Thursday, 10 March 2011

Trackwork 2011 - Third session (Am I mad?)

Spreading ballast
With customers postponing my site visits, I take advantage of the situation and decide that a third round of trackwork is in order. Am I mad? Some might say so, but for me it's relaxing and by the end of the day I can sit back and know that I've made a difference. It's also a day not spent battling the M25 which has to be a good thing.

Gallopers platforms

Two sections of the platform have been removed

Damaged paintwork
Of course, the whole day isn't just trackwork - by turning up early I can catch up on other things happening. One such thing is the re-painting of two of the platforms on the Gallopers.

Despite the Gallopers having a total overhaul last winter, the number of visitors enjoying it combined with the weather has taken its toll and the paint on the platforms has started to lift and peel. This happens when moisture levels in the wood change, causing the wood to expand and contract thus weakening the bond of the paint and allowing water in.

As an experiment, two of the platforms have been selected for treatment with an epoxy based system which it is hoped will seal the wood to prevent water ingress and provide a good key for the paint to adhere to.

Epoxy sealer applied

Expoxy resin applied


Today's one and only objective is to ballast the track. It's hard work.

Step 1
Bring down four to five tons of ballast in the dumper
Step 2
Shovel like crazy
Step 3
Repeat step 1

Nearly completed track

Fuel for trackwork!
Between Chris and me we manage to spread around fifteen tons of ballast and virtually complete Peat Field 1. Towards the bridge, Chris notices a small dip in the track and marks the area for Sunday's team to address. John will probably wander along in the next few days with a brush and sweep the sleepers of ballast and Peat Field 1 will be ready. Peat Field 2 next I guess!

Two gauges of rail and the custom fish plates
Before leaving I walk up to the end of Peat Field 2 to see the custom fish plates that Phil in the workshop has made to join the new, heavier 35lb/yd rail onto the existing 20lb/yd rail.

I note that Sunday's team have done a great job of re-aligning the curve and everything joins up beautifully. It will be nice when the next section of track up to Diamond Crossing is renewed next winter. This year's track repair materials bill is around £10,000 — and next year's will probably be even more.

This is one of the drier sections
In case you are left in any doubt as to why this area is called Peat Field 1 and Peat Field 2, here's the evidence. Chris had problems with the tractor sinking in the mire earlier this year when bringing down the pallets of sleepers. Hopefully the new trackbed will permit much better drainage and combined with the creosote soaked sleepers the track should last for a good few years. Oh, it's been fairly dry recently as well!

Slate wagons

Looking much better
The slate wagon wheels that Chris was cleaning the other week have now been painted up and await completion of the remainder of the wagon.

Crazy golf

Fixing the crazy golf courses
Since coming to Bressingham about six years ago, John and Maureen have made huge progress in tidying up the area where the dodgems are located. When they arrived it was being used as a rubbish tip and was completely overgrown. Gradually they have cleared away the mess, sorted out the drainage, filled in the huge hole and tackled the undergrowth. This year's project is to further enhance the area with a crazy golf course that will complement the 5″ & 7.25″ railway that will be built over the next few months.

Newly built fencing & entrance

One of the crazy golf courses

Today they are fixing the courses they have built over winter into position. Smart new fencing and flowerbeds complete the transformation.

Bressingham Volunteer Blog Giveaway!


John and I are offering twenty rounds of crazy golf free for Bressingham Volunteer Blog readers.

Simply quote “Bressingham Volunteer Blog” at the dodgems paybox.

Terms & Conditions
Only one free round of crazy golf per person per day.
There is no alternative or cash offer available.
There are twenty free rounds available, allocated on a first come basis.
The Operator's decision is final.



George Sholto

With a few minutes to spare, I dash into the workshop and manage to grab a couple of shots of the progress of George Sholto before it's home time. The boiler has been reunited with the chassis since I last looked.

From the cab end

Front the front

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