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

Friday 21 December

Track Pack - May 2014

June 2014 Working Weekend - Saturday 7th & Sunday 8th

As is usually the case at this time of year on both days this weekend trains are due to be operating. However on the Saturday it is a charter which should only involve one round trip so it ought be possible to fit some lifting and packing or slewing in around the train. The specific area involved will be determined when there are more details about the train movements, although the aim is to be on the Wootton section in the afternoon.

If time/staffing levels allow there is also scope to run a limited “clear up train” along the line to collect up the various piles of brash, branches and burnable blocks that have gathered over the recent winter months.

Sunday sees a usual day of service trains operating (blue timetable), along with a few goods trains as well. The S&T equipment is due for its regular dose of lubricating and looking at, so that is the plan. There are also a few S&T related jobs involved on the installation at Havenstreet (mechanical and electrical) so if any of these take anyone’s fancy they can be progressed too. 

So hopefully another enjoyable weekend in prospect, we hope to see as many of you as can make it to the P.Way Depot at 8.30am, both days.

What's Been Going On?

The three day weekend saw a wide range of activities being carried out both maintenance and some “New Works” too.

With the prospect of a two train sevice operating on Saturday, despite the earlier observation that it was a train free day, oh dear, a trip by road was made after loading up, to the of heaving Metropolis of Wootton. Here the gang split into two groups, one armed with Brushcutters, the other shovels, jacks and Kangos.

One group made steady progress tackling the areas of grass in and around the station, including some of the lineside banks, reinforcements arriving from Station Road later in the afternoon. The public areas certainly looked a lot tidier by the end of the day, although some of the bank beside the railway still needs attention.

The others tackled some lifting and packing on the run round loop, which was looking poor in some places. Where the lifts were large enough shovels could be used to fill the voids. At a slightly smaller, but longer term fault, at the single line end of the loop, Kango hammers were used to push the limestone ballast into the voids. Despite the regular passing of locomotives every half hour or so a good job was done.

On Sunday some of the more longstanding gang members were reacquainted with an old friend, Wootton clay. The plan was to extend the headshunt of the Carriage Shed to meet the new buffer stop. However, despite Wootton being a mile and a half away, the ground into which the siding buffer stop is built belongs (presumably) to the same bed of material that comes out at there. A merry two or three hours were spent digging down a foot or so into the twenty foot long by ten foot wide space, not too wet or sticky fortunately, in front of the buffer stop, to allow a chalk formation and drain to be laid in. Who needs an excavator !

With the formation complete the remainder of the day was used laying out a ballast bed upon the chalk, before gathering and then laying out the required number of sleepers to complete the siding. The temporary closures between the existing rails and the toe of the last turnout in the new siding fan were then removed. The resulting gap was filled by sliding the three existing 45 foot rails up from the buffer stop end of the headshunt.

A slightly smaller gang on Bank Holiday Monday finished off the job by cutting a couple of lengths of rail to close the gap between the rail end and the buffer stop. With these in place and keyed up the section was lifted and packed to the correct level. The job was done by twelve. After dinner, and with the rails the inspection pit in Number Four siding in place, the panels of track leading up to it were lifted and packed to the appropriate level.

So all in all a fun packed weekend, we hope.  Many thanks to everyone for their efforts over the three days. 

What Else Has Been Going On?

Since the last episode time has been spent on our two main occupations at this time of year, dropped joints and lineside vegetation; keeping one up and the other down. The few non-running days available at this time of year were taken up lifting and packing in all the favourite places.  All the bank areas around the accommodation and bridle crossings were got to in good time, but after the recent spurt of growth a second cut will be due in some locations shortly.

After a late start due to the works associated with Train Story, and a wet fortnight when it didn’t seem to stop raining for more than a few hours, the necessary weed spraying along the line has now been completed, if a bit later than is preferable. The vast majority of it seems to have taken okay, with the weeds responding in the approved way.

The final siding into the new building, Road Four, is slowly taking shape. With the track panels in place and rails fixed to the walls of the inspection pit the necessary levelling and lining is almost complete. After a bit of a delay caused by other priorities, a start has been made on the semi-massive job of boxing in both track four, plus all the other sidings and points. Shades of how do you eat an elephant.

The Friday Gang continue their activities, making their usual impressive progress in the area adjacent to Long Arch and Whitefield.
All the best,

 Ian, Phil and Pete.