Permanent Way News Archive : Jan - Mar 2004
Despite the lack of a news report for a few months now, there has been plenty going on in the P-way department! The Christmas period and early new New Year saw extensive work in the up-yard at Horsted Keynes (completing the work detailed in the last report). For good measure, we also found time to get in a few days of jacking and packing along the Ketches straight, just north of Sheffield Park! Although this had been tackled as recently as last summer, the clay had reached the surface and done its worst, resulting in the stone-blower being used to try and level entire panels.
Left: No.672 passes the gang at Ketches on the 4th January.
Right: Lunch-break at Ketches Halt (both Dave Bowles).
Using the stone-blower at Ketches, 4th January 2004.
Some of the gang also took the opportunity to clean out a large quantity of detritus that was blocking the culvert and drainage ditch on the east side of the line. Over the course of the next few weeks, similar work was undertaken at Three Arch Bridge and Vaux End, and the water is now draining freely away once again. Meanwhile, work at Horsted Keynes included the jacking and packing of the south end of 4 road, as well as minor, but still time-consuming track alterations in the down-yard.
On Sunday 7th March, an early morning Wickham journey down to Sheffield Park was required, as we had to attend to some problems with the trackwork just south of the platforms (below).With most of the gang remaining here until the 11am train back to Horsted Keynes, the rest of us returned to Horsted aboard the Wickham. Once the Dukedog had arrived light engine, we were soon heading southwards again to undertake some jacking and packing at Caseford Bridge.
With the two gangs reunited with the arrival of the 11am from Sheffield Park at Horsted Keynes, we spent the rest of the day jacking and packing the joints between Caseford and Three Arch bridges (above). Thanks to an excellent effort from all involved, every single joint was lifted between the two bridges, and the section looks considerably better as a result. Further jacking and packing continued a short distance to the south a fortnight later, with a large number of joints through Lindfield Wood being lifted. The Sunday gang have devised a plan of examination - with lifting if necessary - of all the joints between Rock Cutting and Horsted Keynes before the intensive Summer service sets in.
In between all this, the first of two Spring Engineering weeks saw the successful replacement of 12 rails at Holywell, as can be seen in these two photos from Dave Clarke, taken on Tuesday 9th March.
The second engineering week, between the 29th March and 2nd April, is more ambitious. We will be working at Leamland Bridge, just north of Horsted Keynes, and the jobs will include slewing of track, adjustment of points and some rail and sleeper replacement. Please note that the start time on all days is now 8.20am, and not 10am on the Monday as previously advertised. Having said that however, even if you can only spare a few hours, your help will still be made very welcome, so please drop us a quick email so that we can expect you and provide a hot lunch if necessary.
Finally, a quick report on our annual P-way Spring Fashion Show - this year, the theme was headgear (photo right). Well, if loco crews will insist on wearing silly hats, which they are careless enough to allow to fall off while passing the p-way gang, then this sort of thing is only to be expected!! Seriously though, if you want to join us, hats are not essential! Enthusiasm is, however, and we have plenty of jobs lined up to keep you busy over the coming weeks. Over Easter, the main job will be extensive work on the pit in the C&W yard, and there is always jacking and packing to do! All help would be greatly appreciated - so why not give us a try?!