Thursday, 13 December 2018

Thursday Gang

The team were back in action on Thursday working all around the site on multiple jobs.

Steve, Tom and Dave R were attending to the running line carrying out some spot jacking and packing to ensure a smooth ride for our customers. 

Down at the railhead the sleepers were swung to one side to allow the track laying team access for pulling the rails through.
In the shed John and Reg continued with work on the suburban coach with Alan continuing with restoration of the wood trimmings and fittings.

The loco was coaled up and prepared for the weekend and various items of plant were fettled and readied for their next bout of action.  The firewood pile was replenished and much tea was consumed.

Many thanks to Andy G for the pictures and details.

Until next time.

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Sleep(ers) Walking North

Monday and Tuesday.

More sleepers have been moved in to position along the freshly laid ballast bed.  Working north from the cattle creep an extra 100ft have now been positioned.  Glynn, Andy and Steve also lined up the freshly laid sleepers, dug out, cleaned and laid three pairs of rails in the 'four foot' ready for the track gang to drop in to position.  The nearest sleeper is now 230ft north of the cattle creep.

In another delivery, forty special sleepers needed for the transition at the slab under the bridge arrived and have been placed in store.

Special thanks to the team that turned out to help and to Glynn for the picture.

Until next time.

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Sleep(er)ing in December

The Santa Season is in full swing and trains are running at both sites until Christmas, so check the web site and take a trip.

Another week of progress and more milestones passed, many thanks to all who turned up.

Glynn S took the pictures and posted the following report:

Thursday 6th December 2018
Another day with John W and myself sorting out the pile of sleepers and putting them into place alongside the ballast. Meanwhile Andy G used a hired roller to compact the ballast already laid between the 19 mile post and the cattle creep. By the end of a damp and windy day we had a total of 100 sleepers sorted and adjacent to where they are to be laid. Phil B also turned up to assist once he'd finished work
Friday 7th December 2018
Andy R, Pete McC and myself (an hour later) were down in the Gasworks Bridge area, alongside Malcolm (man & digger), and with a hired roller.
By the time I got there, Malcolm had set to moving more screened ballast onto the trackbed South of Travis Perkins, and almost immediately a couple of loads of fresh ballast arrived for North of the bridge. Malcolm headed off there to level it under Pete's and Andy's guidance while I set to compressing the screened ballast with the roller.
After a while it was about turn – Malcolm had finished in section #1 so came back to section #4 to lay some more screened ballast and I headed North to compress the ballast between end of running line and the bridge.
Once rolled levels were taken and in places an inch or two more ballast was needed so Malcolm was back to finish that off, again rolled and now we have it ready for laying sleepers – just a little to take out next to the slab once we have finished with the ramp for machine movements.
By the time I had finished rolling section #1, Malcolm had completed laying screened ballast in section #4, he left and I carried on rolling, a job which Phil B joined in with once he’d finished work.
The view looking along the rolled and ready ballast bed behind Travis Perkins

 Saturday 8th December 2018
Last thing on Friday afternoon Pete McC, Andy R and I decided to do a few hours on Saturday morning making a start on laying sleepers. Again a damp and windy morning but this time I was inside the JCB 805B’s cab so well chuffed.
We made a start laying 10 sleepers then pulled the Cattle Creep rails through from the South side to lay them in the 4foot with the correct overhang from the bridge timbers (4½ metres, 15 feet, 7 sleepers).
I wasn't as dry as I'd imagined as once we started laying I had to turn the cab facing SW and the heavy rain, although only for 5 minutes, soaked my legs.
We then continued laying until it was time to leave. In 2 hours we had managed to lay, with the correct spacing, 52 sleepers. Next job is to use a string line to get them correctly lined up ready to accept the rails. 

Andy assesses the job and looks happy with the result.
Many thanks to Glynn S for the pictures and report.

Until next time.

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Further Ballasting

Work has been going on early this week with preparing the trackbed south of the bridge.  Thanks to CHR and Facebook here are the latest pictures.

