April 2011

The first half of this year’s civils’ work week was spent replacing weigh beams on Lynch River Bridge. However the Thursday and Friday were spent starting to lay the double slip for the running shed, headshunt and eventual second platform/run round loop. This, along with the first point for the yard, were constructed by the army in September 2008. It was ‘simply’ a case of disconnecting the existing siding including the catch point, removing the track from here, levelling all the ballast, splitting the slip into five parts, using the steam crane to move each part from down by the level crossing to the far end of the site, lining each piece up into situ, bolting it together and slewing the existing siding to reconnect it. Easier and quicker said than done! The double slip is the largest and most complicated piece of trackwork available. The amount of ballast to be levelled, rails to be lined up, fishplates to be bolted in, and all the fine tuning to make sure the track is level and straight require a huge amount of time, physical effort and knowledge. Despite the size and weight of each piece, it still has to be assembled with only a few mm of tolerance. Each bit had up to 8 rails that needed to be connected, all with two fishplates and four bolts. It’s certainly not as simple as laying pointwork in OO gauge!

The hope for the work week was to get the five parts of the slip in, loosely connected, roughly lined up and the existing siding slewed and reconnected, as well as the other point brought up to that end of the station. To get the slip operational would take about another month, with exact lining up and levelling to be done, ballasting, stretchers and point rodding to be fitted. In the end, the five pieces were moved into situ, and four were connected. However due to technical issues with the crane, reconnecting the siding and moving the point up will have to wait for another day.

We are also welcoming a railway training company onto the site. As well as a financial contribution, there is the possibility of a small amount of track being laid by them. They need a demountable classroom/mess hut to be brought in. So a mini digger was used to shift S&T materials stored in one area and level the ground. A trench has been dug across the site to give power, water and phone lines to this.

Elsewhere, the first vehicle has arrived at Ferry Meadows for the museum! LMS BG 31359 has been bought from the Battlefield Line. This coach is now on a piece of track at Ferry Meadows and will be restored to run with our LMS TPO. It is in much better condition structurally than our current LMS BG and crucially has corridor connections. This will however be a long term project, so don’t expect it to be restored in 6 months!

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