Permanent Way Update 16/10/20

I’d not realised that my last update had been late July. Since then much has been achieved by the P-Way team meeting up every week on a Wednesday.

At Matlock Riverside the work completed in August and September has included:

  • Replacement of 11 sleepers underneath Point 3, which leads to the Headshunt, with new ones purchased by the PRA last year. A split and partially rotted timber revealed two Toads which were relocated to a safe location nearby. This in fact was one of a couple of piles of old sleepers deliberately left to rot away at Riverside to encourage wildlife.
  • Replacement of 7 life expired sleepers in the Platform line in the three panels of track immediately before Point 3. Again new sleepers used.
  • Replacement of 8 life expired sleepers towards the far end of the Headshunt. This time using the last of the good quality second hand sleepers from the P-Way stock in Rowsley Yard.
  • Removal and replacement of two sleepers acting as support beams for the platform boards at the north end of Riverside Station. It had been noticed that the Platform surface had dipped at this point and the condition of the two support beams was highlighted as the problem.

Further work has taken place at two of the farm crossings.

  • At Statham’s Crossing the two gates, which had been removed earlier, were replaced having been repaired in the Workshop at Rowsley. For the Up side new hooks were used to hang the gate directly onto the girder acting as a post. Both gates were chained shut with new number combination padlocks. The Office and farmer were given the chosen number code.
  • At Dick Smith’s Crossing the gatepost on the Down side had to be replaced. Previous efforts to dig out the remains of the post left in the ground had failed. By removing some of the concrete collar around it and a great deal of brute force the base of the post finally lifted out in pieces. An hour well spent? The new post was firmed in with large rocks to hold it successfully in place. With holes drilled for the new hooks the gate was re-hung and chained shut.

Whilst undertaking a visual inspection of all the bridges after Lockdown I noted a concern regarding Bridge 40. This bridge has two girders between the abutments supporting longitudinal sleepers with the rail. There is support bracing between the girders. There are also three pairs of Bullhead rail either side of the track and between it, also from one abutment to the other. On top of these have been laid Crossing Timbers to cover what otherwise would be a drop into Warney Brook. The concern highlighted was the condition of the timbers in the 4ft and on the Down side walkway. All the timbers in the 4ft have been replaced and a start made on the walkway. The replacements have so far come from the ex Derbyshire Dales Narrow Gauge Railway. The timbers were once under a Point near the station. Ballast is also being reclaimed from the same location.

New timbers have been dropped off ready to replace those life expired under the Points at Rowsley.

All gauging measurements of the main line, loops and points was completed by mid August and recorded.

The team continues to work following current CV-19 regulations.

Roger Hallatt.