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TUE 12 DEC

No Trains Today

WE ARE NEXT OPERATING ON
Saturday 16 December

Track Pack - January 2015

February 2015 Working Weekend - Saturday 7th & Sunday 8th

For this month our plan is to carry out some sleeper renewals in certain areas, and if time allows fettle up some of the ballast ready for the visit of the tamper later in the month.

In one or two places on the Smallbrook section there are patches where it is easier to renew the sleepers by removing a rail so that is where we shall make a start. There are a few that have been identified at Swanpond and also the half dozen or so remaining from the summer session near to Havenstreet. This will mean a bit of dodging about but hopefully we shall make it to the Havenstreet area by the early afternoon of Saturday.

Sunday will be similar, though there is the option of a clear up train with La-La depending on numbers.

Hope to see you all at the usual time at the P.Way Depot, 8.30am both days.

What's been going on?

A sizeable gang made braved the indifferent weather to make the trip to Swanpond for our first Working Weekend of the New Year.  On arrival the main body of the gang proceeded to de-key the South rail from Calloways crossing, towards Smallbrook. A smaller group continued the cropping exercise that had started the previous day. This involved removing 2 foot six from each end of the rail to remove most if not all of the battering etc.
The rail changing was in full swing by ten o’clock, starting by putting in the five replacement rails and then “shunting up” the cropped ones to produce an ever widening gap as they went in to be keyed up.

 Happily all the adding and head scratching worked out and by mid afternoon there was a 55 foot gap at the end of the relayed section waiting for one of the displaced rails to be cut and dropped into it. While this was being considered by the smaller gang, the relay team restarted at Calloways on the North Rail. By the days end the five replacement rails were in place on that side and keyed up ready for the morning.

The smaller number of staff on the Sunday continued with the job, progressing down the North rail as the day went by. A slightly different method was used for the cropping so as to keep the rail joints immediately opposite each other. Once one end of the rail was cropped it was shunted up to its new resting place; the joint at the other end could then be determined by squaring across from the south side. The bit of sawing required slowed progress a little but four or so rails were in place by the end of the weekend.

In a break with tradition the following Saturday saw another visit to the site from the gang to complete the rail relaying portion of the job. Steady progress got the job completed by mid afternoon which gave time to re-space the sleepers at a couple of the new joints before the end of the day.

Many thanks to everyone who took part over the weekend(s) to get the lion’s share of the work completed so quickly.

What else has been going on?

With the new rails at Swanpond, the job was continued by drilling the rail ends to enable the fishplates to be attached. With that done the task of re-spacing the sleepers at the new joint positions was taken in hand. There were one or two headscratchers amongst them, so as to get the right size of bed, but it worked out in the end. As well as most joints requiring a new sleeper to get the spacing correct, the opportunity was taken to replace any slightly suspect existing sleeper.

Having got things back in one piece, the work since then has been mostly associated with the upcoming tamper visit. Vast quantities of leaves have been removed from the track in the wooded areas, as a prelude to a further spread of ballast.  Where necessary, the ballast has been fettled up into the working area of the machine. There is still a bit of this to do at present.

The Friday Gang continue their sterling efforts. A rough area of bank by Woodhouse crossing being the latest target. 

All the best and belated Happy New Year.

Ian, Phil and Pete.