2016 Daresbury Gazette

2016 Dairesbury Gazettes

December 2016

As 2016 draws to a close I thought it would be a good idea just to look back at what a year it was.

After a whirlwind start on the track extension, it all came to a standstill with the start of the new year. Near monsoon conditions over the Christmas period with widespread flooding all over the country resulted in a complete halt to all work in progress. This resulted in frantic digging all around the extension to create some form of drainage. Due to the state of the fields there wasn’t a hope in hell’s chance of getting truck loads of hard core across to build the embankment needed to carry the track around the pond. Yet again the brains of our gang of merry men came into play !!  A suggestion was made that “polystyrene” might be the solution. Rob Gleave managed to find a company in Birmingham that could help us out and importantly at the “right price “. So early morning, two vehicles were dispatched to Birmingham and by tea time that day our “polystyrene” embankment was in place. A fantastic simple result to one of our biggest nightmares. Due to the weather etc. it became obvious that the track wouldn’t be completed in time for the steam fair, so work progressed at a moderate rate, seeing the completion of the bridge and the tunnel and also most of the pillars and beams.

July brought with it even more rain, and together with the loss of our water supply, almost destroyed the steam fair. Due to the efforts of our Hon. Sec. Brian Renton, Roy Allen and myself the water was restored just in time for the Steam Fair. Heavy down pours on the Saturday, followed by lovely sunny weather on the Sunday which saved our bacon, so all was not lost. Work resumed until the final breaking and joining up of the new extension on 2nd October. Thurs. 20th saw Barrie’s Duchess steamed up with a hand picked group of members to do a series of test runs to ascertain the riding and braking qualities of the track. Once pronounced safe for the members, the track was opened for club running. A decision was made to have the track tested by an independent body of people so it could be deemed safe for public running. Leyland society were chosen, as they have the most experienced people in this field of knowledge. They came, they tested, they played, and were really impressed with our efforts, giving us full marks and signed us off. Well done everyone involved.

Unfortunately, just before the track was reopened, the death of one of our longest and most entertaining members was announced, Gerry Mole. Who could forget his laser shows on the “Night Run ” and ” Dobby ” his side-kick who amused hundreds of people on the Steam Fair days. A  truly great loss to our club, rest in peace Gerry.

What has now become an annual event, “The Night Run ” took place seeing a record entry of loco’s taking part. It resulted in people still on site at 10pm, never been heard of before, lots of fun, food and tea, what a night.

During the year two of our members were involved in IMLEC trials, one at international level and the other in a local event at Leyland. Unfortunately Barrie Purslow was dealt a crushing blow after a faultless run by his Duchess loco, and deemed to be the most outstanding performance, he was declared second to the astonishment of the crowd.
The Leyland society held their own efficiency trails and Barrie entered his Black Five and Roy Allen entered his Polly, guess who won? the Polly !!!   There were cries of a ” robbed again “, but it was all drowned in the music from the George Formby tribute band and lashings of fish and chips!!. All was well until we were about to leave, when Roy suddenly took ill. It was decided the best thing to do was get him home ASAP. This was done, and by the end of the day Roy was in the critical care unit at Broadgreen hospital and underwent a quadruple heart by-pass. Glad to say Roy has made a complete recovery and back to his good old indecisive ways ha ha. ( can’t even make his mind up
whether or not to come or go )

As the year comes to a close it’s been a year of up’s and downs, a few of us have had health and personal problems but I’m sure we wouldn’t have been able to carry on without the wonderful working and witty atmosphere we find up at THE TRACK.

Happy New Year everyone

Pat Mullee

Wednesday 26th October 2016

The supply of round tuits failed last week, so no bulletin.However we had a visitation from Leyland who examined the extension in detail and I think pronounced themselves content. In the meantime I was (guess what) drilling holes. I also brought along my super double decker storage rack for the signals, only to find it was too tall and wouldn’t go in the carriage shed when mounted on a truck. Back to the drawing board. Both Barrie and Paul were running their aristocratic ladies, I’m trying to think of a pun about Double Duchess, but failing. They ducked my suggestion of coupling up back to back and having a tug of war. Shades of HMS Rattler and HMS Alecto (google it)

The weather was kind to us again today. There are no prizes for guessing what I was up to, but I think they’re all drilled now. The first signal post of the extension has been planted, needs firming in, so don’t swing on it. This has been recovered from the old bit of track(using a big hammer to get the concrete off), so I’m still looking for scaffolding poles or similar, about 6 ft long. More tidying up, moving blocks/flags etc to a storgae area rather than scattered around the track, looks a lot better. Craig was tweaking the new track in various places, and Dave and Henry were doing some adjustments to the old bit, yes we’ve still got to run on that, and it’s nothing like as smooth as the new bit.

