Thursday 23 March 2017.

I have been contemplating a few facts of life recently. For example, have you noticed that when you do something, you create another thing to do as a result (I know this a fact as my wife always says that whatever I do at home, I always make another mess. As I have to live with her, I must agree!). And also, however long you allow to do something, it always takes longer, usually just at the end when you thought you were about finished.

With most of the winter to do things, the inevitable last minute rush is under way on the railway. For example, Jim and Mark are renewing some of the timber steps on Goathland footbridge, Craig is checking the facing points from an S&T point of view and Norman is doing them from a P Way point of view.

We have had the entrance to Pickering station car park resurfaced as seen in A and B (above) together with some patching in the car park itself, so no hand brake turns please!

The short relay south of New Bridge level crossing was finished apart from welding the joints, on Tuesday with ballast being tipped from the converted coal hoppers for nearly the last time as the proper Seacow ballast hopper is just about ready for use. The problem with the coal hoppers is that they can only tip into the fourfoot, which is of course what they were designed for! It is also not easy to have to walk close alongside to work the handle. So they are being sold to hopefully another heritage railway with just one being kept for our demonstration freight train.

Two are seen tipping in photos C, D and E (above) with Richard walking behind with a determined look that he was going to use the shovel!  The tamping was a great success, but as I say above, unfortunately the tamper tines hit some of the existing wooden sleepers that are having to be kept in use until later in the year. This meant that Martyn and the P Way gang then had to change 6 which was an unexpected extra job.

We had planned for the 6 rail joints to be welded up today before Martyn gave up Possession to allow Royal Scot to pass over after 13.00 to be gauged through Pickering platforms. The two composite welds between the flat bottom and bullhead rails have to have specially shaped left and right hand moulds for each joint. With two teams of welders starting on site at 08.00 there was more than enough time to do all the welds.  However when the welders opened the first sealed box of welds on site there was both a left and right pair but the second sealed box had two left hand ones! So one team carried on welding and the other went back to Doncaster to bring back another sealed box – guess what, the second box also had two left hand ones so another trip to Donny. This box was double and triple checked before they left! The welding was finally finished at 16.20 so Royal Scot could pass as seen in F (below). 

As we haven’t had a Royal Scot before we had to check the clearances today, which were not a problem. So thanks to Duncan, Barney, Steve, Roger-1 and Roger-2 and others for this trip today.

Photos G to L (above & below) show some of the works we have done this winter making just about a mile and a quarter of superb track that will last for a very long time.

Of course we have to check the track is fit for use, but why is it that we always come across Mark posing, as seen in J? (top)

So after yet another successful winter of renewals, we are ready for Royal Scot and the rest of the season. Come, see and enjoy what an excellent railway we have.

Regards
Nigel Trotter, NYMR Civil Engineer

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