Thursday 14th September 2017

Sorry but it’s that time of year when I inflict yet another regular diary of works being done on our railway to keep it going and hopefully improve it for the future. Recently I went to Portugal with our family – 11 of us including Grandchildren – we only managed one trip on the local railway this year and didn’t see anything useful we could buy for the NYMR. There were some good looking new concrete sleepers that could be a possibility but with a track gauge of 5ft 3” they would have somewhat limited use, even in the MPD!

You may recall that last time I referred to gauging the East Midlands HST that came on a special to the NYMR and Whitby. Must have done it right as it didn’t hit anything including Mr Bruce at Goathland when checking the platform edge clearances where the cope was raised up near the water column. The trip was very well received and I was surprised how keen the East Midlands train crews were to have their pictures taken when at Pickering as seen in A and B.


With trains running the opportunities to work on the track are inevitably limited but this has not stopped the Wombles rebuilding the collapsed retaining wall at the 14 milepost near Gallock Hill. They even worked overnight in the dark with excellent results as seen in C. I went to see what they had done when back from the sunshine of Portugal and although wearing a waterproof ended up in the middle of a downpour while halfway between the site and my car. Wonder if they have opportunities for more heritage railway work over there? Photo D shows the top of the rebuilt wall and E where the next area of collapse is. Note the excellent condition of the track relaid last winter.

Preparations are underway to relay more of the life expired track starting in November in the depths of Newton Dale near Farworth. This will be a quick relay using steel sleepers and new flatbottom rails between bridges 12 and 13. The site is shown in F with the existing bullhead track on wooden sleepers which are now poor and rotting. As there is some stone ballast it is ideal for steel sleepers but of course we cannot have rail joints with them so it is either a case of putting in 4 wooden sleepers at each fishplated joint or getting rid of the joints. So we will be having another section of Continuous Welded Rail track usually known as CWR. More on this next time.

Our volunteers at New Bridge have now successfully restored the first of our Seacow wagons seen in G. The big problem with tipping stone ballast is getting it in the right place and in the right amounts. It may sound simple but it isn’t and the converted coal hoppers were far from ideal, obviously not being intended for such a use. So after much very hard work accompanied by various unprintable remarks while struggling to take out and repair the bottom doors the vehicle was able to go to C&W for lifting and checking over. It has now been used and only required a few minor adjustments to the load bearing system. With the next one well under way the decision has been made to stop using the coal hoppers for ballast and they have now gone into store in the sidings, so here’s hoping the restored Seacows work!

At New Bridge Depot people also keeping bringing things and taking others away. At the moment we have various coaches as seen earlier this week in H with Pullman car No 79 due any time for loading up. On Tuesday this week a very large engine from Belgium arrived as seen in I. When people talk about Belgium they usually are referring to beer or chocolate, but here is something different! No doubt Mr Middleton will say otherwise it may struggle up the bank to Goathland with 7 coaches but we wait to see!

We certainly see all sorts at New Bridge! Finally on a different note, photo J shows The Marquess waiting for loading up and transfer for display on Mr Cameron’s farm in Scotland. So thanks for all the pleasure you have given to people over very many years, including between Rillington and Whitby for BBC filming before the line closed and enjoy your retirement.

All for now, have to get on with preparing the HLF documentation, more on this next time. And if you can contain your excitement what S&T and others have been doing.

Nigel Trotter
NYMR Civil Engineer & Head of Infrastructure

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