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2014 Archive

WORK FOR 2014 Constantly Updated!

Thurs 2nd and Fri 3rd – Completion of pegging out for both relays.

190 pegs knocked in over 4 days for Levisham. Approx 35 for Hunting Bridge.

Sunday 5th Jan will be fishplate oiling at MP 14 ¼.  Just to get you moving and back in the swing of things before hitting you with the relays.

January 2014 Relay work – Levisham and Hunting Bridge.

Monday 6th January

It is planned to start major renewal work on Levisham straight and from MP8 ¼ southwards.On Monday 6th January.

One gang will commence dismantling at the north end of the Flat Bottom section on Levisham straight working southwards.

A second gang will also commence dismantling and loading the redundant materials from Mp8 ¼ working south. This second section should be completely removed by the end of Tuesday 7th January with relaying not planned to commence until Monday 3rd February.

If there is sufficient workforce on Tuesday 7th January I would like the Levisham straight dismantling to also continue.

From Wednesday 8th January to Sunday 2nd of February work will continue on EVERY day on the Levisham straight relay, so all help will be appreciated, on any day.

In general the transport arrangements will be depart by road van at 0830 from New Bridge to MP8 ¼ and then to site by P.way train , returning for approx 1630.

On Monday 6th of January the 1st train for Levisham Straight will depart New Bridge at 0800 and the second train for MP8 ¼ will depart New Bridge by 0830.

Sunday 5th – Plate oiling at 14 1/2 area.

Mon 6th – 2 trains away as planned first to Levisham with Martyn. To begin work on the renewal there. Starting off with cutting back rails to remove boltholes. So we end up with all new joints with alternate joints being welded.

2nd train left for Hunting Bridge under P Smeaton to totally uplift all track for 20 x 45ft panels. Excavator in use to remove and load rail to the MACAW then load all sleepers to the Sturgeon and plate wagons. 12 lengths completed Monday with the remaining 8 lengths finished off on the Tuesday.



Work continued on Levisham South through the week with a mix of Staff and Volunteers.

By Saturday 11th 700 metres of track had been removed. Rails and sleepers placed to the side for reuse later. The formation then bladed off using a Drott.

By Saturday 16.00 4 lengths had been relaid with a further 8 lengths installed on Sunday 12th With the assistance of some Wombles.

Work continuing 7 days a week.

Apart from this a training session has been held for potential and existing operators of the Tamper 73250.

Sat 18th report.

In the meantime Martyn, the P Way gang and volunteers are pressing on with relaying on Levisham straight.  With the mild weather they have now relaid the former flat bottom section with the rail ends cropped and the sleepers re-spaced closer together.

The section just needs some more clips putting in and some fishplates fitted.

Alternate pairs of joints will be welded and then it only needs ballast and tamping.

The next section towards Levisham is bullhead and is being relaid in new flat bottom rails on F27 concrete sleepers.  The old sleepers are being loaded up onto the available rail wagons for later delivery to New Bridge where they will be sold.  The final section to be relaid will have to have the old sleepers laid alongside for collection later as all available wagons are being used.  The bullhead rails are suitable for reuse in some of our sidings and platforms but the majority will be sold for possible re-use in other heritage railways- that is they want them, if not for scrap they go!

19th Report from the tamper crew.

Work on the Tamper at Newbridge today, Gerry, Duncan, Richard and John L.

RH, damaged middle feeler rods repaired/replaced.

All Tamping tools checked and replaced as required with correct
position tools, enough new tools was in stock.

Handbrake wheel rotated 180′ so to face the driver when operating the

Rear Heater fuel stack removed from the tank, confirmed it IS long
enough, also re-tightened fuel hoses and electrical connections to the
lift pump, tested heater and it worked on first attempt! Will need to
keep an eye on it.

