Notice is given that the AGM will be on Saturday 15th October at Hermitage village Hall at 1pm.
The brake van is receiving attention with the chassis being needle gunned and given a coat of primer and underframe black top coat. It has also been moved round to make it easier to work on and also to bounce the springs and brake gear to free them off.
Baz Shell informs me that further track work was undertaken yesterday (18th) and the panel near the tunnel is now connected.
We apologise for the recent lack of updates here; these have been due to personal circumstances of some of the admin. We currently have a temporary team in place until things are resolved. Please bear with us.
Anyway; You may recall from a recent post that work had taken place to clear and prepare the trackbed formation near the tunnel portal compound, and that rails had been moved here.
Well, while waiting for wagons to arrive with materials, Dave, Baz & Jim undertook some more work in this area with 5 new wooden sleepers being recovered from the loop line (currently unused, and these sleepers will be replaced with older ones from the running line).
These sleepers were set out with wide spacing mainly just to hold and align the rails of the panel. The 60ft rails that were out ready were then hauled along using cable and a winch to get positioning; the left hand rail is now in place with a few Pandrol clips holding it, the right hand rail needs pulling north a bit and then put into the chairs. The panel will then be slewed so the ends meet and will be fitted with fishplates. This will be completed during a future works weekend.
Anyone wondering why we are using wooden sleepers rather than concrete on the Northern running line – it’s really down to the ability to handle the items. Wooden sleepers can be moved by two people (as long as they’ve had their wheatabix) whereas concretes are a bit heavier and really require mechanical aides. If anyone has a spare RRV 360• excavator then please drop us a line!
The work stopped as Boyd’s wagon had arrived with the panels from Methil. There are 3 30ft panels of flat bottom rail on concrete sleepers with Pandrol clips. These will be stripped and the materials used for future track work developments. Ballast has also been delivered so that continuation can be made of the programme to ballast and pack the running line towards the tunnel.
All of these works, and the materials involved cost money. We are in requirement of further track ballast, wooden sleepers, and p-way components such as fish plates and clips.
WRHA members, please be advised that Monday 1st August is renewal day for membership subscriptions.
If you don’t currently pay by standing order, a renewal form is available to download from the membership page of the main website, link below.
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Saturday 23rd July
A good day weather wise. After a little bit of shunting the Permaquip Patrolmen’s trolley and its trailer were loaded up with tools and equipment and set off for the head of steel at the Northern end of the main running line.
The team then set about removing more of the moss and other growth from the track bed near the tunnel portal compound. The ballast was scraped to loosen the remaining original ballast bed and then graded the best they could with the tools available.
The drainage ditch in this area has had some work, but the area is still wet so further work will be required on future work days.
Once lifting equipment is available sleepers will be loaded onto the trailer and moved to this area and set out ready to construct a new panel.
As always these works depend on volunteer labour and donations. Details of how you can help with either are available via the main website, wrha.org.uk
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Saturday 2nd. The bracing salt laden air and the weather at Methil have not helped the guards van structure. All the brake linkages were seized with rust; these were freed off and the brakes now work via the hand wheel inside the van. The rigging will require stripping and overhaul at some point in the future though, before regular use. The van had been used as a storage area at Methil for various items, so the Ruston 48DS was coupled to the van and pulled around opposite Northumbria Rail’s brake carriage and the re-usable items transferred to a new home inside it. The guards van was then positioned alongside the platform for easy access to allow final cleaning out.
Saturday 9th. A rather wet day! The branches and logs from a previous work day felling were cleared to one side, off the work area, to allow us to see the two 60 ft lengths of rail. These were coupled to the Ruston by shackles and chains and pulled into the “four-foot” of the running line out of the way for the moment to allow the area to be cleared and sub-base to be put down before the sleepers and rail are put in place.
Future work for July: It is planned to prepare the area near the tunnel for track work so we will need to dispose of cut scrub and such like. The area also needs attention to the drainage ditches. The brake van needs some tidying up and attention to the body work (including modifications to the balcony doors) before it can be used regularly.
Below are several images from the North British Railway Study Group’s recent visit to Whitrope.
After a very unusual route the brake van from Fife has arrived at the railway. The journey from Methil involved a lay over in Stoke! With two cranes needed to lift the brake van onto the rails, it was quite a big job. The first task was to move the concrete blocks from near the level crossing to allow the trailer access to the position required for the lift. With the brake in position the crane unit then edged down the track-bed into position for the lift. With both cranes working together the brake van was slowly lift off the trailer and onto the rails at it’s new home at Whitrope.
Once again thanks to Jeffray Wotherspoon and all the crew at Methil for the loan of these items.
Flying Scotsman visit the Scottish Borders on Sunday 15th May. The trip has generated huge interest across the region and it caused consternation on Friday evening when Network Rail announced that the visit was cancelled due ton gauging paperwork not being in place. On the Saturday a large amount of political pressure was applied to Network Rail and much to everyone’s delight the visit was back on and the required paperwork was in place.
The day of the visit saw lovely weather across the Borders and the crowds were out in force to see the steam engines. The run down from Edinburgh to Tweedbank saw huge crowds at the line-side, thankfully all on the right side of the fence. At points the A7 was struggling to keep flowing with parked cars and people stopping to see the train.
The stop at Galashiels was met with a very large crowd and the pipe band, which really impressed the passengers on the train. Arrival at Tweedbank was greeted with even larger numbers of excited spectators, keen to see Flying Scotsman. A party atmosphere was generated at Tweedbank were people queued to gain access to the platform for a photograph.
Late in the afternoon the train departed back up to Edinburgh after a highly successful visit.
A rather grey Saturday up at Whitrope with low cloud set in.
With a good number of bodies on site a number of jobs were progressed. Chris and Davie worked on the under-frame of the buffet coach, removing some rust and applying primer. Malcolm carried out repairs to the steps that give access to the Mk1 workshop coach. Tom and Peter were on site and progressed a number of jobs. The development of various exhibits continues with a number of mile posts in position at the end of the platform.