LATEST..          The Oldbury Carriage featured in the CH4 Great Rail Restoration Programme is now on Show in our C&W Workshop at Havenstreet - see blog for further details and catchup link          All operating days and events can be found on our YOUR VISIT - Timetables page          BOOKINGS for our SANTA and BOXING Day events 2018 and NEW YEAR'S DAY 2019 are already being taken. Please note that these events now have to be pre-booked and seating is allocated         
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No Trains Today

Saturday 01 December

Track Pack - December 2014

With the 2014 Series of Santa Specials in full swing as these notes are being written, it seems a good time to wish all of our readers A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

January 2015 Working Weekend - Saturday 3rd & Sunday 4th

After the training/refresher course in rail handling last month, the first get together of the New Year will find a similar task to be carried out at Swanpond Copse in the Smallbrook Section.

A quantity of replacement rail has already been prepared and taken to the site, ready to be exchanged for a section of the existing rail in the line. The surplus created can then be used to compensate for the length lost as the existing rails, many of which have battered and worn ends after a hard life supporting trains, are systematically cropped.

An advance party is due to make a start on the cropping on the Friday before, once the New Year’s Day trains have operated, so this should mean the main gang will get a good run at the installing of the new rails. All things being equal, and with a fair wind, it’s hoped to get the majority of the intended twelve 60 foot panels completed over the two days.

It won’t all be humping and heaving, as there are always lighter jobs like keying/de-keying and fishplate fitting to be done too, so there should be something for everyone to have a crack at.

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

What's been going on?

With the sound of Caroles and smell of mince pies drifting over from the station, a half dozen or so people assembled on a dry, mild Saturday for the start of the December Working Weekend.

The task this month was to replace a number of rails in the original Griffins Sidings.  With the rolling stock removed from the siding earlier in the week, the first job was to lay out the replacement 45 foot rails from the pile at the buffer stop end.  As this was being done a couple of bods de-keyed the “North side” rail and took off the fishplates.

Starting at the point end of the siding, steady progress was made removing the 60 foot long rails and then replacing them with the 45 footers. The “Iron Men” were used for the first couple of rails for ease of handling, but after that the traditional jacking out and rolling in method sufficed to the end of the siding.

After dinner the “Southside” rail was exchanged, all the rails being in place by tea break at three, just a bit of keying up remaining to be done. A pair of carefully selected pieces of rail were found on the pile that were just the right 12 foot six inches long to complete the siding.  Until it got dark at 4.30pm the “Iron Men” were used to move the recovered 60 footers into the four foot of the siding, and then transport them to a pile to be dealt with later.

Sunday was a similar day weather wise, though perhaps not as warm as it got on Saturday afternoon (well relatively for December anyway.) A slightly smaller gang spent the day fettling up and rearranging the sleepers at the new joint positions, enabling the remaining fishplates to be fitted. The joint cross levels were also reset, as well as the remaining recovered rails being transferred to the pending pile at the entry end of the siding.

With the works completed in such a timely, efficient manner the siding was able to be “handed back” to the Engineering Manger first thing Monday morning, ready for it to be restocked with assorted vehicles on Tuesday.

Thankyou to everyone who helped out over the course of the two days.

What else has been going on?

With the pause in operations before the start of the Santa Specials, the opportunity was taken to do a small relay job at Bridge 15. A pair from the batch of 60 foot rails brought earlier in the year were used to replace the badly hogged rails over the bridge itself. The surrounding joints were adjusted as necessary, in the process removing a few battered ends. The relay area was then lifted and packed with the BLH machine, a big slack to the west of the bridge being removed with the help of the sighting level.

A new culvert head wall has been completed by contractors at Swapond. This replaced the partly collapsed one associated with the drainage ditch halfway between Calloways Crossing and Bridge One.

As predicted in the last issue the Friday Gang arrived at Havenstreet Station right on time, the area to the west of the station platform receiving a timely strim on the last Friday before Christmas.

All the best and a Merry Christmas,

Phil, Pete and Ian.