnout of hardy souls provided plenty of manpower or womanpower (person-power?) and we managed to clear vast amounts of unwanted woody material and also move a large amount of logs to Havenstreet. Many thanks to all those that turned up and helped with the task of clearing up what seemed like a vast amount of material in a very short period of time.
What else has been going on?
This month’s work has been concentrated at Wootton, as the new works were started to extend the platform. The first jobs were to clear the platform of the old buildings and the PMV waiting room. The latter was no longer required and was broken up and burnt on site. The metalwork was cut up with help from the C&W team and removed to the car park for disposal. As stated earlier a lot of trees had to be removed to get access to the site and make the station area safe. Detailed planning of the levels and platform construction site were carried out with help from Dennis Rapley, our civil engineering consultant. New levels were plotted for the track and a new alignment worked out and then we had to move the track to the new line and level. The BLH machine was used to pack the track to the new design so that the platform construction can be done using the track as a datum for the builders. More work has been done on recovering the old S&T equipment around Wootton and this will eventually be used to alter the installation at a later date when the signalbox is relocated. As I write this the concrete blocks forming the platform walls are being laid although the work is being hampered by heavy rain.
Meanwhile other work includes the Friday gang working hard and finishing the Wootton-Havenstreet section. They have now moved onto the Smallbrook single line and have cleared many parts of that too. A fantastic effort on their part yet again this year, Well Done the Friday team. A great Christmas gathering was held at the White Hart in Havenstreet village which was well received by all those who attended. Here’s to a successful and productive 2012.
Some attention to Ashey Grounds Crossing was made during December to correct damage to fence line gateposts and also Callaways crossing to repair damage to cattle grids. Lifting and packing was carried out in Swanpond in the usual areas to correct level problems where the ash banks keep sinking or are subject to burrowing bunnies.
Finally some Estates work has kept us on our toes again this month, from non-working lights to decorating a large Christmas tree with lights that do work, all done as quickly as we can.
Well that’s it for now then folks, hope you have a very good one. See you soon.
Dave Pete Phil and Ian.