It’s getting to that time when all our winter works are just about coming to an end and the line is ready for trains to run as its half term. But of course everything doesn’t go exactly to plan does it? So the pressure is on to make sure nothing has been forgotten and the works have been signed off. 

The works at Pickering Platform 1 were successfully completed on time by Construction Marine Limited who also installed additional supports for the rest of the platform. We were concerned that with the natural wear and age of the big slabs and hopefully big crowds on the platform they could become over-stressed. Being a natural material, there are always variations in their composition so we decided the best thing is to add in the extra supports to reduce the spans between the supporting walls. The gap underneath the slabs is quite small in places and is also a confined space, so only trained and certificated people could work there. It is all now complete and the replacement slabs fitted and pointed up.

Photo A shows the slabs freshly pointed up and matching in very well with the original ones nearby. In view B you cannot see what has been done to fit supports under the slabs! Or that the end slab at the top of the ramp has been reset and rebedded as it was slowly working its way towards the track.

So you will just have to believe me when I say it has all been done. Of course the real success of any repair is that you can’t see what has been done and it all looks original and untouched. I try this on my wife, but somehow it fails with her, so must try another tack!

After the CML gang had completed the platform works it was time for them to go to Kirby Misperton where we are setting up a coach wheel repair facility.

In view C you can see they have made a good mess in digging out for the pillar crane foundation. After pumping out the water and putting in the steel reinforcement cage it was duly filled with concrete ready for Kelvin to continue with getting the facility ready for use to sort out our carriage wheels and bogies.

The big relay at Northdale is now largely complete in spite of a few days of poor weather.  We arranged to have some ballast delivered by D B Cargo using the Network Rail Autoballasters on Wednesday 31st January. This was a great success in spite of Network Rail having a problem at Glaisdale where they couldn’t pass trains until a switch blade is replaced sometime in March. With only one Class 66 loco, the train had to be worked from Grosmont up to Goathland in two halves and then coupled together down to the Northdale relay site. The Autoballasters come in 5-wagon sets permanently coupled together. Although not cheap to hire, they are a dream when tipping ballast as the operators just walk alongside with their remote controls and can open and close individual wagon doors as required. The end result is that stone is more or less exactly where you want it rather than the traditional hoppers with doors that are usually very difficult to open or close.

The ballast was then regulated and tamped on Monday with two photos D and E taken by Nick who was driving the Regulator.

Gerry Carter came up specially to operate the tamper from his new home in Shropshire, leaving at 05.00 in the morning, it would be well after midnight before he got back home! So many thanks to Gerry, Peter, Nick and Martyn for a very long day.

Another D B Cargo train will be bringing a further 500T of ballast on Friday after which Martyn will just tidy it up using the Shark and it will then be fit to run trains on over half term. When it has settled down it will have more tamps and top ups with more ballast via New Bridge. After this the speed can be raised to 25mph.

The short relay between Pickering 6 Pts and bridge 8 is also more or less complete. To ensure our S&T colleagues have to struggle, we use harder rails than in the past so when they have to drill them for the bond wires at the fishplated joints. For some reason, they prefer to use the hand drills as seen in photos F and G.

A first tip of ballast on Monday meant that it could be tamped and regulated yesterday, you can see the drop in the rail levels on the Pickering side of bridge 8 in photo H.

After the initial proving run to measure the geometry, all was going well until the there was a problem with the amount of lift on the East rail which eventually Duncan and Peter had to manually override the computer to try to get a decent top and cross levels. Just to help things along, you may notice the weather went “off” as seen in photo I; think that’s what everybody was saying, but may have misheard!

To date we have relaid just over a mile of track and by Easter this will be 1.25 miles – yes a mile and a quarter, all to very high standards which will last for many years to come with only minimal maintenance.

Until next time.

Nigel Trotter,
NYMR Civil Engineer

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