JUNE 2018 WORKING WEEKEND – SATURDAY 2ND & SUNDAY 3RD
A passenger service is operating all weekend but with the jobs in mind this shouldn’t cause too many problems.
Saturday will involve a trip to the former Irongates Crossing, which was taken out of use last Autumn. Although the gates were secured and signs taken down, there hasn’t been time since to make the alterations permanent, it also seemed a suitable task that could be carried out on a summery operating day. The tasks involved include removing the existing gates and posts before then extending and tensioning the existing fence wires to close the gap, all of which can be safely carried out from the lineside. If things get done in good time the remains of the day can be used cutting and clearing the roadside embankments at the nearby Deacon’s Lane bridge.
Most likely, the Wickham will be used to transport tools and staff to the site on Saturday morning, leaving Havenstreet at 9am.
On Sunday the base will be Havenstreet station itself, starting off by giving the S&T installation its regular dose of inspection and lubrication. If time and numbers allow there are a few new sleepers to go in on the bank towards Rowlands.
Hope to see those who can make it, 8.30am at the P.Way hut, Saturday and Sunday.
WHAT’S BEEN GOING ON?
The three day May Working Weekend started with a trip by van or on foot to Wootton Station. Here the brushcutters and mower were put to good use, the grass in the public areas being cut by eleven.
From here activity moved onto the areas of lineside through the station where, despite the odd mechanical breakdown, a concerted effort got the areas opposite the platform, and both sides of “Bob’s Bank” strimmed or mowed by the end of the day. The quarters surrounding Packsfield Crossing were also attended to.
Sunday saw a Wickham trip to Rowlands Wood where another batch of new sleepers were put into the track. The location was well selected as the shade proved welcome as the sun and temperature rose in the afternoon. Steady progress through the heat saw about half those sleepers set out into the track in time for a walk back to Havenstreet (and the refreshment tent) at four.
The Bank Holiday Monday again dawned bright and clear, before warming up later on too. There being time before the first passenger train, a Wickham trip to Ashey was taken to lubricate an awkward fishplate. Sunday’s batch of changed sleepers were loaded onto the trolley on the way back, the gang remaining in the woods to complete the sleeper changing. With this completed by early afternoon, 18 changed in total, a walk back to Havensteet was followed by a late dinner. The rest of the afternoon was spent tidying and fettling the former worksite around Number Six points.
Thanks to everyone who helped the jobs along over the three days.
WHAT ELSE HAS BEEN GOING ON?
The main item to report since last time has been the work done to reconnect the Farm Crossing Gate lock system. The existing poor condition gates and posts were replaced by contractors separately over two weekends, the North gate in time for the event over the Bank Holiday weekend.
The new posts being steel tubes, cunningly adapted to resemble timber, caused one or two, happily not insurmountable, issues with installing the equipment; but at the moment of writing all is working satisfactorily.
The dwindling number of non-operating days have seen the BLH machine out as much as possible. All the favourite, regular spots will have been visited at least once before the season starts in earnest.
The entire running line received its standard dose of weedkiller by the 15th of May. A few areas, especially on the Wootton section look to need further attention. The Goose and Griffins Fields have been left until after the upcoming Gala.
A visit from our friendly bus mechanic provided the necessary assistance for some major reassembly work to take place on LaLa II; now almost in a position to move under its own power.
The Friday Gang have been in top gear now that the growing season is underway. After clearing the lineside at both Ashey Grounds and on the Smallbrook side of the station, the area between Long Arch and Callaways crossing has received their attention.
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.