This time last year, Whitrope was already in the grip of winter and had been blanketed in snow for about a week. The white stuff doesn’t appear to be in a hurry thus far in 2011, so the opportunity is being taken to crack on with work on site while the weather holds.
Saturday 3rd saw Tony C, Tony G and Dave S complete the rail dragging we didn’t manage to finish on the November track weekend. Pairs of rails are now laid out from the compound opposite the station all the way up to the outer tunnel fence, as well as alongside the concrete sleepers south of the Golden Bridge. This means that we can crack-on with more tracklaying in the spring, initially focussing our attention on the stock siding which will run north out of the compound towards the level crossing, and will give us our first short length of “double track”. Off site, Alastair sourced and cut to length another batch of timbers for use in the next foot crossing at the north end of the station.
The news isn’t so good on the loco front unfortunately. After the power unit was successfully run- up in October/ November, Duncan became aware that traces of water were finding their way into the engine oil. A fair amount of investigation followed, with the culprit eventually found to be a cracked cylinder liner. It looks as if the power unit will need to be lifted out once again, which will delay the loco’s planned return to traffic next summer. This power unit was of course donated from a sister loco, now scrapped, which we know had been involved in a “side-swipe” collision many years ago while still in industrial use, and there’s every chance that’s what caused the damage.
Planning for 2012 continues in the background, and a couple of promising leads for passenger service coaches are being followed- up. Arrival of the platform coper slabs is pencilled- in for February/ March, and training material for the various safety critical roles is being prepared.