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2015-16 Archive

November 2016: Replacement of No.5 Point north of Horsted Keynes

Q-class and the new point - Stuart Pay - 3 November 2016
Stuart Pay's photo shows the Q-class shunting ballast wagons at Horsted Keynes on 3 November, alongside the new "No.5" point which was pre-assembled adjacent to the Ardingly Spur. During the course of two weeks of engineering work, this was installed at the north end of Horsted Keynes, beyond Leamland Bridge, at what is known colloquially as "Leamland Junction".

Nine days later, the Sunday Permanent Way gang worked on the relaid trackwork on the Saturday, clipping up the new rails and the S&T were to be found working, in slightly better weather conditions, on the Sunday on the new point. As of Sunday 13 November, as seen in David Chappell's photos below, there were still some track panels to lay to reconnected the line, ballast to drop, and lots of other little jobs just to finish. Note the signal wire running though the base of the relocated S&T location cabinets.

Point motor commissioned - David Chappell - 13 November 2016 Relocated cabinets - David Chappell - 13 November 2016
Point, looking north, Brian & Andy - David Chappell - 13 November 2016 Track awaiting ballast, looking north - David Chappell - 13 November 2016

Sentinel performs a ballast drop - Stuart Pay - 16 November 2016 Stuart Pay's photo on the left shows the Sentinel shunter with the ballast hoppers during a ballast drop on the relaid trackwork to the north of Horsted Keynes.

Our workforce engaged on replacing the Leamland point received some additional help. Through Community Investment work with the Princes Trust, the Charity which assists getting un-employed 18-25 year olds into paid work, Costain have been helping 5 candidates work towards attaining PTS accreditation for use on the National Rail Network.

What better way to help in this undertaking than giving some hands on experience at the Bluebell when they, together with 2 Costain Engineers, visited the railway on Friday 11 November. A confidence boost for the candidates, and an opportunity to improve social skills and provide a constructive contribution to another volunteer led organisation. Ben Coughlan's photo below shows them at Horsted Keynes.

Princes Trust Community Investment - Ben Coughlan - 11 November 2016

13 February 2015: Elimination of "River Slip" plus work on Freshfield Bank
Work on slip completed - Mike Hopps - 3 February 2015

After a possession lasting three weeks (two weekends), we rather hope that River Slip isn't slipping any more, after propping up the embankment with sixteen deep piles and about seventy tons of reinforced concrete.

Mike Hopps' photo on the right shows the completed capping and regraded embankment side/formation.

Quite what we will call it now that it is no longer on the move remains to be seen - perhaps Lindfield Bank is appropriate. Cue for a competition perhaps? Hats off to Matt and his team for a job really well done in the face of the sort of unhelpful weather that we have come to expect when doing jobs like this.

Track laying went according to plan with eleven panels laid, and the tamper finished off the job in time for the line to be reopened to traffic for full working the following Saturday, as seen in Mike's two photos below.

Tamper in Lindfield Wood - Mike Hopps - 3 February 2015 Work at River Slip completed - Mike Hopps - 3 February 2015
Re-ballasting formation on Freshfield Bank - Mike Hopps - 10 February 2015

The next week saw the remainder of the cables connected up by the S&T Department as well as general tidying up, concreting around cable duct chambers, landscaping and some final ballasting near Holywell Bridge.

The tamper was in action again on the following Tuesday, working south from Holywell and on the Wednesday it was busy north of Horsted Keynes.

This week the Infrastructure gang moved to Freshfield Bank where the plan was to relay three sixty-foot panels, connecting up with the sections previously relaid.

Our usual method of formation improvement with a terram / polythene sandwich is applied before ballasting (re-using existing ballast - seen in the photo on the right), levelling and compacting, laying the new panels (photos below) and the tamper was on hand to finish the job afterwards. There has been a speed restriction there, so drivers will be very pleased to see this lifted now we have completed this work.

Sleepers laid out - Mike Hopps - 10 February 2015 Rails ready to go in - Mike Hopps - 10 February 2015

20 January 2015: Work on the "River Slip" in Lindfield Wood

General view of worksite - Mike Hopps - 16 January 2015 This month's engineering work during our 3 week (2 weekends) closure is focussed on rebuilding the formation at "River Slip" in Lindfield Wood, just south of Waterworks/Holywell Bridge. This has always been a problematic area and was pressure grouted in the 1980s, which went some way to arrest the problem, but did not effect a long-term cure. Work had been undertaken nearby, earlier in January, including improved drainage and work on a culvert. Now the line is closed the formation is being dug out, to undertake the work described below. All the photos here are by Mike Hopps, taken last week (as always, click on a photo for an enlargement). That on the right shows the work site; there is plenty of ballast available, since additional ballast had been added over the years to maintain the correct alignment and level as the formation gradually moved.

The slip is being stabilised by layering with plastic grid netting like that which we used on unstable areas of Imberhorne tip. This is being done to the slip depth of about 1.5 metres, now that we have found the slip plane. Rather than digging out the bank completely, the decision has been made to pile the foot of the slip and cast a retaining wall to link all the piles together. Sixteen 500mm diameter piles, 4.5 metres deep and each reinforced with an old rail, are spaced about 2 metres apart. Another old rail is set in front of the rails in the piling and the whole arrangement is encased in concrete using the same shuttering that we recently used for the culvert headwall near Holywell.

The sequence of photos below shows the first eight piles, being linked together, then the process will be repeated for the next eight to complete the job before the ground behind is compacted ready for relaying to take place. Other topside drains have also been cleared and new drainage will be linked to those as soon as the polythene/ terram sandwich is laid. Finally, new S&T ducting will be laid to replace the old concrete troughs which are in a poor state of repair.

First eight piles - Mike Hopps - 16 January 2015 Piles linked and shuttering constructed - Mike Hopps - 16 January 2015
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