MAY WORKING WEEKEND – SATURDAY 5TH MAY TO MONDAY 7TH MAY
As seems to be coming a tradition, well we did it last year, Saturday will be spent at Wootton Station and the surrounding area attending to the lineside grass. The public areas have already had a cut this year and it will be good to check the growth elsewhere before it gets too much longer.
Sunday and Monday will be spent changing sleepers, at a still to be determined location along the line, most likely on the Smallbrook Section.
Hope to see as many as can make it at the Havenstreet P.Way Hut, 8.30am on all three days.
WHAT’S BEEN GOING ON?
After the weather led postponement in March, April’s weekend gave everyone the chance to reacquaint themselves with fishplate maintenance.
With a train service operating on both days activities were mainly restricted to the station areas along the line, starting with Havenstreet Up Loop, completing it, and the points at both ends, before a quick cuppa at ten. The gang and gear then caught the 10.30am to Smallbrook Junction, where the scheduled loop and platform road joints were inspected, this year’s colour being an appropriate daffodil (or maybe primrose) yellow, and lubricated.
Upon arrival at Havenstreet at 12.34pm, aboard the 12.17pm ex. Smallbrook Junction, most of the gang retired to the P.Way hut for tea and sandwiches. A couple of members carried on to Wootton to drop off the fishplate equipment ready for the afternoon session.
At about 1.30pm, during the service break, the Wickham Motor Trolley was coaxed into life to be used for a quick trip to Wootton and back to drop off the gang, the driver arriving by road after the return journey. Here good progress was made around the loop and platform road, being completed at 3.15pm., just in time for a quick cup of tea at the Booking Office before catching the last train of the day back to Havenstreet.
The smaller gang on Sunday took the opportunity to work on a section of a Single line before the start of train services. Despite the damp weather the length from Havenstreet Station to Bridge Seven was inspected and lubricated before the first Smallbrook train at 10.30am. After a bit of a dry out and cup of coffee, the joints in the Down Loop and Down Sidings were attended to. This was slightly complicated by the Operating Department having a requirement to swap trains and engines about, but all was achieved without incident.
The afternoon saw a session of sleeper changing on the same area of track as the joint maintenance earlier in the day.
Many thanks to everyone who helped out at the weekend.
WHAT ELSE HAS BEEN GOING ON?
The main object of activity recently has been to complete the fishplate maintenance as soon as manageable; the non running days since the middle of April have given a chance to do this. Besides that a few quarter mile sections have been completed either during the midday service break or first thing in the morning.
A limited amount of lifting and packing has also been carried out with the BLH machine, Swanpond being a recent area of attention.
Minor repairs have been made at some of the occupation crossings along the line, amongst them being the odd defective gate closer or filling potholes.
With Spring finally arrived the lineside undergrowth has started to stir into life. The public areas at Ashey and Wootton stations have received their first cut of the season, whilst the Friday Gang have moved on from Ashey Grounds to the Summit area; all machines working well so far.
That’s the lot for now,
All the best,
Phil, Ian 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.