First of all a Happy New Year to you all and welcome to another infrastructure Diary, the first of 2019.

Now that the mince pies have worn off it is time for some serious track works. You may recall that before Christmas I said that Martyn and the P Way gang of staff and volunteers had laid out some sleepers and rails for the Esk Valley relay. So after the end of train operations last week Martyn was able to take Possession of whole railway from Pickering to just short of Grosmont. They were delayed due to a problem with the 08 shunter which failed and had to be dragged to the MPD where Martyn was given another one which also failed! Undeterred, they started the relay by uplifting some rails when the MPD said they had to have the 08 back again so they had to put the rails back to do the transfer. They then set off with a determination and as you can see on Monday this week any chance of putting things back at short notice was not possible!

The work will be done in stages with the first from near arch overbridge 36 to the 23¾ milepost seen in photos 1 and 2. One of the reasons why we are relaying this section of track is because some of the rail chairs are loose on the sleepers and others are cracked through as seen in 3.

Incidentally the chairs are fastened to the sleepers with through bolts which in the dim and distant past would have had a touch of oil or grease put on them so they could be tightened up from time to time with hand spanners. This was particularly done in former GWR areas. 

I recall being chastised by the P Way Supervisor in Machynlleth when auditing him and I said that in Yorkshire we didn’t do such things. Think that what he said but as he was speaking partly in Welsh it may not have been!

In photo 4 you can see Pete getting ready to perform with the Kubota alongside the area where the volunteers have cut back the overgrowing vegetation. It may look a bit messy now but it will soon grow over again.

The section of track under arch bridge No 36 has wet beds and generally fouled ballast as seen in photo 5.

We are going to have to dig this out and lay in shallow depth concrete sleepers to have as much ballast as possible in this area. Incidentally, arch overbridge No 36 has a gap in the southern side parapet copes as seen in photo 6. 

 From time to time a driver will report this, as obviously they must have just looked up when passing underneath.  But not to worry, this wide joint was first of all recorded by BR in their bridge examination report for 1958 and it hasn’t changed in the years I have been examining this bridge!

In photo 7 Darren is preparing to sling the last of the 39ft long bullhead rails in this immediate area. As I have said before, these are American rails brought to the UK in Liberty boats in World War 2.  There are some more further north which will be replaced in Stage 2. Anybody want a piece of American history?

You will see that the weather was dull but dry on Monday so I couldn’t resist keeping up with my reputation for only now turning out in warm sunny weather so will see in photos 8 and 9 I took on Tuesday it was so!

Photo 10 has Jim walking back to the P Way train carrying his tin of scrumptious cake and cheese having fed everybody – its hard life.  You will see I these last photos that more of the sleepers have now been uplifted and with the weather being kind, hopefully by next week Pete will be able to dig and regrade formation ready for track laying.

Other works have also continued on the railway ranging from a contractor resurfacing the local area alongside the rails at New Bridge level crossing and the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust cutting back scrub and providing additional fencing on Fen Bog.

That’s all for now. More next week

Nigel Trotter
NYMR Civil Engineer