No meting tomorrow, but next Thursday we have a talk on ‘Heavy Haulage’. Be there or be square as they say

Wednesday 12th October 2016

Beautiful day again today, middle of October and I’m still sitting outside to eat my breakfast. Good turnout at the track,

2 teams tinkering with the extension, ironing out some small humps and kinks, although it seemed OK to me

Now one for the skip divers, we need 4 off 2ft square paving flags. If you’ve got any stached away, or spot some in a skip, let DaveM know

Many people doing a general site tidy, it’s been getting a bit neglected with all the other work, any excuse for a bonfire

PaulC brought his Black 5, so after lunch that was fired up and running round. He’s made a loverly job of it. He left his usual trail of detritus, nothing important, but I found bits of the front coupling lying on a sleeper

I nearly finished drilling holes, taking a very long extension lead meant I didn’t have to move the genny too often. Craig brought his metal detector to search for the missing drilling jig, we found a washer and a bolt, but no jig, and no Saxon hoard. There is a spare, but I’ll make another, or the spare is bound to get lost, in fact once I’ve made the spare the lost one will turn up. I’ve got a volunteer to make the linking wires, so it will soon be connection time. We seem to have an agreed set of signal positions, so we can get on putting the signal posts up. I took the sulking semaphore home, guess what it worked perfectly, and when I pugged it into the post today it worked, if it plays up again, please let me know. Attached

picture shows latest batch, I’m not making any more!img_2906-small

The speaker last Thursday was really good (Mersey Gateway Project). Lots of good ideas on how to design and make our replacement bridge, or perhaps not! If you missed it the visitor centre in Widnes was highly recommended (top floor Catalyst Centre)

Wednesday 5th October 2016

As our extension correspondent has decided to take a well earned rest, you’ll have to make do with extension reports from me for the time being. The necessary adjustments to the guard rail have been made, and a second team were busily engaged removing the rail from the old track. After lunch it was all systems go, 4 steam locos and a couple of diesels running round the full track. I had a couple of laps, and the new track is noticeably smoother than the old, having straight flat beams is probably a good start. One person found the pull up from the pond to the tunnel a bit taxing, but he soon got used to it. Keith had the first run with a 3.5” loco, but as it is a model of a Himalaya and Darjeeling loco it isn’t small. He had to retire hurt when he found one of the flycranks trying to occupy the same bit of space as a frame bracket, a few minutes Dremelling should sort that out. The restriction on members only has been lifted. Still lots of work to do as DaveM pointed out last time, so no slacking you extensioneers. Note that there are blind bends , particularly by the water tank, by the conifers and approaching the tunnel. It is possible that someone has come to a stand, so festina lente.
I’m sure there will be e grand opening sometime, probably in the spring.

Meanwhile I was drilling lots of holes for track circuiting. Only about 70 to go. It’s not hard work, but it gets your back, and having to move the generator is a nuisance. Before you suggest a battery drill, I find them too slow for small holes, and as I have electricity in all rooms at my house I’m not sure why I’d want one. Good news is that the long embankment is wide enough for the generator trolley, although a diddy one mounted on rails would be really neat. The home semaphore seems to have developed a sulk. Until I’ve sorted it you’ll need to use just the swing link signal. If you don’t know how to set it up, ASK.

Tonight’s extravaganza is Bernie Carr telling us about the new Mersey Gateway bridge.

Sunday 2nd October 2016

Remember there is still some work to do, so running will not commence until Wednesday afternoon, even then it is club members only, no friends or family.. This is a truly magnificent achievement by all concerned

EXTENSION NEWS – EXTENSION TRACK OPENED

Last Thursday the rail was laid on the LHS to connect the track coming down in the Long Cut to the existing track. The last three sleepers had to be planed to avoid a bump over this connection. At the same time a bump on the RHS which appeared on one of the new beams was fixed.

Today (Sunday 2nd October) two teams fixed the Guard rail onto both connections finishing at lunch time. Meanwhile 2 beams by the Water Tank still mistakenly left with 2½ degree of cant were reduced to 2 degree the same as the other beams in this area. A reported jerk when running over the first beam on the Bridge was traced to no packing being present under one beam resulting in the beam dipping when the weight of the carriage ran over it. Added the relevant packing – job done.

