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Track Pack - April 2017

May Working Weekend - Saturday 29th April to Monday 1st May

Due to a quirk of the calendar most of May’s Working Weekend appears to occur in April, the only real problem being all three days see service trains (and the Real Ale Festival!) in operation.

The plan for Saturday is to concentrate on the grassed banks and cuttings at Wootton Station. All the public areas have been cut and trimmed earlier in the year but the sections beside the track need to be done to keep a tidy outlook for passengers and neighbours alike.

On Sunday the idea is to continue with sleepers changing from where it was left off last month, working Eastwards through Rowlands Woods.

Depending on progress and inclination Monday can either be used to continue the sleeper changing or it would be good to get a first cut done in and around Deacon’s Lane Bridge.
Looking forward to seeing everyone at the P.Way Hut, 8.30am on all three days.

What's Been Going On?

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The April Working Weekend Gang at Rowlands Lane
Sleeper changing kept everyone occupied over the April Working Weekend, the lack of trains on Saturday being a bonus. This enabled one of the rails in the cutting near Long Arch Bridge to be temporarily removed to ease the sleeper replacement. After being slightly more severe in the selection of sleepers to change than usual, due to the location, a grand total of six sleepers were replaced. The rail put up a bit of a fight to be replaced but everything was back together a bit after 12 noon.

 After loading the trolleys with the area’s excess stone, a trip to Ashey Grounds was made for dinner at 12.45pm. Break over, the stone on the trollies was distributed into the part filled beds near the crossing before moving on again.
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With a new sleeper in place, Pete Snashall uses the 'nut runner' to tighten up the chair bolts.
At Rowlands Lane another sleeper, within the cutting leading to the bridge, was in need of replacement. Happily, the possible need to remove a rail here too did not prove necessary and after a bit of jiggery-pockery the sleepers were able to be exchanged. With the tricky ones done, after a cup of tea, the more traditional method of exchange could be used on a further three sleepers before the end of the day.

Sunday saw more of the same, the section in question being Eastwards from Havenstreet’s Down Outer Home Signal towards Rowlands Lane Bridge. The new sleepers were laid out before the start of the train service, along with the tools near the Signal. Good progress through the day saw seven sleepers changed by dinnertime at 12.30. Afterwards proved a little trickier due to the rising cutting side, but the final four were replaced in time to have a cup of tea back at the P.Way hut about three.
 
Many thanks to everyone who helped out at the Working Weekend.
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Under the close supervision of Pete Corby, the gang refill the sleeper beds with ballast.

What Else Has Been Going On?

Before the start of virtually a full month of passenger operations in April some lifting and packing jobs were carried out, largely on the Wootton Section.

The first sessions of grass cutting in the public areas have been carried out at Ashey and Wootton Stations.

A trip was taken to the Spa Valley railway in Kent on the 25th of March to collect a set of Wickham parts brought by the Company. The plan is that after reassembly and approval the “new” vehicle will allow a bit of the weight to be taken off of the existing machine.

With a new inspection pit being built by contractors in the Goosefield, time has been given to finding and then fitting materials to connect it into the rest of the railway.

With Spring now more or less here the lineside vegetation has begun its usual round of spread and growth. The Friday Gang have begun their annual campaign to check it at and around Smallbrook Station. 


That’s the lot for now,

All the best,

Ian, Phil and Pete.

Why Not Join Our Team...

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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.

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








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