It’s that time of year when I inflict on you all my infrastructure diary yet again. I will be telling you what we have been doing on our railway and also what we plan to do this coming winter.

You will all have heard of our success in obtaining a huge grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and others. Of course it is one thing to be successful in being granted such financial help for our railway, the crunch then comes when you have to deliver what you said you would. I will leave it to others to give more details of Yorkshire’s Magnificent Journey but I will be letting you know what we are doing also.

In fact work has continued throughout the train operating season preparing for the periods when we don’t run passenger trains and we can dig things up, throw them about and, hopefully, put them back in better condition. Going back to the late summer, we were visited by Didcot’s blue King Edward II which is a very large and heavy steam engine with 22.5T axle loads. As with all Great Western Railway locos it is also very wide especially over the cylinders.

To be sure it would fit within our platforms we had some computer gauging runs done by a specialist P Way consultant using the cross section profiles of the engine produced at Didcot. These indicated that there were negative clearances at one point in Pickering platform 1 and also through most of Goathland Up platform. 

So we ran a light engine gauging run from New Bridge where it was delivered by road to Grosmont via Pickering and Goathland with Roger and myself checking each platform while the loco was slowly driven past each platform.

As seen at Pickering in the photo above, Roger is measuring the gap between the front buffer beam and the platform with a bemused passer by wondering what on earth we were doing!

In the second photo, Roger is seen walking while the loco gently runs alongside with the driver ready to instantly stop. I am pleased to say that it was well clear through all our platforms.

You may be interested to know that you only need 50mm clearance at platform level to go through at up to 90mph - that is if you are certain that the profiles are correct and your measurements are also reliable. Feel for certain that such a speed is very, very unlikely at Pickering or indeed anywhere on the NYMR!

Other more basic routine works have been the start of finally sorting out the poor track at the MPD. After much searching for suitable turnouts and getting quotations initially for No 6 Road into Deviation shed we accepted an offer from a national supplier for a brand new bullhead turnout. This was assembled from a kit of parts at New Bridge and then taken down in big lumps to the MPD where it was installed as probably the very first brand new track in the MPD ever! It will next be joined to a refurbished flat bottom turnout that used to connect New Bridge Depot with the Running Line. This still needs re-assembling and some new timbers fitted before also going to the MPD. The next turnout that leads into No 8 road and the whole of the Bellwood site only needs some selective re-timbering. This, and the relaying from the new No 6 turnout back to the main shed area, will have to wait for resources as our small P Way gang is extremely busy with a huge amount of work planned over the year.

The photo above is looking towards the NELPG shed with the new turnout only needing some final fitting.

At Fen Bog there is a section of bullhead track on hardwood sleepers that includes the check rail. These hardwood sleepers were bought and installed about 15 years ago. However they are often very wet and they have rotted so that the chairscrews are not holding the rails securely. We have bought some excellent serviceable real hardwood sleepers at a very good price as they were surplus to the big railway. This is because they are 6” deep rather than the normal 5” -  so they were sold off! Martyn and the P Way gang, helped by volunteers and the Wombles at weekends, have nearly replaced about a 1000 sleepers working in absolutely appalling weather conditions.

Martyn’s photo above, taken last Friday, shows the extent of the flooding, but they carried on, so many thanks to them from all of us.

They were helped by the Wombles at weekends who provided photos showing the work in progress.

I make no comments about the last photo! More next time about this job which is being ballasted and tamped shortly.

Our S&T volunteers have been sorting out and laying concrete troughing for the new services required for the YMJ Carriage Project between High Mill and New Bridge. More details next time.

Nigel Trotter,
NYMR Civil Engineer.