On the weather front, it was just another dull and rainy January morning and the prospects didn’t look too bright either. Nevertheless, there were advances on several fronts.
The footbridge lamp standards got a second coat of ‘County Cream’.
More rationalisation of the stores was in evidence.
The hole on the pub wall was filled with a strong mortar mix, which will hopefully solve the damp wall at the rear entrance.
Under the heading of good housekeeping, the pub door onto the platform was rubbed down and painted in its first top coat.
The timetable boards were black painted. The shop window frames were washed down and reputtied ready for painting next week. A strip light cover was replaced in the ladies room. The canopy lights were wiped clean.
Following these small but important jobs, the workshop was left in the hands of those responsible for the current reorganisation.
The tent was rearranged to allow better access for the bench refurbishment operations.
At County Boundary, the last part of the work is being carried out so that the line can be returned to line speed at that location.
This involves the removal of 70 meters of track and the excavation of the ground below the normal ballast level.
This is composed mostly of ash and the resultant spoil is being shifted to location at the former Kinlet Colliery sidings.
The lower part of the excavation has a plastic “geomesh” laid and imported fresh stone material deposited to a depth of 300mm.
This is overlaid with another layer of geomesh followed by ballast to a depth of 450mm.
The track is then re-laid, ballasted and finally tamped. This work (recommended by the SVR’s consulting engineer) will ensure that we do not suffer future settlement problems as a result of the slip and subsequent remedial works. It has of course resulted in diversion of resources from some of our other planned relaying work but will hopefully negate further visits to the site to repack. (pics by Leigh King, PW Dept staff)
Another grey day, but at least we had another good turnout. Today’s main effort, involved finally getting the three remaining footbridge handrails in place, this was successfully completed and the footbridge left open to visitors.
The two Platform 2 extension markers were hammered into the ballast at the appropriate distance from the south end. Elsewhere, we were made aware of a problem involving the DPM under the rear edge of the slates on the Plat 2 shelter, which was flapping in the breeze. Approximately 12 feet of the material had to be repositioned under the edge of the slates, using ladders from the Loco Dept.
Finally, back in the shed. both footbridge lamp standards were rewired in the correct cable onto new lamp holders, the refurbished lampshades were given a coat of green paint on the outside, approximately the same colour as the original green enamel.
Although the roof trusses were exposed longer than we would have liked to the weather. the temporary roof covering has now been installed to allow the drying out to begin.
Working with the Wailing Wall is like waiting for a bus, sometimes you wait and next to nothing happens, then like today there are so many bodies in the workshop, you have trouble getting in to unload your stuff. Still mustn’t complain about the attendance, only the weather which started out all drizzle and fog and later developed into full scale snow storm, which fortunately later turned back to rain.
Today’s activities included security matters in the workshop, to which end we now have super secure locks fitted to both tool storage areas either end of the shed.
More chocolate brown was applied to the Booking Hall doors out on to the platform.
Two new sections of point rodding were cut and drilled, to be used under the lamps from the footbridge. The lamp standards themselves were rubbed down and received a first coat of County Cream and Buildings Chocolate Brown as appropriate.
Two further sections were cut to form marker posts for the proposed extension southwards of Platform 2. these were sign written and await fixing when the weather permits.
The afore-mentioned weather precluded work to fit the footbridge handrails which are now completed and waiting in the tent.
The Railwayman’s Arms platform door outside face was given further paint-prep attention.
There was a need to shore up the tent which has suffered in the strong winds, to the extent that the curtain rail at the front had become unbolted, matters were put in hand to rectify the situation and maintain security.
The cubicle door inside faces in the Ladies Room were rubbed down and given a first coat of white gloss.
The reorganisation proceeds, albeit slowly, still as hopefully the weather improves then the pace will quicken.
More updates from the Infrastructure Manager Chris Bond
At Waterworks straight there is still a 15mph speed restriction in place imposed in June 2016, and was a contributing factor to last year’s late running and was the subject of Winter Works 2017. The area should be returning to line speed for the running season as the welding has been completed to a position that will allow this. There is some further work required but this will be done later in 2018 and consists of a final few welds and mechanical stressing on the section.
Alongside the larger scale PW projects there are some smaller but no less important works being undertaken by our volunteer gangs. This year the projects are:
Bridgnorth PW gang. This year there is a focus at Highley where there is a quantity of spot re-sleepering taking place within the station area. Another job being undertaken is on Highley bank where over a period of time the rails “creep” downhill and require re-setting. This involves removing keys and barring the rails back to the correct position before re-fixing. This ensure all the expansion gaps are correct.
