Thursday 6th April 2017

Well, we have had Royal Scot on a very successful visit which has had much praise from many visitors. Such that I understand people are asking when is next year’s event! However, in the meantime, it is now time to run the railway “normally” throughout this year. Of course when we run trains, the work on our infrastructure doesn’t stop, it just changes in character.

For example, by the 29th March we were satisfied that the two relays north of Levisham had bedded down enough to lift the temporary speed restrictions and allow trains to run at 25mph. You will not be surprised to hear that we have a procedure for raising speed restrictions, so I had to check them visually as nowadays the ALC on our tamper confirms the geometry is OK. So off I go to the sites trying not to feel I have been replaced by a machine, even though it was raining for part of the day. The relay from just north of milepost 14 was the first to be walked and the only items to note were the cess drain requiring filling up with stone together with that in roadway alongside. Martyn already has these planned and I couldn’t find even a loose clip, but I did see a Royal Scot just happening to pass by, as seen in photos A and B.

 

So it was off back to Yorfalls crossing where I had parked my car (I really would like you all to think I had walked all the way from New Bridge, but the Wombles saw me at Levisham so I have to confess I only walked from Yorfalls!). Then the ½ mile long relay back to bridge 14 had to be walked, in both directions, I must add. This is also an excellent job just needing some additional ballast in the cesses in some areas seen in C with a Black 5 passing and the section with steel sleepers is also short seen in D.

As this relay is stressed into Continuous Welded Rail, more normally known as CWR, it is essential that we have enough ballast under and more particularly at the ends of the sleepers to avoid the track moving when there is very hot weather and the rails expand. At each end we have expansion switches, known as “breathers” to accommodate the larger movements in the rails when it get hot. These are seen in E and the blade overlaps and end spaces have to be checked to confirm they comply with the required dimensions.

With the increased depth of ballast at Yorfalls seen in F (below) with the fourfoot level crossing panels now reinstated by the Wombles we have now had to bring some more stone in to build up the approach roadway. With all the remaining items recorded and having, joy upon joy, found one broken Pandrol clip and confirmed the ALC output i was able to remove this speed restriction also.

At Grosmont we now have a pink switch blade in 46 Points where it had to be weld repaired after a shunting move damaged it as seen in G.

The other switch blade was also bent but our ever resourceful S&T Technician Craig applied some delicate warmth and then brute force to straighten it as seen in H. It is now waiting for Norman and his trusty facing point check gauges to confirm it can be restored back into use.

Other works have included uplifting cut down tree trunks, repairing Goathland station footbridge steps and loading up scrap for disposal. With trains now running daily, the track has to be patrolled every week with any minor items repaired in between trains. Just think how we could enjoy ourselves if we didn’t have to run trains – but the downside would be there wouldn’t be any money to do the work. Will just have to enjoy trains running while we check and maintain everything and prepare for evening and early morning works.

More probably after Easter now, as I have to take down a great big maypole on Easter Monday – another daft thing I do, will let you know what else we are doing.

So it’s a Happy Easter and do come and enjoy our very own railway.

Nigel Trotter,
Civil Engineer

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