Civil Week 2012
So Civil Week 2012 is over, with only a small hiccup on the Saturday morning, apologies to anyone inconvenienced by the late handover of Damems Loop! This year’s weather held up fairly well with only some smaller showers on the Wednesday, so managing quite well to dodge this summer’s many downfalls!
This year’s Civil Week consisted of five jobs:
- Heavy spot resleepering on Bakers Curve.
- Replacement of a set of points at the north end of Damems Loop.
- Clearing out sediment from Bridgehouse Beck underneath bridge 27.
- Repairs and upgrades to drains south of Oakworth level crossing.
- Welding a temporary rail joint on Mytholmes Curve thus removing speed restriction.
To many of us, these changes will go unnoticed while riding around on the railway however, this serves as a reminder of how much hard work and effort goes into the maintenance of just a small branch line!
For those of you who do not know, Bakers Curve is located between Haworth and Oakworth on the Haworth side of Mytholmes Tunnel. Many of the sleepers here had deteriorated, so the decision was taken to remove the rails and replace all sleepers that were not in a good condition while we had a possession. As you can read in previous months updates, similar work was completed above Oakworth level crossing and took significantly longer. This is because we have to work under traffic and plan around any train movements on the day, particularly difficult with a two train Sunday service! The sleepers replaced were mostly softwood sleepers, which loose strength far faster than the hardwood sleepers used to replace them, so the area should be strong for years to come. About 80 sleepers were replaced in total, meaning most of the sleepers in the area have now been renewed. While the rails are removed it gives us an ideal opportunity to also renew any rail chairs and associated screws and pads. You can see in the picture where the new chairs are being fitted, they are the bright rusty ones. The other chairs will be reused ones that are still in a good condition. The new chairs fitted to the inside rail are all check chairs, this is for a future project that involves fitting a check rail to Bakers Curve. Generally check rails are used on sharp curves as they keep the wheels from riding over the top of the rail, you can see them on the curves when you come out of Keighley station heading towards Oxenhope. A gang of between 10 and 30 tackled the job over the week, by the end of Thursday only keying and plating was left to do and this was promptly finished Friday morning, with the gang then rushing off to the Damems job in the afternoon.
Damems Loop North Points Renewal
Damems Loop, if you haven’t guessed, is the loop halfway up the line where trains pass each other. The main line points on the northern end of the loop (towards Keighley) had become worn. The decision was taken to do a full renewal; we had recently received some very good materials from a company in Eastleigh that was closing down. These were put to good use here. Included in the renewal were all the surrounding rails and chairs, while also replacing any poor softwood sleepers with solid hardwood ones. This attitude to renewals requires more work at the time but gives a much longer lasting section of track, which ultimately reduces pressure on the department in the long term. The crossing itself was replacing with a cast steel crossing. A relatively modern piece of equipment and a first for us, I also imagine it is something very rare in the heritage railways in general! Of course I am willing to be proved wrong on that. With only one member of the signalling department available during Civil Week that work provided very tricky, and this is how the delay on Saturday morning came about. This job was also slightly slower than our usual jobs as it required the rare use of the railways crane, particularly for the large cast steel crossing, which as you can imagine took quite a lot of lifting! This was certainly the most complex job undertaken this year as taking a set of points apart also involves all the connections to the signal box. This has to be done carefully as if done wrong, they don’t work and you can guess the rest…
Although finished late Saturday morning, the job was finished in entirety and the points will be strong for years to come. Next time you travel towards Keighley out of Damems loop see if it feels smoother, I have found the best way to test this is with a drink on the table!
Here are some pictures of the completed crossing taken while we were putting all the excavated ballast back on the 20th October.
Bridgehouse Beck Clearing
Bridge 27 is a double track bridge at the south end of Haworth yard, which carries the railway over Bridgehouse beck. The bridge has two spans, the beck wants to flow through the span closest to Haworth yard. Previous attempts to encourage the beck to flow equally through the two spans have not been entirely successful. This has led to a much slower flow through the other span, which in turn causes the channel to silt up reducing the capacity of the beck under the bridge. In the past this has led to the beck coming over the bridge and flowing into Haworth yard and into the sheds during flooding, hopefully having completed this job and increased the...