Swapped rear operator position button fronts between engine stop and
auto tamping stop to avoid confusion, this now means the engine stop
button is a “mushroom” type so matches all other stop buttons, found
wire was loose in the stop button terminal, may explain why the engine
stopped twice last weekend.

It looks like only Gerry and myself will attend next Sunday so we will
look at re-routing some hydraulic hoses and sort the clamp cylinders.
Also will look at emergency stowage gear to put on the machine.

After this, the machine is more or less ready to tamp!

24th Jan report from Nick.

New rails and sleepers now in up to peg 129 (almost to mp 12)and largely clipped up. Red Pandrols are so much easier to pull than the purple ones.
Old track lifted out up to peg 147.
PW train now full and parked in the north siding at Levisham. Remainder of phase 3 to be dismantled and stored on site, for potential picking up mid – week in March.
Two old 30 foot 90 lb rails unearthed. A scrap bonus. Strange how they were left after the spring 1983 relay, as all the old track came out in panels which were stored and then later dismantled in Levisham station yard –before NB yard was commissioned of course.
This Friday will be dismantling phase 3 (if phase 2 is complete).
NC (plus Peter J ) booked in for phase 2 fishplating,carrying on from where left off last week . All long bolts on site for this section so four to do, not two, as per last week.
26th Jan Report from John L

Work on the Tamper with just Gerry and myself.

Decided to tackle the slow responding rear clamps, started by removing
the front clamp hydraulic cylinders to turn them around to mount the
correct way, while removed they both felt very stiff, after stripping,
found the piston seal totally shot on both cylinders. Two new
cylinders fitted from stock the correct way round.

Checked the various hose connections and found that the front
cylinders were totally piped up incorrectly near the solenoids, it
must have been like this for some time as we had to slacken hose
clamps to pull hose through to pipe up correctly. Now front and rear
clamps operate exactly as they should.

Noticed (since we got the machine) that the hydraulic unloader kicks
in and out every 5 seconds, but while operating the lining today,
found that this improved the unloading time, after checking the
hydraulic drawings, we changed the lining servo valve for one in
stock, this cured the hydraulics, it now holds pressure for around 20
seconds now. The servo valve was heavily bypassing oil which would
cause the hydraulics to overheat while overworking the unloader and
accumulator. I have never known a servo valve fail in this way before.

The previous owners must have just struggled along with the two faults
above, so very pleased we sorted these today.

Rear cab train brake started overcharging again, so replaced the
reducer valve with a brand new valve in stock, also re-drilled the
valve mounting bracket and fitted 2 new bolts so the train brake valve
and lever is now properly secured.

We plan to take the machine out again next Sunday for more Driver and
Operator training.

29th Jan report from Nigel T.

The good news is that Martyn and his small gang of full time and volunteers have almost joined up at Levisham after one of the longest track renewals on the NYMR and probably on any standard gauge heritage railway in the UK. The couple of lengths next to the bullhead turnout are also in new bullhead on wooden sleepers to allow straight insulated fishplates to be used.
 We are welding up alternate pairs of joints (a total of nearly 100!!) and this is still in progress.  The relay also needs ballasting and tamping next week. 
Other, less publicised works by Jim Cole and Mark include part rebuilding sections of bridge 19 abutments damaged in the severe frosts of last winter. 
Bridge 19 is a rail deck bridge next to Newtondale Halt. The frost caused the Levisham side abutment stonework to move forward with the risk of some dropping out and the bedstones to move. This has now been part taken down and rebuilt with grouting behind to make a super job.  It had to be done without trains running over it or we would have had to erect some string supports.
And finally for now, the Environment Agency works at Hunting Bridge are progressing well with most of the works affecting the track almost complete, which is just as well as Martyn is going to relay it next week.The piles alongside the track are 10metres long, so they should help keep the floods at bay.
To help counteract any possible scour, on the Pickering side of the sheet piles an interlocking concrete mattress, known as Dycel has been laid on the prepared sub-base on 21st January.
31st Jan Report from Nick
Walked miles today – from Farwath, clipping up the welded joints, after the welding team. They and us, are now at the concrete PW hut –54 joints to go including transition joints, to get to Levisham.
The welders have been told to complete by Wednesday next week. There may be an initial ex-Mountsorrel ballast train on Wednesday, though even two trains before half term will only allow for a dribble from end to end. According to Mr. Trotter the other two trains to complete the top up for the job, will be after the half term running.
Environment Agency are now behind, as remedial pile driving now has to take place early next week.
At this afternoons ‘Portakabin planning meeting’ Martyn ( taking non delivery of materials into account and the EA delay) is envisaging completion of the Hunting Bridge relay by close of play Sunday 12th February.
Following discussion with Martyn today, I propose to service and test run the regulator on Sunday 12th –possibly testing it on the mp 8 relay  site where top up ballast was tipped but never regulated last March.
Any service issues could be dealt with on Monday 13th , as it looks like tamping throughout  will be mid-to late that week, subject to ballast of course.
On that score 100 tons delivered to New Bridge for Hunting Bridge today and all the 60 odd new FB rails as well.
More info on Tuesday/Wednesday.
1st Feb report from Nigel T

