Having completed a full inspection of the line over the last few weeks my notes indicate a significant amount of work required. Near Bridge 35 a damaged fence is evidence of trespass onto the track. At Statham’s Crossing both gates have been damaged. One replacement will come from the pair removed when the Arc Crossing was upgraded for the Multi User Trail. The other gate is 4ft wider and a replacement will be ordered from a farm supplier. The farmer concerned has been informed that once replaced these gates must be locked at all times except when access is required. At the footpath crossing just south of Rowsley site a wooden gate has been badly damaged and must be repaired or replaced. On Point 8B, part of Rowsley South Crossover, a casting under the Crossing Nose has a fracture in it. Luckily a replacement exists on the Crossing Nose taken out of Point 5, Darley Dale South Yard, when it was renewed in November 2017. This will be disassembled to release the required casting. In the meantime the fractured casting will be monitored. All these jobs need to take place before the WTT resumes.
Over the last week work has continued to address the growth of vegetation. Stuart has spent time clearing the flourishing vegetation from Darley Dale Level Crossing to well beyond the footpath crossing in Red House Cutting. This has included attention to the sight lines for the footpath crossing required by loco crews for safety reasons. Stuart has also spent time working around Church Lane.
At Rowsley South the points on the running line, loop, loading dock and engine shed roads have been cleaned and greased by Phil and Jonah. John has completed the cutting to size of reclaimed concrete slabs to fit as covers for the drain in Red House Cutting. These are now stored on the Works Train awaiting its next foray down the line. Once the slabs have been dropped off and fitted the remaining branches cut down before Lockdown in Red House Cutting will be collected for disposal at Rowsley. Over recent weeks John and Phil have been tidying up Red House Cutting in preparation for this removal.
Ian and I have started to gauge the main running line, at the same time monitoring cross levels. We have also taken the opportunity to clean and tidy up the Mess/Tool Coach.
Before Lockdown the Mess/Tool Coach had been completely re-wired with the help of Ian and funded by the Peak Railway Association. I mentioned in a Peak Express P-Way report that the two existing Works Train generators needed replacing for Health and Safety reasons. Thanks to a generous donation by Richard Newman, a new volunteer to the Steam Loco Dept, the Works Train now has an almost new 10 Kva generator. This was installed under the Tool/Mess Coach early this year. With new 110v extension leads the generator saw its first sustained use for power tools used in packing joints. This took place over two Sundays in late January/early February when lifting and packing of dip joints took place between the Arc Crossing and Bridge 38. With a good turnout of volunteers, sixteen joints were improved. More would have been achieved had Storm Ciara not intervened on the third Sunday. Also due to poor weather in February and early March plus the CV-19 Lockdown proposed midweek working on this task has had to be postponed. However the generator has proved its worth along with the new protective items like Ear protectors and anti-vibration gloves for volunteers using power tools such as the Kango. The use of power tools to vibrate ballast under the sleepers either side of joints is much more efficient than hand shovel packing.