After lunch it all happened

The Duchess was steamed up with two carriages and the same personnel as signed off the first test of the track on Tuesday 20th ran round the complete track following a planned sequence of runs. This concentrated on testing the two new connections between the Extension and the old track and also the modification to the cant requested after the first test run. Severe rubbing was found when joining the old track from the Long Cut so a temporary speed restriction was imposed which will be fixed this Wednesday. A normal line speed run round the Extension resulted in the Pond curve being taken at 7mph which dropped to 5mph at the end of the long drag when crossing Daresbury Summit. The last test run in the sequence was a higher speed run completed without any problems. After these runs the Extension was deemed to be runnable with compliments as to its smooth running. Complaints were inevitable made about the state of the old track – next project for Dave!

Then it was rides for everybody on site with the Duchess pulling three carriages.

Three other engines were run round the Extension a diesel together with two other small steam locos including a 0-4-0 (guess who was driving). No problems were encountered in getting the smaller engines to run round the Extension without stopping with a shortage of steam despite the long uphill gradient of 1:106.

Your correspondent is retiring from working on the Extension after 18 months of hard graft starting on the 19th March 2015 when the AGM voted for going ahead with the Extension – the wife wants the computer as well as me back (not sure in which order). There are still three projects to be completed on the Extension. The first requires plans to be produced on how to solve the drainage problems especially in the Long Cut and the work required before winter sets in. The second is already in hand for the replacement of the Bridge over the drainage ditch when entering the Extension. The third is to install the two retaining walls against the soil banks at each end of the Tunnel and to build the Tunnel portals when funds allow probably in the spring.

Meanwhile I will produce the documentation to enable the Extension to be signed off by independent assessors before taking a leisurely look on how to improve the ride on the old track.

I may have confused you with my ramblings over the months but I have given out a lot of detail with I hope light hearted moments. Thank you for reading Extension News – this is my last edition.

DaveM

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Wednesday 28th Sept 2016

Before I forget, speaker on 6th Oct is now Bernie Carr, who will tell us all about the new Mersey Bridge which has been causing us all to get totally lost every time we go anywhere near Runcorn/Widnes. The model ship man will be next year hopefully

Today I had to go to the track via Lymm to pick up the first of the new trucks, bodywork and fabulous paint job courtesy of Bruce. The seat needs upholstering (we have a volunteer), and the brakes need finishing off. The seat is deliberately a bit short at the front so we can fit a coal box for the tank engine men. Note the extended footboards at the front, should make it more comfortable bending over long tenders.When the round tuits arrive we’ll get on with the second one, but I think we need a volunteer woodsmith.

new-car-small

Armed with my extended drill I drilled a lot of holes for the track circuiting until my wrist got sore, and I got fed up moving the generator. More next week, and the week after and so on. You will note a second set of spikes denoting the alternative propoosed signal positions as outlined last week. These have bright orange ribbons attached. The original positions have red/white ribbons. Comments welcome, won’t be fixed in place for some considerable time.

Ray’s assembly of copper bits (see last week) passed it’s boiler hydraulic test. According to the diary, Sunday is a running day. As the track isn’t connected I’m assuming this is cancelled. Watch this space for news of 6 Nov

EXTENSION NEWS

Following on from the removal of the old track work continued on the Thursday and Sunday to take advantage of the fine weather. On the Thursday the half width pillars connecting to the old bridge (pillar 500) and pillar 620 to the old track were built up with difficulty. The blocks had to be raised accurately so that the smaller metal beams are level with the concrete ones. In the afternoon two small teams made rapid progress building up the six pillars to their full height. On the Sunday the last of the beams were straightened and laid on top of the pillars.

Today two teams worked on attaching the beams. On the RHS, coming off the Old Bridge, the four beams were screwed down after checking the gradient between the old bridge and the track already fixed. After that the sleepers and rail were attached by the usual efficient gang. A small ceremony was enacted with the last screw to complete the track being joined up between the old track at the Old Bridge and the Extension..

On the LHS joining up with the old track is taking more time as this is the area were the reverse curve has been removed and the existing track is dropping away at 1:120 on a curve. After lots of nudging of base blocks to align the track and then trial packing of the beams to level the gradients the four beams were finally screwed down. The curve of the track above the four beams has finally been realigned following its disturbance when nudging over the base blocks some time ago to move the track to the left to meet up with the old track. The curve and cant on the next three concrete pillars on the old track were then adjusted by loosening the track. Unfortunately there is now one beam with a 60 foot radius curve on which the cant was set to 2 degrees with smoothing at each end. With the removal of the slight adverse cant which has been causing problems it is now possible to enter the existing track at speed from the downhill section in Long Cut.