Friday 31st January could perhaps be described as an “interesting” day, that is when being polite- otherwise perhaps not!.


We had arranged for 61No new flat bottom rails to be delivered to New Bridge now that Martyn and gang had connected up at Levisham and we were waiting for the welders to continue.  These came on 3 articulated trailers and were unloaded using the Plasser crane.  Each trailer takes about 2 hours to unload with the Borail only being able to carry 39 rails so the rest had to go on the ground for now.  Martyn also had to load up a couple of bullhead rails to connect up north of Hunting Bridge Level Crossing.

All was going reasonably well until 3 lorry loads of stone ballast arrived.  These were ordered for next Monday but the quarry got it wrong as they were due to be tipped directly at Hunting Bridge ready for the excavator from the Levisham straight relay to grade when brought back on the train.

But the Environment Agency works were suddenly behind as the independent Reservoir Panel Engineer had been to site and required two more sheet piles to be put in.  Therefore the piling rig has to come back next Tuesday to put them in and as it is a great big machine taking up all the railway formation so there is no room for the ballast.

Hunting Bridge the Dycel scour protection is now laid ready for the ballast to be laid on top with the sheet piles.  A new cross drain has also been laid with the manhole being backfilled and the area cleaned up ready for the ballast.

On Levisham straight Dave was happily cleaning out the lineside ditches while waiting for Martyn to come for him with the train. Where the ditches have been dug out they are running well, which is why our predecessors 175 year ago dug them!

To join up with the existing bullhead turnout at Levisham, which is on wooden bearers and the insulated joints ideally need to be between similar sections of rail we have put in 2 length so bullhead track on wooden sleepers.

Next week the welders will be back as there are another 54 welds to do and each team can only do 6 a day so it is going to be congested.  By the way what do you do when a weld is defective and you can only weld up two 60ft long rails?  A standard weld needs a 25mm gap but cutting out the defect creates a 75mm gap.

The plan is also that D B Schenker bring in ballast from Mountsorrel so we can start tamping ready for trains on 15th February.

More next week.

4th Feb report from Nick.

