Track Pack - January 2017
February 2017 Working Weekend - Saturday 4th & Sunday 5th
A belated Happy New Year to everyone.
The plan for the February weekend is to be based in the vicinity of Havenstreet, and on towards Rowlands Lane/Woods. The lack of service trains presents a good opportunity to carry on with rail joint adjustment, requiring as it does the removal of the keys in the chairs over the intended area. During the most recent fishplate greasing session in March a few problems were encountered with spacings in the section near to Rowland Lane Bridge. This therefore seems a good place to start work to return the joints to the standard ¼ inch gap.
An added bonus is to be relatively close to Havenstreet, as some gang members have to finish a little earlier than usual on Saturday for an evening appointment.
We look forward to seeing you all by the P.Way Hut, 8.30am, Saturday and Sunday.
What's Been Going On?
The first Working Weekend of the year started with a degree of tool loading and shunting, then a trip using the Permaquip Personnel Carrier (aka “La-La”) was made to the worksite between Deacon’s Lane and Long Arch Bridges. A short discussion saw the gang split into two groups, the main party being involved in the relocation of the prepared rails. The remaining pair continued the cropping work on the other half of the site, proceeding towards Long Arch.
Good progress by the Moving Gang utilising bars, the Iron Men and sweat saw all six North side rails and three on the south in their new position, i.e. a ¼ inch from its neighbour, by dinnertime at a quarter to one. The croppers were then about halfway to Long Arch.
To reduce the rail moving to a minimum the closure rail, for replacing the 22 x 2’6” pieces of rail cut off the ends, was to be dropped into the middle of the cropping area. Fortunately the cutting gang finished just as the sixth rail on the South side was put into place and work could continue at the Long Arch end of the site. The last pair of rails on the North side were left uncut to allow a bit of wiggle room but the remaining four were moved up to make room for the middle closure by the end of the day.
Sunday got off to a less than satisfactory start when it was found that the North rails had to be moved a further 18 inches towards Long Arch to make room for the middle closure. No harm was done though as this was achieved while the rail saw cut off the two ends of the middle closure. Back on track after a coffee at 10, the final cuts on the North side were carried out at the Long Arch end of the site, the final closure turning out to be 55 foot 4 inches long. Meanwhile the rest of the gang fitted the remaining keys onto the in place North side rails.
With the North side rail complete and secured in the chairs, after dinner the remaining rails on the South side could be moved up towards Long Arch. A little more care with the tape measure (!) meant there was sufficient room for the middle closure to be put in once it had been cropped down to 55 foot. There was also time to re-key the six South rails at the Deacon’s end of the site. With ferries beckoning at five for mainland members, a clear up and tidy saw everyone back at Havenstreet at ten to four.
Many thanks to all those who turned out to help over the weekend.
What Else Has Been Going On?
Since the end of services on New Year’s Day, completing the works between Deacon’s Lane and Long Arch has been the chief occupation. Fishing up and re-spacing the sleepers at the joints followed cutting and fitting the final two rails on the South side of the track.
A day, so far, was used to assist the contractors resurfacing the Station Yard by dismantling and removing the embedded track once it was exposed.
The blockade for the works between Deacon’s Lane and Long Arch bridges hampered somewhat access to the lineside for the Friday Gang. As a result, their efforts since the New Year have been restricted to the area around and to the West of Iron Gates Crossing. The new machine continues to work well alongside its colleagues, in spite of the occasional 'upset'.
That’s the lot for now,
All the best,
Phil, Ian and Pete.