Tomorrow (Thursday) there is a working party to connect up the track on the LHS followed by another one on Sunday to attach the Guard Rail and check over the Extension,.

DaveM

Wednesday 21st Sept 2016

First a plug for the other Warringtonians who like to mess with little trains, in their case very little! Warrington Model Rail exhibition, Warrington Collegiate, 15/16 Oct

http://www.warringtonmodelrail.co.uk/#/exhibition/4576118762

EGM was well attended, and some very sensible discussion took place. No decisions made, but useful to gauge opinion so that t’committee can propose the way forward. It was good to see Roy after having his tubing re-organised

Night running was very well attended, I’m not going to enumerate who was there as I would probably miss someone. I had quite a few enjoyable laps behind Brian’s class 37 until he was unreasonable enought to want his loco back. Catering as ever was in the hands of Pat, and there was lots of luverly cake. It has been suggested that this event is so good we should have one in the spring as well. Watch this space

If anyone needs small components vapour blasting or powder coating then I’ve had this outfit recommended. Not used myself

http://www.bigalsmotorcycles.me.uk/

Today I started on the track circuiting of the extension. Around 300 holes to drill, I’ve done 44, then I’d broken all the drills. Problem is if you’re trying to drill a hole coincident with a sleeper, when it breaks through the chuck hits the end of the sleeper and the drill breaks. I’m going to make up some extended drills for next week. I’ll then need 150 off bent bits of SS wire, anyone good at designing bending jigs?

The distances between proposed signals are:

From existing before bridge to water tank 63 paces; from water tank to tunnel mouth 65 paces; from tunnel mouth to Daresbury summit/start of long cut 94 paces; to final signal 65 paces

It has been suggested that all sections should be the same length. One way to achieve this is to have an extra one, and move as follows

Water tank moved earlier to 56 paces, tunnel mouth moved earlier by 16 paces, this puts it well down the straight, extra signal 56 paces from this one, Daresbury summit where it is now. You will note that 63 + 65 + 94 pretty much equals 56 + 56 + 56 + 56. I can then move the final signal earlier by 9 paces. I’ll peg this out with different coloured flags next week to see what it looks like. Might be rubbish, we’ll see. I’ve got enough signals! Better to play about and get it right now than to have to try to move them later.

TEST RUN ON EXTENSION 20th SEPTEMBER

Yesterday afternoon a test train was run on the Extension using a mainline diesel and 2 passenger coaches the second of which was one of the old ones. In attendance were three committee members together with four ordinary members of the club plus a surprise appearance from our heart valve patient. A schedule was drawn up which included a slow run round the track to watch the movement between the coupling and also the bogies on the second truck, a normal run, a tilt test stopping at differing cants to test the angle of the trucks, a run stopping at the revised positioning of the four signals on the Extension, a brake test on the 1:101 gradient in the Long Cut and finally a fully loaded non stop run right round. Only two problems were encountered which were soon fixed on the day. The skirt of the trucks grounded on 2 beams just after Daresbury Summit which was soon dug out, two Guard Rail blocks were found to be loose due to the screws having been sheared which again were soon fixed. A debate ensued whether the 3 degrees of cant on the 60 foot radius curves round the Pond, with the carriages leaning over, is too much when the train is stopped. At the request of  two committee members this will be changed to 2 ½ degree of cant.

The document detailing the above test runs is available. With the runs being declared a complete success the Extension is authorised to be run only by members of WDMES. Due to insurance considerations family, friends and members of the public are NOT allowed to ride until the Extension has been signed off by independent assessors which will not take place until the old bridge above the culvert has been replaced over winter.

 

 

 

 

And here’s some pictures to prove it

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EXTENSION NEWS

After a massive effort last week the 3½ inch rail has been completed as well as the installation of the Guard Rail right through the Long Cut. With the track tested authorisation was given to break the old track. This led to so much enthusiasm that before the first cup of tea could be brewed the rail had been removed from 4 Beams on both sides of the track. The metal anti-tip rail was cut through and the eight concrete beams moved to be stored by the old bridge Four old pillars had to smashed as well as their bases as they were sitting on lumps of concrete not flags. Three new base slabs were dug out. After aligning some of the bases 4 first blocks were cemented in. A fantastic effort by a small group.

Meanwhile the degree of cant round the Pond was reduced from 3 degrees to 2 ½ degrees as requested. By the Water Tank, on a 70 foot radius curve, cant was reduced from 2½ degrees to 2 degrees as this is were trains will stop at the revised position of Signal 3. It was found that one beam in this area was actually at 3 degrees which explains why everybody was uncomfortable with the cant. The flats in the curves especially by the Water Tank, towards the Pond and in the Tunnel were removed. The ride on the track is now even more smooth.