At close of play today, the welders were finishing off the composite weld at the end of the relay. This is still to clip up.
From just north of the pw concrete cabin to peg 144 are still to weld.
148 has been welded and ground off and just requires re-clipping.
The next – at peg 151 is still to weld. Welders gaffer arrived from Farwath this afternoon and took one team off to do something south of the concrete pw cabin.
From the next weld –154 – through to Levisham station point work are all complete and clipped up.
Two gangs back tomorrow to push southwards as far as possible  before the ballast train arrives on site at approx 1100.
A couple of pads for the FB side of the composite might be useful as they have warped somewhat in the heat.
Report from Nigel TWednesday 5th FebruaryLevisham straight relayToday D B Schenker were meant to deliver 12 loaded ballast hoppers from Mountsorrel in Leicestershire.  They duly turned at Grosmont at the appointed time with the train hauled by 66001.  Jim Dedicoat and Chris Cubbitt worked the train to Levisham where Peter, Darren and Neil tipped the stone.Imagine our surprise to find that one hopper was only half full and 3 were totally empty!  We are trying to find out from D B Schenker why they hauled 3.5 empty wagons all the way from Leicestershire to Grosmont.  They are also now apparently unable to bring any more ballast until next week which is putting the re-opening at the start of half term in some doubt.Jin Dedicoat driving while ballast is being tipped with Neil and Darren tipping ballast (well actually posing in between tipping!).  The Class 37 was on the back from Grosmont to help push up the full train we were expecting and to take it back to Grosmont.At the Hunting Bridge site the Environment Agency have now finished installing the extra piles and Dycel so Martyn is able to start relaying.  This will be slower than normal as the sleepers and rails all have to be brought to the site by rail from New Bridge, unloaded and taken forward by the excavator which slows the job down.   The relay will hopefully by fit to tamp and run ballast trains on by next Tuesday or Wednesday.  This then only leaves 2 days to tamp 1.2 miles of Levisham straight.Yesterday Peter and Neil laid out the first of the 17 track lengths to be reinstated the first 3 lengths laid in but clipped.  By mid afternoon only the 4th length was laid but Nick was accepting the 100 tonnes of ballast  being delivered today.As present, life is somewhat fraught, but hopefully more better news later in the week.Saturday 15th February
Made It!  Just!This week has been trying to say the least.  We received less ballast by rail than planned but not to worry, we could make up the difference with stone from High Force quarry located in the remote, difficult to access Northern Pennines.  The extreme weather in the south, fortunately for us, was nowhere near as bad at Levisham but brought snow to the quarry and its access.  The resulting delays and difficulties in getting enough stone meant that tamping had to be done on Thursday afternoon and evening with the final tamping not completed until 7pm on Friday evening.  Martyn was finally able to hand back possession before 8pm and could then go home.Our thanks go to Gerry, John, Duncan, Bryan and Nick for staying to complete the job. To tamp, you have to have ballast to tamp or the tamper tines dig into the formation and bring up dirt that creates problems in later life.No 2 points at Levisham.  This immediate area was a problem as the tamper couldn’t tamp right up to the switches without possibly damaging the point motor and drive mechanism.  So this morning Simon, rob, Steve and Neil dug out the big stone ballast, brought some smaller stone by trolley from along the relay and shovel packed the dip.  Having started at 08.00 (in the rain as I was reminded when I turned up in the dry at 10.00!) I was able to sign off the route from the Up Platform in time for the first trains to pass at lunchtime.The old concrete sleepers stacked on the Down side will be craned out after half term running. Photo E has the tamper in the distance.  There is still plenty to do in the coming weeks, not least to tip more stone, tamp after the track has settled down after trains run on it.Next week Martyn and gang will be loading up the scrap for disposal, patrolling the whole railway and preparing for the next track works to be done after half term running.Again, I am sure the whole railway thanks Martyn and the very small number of staff and volunteers who have done this railway, together with the smaller team at Hunting Bridge.  It must be a record in standard gauge heritage railways.Regards
Nigel TrotterFriday 21st Feb A rarity among recent notices. No relay news.This Sunday 23rd will include walking through and checking both recent relays and the sorting of materials at New Bridge Yard.Friday 7th Loading scrap sleepers from 8MP relaySunday 9th March,  continued sorting of materials at New Bridge Yard.Monday 10th Stone tip then Tamping and Regulating at the 8mp and Hunting Bridge sites.Tuesday 11th Further Tamping and Regulating on the Levisham relay from Br 13 to the Concrete PW Hut.Sunday 16th Work planned to be fitting the missing fishbolts on the Levisham Straight relay and preparing materials ready for the commencement of rerailing at Darnholm next week.Sun 23rd March Work for this day is likely to be fishplate oiling at MP 14 ¼.Mon 24th Tamping LevishamWed 26th Tamp Fen Bog and Saddler House.Thurs 27th as required am then Darnholm pm.Sun 30th Yard workThursday 3rd April – Wagon work – Fitting 2 new springs to the Shark following delivery from Owen Springs.Gerry working on Tamper 250 in preparation for Friday work.Friday 4th – Levisham Straight tamping, Br 13 – 12mp. Some measured lifting and lining carried out in addition.Sunday 6th – Plate oiling No Sheep area.Sunday 13th – Plate oiling No Sheep area.Sunday 20th – Plate oiling MP14 1/2 area.Sunday 27th – Levisham joints + Plate oiling Kidstye.Friday 2nd May – Wagon workSunday 4th – Levisham joints + Plate oiling Kidstye.Sunday 11th – Plate oiling MP15 1/4Friday 16th – Wagon work on Lowmac 217315.Sat 17th – Tamper training in the yard.Sunday 18th – Newbridge LC Replacing Bomac Concrete panels in LC. Existing 38 concrete Bomac panels replaced with new Holdfast / Rosehill rubber crossing units. Rail foot is corroded but has lasted well at 12 years, will need rerailing at some point in the future, ideally at the same time Cess edge beams and panels should be installed to enable tamping through.Sunday 25th Plate Oiling north of Kidstye.Friday 30thSunday 1st June – Work for this Sunday will be fishplate oiling north of Kidstye. Then at a later start, dropping ballast and regulating on Levisham straight, and tamping at MP14.Friday 6th June – Wagon work, painting progressing on 217315. 12 Rubber bristles changed on Regulator. A lot more still to do.Sunday 8th – Normal daytime work for this Sunday will be fishplate oiling at MP15 ½, removal of the crossing panels at Kidstye.Late Sunday start for evening work –  ballast dropping and regulating at MP14 ¼, and tamping from MP15 to MP15 ½.Friday 13th – Wagon work. Further painting on Lowmac 217315.Sunday 15th – Start of installation of New rubber panels to Farm Crossings on Levisham straight.Wednesday 18th – 5t Thomas Smith crane scrapped on site at Newbridge. 27 tonnes.Thursday 19th – Tip stone Tamp and Regulate 16mp areaFriday 20th – Wagon work –

