Thursday 16th November 2017

First of all the S&T! You will hopefully remember that in my last diary I said I expected to hear from them with photos and true to form as seen here in photos A and B they are tidying up the road surface at High Mill Level Crossing.

This is in preparation for our contractor painting a yellow box junction on the crossing. If you look closely you can see the old Down Running Line which is still there but only through the level crossing itself.  It “re-emerges” to the north in the form of what we now call the “South End Neck” back towards Pickering from 6 Points crossover.

In times past when they spot sleepered sections of track they often put in cast iron small markers with the year date on them. I took out the last ones some years ago and the dozen I still have are all dated 1937 or 1938. Those sleepers are still there and in reasonably good condition, after all in pre-war days the timber was good and well preserved with creosote.

After the war softwood timber was not very good and with pressure treatment using creosote going out of fashion, not least as creosote is a carcinogen, railways moved towards using hardwood and concrete for sleepers and then steel. When I started, BR hardwood sleepers were very popular. The usual ones were Jarrah which is Eucalyptus wood from Australia being a nice red colour similar to mahogany. But when it weathered it turned grey and developed longitudinal splits which wasn’t a problem in sleepers but caused issues when machined and used in building items such as window frames! While on the subject of hardwood sleepers, when supplies of Eucalyptus became restricted, railways were offered “tropical” hardwood which we were all assured would last as well. Of course it didn’t and as I described earlier in the year, those we bought 20 years ago are now well and truly rotten and life expired for use as sleepers, in fact for most things. One advantage of steel is of course they are termite proof!

At Goathland Jim and Mark are renewing the Up platform concrete copes as many are cracked and breaking up. We have had some stored for several years and these are being used. The first section was the ramp where one cope had been replaced some years ago with in-situ concrete. It was very difficult to lift up as seen in C and was a very substantial piece of work, we think done by Dick who used to work for us before going to BR at Huddersfield.

The work is now progressing with the worst of the copes being around the footbridge, perhaps people stand too heavily on them when getting in and out of trains? Photos D and E show progress earlier this week.

After some ducts have been put in, the platform surface will be resurfaced. The works is being looked after by Carole and Dave seen in F with our Station Master, John Bruce smiling in the sun.

The relay in deepest darkest Newtondale is going well after some appalling weather and should be ready for ballasting next week. Photos G and H show the south end breathers being installed last week ready for the steel sleepers then up to bridge 13.

And finally, I have no comment about the two in photo I, but my camera lens is now better!

More next week.

Nigel Trotter
NYMR Civil Engineer

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