Friday 15 December 2017

As I said last time, the track relay between bridges 12 and 13 was completed in time for Santa and I can confirm it rides well at 15mph having taken our grandchildren to see Santa last week. As they were enjoying their presents I was having a sneaky check on the ride! While having another look at the relay before any trains ran over it, I met Mark, with volunteer Tom, track walking and they duly posed as seen in photo A. They were walking back to New Bridge to make sure the rest of the track was OK for passenger trains to run on, which it was. 

Photo B shows the relay looking back towards Farworth over bridge 13. This bridge has the rails carried on timber waybeams which obviously limit how much the track on either side can be moved but it also has a mind of its own.  Sometimes the deck moves ever so slightly producing a little kink in the track especially at the Levisham end. This is only seen by our track walkers and train drivers as the track here is straight, but if it were curved nobody would even notice. We have jacked it back a couple of times over the years but it then slowly eases itself into a slight angle so we then end up with a kink in the track. Why it does it this isn’t obvious; so when you are riding on a train here and see a strange person on the lineside scratching his head, it is probably me! Perhaps I need a change of lifestyle!

In preparation for the renewal of bridge 27 at Goathland we have had to do some more detailed survey work to confirm exactly how the stone abutments were altered when the bridge was widened from two to three tracks in 1908 - before my time before you say anything. The laser scanning was done earlier this week by Piotr and Nick from AB Surveys with Roger looking after them. As you can see in C the weather was “perfect” for photos but not necessarily for Roger measuring up things. Somewhat cold, especially when in the river wearing waders, unfortunately I forgot to take mine, so couldn’t go into the water.

While at Goathland I took photo D of the Up platform with its new copes waiting for the rest of the platform behind to be resurfaced. The main topological survey for all the bridges also included the platforms and, as is usual in surveying, you put in a ground marker pin to provide a permanent reference point. The earlier survey had one of these marker pins in the platform cope opposite the signalbox. You remember the time before last I showed Jim and Mark lifting up the old copes for disposal? Guess what went with the copes into the wagon? Yes the survey pin so that had to be redone.

Also at Goathland there were concerns that Santa perhaps couldn’t get down the chimney of the Station House as the pot was broken. But don’t worry, as you can see in E, we have now had a new one put on just in time.

Our S&T team have been working hard checking and maintaining the signalling system while basking in the glory of being joint winners with the Bluebell of the Siemens Signalling Award - congratulations and well done. Just to show what else they do, here in F is a close up of the mechanical interlocking in Goathland signalbox which they have been checking. It’s certainly quite a contrast to the computer and internet based system they won the award for!

During the Christmas to New Year period, Martyn will be looking for volunteers to help replace the Mills clips in the section of track near the former Newtondale Signalbox as the present ones are very old and worn so are not holding the rails securely in position. This has to be done before we start running trains as there is a section of 1 in 49 gradient for northbound trains to climb and the track has to be in good condition. The track in this area is seen in photo G.

Then starting on 3rd January next year, Martyn and the P Way gang will be relaying the ½ mile of reverse curve track at Northdale. When completed and the track has settled down and been finally tamped the present 15mph speed restriction will be raised to Line Speed of 25mph as we did a couple of years ago at Kingthorpe. Photo H is taken from the northern curve looking back south with the southern curve in the distance. 


So, as we are thinking more about Christmas coming, it’s time to finish this and wish you all best wishes for Christmas and a happy and peaceful New Year.

Nigel Trotter,
NYMR Civil Engineer.