Sunday 22nd – Plate Oiling MP 15 1/2 area.

Friday 27th – Wagon work, Lowmac and Seacow. 4 more Seacows / Sealion have arrived from Thompson’s at Stockton, the 2 Walrus hoppers have gone for scrap as a return load.

Sunday 29th – Plate oiling, Wagon work and on Tamper 73250

Friday 4th July – Wagon work on Lowmac 713215, touch up painting and removal of brake rigging from Nth end. SR Borail DS 64572 moved to Thompsons as scrap.

Sunday 6th – Fishplate oiling at MP16 for the day shift and tamping at MP23 after the end of the service for the late shift from 15.00.

Friday 11th – Lowmac 217315 strip off remaining old bolts and degrease brake rigging parts.

Sunday 20th July – Fishplate oiling at MP16 1/4

Fri 25th – Wagon work

Sun 27th – Checking plates and fastenings in last winters relays. Wagon work and restart of work on Coles crane with refitting of radiator in view of getting the engine started.

Fri 1st Aug – Wagon work on Lowmac 217315 also some scrap clearance from store shed.

Sun 3rd – Plate oiling at MP16 ½, Work on Tamper 73250 and wagon work.

Sun 10th – Plate Oiling mp 16 1/2 plus Tamper and wagon work.

Fri 15th – Wagon work.