First we start with a recap of the ballast being profiled to height. Here the ballast is being levelled over the sewer crossing, this view is looking back towards Oswestry. 
Down at the far end of the section at the cattle creep (bridge 51) is the start of works as the reclaimed ballast is laid to a depth of around 150mm all along the route.
Here you can see the ballast bed in position and levelled with further piles to the left.
Progress has been good and you can see the cattle creep in the distance, beyond that lies roughly another 3/4 of a mile to arrive at Weston.
The machines have been busy moving up the ballast from the storage piles.
The soil reclaimed from the screening process was transported away to be used elsewhere.
Looking along the line you can see here we are leaving behind the town and moving in to open countryside.
Materials for the extension are stored along the way including the concrete sleepers with chairs that will be re used with the bullhead rail which lies alongside waiting for the PWay team.
Looking back towards Oswestry the ballast bed advances north.
The levels have been marked up along the extension and the ballast piles await profiling to the final level
The aim is a clean ballast bed on which the sleepers can be laid with space for access alongside
Glynn S and CHR took the following two pictures which show the JCB moving the sleepers in to position alongside the track.  These will then be swung round into position by the track laying team, avoiding the need to wait for the sleepers to move up from the piles.  All together around 40m was complete.
Andy G, who is usually the one taking the pictures, was driving here and being directed by John W where to place the sleepers. 

Thanks to all who helped and further updates soon.

Until next time.

Santa Specials

Saturday 1st December saw the first run of our Santa Specials, this year using a loco hauled coach.  Andy G was on hand and sent these pictures of the historic event as a steam loco and coach departed for the run down the line.  Thanks to everyone who has made this possible.

Here we see the loco coupled up to the coach and ready to come out of the yard

Once loaded with our guests the train makes a smooth start away from the platform with the first service.

The train heads off along the main line towards Weston.

Thanks to Andy for the pictures. 

Colin took some video of the trains.

What a way to head towards the end of 2018, we are looking forward to 2019 and the next steps on the restoration of our railway.  Fancy joining in?

Until next time.

Monday, 3 December 2018

Extension Pictures

Thanks to Guy N here are the latest pictures of the extension under the bridge.  Firstly we look back towards Oswestry with a very significant picture, a steam loco hauling a coach on this section of track.  A sight not seen since closure of the line to passenger traffic way back in the 1960's.  What an achievement!  These are the Santa Specials and will continue up until Christmas, come along and join in the fun.  You can book through the CHR website, link top right of this page.
The Thursday Gang have been continuing with the recovery of chairs and the removal of life-expired sleepers.  The pile is growing waiting for the next mass clear-out.
The surveyors have been out and about, first setting the heights and then checking after the ballast has been levelled.  Here we can see the section ready to be handed over to the track gang.
 The sleepers are ready to be brought forward on to the freshly levelled ballast.
Under the bridge the rails will be fixed directly to the concrete raft to maximise the clearance.  Here you can see the gap in the ballast to allow the transition, this will be ballasted once the rails are in place.
On the other side towards Weston you can get an idea of the gradient as the track returns to the previous level.
Further along the line the screener has come back to base awaiting it's next operating session.
 Looking back towards Oswestry everything is place to ballast this next section.
Thanks again to Guy N for taking the pictures.

Until next time

Sunday, 2 December 2018

December Arrives

Here we are, coming to the end of what was a glorious year for the CHR project.  We now move in to the month of December having achieved many of our aims for 2018.

  • The lowering of the track bed under the bridge is complete.
  • The signal box has been restored.
  • The track bed for the next phase of the extension is ready
  • The cattle creep bridge has been rebuilt and is available
  • The Carriage and Wagon team have delivered another operational coach (and it's a cracker!)
It started with a coach arriving back in January and is ending with the arrival and entry to service of the TSO at the end of November. 

Speaking about the new arrival it's time for some pictures.  Last Thursday preparations were in full swing for the Santa Specials.  Here the Thursday Gang fix the festive lights to the inside of the TSO.
Further lights are added.  When somebody said we need someone for a light job this was probably not what they had in mind.
 The windows were decorated with Christmas messages.
Many thanks to Tom H for these three pictures.

On the suburban coach work continued inside on the restoration of the brass fittings.  Here are some being polished or painted as appropriate.  Andy G took the following two photos.

All in all around 16 people signed on during the Thursday working party and despite of the cold and wet weather achieved many of their objectives.

Down the line work continued with the sorting of sleepers and the recovery of chairs from those sleepers too far gone for reuse.  Here John, Glyn and Dave talk about anything other than the weather which was causing them to take shelter under the bushes until another shower passed by.
Guy took a walk along the extension and these pictures will be posted later.

Please come along and support the railway, the Santa Specials are a key source of income, all of which is being ploughed back in to the railway to improve our facilities and extend the operating lines.  Santa Special bookings are through the CHR website.  If you can't make it in person you can always donate to the railway following the links in the top right.

Until next time.