With the weather forecast being good for Thursday, while on Sunday some key members are not available, a working party is scheduled on Thursday at 10.00 to build up the 4 Pillars on the LHS to their correct height. Not a heavy task but one that takes time to align the gradients as from the experience gained when connecting the track round the Pond and over Darsbury Summit.

DaveM

 

Wednesday 14th Sept 2016

Having received some feedback on signal location I’ve adjusted their positions. Signal 3 which was just before the conifers has been moved earlier so that it can be seen from a lot further away. Signal 4 just before tunnel mouth has been moved earlier so that it it not on a bend. Signal 5 has been moved so it is actually after the summit and so on a downhill. It had been suggested that I move signal 6 away, but it would be prone to bad sighting if long grass on top of embankment, so I’ve left it alone. Nothing is set in concrete yet, so comments still welcome. The PCB boards have come, so I’ve been slaving over a hot soldering iron. Might be one ready for tomorrow night if you’re lucky

After some discussion it has been agreed that even drivers of tender locos do not sit at the very front of the trucks, so the seat on the new ones will have a lift out cushion at the front about 4″ long, where tank engine men can put the coal box. Weather permitting the bodywork of the new truck will be delivered next week. We’re looking for a volunteer woodworker to do the next truck, we already have volunteers for most of the metalwork

There was a very nice 3.5″g GWR Prairie up for boiler test which it passed. RayW brought along an assembly of copper which purports to be a boiler, not sure what Henry made of it. Pressure test will tell all.

Don’t forget EGM tomorrow night.

Extension report from PatM, Dave is off playing puffers somewhere in eastern Europe

Today in full sun and ankle deep in mud a really good effort by two
gangs of pensioners completed the final 30 beams of anti tip rail from
Daresbury summit down to where it will eventually join up to the
existing track.

Elsewhere digging of drainage trench's rolls on its beginning to look
like Stalag Luft 4 ! people walking round depositing soil wherever
they can.

On Thursday last week Rob collected the final delivery of aluminum
rail and on Sunday 18th Sept the 31/2 gauge rail was completed. Well
done

So one year and four months from the start of earth works we have one
of the most beautiful tracks in the country all that is needed now is
to fine tune and test the track before the final push.

Wednesday 7th Sept 2016

I’ve been on my hols, so no idea what happened on Wednesday apart from DaveM’s extension report below. Don’t forget natter night on 15th and the spectacular night running event on the 16th. The P2 talk last week was excellent.

EXTENSION NEWS

CHECKING OF TRACK

Downhill from Daresbury Summit there is a long left hand curve into the Long Cut. As trains will not have picked up much speed at this point 1 degree of cant has been set with 1 ½ degrees on three curves which are almost 70 foot radius. The cant on the 70 foot radius curves into the Tunnel has been checked at 2 ½ degrees. As a test a loaded passenger truck was stopped on the track as this is were one of the signals is located.

The initial positioning of the four Extension signal posts have been documented as to where they are in relation to gradient, curvature and cant. They all have clear sightings on approach. They are all in good positions and therefore any discussions will not move them more than two beam’s length.

Over half the beams have had their relevant number 501 – 620 painted on the left hand side of the beam in the ‘U’ section. The number is at the front of the beam and corresponds with its pillar number. At “Pond Bottom” beams 524 & 525 and at “Daresbury Summit” beams 583 & 584 all have LEVEL painted on them.

GUARD RAIL

The guard rail has been connected up across the Bridge – special fittings into the steel pillars were required.. Blocks have been attached on all the pillars from the Pond area to the Bridge connecting up the two sections already completed – planks will soon follow.

DRAINAGE

At the top of the Long Cut the drainage channel down to the Pond has been completely dug out to introduce a fall and a plastic pipe laid.

DaveM

 

 

Wednesday 31st August 2016

Nice weather again despite the forecast. JohnE brought his Simplex along for trial, last time i saw it in his workshop it was in a million pieces, so he’s been busy. It passes and John had a few laps,which was handy to carry me up to where I was working on signals.

Last week I regaled you with the flickering distant. It looked like the cause was dirty rail, but we never get the problem at the bottom end. We’d discussed all sorts of hight tech solutions, but it eventually dawned on me that we clean the track at the bottom end now and again. It’s never been cleaned at the top. Cleaned it today and the problem sems to have gone away. If it carries on flickering, just take that signal out. You can see the next one from way back, so it’s not essential, just nice to have

As reported previously I’ve had some feedback about position of signals on the extension. I’ve been round and put in lamp irons at the suggested spots, red/white tape to identify. This is not set in stone, but it will be if I don’t get any comments. Don’t moan after the event. I’ve found a length of galvanised pipe in the container. If no-one claims it it will soon become signal posts!

