Permanent Way News Archive : Nov-Dec 2003
The first two Sundays in November were not particularly pleasant weather wise, and so we spent most of the time working at Horsted Keynes where shelter could easily be taken from whatever the weather decided to throw at us! A number of insulated block joints (those which provide electrical separation between track circuits) were renewed north of Leamland Bridge at Horsted Keynes, in conjunction with the continuing re-signalling work. In addition, between the showers, a large number of salt-yard sleepers were stripped of their former flat-bottom rail chairs and drilled ready to take our bull-head rail ones. A dip in the dock siding also received some attention (photo right), while the vintage set normally berthed in it was in use behind the recently restored Dukedog.
Fortunately, the weather on the 16th November was much more favourable, and after a Wickham journey up the line, we set to work at Kingscote clearing the large quantities of excess ballast from the sleepers. Ballast had been dropped from half-way along the builders yard alongside the run-round loop, right the way along the extension, and so all of the day and half of the next Sunday was spent clearing it. Special thanks must go to Mark Hailes, one of our human JCB's, who put in some extra hours the following week to finish off the job.
Above left: Lifting the northern run-round points at Kingscote on the 16th November. Note the gate in the background that marks the start of the Northern Extension. Right: Tidying up the Northern Extension - the continuous mound of ballast lying between the rails to the north of the gang was all cleared by hand.
In addition to the clearance work, jacking and packing was required in places where the track had dropped a little after the visit of the tamper, and the opportunity was also taken to replace an old insulated block-joint. By the end of the day, it was starting to look a lot more like a railway line, and the gang were pleased to pose for a photo in-front of their efforts!
A new signal post (formerly hosting the Horsted Keynes down-inner home) has been installed at the current northern railhead, and can be seen in the background of the photo above left. It provides the vantage point for these two views looking north (left) and south (right).
The following week saw much more inclement weather, but there was still a little ballast remaining on the sleepers, and so we headed northwards in the Wickham again. This time however, Paul Robertson, our P-Way manager, opened the gate onto the extension and the Wickham carried on its journey - possibly the first time it has been onto the newly laid track.
The first Sunday in December proved to be one of those cold but clear Winter days, and a large gang assembled at Horsted Keynes ready for a days work in the up-yard. A redundant switch was to be removed, rotated through 180 degrees, and transported a short distance northwards, plain track being used to replace it. This work all had to be completed in a day, since the Monday shunt needed access to the siding in question the next day in order to extract a carriage for the Santa trains.
Out with the old and in with the new - replacing pointwork in Horsted Keynes up yard on the 7th December.
Always up for a challenge, the gang was split into two, so as most of us started the removal process, a few loaded up supplies of sleepers and replacement rails in the down-yard and began the process of shunting them to the worksite - not an easy task given the intensive train service and numerous shunting moves required!
Left: Cutting rails for the new pointwork on Sunday 14th December.
The point was being removed so that it could be re-installed a short distance to the north, as the southern most point controlling access into the yard from 2-road was life expired. The latter can be seen in the picture above left, and is the one in the distance hosting a yellow stop board. Part of the Horsted Keynes re-signalling project involves the mechanisation of these points, and so the expired one needed to be replaced with the one we had removed.
This task was started the following Sunday, though despite the best efforts of the gang and the assistance of Charles Hudson's S&T team, we were unable to complete the work which will now be carried over to this coming weekend. Volunteers are needed for the continuation of this project, and extra working days have also been arranged over the Christmas period.
If you are available to help, you will be made extremely welcome. So how about making an early New Year's resolution and trying out the p-way gang - use the links below to find out more. You never know, you might just enjoy it!
And finally, a very Merry Christmas from all the p-way gang.
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