Civil Engineering Diary – Part 11
Tuesday 12th August 2014
Today was a very auspicious day as after all sorts of last minute issues were raised and sorted, we were finally able to open up the new platform with the first public passenger train using it at 13.53 when the B1 driven by Chris Cubitt arrived with 420 passengers on it. Roger Bastin had to stand where the white line has still to be painted to show drivers where to stop the first coach and I had to stand in front of the tactile strips as the epoxy mortar was still setting!
With the hope for crowds coming to use our services we had put in place a crowd management plan for all our people but of course it had to be proved in practice by Fergus Osbourne and Simon Prince with a further 434 passengers waiting to board the 14.00 departure as seen in photo A (Sorry I chopped you off Fergus!)
Chris ran round as seen in photos B, C and D while the passengers were still coming off the arrival. From stopping at Bog Hall on the way in to coupling back ready to depart took just 12 minutes so in spite of the slightly late arrival they left on time. Photo E has as from left to right Roger Bastin trying unsuccessfully to keep out of the picture, Mike Beasley from Network Rail S&T (he put in all the mechanical signalling and was there to make sure it did work and also to show the Network Rail signalling maintainers what they have to do in the future. Next is Steve Conway our Footplate Superintendent, Chris Cubitt the driver and JP the fireman.
Photo F shows the B1 ready to go!
For the second departure at 18.00, there were great crowds forming all around the platform ends and onto platform 1 with Fergus, Simon and Chris doing an excellent job of crowd control even I had to explain to certain areas where the announcements hadn’t been heard. We now know where to point the loudhailer as it is very directional and some areas were left out. Standing again next to the still drying tactile strips, everybody seemed very happy and satisfied with their experience. Now is the time for you all to experience it!
There are still a number of items to finish off and Construction Marine will have a reducing presence on site for another couple of weeks. Their site cabins have now gone and they are just using road vehicles. Photo G shows CML fixing the 5 fibreglass tactile strips on the join to the old platform. The 2 part epoxy has a very short life when mixed and after 4 minutes they said “bless me it has gone off” – well I think that is what they said! They finished it off just before our first train which is why we had to keep people off them for 24 hours.
There is some further work to do to the platform wall which is why we have temporary barrier there for the next couple of days (photo H) and the steps at the end of the platform (photo I) have still to be finished together with odds and ends usually called snags in the trade, but only when being polite.
Photos J and K show the ground frame and rodding. Unfortunately there are supply and approval problems with derailers in Bog Hall sidings and until Network Rail can resolve them, the sidings have to stay out of use which is why there is the required timber baulk fixed to the them as seen in photo L.
And finally, a few pictures of the almost finished job. Our thanks go to all involved in getting the new platform into use, especially when I managed to disappear to Portugal.