Tomorrow is the start of out winter speakers. Prince of Wales is a full size P2 being built by the same team who built Tornado, so it has a fair chance of being completed in reasonable time. They will be passing round the begging bowl no doubt so bring plenty of cash. Then it is running day Sunday

EXTENSION NEWS

CHECKING OF TRACK

The alignment of cant on the beams through four of the five main curves on the Extension has been completed. There has been arguments about how much cant should be applied to the nine 60 foot radius curves down at the bottom of the downhill run to the Pond at the end of 19 beams past the Water Tank at a gradient of 1:212/1:159 before starting the long climb at 1:106 over 47 beams to Daresbury Summit. Drivers will be opening up on the down-slope despite a signal being positioned on level track just before the conifers. The formula for model engines states that for a train running at 7 mph round a 60 degree curve that curve should have a cant of 3 degrees which will minimise flange wear and maximise passenger comfort. All the 60 foot radius curves round the Pond have been double checked and adjusted so that none now have more than 3 degrees of cant. The 70 foot blending curves at either end have been set with 2 degree of cant with the next beam leading into a straight at 1 degree. Testing to see how passenger trucks behave on 3 degrees of cant, including a stopped train on the curve, will be scheduled soon. As the track rises towards the Tunnel the cant on the curves before the Tunnel has been reduced to 2½ degrees and reduced further to 2 degrees on the twelve 60 foot radius curves before, over and beyond the Bridge. The thinking is that trains will probably be doing more like 5mph due to being slowed on the long drag (who is going to be the first to stall). Note that the beams on the old track round the bottom curve have a cant varying from 2½ to 3 degrees – can anybody tell me what speed trains are currently running round this curve.

GUARD RAIL

With the help of Sunday working and the preparation of the wooden blocks being pre drilled at home the guard rail is now a continuous stretch through the Tunnel, across the Bridge, up past Daresbury Summit and down to the entrance of the Long Cut.

DRAINAGE

Work continues on extending the main channel. Another channel has been requested to be dug on the field side, brought a reasonable way down the cutting before crossing over to join the main channel.

DaveM

Wednesday 24th August 2016

Beautiful weather today, but that was as good as it got for me I’m afraid.

When you pass the first distant down by the carriage shed it turn to caution. I decided to make the first signal of the top end set do similar, so over a few weeks I’ve track circuited it. didn’t work as well as it might, the shorting of the track by the axles of a 4 wheel truck is intermittent and so the signal flickered yellow/green. It will be sorted

During the week I had the brilliant idea of leaving the final signal post and junction box in place and running an extension lead to a new post on the right of the track where it is a lot more visible. Bruce provided a bit of ally tube ( more than a bit flexible!), but I fear I’ve gone awry in my wiring of the extension lead or it has a broken core as it didn’t want to work. Forgetting the wiring diagram didn’t help.Within 10minures of getting it on the bench at home I found the problem, broken track in strip board. Should have done a continuity check before bringing it. Good news is that the signal is a lot more visible in it’s new position, and it will all be working by next running day. If anyone is running on Sunday, the signal still works on its old post.

Steam testing had a busy day, a 3.5″ Maisie, DaveM’s Southern loco, and a Tich chassis running on air. One of these years I’ll dig out my Tich and finish it, I started it 46 years ago. It’s been finished several times, but then you try to make it better.

EXTENSION NEWS

A light days work at the track today due to the greater attraction of 3 engines being steam tested. This Sunday is a working day – please bring a battery drill if possible

CHECKING OF TRACK

Three pillars which had a loose top block were fixed by lifting the beams and applying glue. They were left with concrete blocks on top of the rail to weigh them down until the glue set.

GUARD RAIL

The wooden rail is is now laid right through the Tunnel and is approaching the Bridge until a stop was called due to running out of materials.

OLD BRIDGE

The plan is to use the concrete beams coming out of the old curve to build up a drainage tunnel on top of which 2 pillars will be built. The spoil from the demolished pillars will be used as a filler to be topped later by soil. The existing side metal panels as a walkway are redundant. There will be 2 standard length beams of 2020mm each and 2 short ones. The first will be on the approach to the bridge replacing the short concrete beam the other will be in the middle of the standard beams. A plan is being drawn up which will be checked for loading then the number of old concrete beams required will be known and the exact length of the short beams calculated.