Bewdley PW gang. The volunteers are having a big sort out in the carriage shed yard at Kidderminster in order to improve what is now very tired track. Considering the volume and importance of shunting moves in the yard this is essential maintenance. Joints are being dug out and sleepers replaced where necessary to improve the general state of the track. Later this year at least two of the points in the yard are to be replaced as part of upgrading this vital operational facility.
The severe snowfalls experienced before Christmas caused the best part of a week to be lost on site. The planned temporary covering over the roof was not effected and unfortunately this led to the roof trusses being exposed longer than we would have liked to the weather. The temporary roof covering will shortly be installed and allow the drying out to begin.
The rear flat roof of the toilets and buffet are now in a position to accept the specialist contractors to apply the zinc covering.
The buffet chimney stack is nearing completion to cap level in readiness for all the stone chimney caps and pots to be lifted into position with a crane.
Inside, all of the gaps left in the interior walls for ease of movement within the building have been closed up.
The new power cable was due to be installed but has had to be postponed due to the owner of vehicle parked above the connection point disappearing on holiday.
Three GWR style wall light brackets are being fabricated to be mounted on the building with appropriate style lamps.
We’re in the middle of the engineering-works six-week closure when projects can be tackled that require no trains to be running.
Infrastructure Manager Chris Bond reports that this winter sees several smaller projects taking place at various locations rather than the large track relay we saw in 2017 at Waterworks.
A 500m section of bullhead track from Bewdley Tunnel to the Stourport Road bridge is being cleaned of badly contaminated ballast using a special shaped excavator bucket. The spoil is being removed to an area of the former sugar beet sidings for disposal. The length of track will then be re-ballasted and tamped. It is also intended to weld together the rails to create a length of bullhead CWR which will require the insertion of a pair of breather or expansion switches at the Stourport Road bridge end. At some point in early 2018 we hope to get a Colas rail grinding train to re-profile the railhead to remove the corrugations that cause poor riding.
On the Bewdley side of the tunnel, contractors are using a mini-digger to remove the ballast shoulders using a riddle bucket to remove contamination. The clean ballast is then being placed in between the rails in preparation for fresh ballast to be dropped and the track tamped. The shoulders will then be reformed. This work will provide fresh ballast for the tamper to improve the ride and help to remove wet spots that have forming on that section.
At County Boundary, the last part of the work is being carried out so that the line can be returned to line speed at that location. This involves the removal of 70 meters of track and the excavation of the ground below the normal ballast level. This is composed mostly of ash and the resultant spoil is being shifted to location at the former Kinlet Colliery sidings. The lower part of the excavation will then have a plastic geomesh laid and imported fresh stone material deposited to a depth of 300mm. This will be overlaid with another layer of geomesh followed by ballast to a depth of 450mm. The track will then be re-laid, ballasted and finally tamped. This work (recommended by the SVR’s consulting engineer) will ensure that we do not suffer future settlement problems as a result of the slip and subsequent remedial works. It has of course resulted in diversion of resources from some of our other planned relaying work but will hopefully negate further visits to the site to repack.
A project funded by the Friends of Eardington Station is also underway during the shutdown involving the partial rebuilding of the platform face. Although the station does not currently feature in our daily operations, a dedicated team lead looks after and maintains this wayside gem. The rebuilding of the platform will improve greatly the appearance of the station and allow consideration to its possible use on gala events at some point in the future. Some 8000 engineering bricks recovered from the London – Bristol mainline and donated by Kier Construction will be used. These have been cleaned up by the team over a period of time and will provide a genuine connection to the GWR. The rebuild is being undertaken by JSR Construction who are based less than a mile away from the station thus keeping the work local.
At Kidderminster, preparations are underway for the lining of the loco water tank similar to that carried out at both Bridgnorth and Bewdley. This work will require the draining down and drying of the tank interior followed by shot blasting. This provides a strong key to the GRP lining system that is then applied to the bottom and sides of the tank interior finishing off with a gel coat. This work is proactive maintenance of the tank and will greatly extend its life for a relatively modest cost. It is being carried out by Project Linings Ltd who have done the other tanks on the SVR to a very high standard.
The Kidderminster water column adjacent platform 1 runround is being swapped out from a fixed column to a standard GWR swing arm type similar to that on platform two side. This project has been a long time in the making having being on the cards since the 1980s. Although the current fixed column is an original Kidderminster GWR item (having been cast at Wolverhampton) the swing arm replacement will be better suited to the variety of engines the SVR sees. The replacement has been restored and new components fabricated and the original fixed column will for now be retired to the custody of Kidderminster Railway Museum for possible display.