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•service update•


No Trains Today

Wednesday 17 October

Track Pack - October 2017

November Working Weekend - Saturday 4th & Sunday 5th

With passenger services suspended until December, this weekend presents a good opportunity to get out on the track. The plan is to continue with the joint gap resetting that was started earlier in the year. As you may remember, this involves removing and replacing every key on the worksite. Sometimes the fishplates will have to be removed as well. The intention is to finish off the length between Havenstreet Station and Rowlands Lane Bridge. All being well this can be completed by the larger gang on the Saturday. If that is the case, the project for Sunday is to continue with the works at Wootton.
Hope to see as many of you as can make it on both days at 8.30am by the P.Way Hut.

What's Been Going On?

Saturday of the October Working Weekend was a day free of trains, so the opportunity was taken to have a semi-major realignment of the run round loop at Wootton.

Over previous years, for a few lengths, the 9 foot way has gradually widened. The loop had moved away from the alignment it was set to after the relaying works in 2008. A quick check with the tape measure showed it over a foot away from its theoretical position in one spot.
Measuring the gap.
Taking the bull by the horns, the first step was to lift the track to a better level in relation to the platform road, a compromise being needed here to balance the lift with the amount of ballast available.

With the track now at the new level it would be easier to slew to the correct alignment, the works further eased by splitting the road at the biggest slew so it could be moved in two pieces. With a combination of jacks and good old fashioned grunt with bars, the buffer stop half of the loop was to the new alignment by dinnertime.
The 'old fashioned grunt' method of slewing!
Refreshed by tea and sandwiches, almost everyone pressed on with the Havenstreet end slew. However a couple of people were needed to reset the rail joints, which had expanded over the previous years, to make the track long enough to fit its displaced alignment. After closing up three or four joints to the correct gap, the room to slew the two sections past each other and together arrived just in time. With the two sections reconnected, the rest of the afternoon was spent machine packing the entire realigned section, the ballast in the area being tidied up or fed to the packing machine.

With the loop due to be in use for passenger trains the next day, work continued after the usual 4.30 finish by a little to get the job complete. A temporary, walking pace, speed restriction was placed on the loop as a precaution for Sunday’s operations.
Packing the loop with the BLH tamping machine.
Sunday’s efforts were a little less dramatic but hopefully as enjoyable. The next section of the channel rodding run from the new Ground Frame position was laid out and installed. This involved the digging in and setting up of seventeen roller bases into the ground. Most of the digging was done by dinnertime, the afternoon being used to set up and backfill, ready to catch the day’s last train to Havenstreet at twenty to four.
As a side job to Sunday, the overgrown collection of garden trees growing on the bank side by the Ground Frame were felled. The roller installers broke off from time to time to help move the waste material to a point for collection beside the track.
Setting out the horses, ready to receive the point rodding run from the new signal box location on the platform.
A ballast train was run on the Monday morning after the weekend to refill the empty beds produced by the realignment exercise. The tree remains were transported back to Havenstreet as part of the same working.

Thanks to everyone for their great efforts over the two days, on both a practical and technical level.

What Else Has Been Going On?

The tailing off of train operations has meant being able to get out with the BLH packing machine for a couple of days each week. So far, some of the usual spots on the Wootton Section have received attention.

No major works have been carried out. The usual round of minor repairs, crossing maintenance and lineside clearance keeping everyone occupied.

The frame and equipment in Havenstreet Signalbox has received its six monthly round of Inspection, Lubrication and Maintenance.

The Friday Gang are beginning to make good inroads on both the Wootton and Smallbrook Sections. The length from Smallbrook to Bridge One was recently cleared. 

That’s the lot for now,
All the best,
Phil, Ian and Pete.

Join The Team

The Civil Engineering Department is responsible for all of the railway's  track, signalling equipment and lineside fencing - It's all healthy outdoor work!

Monthly working parties are organised to tackle important tasks requiring a large team, regular weekly gangs tackle lineside clearance, fencing renewals and many other maintenance tasks.  We also have our 'Friday Gang' who do a great job of keeping the lineside neat and tidy, it's Men In Sheds - but without the shed!

If you are interested in joining our team please contact the railway's Volunteer Coordinator for more details.





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