DRAINAGE

Work continues with two cross channels been dug in the Long Cut.

DaveM

Wednesday 17th August 2016

Shout it from the rooftops, the signals at the top end now work. In the next few days I will e-mail everyone an amended operating document to cover the changes. I know that the final signal on the top bend is not ideally situated. It was fine as a semaphore, but could do with being on the opposite side for colour light. However it will become redundant when the extension is opened, so I’m not moving it. I’ve also modded the test box (no this doesn’t mean the clock is finished). Having had input from a couple of people who drive a lot, it is proposed that signals on the extension will be as follows:

existing distant to stay where it is

existing signal just before the bridge to stay where it is to cover bends by bridge and water tank

new signal just before conifer trees on new bit

new signal just before tunnel mouth

new signal somewhere around Daresbury summit, before blind bend into cutting

new signal just before connection back into existing track where trees obstruct view ahead.

These positions are conveniently evenly spaced at about 30 beam lengths (180 ft plus or minus). If you’re doing 6 mph (528 ft/min)  it will take 20 seconds to go through each section. The signals near the pavillion are approx 20 beams apart.

I’ve sent details of night running under separate cover. Natter night tomorrow, then running day Sunday (I got it wrong last week, mea culpa). Finally a reminder, Gerry Mole’s funeral is 4:15, 22nd Auguat at Warrington Crem

 

EXTENSION NEWS

The “Holy Grail” of Train Spotting Live, the Track Checking Train, was surveying the Extension on Wednesday 17th August and seen passing the Water Tank at 12.16pm and leaving the Tunnel at 12.34pm.

The train consisted of five vehicles :-

Gauging wheels, a Swingometer truck to check tilt, small and large Passenger trucks to check ground and sleeper clearances plus an easily derailing long wheeled Guards-Van.

CHECKING OF TRACK

Following extra working on Sunday as well as today all the known bumps have been planned out.

On the first curve on the RHS, by the water tank, elevation has been added right round the curve and a start made on the 60 foot radius curve round the Pond. After much discussion an agreed policy has been laid down. Fast running down to the Pond is likely so these beams are being set at a three degree elevation which is achieved by adding 2 red packers (12mm) to the right hand edge of the beam. The two beams leading into the curve, starting on the straight, are blended in with the appropriate packers to give one degree then two degrees of tilt. The 70 foot radius curve by the water tank was set at 2½ degrees with blending each end. The track was tested by loading up a passenger truck with volunteers and pushing them round the curve – with rapid speed quick braking was required.

NOTE the 3 degree elevation round a 60 foot radius curve is based on a speed of 7 mph which will minimise flange wear and maximise passenger comfort.

3½ RAIL

On Sunday 15 beams were completed. Following the efforts today there are only 11 more beams requiring 3½ rail. Unfortunately we have run out of new rail until the order is delivered.

GUARD RAIL (a new description for ANTI-TIP RAIL)

Fourteen beams on the RHS as far as the Embankment have wooden Guard rail attached to their pillars. The emphasis has switched to the Tunnel/Bridge area with 5 beams before the Tunnel completed. The idea is to concentrate first on areas which need to be protected before running can commence. The whole of the Extension will end up with wooden Guard rail.

DRAINAGE

The main channel alongside the bank has been deepened throughout its length and a start made on clearing the cross-channels.

DaveM

 P1030429 (Small) P1030430 (Small)

Wednesday 10th August 2016

Well today should have been drill 2 holes in the mounting brackets, then mount the signals and they will work. If only life were that simple. The trouble with testing signals in situ is that it’s a long walk to and fro to see what they are doing, and by the time I get to one end I’ve forgotten what’s happening at the other. At least with the semaphores you could see from behind. What was happening was at if I mount all 3 signals with no truck on the track circuited bit, the first 2 showed amber, the third showed green, when of course they should all show green. If I mounted them with a truck in section you could get all sorts of results. However, if you pushed the truck through the system ignoring the colours, they miraculously went to the right aspects, and then worked perfectly. Obviously a software start up issue. It usually takes a long time to find these, at least when I’m doing it, but this time it only took me about 5 minutes, all I need to do is change one word in one line of the code. Wouldn’t you think the computer would have known I didn’t mean that! This doesn’t show up when testing them one at a time on the test box. It will once I’ve finished mending my clock. All being well top end signals next running day, which is this Sunday.

