Posted by: wrha | May 11, 2011

Yet more progress in the north

Once more we keep you up to date with developments in the north, courtesy of our Midlothian correspondent, Geoff…….

The Newcraighall turnback siding was relaid over the weekend and slewed into the new track we reported on last time. The horrible wee kink just off the points is gone, the existing signal on the siding has been angled to improve sighting coming round the curve and the bufferstop has been plonked at the new “head of steel”.  Thus the first short stretch of the new Borders Railway (not the Waverley rebuild just yet) is complete courtesy of Network Rail, and the honour of first rail mounted vehicle on the new line fell to a humble Hydrex road/ rail excavator (I know we all really wanted to see those dastardly Claytons made to return to put the track back).

 The new line has been laid with steel sleepers: whether or not the sucessful design/ build/ finance/ maintain contractor will continue with these all the way to Tweedbank remains to be seen, given their currently exorbitant cost. Will we see every last vaguely serviceable concrete sleeper scraped together from all corners of the UK, or will they have a complete break with the norm and go for something novel like French twin- blocks or even recycled plastic ones? Not Network Rail remember!!!

As usual, all photos are copyright Geoff Ruderham/ WHRA/ CBR



  1. I do have a question,
    Why are the fishplates
    and there seems to be an awful lot of them,
    “Painted” white?

    • Dunno. Can’t see. Are they fishplates or is it crack-testing?
      On another point. If the catch-points on the running line are put to use, there will presumably still be a collision hazard?

      • The track circuits will return all effected signals to danger should a train departing Millerhill Yard SPAD on the approach to the junction (which hasn’t got a name yet as I understand? One for Geoff to invent a name or something).
        Departure speed on approach to this signal from M53-M57 ground light signals is 5mph yard speed anyway. A driver would have to make monumental hash of it to run off the end of the traps not to mention the failure of the TPWS systems on the loco.

        If you’ll forgive me I’ll have to go and book my car into the Garage.

        There’s something wrong with its generator……..

      • Thanks for the answers. What are the criteria for requiring catch points as they seem to be less common now than in the past?

    • These are temporary joints, where the fishplates are held with clamps as opposed to bolts (the rails themselves aren’t drilled). In due course, the clamps and plates will be removed and the joints will be welded- up. They’re sprayed with paint so as to be visible to tamper crews, so they don’t hit them with the tines (a mitigation measure which enjoys varying degrees of sucess).

  2. They are usually placed at the exits from yards, sidings, loops and terminals etc to protect the Main Line from run outs by either unauthorised movements or loose vehicles that have not be secured properly.
    They don’t appear to be used in conjunction with gradients as they used to be although I’m sure there will be exceptions. The advent of CWR or long welded rail sections and continuous train braking have made them largely redundant on the Main Line.
    In the case of Millerhill Yard and Kingmoor the sorting sidings and and departure roads are all built on the flat with a slight belly so it isn’t strictly necessary to apply hand brakes as the stock will not run out of the yard.It is of course however in the rule book to apply at least 3 hand brakes on the flat to secure stock and I would certainly consider it best practice.

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