Monday 27th November 2017

Yet more photos from S&T with photo A taken by Craig while working at Grosmont just to prove he has a rainbow shining over him! Photo B has Geoff and Graham working under Grosmont signal box testing the electrical circuitry to ensure the signal box control systems work correctly. They found and repaired only one fault, so another important job well done.

You may recall last time I said that a road signing contractor was going to paint a new yellow box on High Mill level crossing “tomorrow”. Well I should have known better than to say that, as no sooner had I published it than their road vehicle broke down and the work had to be postponed. However it has now been done, as seen earlier today in photo C.

The track relay at Farworth has continued in spite of some awful weather. The rail joints were all welded up last week enabling the 08 shunter and wagons, by then at the northern end of the relay at bridge 13, to be released back to New Bridge. Tipping ballast using the restored hopper wagons was progressing well until last Friday when the frost struck! In spite of only loading the stone that morning, about half wouldn’t come out. Usually if stone is loaded and tipped within hours it does come out, but not this time.

When I worked on the big railway many years ago, if the ballast was frozen in the wagons, as Civil Engineers on site we used big hammers and great big excavators to shake and bash them to get it out. Of course this bent the doors and mechanisms, often making them more difficult to use even if not frozen. Then at the Monday morning meeting we complained to our Mechanical Engineer colleagues that they were not maintaining our wagons properly!  Naturally we looked them in the eyes and denied doing such a thing as bashing the wagons and said it must have been done elsewhere, perhaps even on the London Midland Region. On the Eastern Region in the North we blamed most things on them, including sending trains late across the Pennines! No doubt Norman who now lives in Pickering will tell me they said the same about the Eastern.

Of course we don’t do things like that on the NYMR, especially as we have repaired the wagons and also now maintain them, so we cannot blame anybody else. After tipping enough ballast, the plan was to tamp the relay on Sunday with Pete and Duncan working the tamper. The brief was simply to lift and pack stone into the voids under the steel sleepers. Starting at 11:00 with Duncan taking the first operating turn. After about 40 minutes into the tamping run they spotted an error between the actual lift on the tamper and what was on the tower causing the track to be over lifted and too high. They stopped immediately and investigated but with no obvious problem that could deal with so they called John. Even on the phone he was able to roughly diagnose the problem but it required the tamper returning to New Bridge for repair. After tracing the fault to a defect on a computer relay card and repairing it, the tamper returned back to site at around 15:00. The initial tamp was completed without further issue and they arrived back at New Bridge just after 19:00. Photos D, E and F show what a good job they did and now it has more ballast and is being tamped again tomorrow, it will be even better.

Today with more stone being tipped and a final, for now, tamp done on Tuesday, it will be reopened at a temporary speed restriction on 15mph until the track has bedded down under the passage of trains. You can see the steel sleepers in photo G still need more stone packing into their undersides to hold the track and stop it settling too much under traffic.

When the track has the steel sleeper hollows full of stone it will be tamped again with more ballast added and then stressed into Continuous Welded Rail or CWR sometime in January. So don’t worry Santa, it will all be well for your trains starting this weekend.

Nigel Trotter
NYMR Civil Engineer

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