Sun 17th – Plate oiling 16 3/4mp

Fri – 22nd – Wagon work.

Sun 24th – Plate oiling 16 3/4mp

Fri 29th – Wagon work.

Sun 31st – Plate oiling 17mp

Fri 5th – Wagon work, Seacow Needle gunning sanding and painting continuing

Sun 7th – Plate Oiling

Fri 12th – Wagon work, Seacow Needle gunning sanding and painting continuing

Sun 14th – Drainage work at Br 20 – Wellies needed. Work on Tamper and more on Seacow 667.

Fri 19th – No wagon work this week.

Sun 21st – Plate oiling 17 1/4mp

Fri 26th – Wagon work.

Sun 28th –  Plate oiling 17 1/2 mp

Fri 3rd – Wagon work on Seacow 667

Sun – 5th – Plate oiling 17 3/4 mp

Fri 10th – Wagon work on Brake van 246710 removing Vac Cylinder for overhaul and testing.

Sun 13th – Plate oiling 17 3/4 to 18mp

Fri 17th – Wagon work on Brake Van 246710 replacing the overhauled Vac Cylinder. More paint prep on Seacow 667

Sun 19th – Plate oiling 17 3/4 to 18mp

Fri 24th – Wagon work. Resumption of work on Seacow 667, next door removed, 4 to go. Sample panel painted in Olive Drab Green. Discussions undertaken on what needed to progress work on Lowmac 217315.

Sun 26th – Plate Oiling 18mp area.

Fri 31st – Wagon work. Seacow 667, paint preparation, removal of a 3rd hopper door and a start made on freeing of a 4th door.

Sun 2nd Nov – Work for this Sunday will be working at Pickering C+W in preparation for new concrete hardstanding.

Previous note about Plate oiling now cancelled.

Fri 7th – Wagon work. Seacow 667 removal of 4th hopper door, Lowmac 217315 start made on cutting timber for decking the ramps.

Sun 9th – Work for this Sunday will be fishplate oiling at MP18 ½

Thurs 13th –

Fri 14th –

Sun 16th – Reclipping in Northdale with Neal Purseglove.

Fri 20th – Wagon work

Sun 22nd – Plate oiling 18 1/2mp

Fri 28th – Wagon work

Sun 30th – Plate oiling Northdale 18 3/4mp area, Tamper work at Newbridge. Floor steelwork cut out of Lowmac 217315 in preparation for renewal of floor.

Fri 5th Dec – Wagon work

Sun 7th Dec – Work for this Sunday will be track dismantling at Pickering C&W and offloading materials recovered from the Summit rerailing.

Friday 12th – Wagon work.

Sunday 14th – Work for this Sunday will be fishplate oiling at MP18 ¾.

Friday 19th – Wagon Work.

A heavy session on the SEACOW today.
Bryan and Rod have started work on the repairs to the hopper, by burning out the rivets that have pulled through due to corrosion on the south end sloping plates. The aim is to pull the plates back into line with bolts instead. Naturally, the replacement countersunk bolts are not of a size we have in stock.
Richard has drilled and fitted the second safety bracket for the brake rigging. He has also stripped the handbrake gear and dressed up the screw threads, which has produced a major improvement in its ease of operation.
I descaled and cleaned off the east side door mechanism tunnel and more of the north end support framework before applying metal primer.
Steve and Paul from the Wilf Ward Trust have made a good start on the timber treatment of the new decking for the LOWMAC  and continued with refreshing more site pegs in preparation for the Beck Hole relay. According to Bryan’s count today, we have enough for this job either currently in the shed or easily recoverable from the MP 8 area.
Planned next attendances : Friday 2nd January and Tuesday 6th January.

Sunday 21st – Plate oiling at MP 19 ¼.

Friday 26th Boxing Day –  I expect the domestic authorities will cancel any wagon work today.

Sunday 28th – Plate oiling at MP 19 ½.