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Sunday 22 October

Track Pack - January 2014

A Happy New Year to all of our readers!

Hi all, a warm welcome to your first 2014 issue of Trackpack and we trust you had a great Christmas and New Year holiday. Sorry the Trackpack is running a little late but as usual there is more work to do than there is time to do it, and Trackpack always gets deferred as everything else seems more of a priority. 
Anyway we have had our first working weekend and great progress was made then, more of which later and our next working weekend in February will be another very busy one with several projects underway, full details of which are below. We have certainly got a lot of work to get done before March boys and girls so hope to see lots of you for the next bash.
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The January Working Weekend Gang at work on Griffins Curve.

February 2014 Working Weekend - Saturday 1st & Sunday 2nd

Our ongoing work on Griffins sidings will be part of the February bash. The main bulk of the work is complete but as always there are a lot of smaller jobs to be done to finish it off ready for the grand opening in March. I will sort out details of outstanding jobs at the time as we really don’t know what we will have finished by then and what else will need sorting out. 
Meanwhile at a drainage ditch near Callaways more work will be underway and several hardy souls may be required there to help with shovelling pea shingle and soil. A mini digger will do the lion’s share of digging but there is always some bits that need that personal touch!
We have a lot of lifting and packing to be done and a small but beautifully formed gang of BLH operators will be required to make it happen, and because most of the woody bits of line are covered in leaf-fall our leaf busting machine will hopefully be working to clear the ballast for packing.
So lots to get our teeth into and a few varied jobs, something for everyone I think. An interesting weekend awaits, usual terms and conditions apply, please muster around 8.30am at the new Griffins complex.
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Sleepers being changed and check chairs fitted.

What's Been Going On?

The last working weekend was fantastic, even if it did rain on us, proving to be very productive and saw the back of another major job in Griffins. Both days were taken up with changing sleepers, installing new check chairs and re-gauging the Griffins curve. Some weekends just seem to go well and this was one of them, we flew along on Saturday and put in a hugely impressive 40 sleepers by the time darkness stopped play. Sunday saw a smaller team get the final 18 sleepers into the track and we could look back at a very smart looking curve with a uniform array of new chairs waiting for a check rail to be installed. We then got stuck into removing the double slip check rail and changing the chairs to allow the new check rail to run right through to the blades of the switch. A mass tidy up of chairs and tools followed whilst the BLH machine was put to work packing the newly installed sleepers right round the curve.
Many thanks to you all for getting such a lot of work done in a short space of time, it nice to be able to tick another job off the list.
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Looking around the curve with the Train Story building on the left.

What Else Has Been Going On?

Since our last edition we have had Santa Specials, storms, tempest and flood. Trips up and down the line have been made to cut up fallen trees and sort out storm damage to the formation and signalling. I’m so glad we are the right side of Monkton Mead Brook as our damage was light compared to Islandline. The cost of their repairs (reportedly around £400,000) would certainly have crippled our finances had we suffered similar damage and incurred huge bills for ballast and repairs. Would anyone recommend the IWSR running the Ryde-Shanklin line now? 
I have been busy with a lot of paperwork, in connection with the Safety Management System over the Christmas period when manpower was low. It is not a very glamorous job nor do you have much to show for your efforts but it is a requirement these days and needs to be done. The rest of the time into the New Year has been spent on Griffins sidings, getting point levers fitted, sorting out joints, lifting and packing on the last of the points and lots of other minor jobs. Again very little to show for our efforts but all very necessary to getting the job finished correctly. We fitted the check-rail around Griffins curve using old LSWR rails taken from the Wootton single line a few years ago. It is plenty good enough for this job and it looks pretty good now it is in place. Our new workshop continues to take shape and we are waiting for electrics to be installed as I write. Once this has been finished and a few small jobs completed by Bob & Ollie we are pretty much there and fitting out can be done in earnest. Hopefully all will be completed very soon.
The railway has let the contract for the next stage of the Train Story building which is to construct the public footpath from the C&W workshop round to the new facility. This is to be carried out by Bob & Ollie Mackett and our next working weekend in March may involve some fencing work as well as fishplate greasing, we will wait and see what progress is made during the next month and let you know in the next edition.

Well that’s it for now then folks, we wish you all a very happy and prosperous 2014, and look forward to seeing you during the year

All the best from 

Dave, Pete, Phil and Ian.