Various works have continued since my last diary, but with the trains running they obviously had to fit around the services. The first is the removal of a vast area of overgrowing vegetation on the retaining wall just north of Goathland station as seen in photos A and B.

John Bruce and his excellent group of volunteers have not only done a super job, they have enabled me to easily see all the wall for my routine examination of all retaining walls. I toyed with the idea of taking my deckchair to watch them working in the lovely hot weather, but decided not to push my luck too much! We'll have to look at it when they are not looking.

The other area where they have been working is in the former Goods Shed; now of course used as the station buffet. Here they have been renewing some of the deck timbers seen in photos C and D.

What is interesting is that at some time in the past somebody unknown has been white washing the support walls seen in C – the question is why? It’s always interesting to grovel about in the bowels of buildings; you never know what you will find. Anybody know anything about this work in the dim and distant past?

At Levisham Craig and his gang of S&T volunteers have been replacing the point motor that works No. 2 Points at the south end of the loops.

Photo E shows it just delivered on the level crossing after being renovated and F has it at the points with the old motor being removed. Needless to say, it isn’t just a question of taking up the old and putting down the new. 

The track relay at Esk Valley has restarted with the remaining rails and concrete sleepers being delivered to New Bridge last week and now placed on site alongside the track.

Photos G, H and I show work dismantling the old track at the very bottom of the 1 in 49 gradient up to Goathland.

The new track will be laid from the temporary connection with the previous relay made to enable trains to run over half term week. As the rails have to be cut to accommodate the track curvature we don’t know exactly where the new track will end exactly so we decide when we get there! 

We have had to temporarily employ Harry to drive our Kubota excavators now that Pete has gone to North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue in York. This morning, I duly inflicted on Harry how old the bullhead rails are, and that they were laid there in 1941 after coming from America. The E type concrete sleepers were laid in later by us much later.

The plan is to have all the old track lifted out by Monday morning and then the formation can be regraded and new track then laid in ready for welding the following week and ballasting and tamping the week after. Once the whole of the relay back up to the P Way cabin is ballasted and tamped, it will be stressed into Continuous Welded Rail (CWR), ready for Union of South Africa (and others!) to run over.

More next week.

Nigel Trotter, NYMR Civil Engineer.

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