Friday 2nd June 2017

I have been thinking about what goes up usually comes down and what goes down also comes up. Let me explain and also tell you about Rhumbards Snout.

You will hopefully recall I said in a previous diary that the stone retaining wall holding the railway up near milepost 14 at Gallock Hill was falling down.  It was put up when the North Eastern Railway doubled the track in the 1840’s.  The original single track line must have been further to the East as we found some original stone sleeper blocks in the wall. One can be seen in A still with its original cast iron chair attached. The Wombles have been very hard at work putting back up what has fallen down over a long time. Photos B and C show Neil, Phil, Stephen and Lee laying the stones recovered from the Beck downstream by Pete in the Kubota excavator. D has Phil “gardening” in the Beck, note the stone paving put into the river bed in this area, no expense or hard work spared in the 1840’s! Just in case you (and they!) think it is nearly all done, E has the next section to be done and F shows the job well on its way. So that is the “what goes up must come down” theme.


On the theme of “what goes down also comes up”, we have had a track formation problem at Grosmont platform 4 where the clay that should have stayed down under the track has steadily been coming up. This clay has softened over time due to the rain which hasn’t been able to get away. The track has steadily been getting worse with the cross levels increasing and causing the coaches to lean markedly. Our plan was to relay the whole of platform 4 track this coming winter as the wooden sleepers are very poor but as we could see it wasn’t likely to last until the winter, Martyn and I measured the whole section one day when the Pullman was out and about. With a cross level of 87mm on a straight section of track where it should be zero, we had no option but to go in and dig a section out and relay it temporarily to keep it safe for use. 

After consultation with our Operating colleagues we were able to shorten the working length of platform 4 while we dug out the clay and fouled ballast, loaded it to wagons for transport back to New Bridge. We then put in some ash, yes ash, ballast and some better wooden sleepers to reinstate the track back into use for the Spring Bank Holiday. Photo G shows the soft clay with the ballast scraped off and H the track being put back. In photo I you will Jim and others re-bedding the platform 3 copes after they were, shall we say, disturbed when the excavator was being unloaded from the Lowmac wagon at 06.30 one morning. 


In view J the B1 is passing in platform 2 with a train from Whitby. In case you are wondering, Martyn had a Possession of Platform 3 and 4 lines while the work was taking place. I have just read in Heritage Railway magazine that the “ground opened up” at Grosmont and “a hole has opened up under the track, believed to be due to the collapse of one of the many shallow subsurface ironstone mine workings that riddle the site”! wonder where they got that from? While there are indeed shallow mine workings, they have nothing to do with this problem.

Anyway, we have now put in some temporary tie bars in the rest of the section to keep the gauge correct until we do a complete relay when trains are running in perhaps Half Term 2018, but more on that later. While the P Way were at Grosmont, the S&T finished the new level crossing gate seen in K at Trout Farm, and duly took it to New Bridge. Who needs trains, lorries and other sophisticated methods when you can have a good roll as seen in L and M?

So work continues and I will be telling you of more next time. Oh, and what about Rhumbards Snout you ask. Well it is apparently the name of the area north of Levisham on the Eastern side of the railway that is covered in great big conifer trees as seen in N. 

The Forestry Commission are going to fell them all between the station and the Grange this summer and this name came up in the email dialogue. When done it will go some way back to the days when we first started on the railway and it was a cause of standing at Levisham, looking North and trying to spot the tree! I have a photo of the view that includes my wife and am not sure whether I dare publish it with her in it; will have to find out.

That’s all for now. I told John Bruce that I had now finished putting up the 90ft tall maypole where I live, but he said “of course, or it would be a Junepole!” Thanks John, there’s no escape at times.

Nigel Trotter
NYMR Civil Engineer

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