APRIL WORKING WEEKEND – SATURDAY 7TH & SUNDAY 8TH
Despite the Easter Weekend almost being in April, the Working Weekend will be the traditional first full weekend in April. It seems the best option given the jobs to be carried out and will also hopefully be more convenient for those who have other plans for that weekend.
Saturday will be spent as usual carrying out the fishplate greasing at Havenstreet, Smallbrook and Wootton stations. There will be a train service operating both days so access shouldn’t be a problem.
Sunday will either be spent changing sleepers in a convenient location if numbers allow, or otherwise making a start on the lineside cutting at Havenstreet or Wootton.
Looking forward to seeing everyone at the Weekend, 8.30am at the P.Way Hut being the favoured time both days.
WHAT’S BEEN GOING ON?
The sudden arrival of a snow storm on the Thursday before the March Working Weekend had rather undesirable effects on the Weekend’s activities. After a few phone calls on Friday afternoon it seemed sensible, given the forecast, to suggest to the mainland gang members not to travel, and then see how many Island residents felt able to make it on the Saturday.
As was totally understandable, only a couple made it in on the Saturday morning, joined by the member from Wootton on foot in the afternoon. The day was spent continuing to fix down the chairs to the timbers on No.6 points, in the afternoon the new switches were lifted and packed with the BLH machine.
The conditions eased slightly overnight and a few gang members were able to make it to Havenstreet on Sunday morning. With a lot of snow still on the track and rails it seemed a better use of time to postpone the fishplate work and continue with the point job.
A start was made by slightly slewing the Up loop at the station end to give a better run into the new crossing. After a break for refreshments, the curved rail opposite the crossing could now be fixed down while the rest of the gang respaced the sleepers at the new joint positions on the approach track adjacent to the Bracket signal.
After a longish dinner break the final piece of rail to complete the curved part of the point was measured (three times), cut and put into place ready to be plated up before fixing down.
A big thank you to everyone who turned out in less than ideal conditions, to find themselves doing something they hadn’t expected.
WHAT ELSE HAS BEEN GOING ON?
With the new Operating Season on the horizon, the major priority has been to complete the works associated with No.6 points. A couple of Line Patrols at the start of March revealed nothing in need of imminent attention, so all efforts could be concentrated on the point job.
Besides a few bits of ballast tidying, the point and associated equipment were in a satisfactory condition by Friday the 16th of March and the possessions could be removed. This week was also used to carry out the necessary round of tests etc. on the rest of the S&T installation.
Sunday 18th March was the first day of the 2018 operating season, snow fell down on us once again! After a dicey drive to Havenstreet, the day was spent clearing snow from flangeways and pointwork to allow a (delayed and reduced) initial train service to operate.
The Friday Gang have disinterred their collection of machines and made a start on the lineside at Ashey Grounds. Prior to that, their main occupation had been the continued disposal of material from January’s tree works.
That’s the lot for now,
All the best,
Ian, Phil and Pete.
JOIN THE TEAM
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, it’s Men In Sheds – but without the shed!
If you are interested in joining our team please contact the railway’s Volunteer Coordinator for more details.