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SAT 21 OCT

No Trains Today

WE ARE NEXT OPERATING ON
Sunday 22 October

Track Pack - December 2016

January 2017 Working Weekend - Saturday 7th & Sunday 8th

With a suspension of service trains commencing on 2nd January the intention is to take a possession of the Smallbrook Single Line from that date. The following week, up to the sixth, will then be spent cropping rail ends on the section between Deacon’s and Long Arch bridges, similar to the work undertaken at Swanpond last January.

With the regulation five foot gaps opened up at each joint, the task for the Working Weekend will be to close up the gaps to the usual ¼ of an inch. This will involve releasing the rails in the chairs, resetting the gaps with the assistance of the Iron Men Rail carriers, before rekeying them in the new position. Once in place, two new closures can be cut and fitted to replace the accumulated croppings.

Previous sessions in the past have seen the lion’s share of the rail moving done on the Saturday, with the following Sunday/week used to attend matters such as fishplating and sleeper spacing at the new joint positions. With a fair wind this month’s job will hopefully go as smoothly as previous years.
 
Look forward to seeing as many of you as can make it at 8.30am, Saturday and Sunday, by the P.Way Hut, before a trip by rail to the site.

What's Been Going On?

With the December working weekend full of Santa trains operating along the line, a selection of lineside tasks kept everyone occupied over the weekend.

Saturday was spent on the curve leading into Smallbrook Station, clearing the accumulated material from a recent tree felling activity.  After a Wickham trip to the site a swift start was made on the preparation and lighting of a bonfire. The stoking of this, as well as gathering the fuel, kept two or three people busy till the end of the day.

With the help of some air blowers and ton bags the rest of the gang proceeded to clear this year’s delivery of leaves from around the track and cesses. Once each bag was full its contents were taken to the bonfire for disposal. Over the course of the day the entire length of the curve was cleared into over a dozen bagfuls, to leave a tidy looking track without a wet blanket of leaves over the top of it.

A slightly earlier halt than usual was called to the day’s proceedings to enable the last service train of the day, 3.30 ex Sbk, to take everyone back to Havenstreet or Wootton.

By way of a change, Sunday was spent at and around Woodhouse Crossing on the Wootton Section. Being situated at effectively the bottom of a field does little to improve the condition of this particular crossing. Most of the day was spent clearing the consequences of the build up of soil/mud from its surrounds. The surface itself was scraped and shovelled back to the hard surface beneath; whilst with the grids removed, the contaminated ballast in the beds below them was replaced with clean stone.

The soakaway leading to the drain beneath was also refilled with clean reject stone. The end of this drain, where it discharges on the fenceline was cleared and the ditch re-established along its course where the embankment abuts the natural ground level.

Time was also found to replace fence post damaged by a fallen tree and clear some of the surrounding track of the dreaded fallen leaves.

Many thanks to everyone who turned out over the weekend to tackle the varied range of jobs.

What Else Has Been Going On?

The usual round of testing and inspection was carried out for the start of the Santa Specials in December. A few sessions lifting and packing were followed up by continuing with the leaf clearance. Long Arch, and the area to the west of it, was followed by the cuttings either side of Bridge 12.

The new coat of anti-slip paint on the platform at Smallbrook was completed in good time for the resumption of passenger services.

On schedule, the Friday Gang arrived at Havenstreet in time for Christmas; the Friday before Christmas week being spent on the banks around the West End of the station. 

That’s the lot for now,

All the best,

Ian, Phil and Pete.







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