Now that the normal train service has just about finished for this year, it is time for me to produce more diaries for this winter’s work.  In case you think everybody has been slacking when the trains are running, please let me correct that view. Everybody has been helping keep the trains running and preparing for the coming marathon workload up to March 2017.

The S&T [Signals & Telecommunications - Ed.] team have not only been maintaining the signalling equipment but have been improving the railway environment with Craig seen sweeping the ballast (top) and skilfully creating a long hole in a piece of wood. Our S&T volunteers have also adopted a new game now they are into woodwork shown below. I am clearly going to suffer when they see me as they are very skilfully making a new level crossing gate and the slot is in the replacement No. 18 signal at Levisham. 

As ever, the biggest winter workload falls on Martyn and the other 4 members of our full time P Way gang and the small number of regular volunteers. This winter we start with a small ½ mile long relay from bridge 14 to just beyond Yorfalls level crossing north of Levisham. This section has some very poor flatbottom rails on equally poor concrete sleepers on an even more equally poor (!) ballast and formation. As this section of track goes over bridges 14 and 15 where we need to keep the rail levels at a design level we are using steel sleepers on the straight and concrete on the right hand curve to the north and Yorfalls. We will have wood sleepers on the bridge decks as they cushion the effects of the train loads on the bridge. Photo (above) has Roger clearly thinking about things and how the concrete beams we put in during 1982 are lasting. 

I know some people think we should be using just bullhead rails on wood sleepers as some other heritage railways can do, but our railway is big and long and we don’t have the cash or the people resources to do keep the traditional trackworks. Perhaps they don’t know the real cost and work required! [Visit our Donation Pages - Ed.]Of course we are keeping traditional bullhead track in our stations and a few other selected places.

In preparation for the relay starting tomorrow, we have been laying out the new rails and sleepers as seen in the image above to the right.

The Wombles [Levisham Station Group - Ed.] have also been busy taking down and hiding in the vegetation the post and wire fence (below) – spot it you can! Of course the challenge in a few weeks’ time will be to find it again to put back! Will let you know if they do find it, a brand new post and rail fence there next year will perhaps be a clue.

And our Works team have been fitting a non-slip membrane on the slippery timber bridge decks seen below on Bridge 14. The National Parks have used it on the steps on the footpath nearby so if they can have it, so can we! 

How about this little loco seen on the wall alongside my drive in? It is a Gauge 1 live steam model, given to the railway in the very early days, I think to the late David Calvert who was our first Archivist.

It has been “lost” at the MPD for many years and was retrieved and is now in Pickering Archive.

It is in poor state, in a purpose made wooden box, wrapped in newspaper dated 1950.


And finally, finally for now, you may recall we relaid Kingthorpe reverse curves last winter. After some rail adjustments to equally space out the joints and a series of tamps, this is now complete and running at 25mph. Just to remind you, here is the view taken from an A3 Pacific [ie. Flying Scotsman! - Ed.] checking it out in March.

More next week.

All the best and let’s hope the sun shines every day and it is really, really hot in Newtondale!

Nigel Trotter
NYMR Civil Enginer