Friday 22nd November 2018.

Since my last diary, work has progressed well with tamping carried out at various locations including Farworth and Fen Bog. At the latter we regularly have to tip stone and tamp to avoid twist faults. It now looks good as seen in A and the geometry measurements confirm it, but of course it hasn’t had any trains over it!

It should last now until early summer 2020 but we will have to keep checking. With the National Parks and others we have had some site investigations carried out on the bog to try to establish which way it drains and how deep the peat is. This works by experts is providing some interesting results. For example, the depth of the peat can be more than 10 metres fairly close to the railway. Actually it was only measured at 10 metres as that was as long as their probes were; it could be more. There is evidence that there is an underground valley roughly parallel to the railway track but offset to the East which helps explain why the track tips towards that direction. In spite of tipping lots of ballast over the years, the track is still more or less at its original level. 

Between bridge 31 and Beckhole, Martyn and the P Way gang have now cropped the bullhead rail ends, moved them along (which is helpful for trains running over!) and added some more from previous relays on Levisham straight. The two junction joints between these bullhead and the flat bottom rails in Beckhole curve are being welded and the section is being tamped today. The works in progress are seen in photo B with C showing the rail offcuts and the newly drilled and fishplated joints behind.

While there I came across Ian and Xenia rebuilding a section of the stone boundary wall seen in D.

Don’t know how Ian convinced Xenia, who is from Madeira and temporarily working at a hotel in Goathland, that her world-wide travels would be enhanced by her helping to rebuild dry stone walls on the NYMR. But of course now Xenia can do it, what about the rest of you? It is good, active work in the open air even if a bit too open sometimes. And if you are very unlucky I could always take your picture.

The next section of track having life extension works is the bullhead one down from Goathland 17B Points in the crossover down towards Darnholme which is also being tamped today. The crossover itself doesn’t have track circuits but uses facing point depression bars to securely lock the switches when a train runs over them. This system has now largely been replaced on UK railways so ours is an interesting and historic item. The problem was that the running rails were worn such that the wheel flanges were pressing down too much on them and risking breaking the bar mountings. The rails involved were 53ft long and we only had two brand new bullhead rails left in New Bridge, one a standard 60ft but the other 58ft but unused. So putting these in here solved the S&T problem and enabled us to reposition the joints down towards Darnholme as seen in progress in photo E.

Photo F shows where the depression bar goes and now the rails are brand spanking new.

Incidentally you will see from the photos I have been fortunate to visit the work sites in nice, warn and dry sunny weather, which hasn’t gone unnoticed by those drying out from earlier downpours!

That’s all for now.

Nigel Trotter

NYMR Civil Engineer