More re-railing

Back into the re-railing today, with the other leg now finish.

Another 8 x 80lb rails were installed, same place as yesterday but this time on the UP leg.

By 9.15am we had all the 60lb unfastened and on its way out. The cloud of dust in the distance is John using the blower to clear dirt and stones away from the sleepers before we move the new rail in.

Unspiked and about to be removed, a view towards the end of the worksite.

The spiking up process, same as yesterday (1 in 3, then a quick tamp before finishing the drilling and spiking), was again completed by lunch, leaving some time in the afternoon to cut the closure rail and replace some very life expired sleepers. Above is during the tamping cycle before the next round of spiking .

The closure rail having holes drilled after being cut to length, with Rolf and Trevor accurately lining up the rail drill. As the 80lb rails aren’t all the exact same length we did end up with a slightly different finish point for the new rails, which can be seen when compared to the rails behind.

But the main after lunch activity was replacing 15 very poor sleepers.

All 15 were replaced using steel sleepers fastened up with Pandrol fittings, we’re hoping over time to introduce a lot more steel sleepers into our straight track to give us strong gauge holding and reduce timber sleeper replacements.

Remove the timber and inserting the steel is incredibly fast, taking only a few minutes to do all 15!

However the clipping up process can take a slightly longer time than drilling and spiking a timber sleeper. A trade off which is worth the hassle considering the expected life span of the steel (50+ years).

As the steel, much like concrete, are very low tolerance when it come to gauge, we did need to use the gauger on some as even a few mm either way can make installing the fastenings a real struggle.

Here Trevor uses the pandrol applicator to start the clip, while Neville knocks the clip in using a hammer. A combination of both seems to work best with steel sleepers. While in the background John lifts the next sleeper in preparation.

The sleepers all clipped up and doing their job. This was followed by some boxing up and tamping of the new sleepers.

After yet another excellent days work, we were well and truly exhausted, but very proud of our efforts.

There’s a few odd jobs to tend to early next week, such as tidying up and regulating the ballast, likely to occur on Monday or Tuesday, so if you’d like to come check it out while lending a hand early next week please contact Will on

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