Rob mended the buffer stop on the layby siding, which has been getting a bit of hammer lately. Battery on lights in pavillion was flat. The tell tale buzzer was sounding, but it’s not only me and Bruce can charge up batteries you know

If you take Model Engineer but don’t hang on to back issues, could you throw issue 4539 my way? My dog has rather savaged my copy!

EXTENSION NEWS

Discussions took place, following a walk round the Extension, to assess what work still needs to be done. It was agreed that the old track would be kept open for running until the end of October hopefully while the weather allows access and also to give more time for various tasks to be completed. Get in your diaries that Sunday 30th October is a grand closing down running day and that Wednesday 2nd November is when the heavy work starts with moving heavy concrete beams, demolishing pillars, clearing up rubble, building bases etc. – no need to go to the gym to get fit.

CHECKING OF TRACK

Due to the rain in the morning the bump man went home to do jobs round the house while the rest stuck it out for the fine weather in the afternoon. On the first curve on the RHS, by the water tub, a trial was made of adding super elevation to the beams. All one has to do is release and lift a beam slightly and pack plastic packing on the LHS of the beam as it is a right hand curve in this case. Various colours were tried and a standard of white (3mm), Grey (4mm), Blue (5mm) to blend in to the final one of red (6mm) seemed to be the best. The colours chosen for the blending depend on how many beams are leading into the 70/60 foot curve.

In some places sleepers stuck outboard of the beam especially between the Tunnel and the Bridge. These have been cut back flush with the edge of the beam – memories of the visit of Mold when one of their driving trucks dislodged sleepers on our admittedly lot steeper curves.

3½ RAIL

Another 23 Beams were laid with the 3½ inch rail which now stretches for 10 beams beyond the Bridge. With 70 beams (62.5% completed) there are only 42 beams left – two more sessions?

PROTECT PILLAR RAIL (ex ANTI-TIP RAIL)

Seven more pillars on the RHS leading away from the existing track have had the wooden rail attached to join up with the two trial pieces. An easy and quick method as long as have plenty of battery power.

DRAINAGE

It was felt that drainage work was an urgent task before the Long Cut flooded again in winter. Accordingly there has been a change of philosophy with the channels being deepened and filled with gravel plus a top cover to be placed later over the soil. A good start has been made deepening the channel alongside the bank and extending it downstream of the connection to Daresbury drain plus deepening work at the top of the cutting. Again the soil is being spread around the bases.

OLD BRIDGE

Another reason for delaying the joining up of the track until November was it enabled the demolishing of the old Bridge to be incorporated in the plan. Plastic pipe is being investigated to be laid in the trench and then be protected by the 8 concrete beams being removed as part of the connection. Correction from last week – two pillars need to be built up from the bottom of the trench.

DaveM

Wednesday 3rd August 2016

With PaulM’s help I finalised alterations to wiring to take colour light signals at top end. Difficut working on your own because you can’t read the meter from 50 yards away. It didn’t work at all at first, but when I connected the battery the right way round matters improved enormously. I’ve got to do a simple mod to the brackets, but only managed to do one as the generator was being used for other things. Next week all being well it will be finished, just in time to take it apart again to move the final signal to the extension. I’ll have to get on with modifying the old seized up semaphores, but one of my clocks has died, so that’s first.

Various people had locos. The monster load in the photo needed a bit of mandraulic assistance! A shuttle service (UBER trains?) was being run to ferry people and equipment from the pavillion area to the extension. Never seemed to be runnign when I wanted to go. Here’s a few photos, the traction engine was parked in Stockton Heath outside nando’s, I bet they didn’t try to tow it away. I’ve added one of my dog after he fell into the Chirk aqueduct, so you can all go Ahhhhh. Question, why is it aqueduct and not aquaduct?

Photo0009 Photo0012 Photo0013 Photo0016

EXTENSION NEWS

The last four Beams on the LHS were reinstated and the rail relaid. Due to the shifting of the Pillars to the right the track still has to be realigned on the Beams to remove straight sections.

In the Long Cut a drainage pipe is being laid against the right hand bank and a junction chamber is being built were it meets Daresbury Drain at right angles. Soil from the excavation is being used to fill round any exposed pillar bases.

CHECKING OF TRACK

A more detailed check was made right round the track to identify bumps by using a meter long steel tube and laying it on the rail each side of the beam joints. Unfortunately not only were bumps found where both rails lift together but also some were due to either the right or left hand rail being higher than the other. Seven of the bumps have already been corrected by planning the sleepers – an ongoing task.

3½ RAIL

Another 14 Beams were laid with the 3½ inch rail bringing the total to 47 (39% completed) with the rail having reached the entrance to the Tunnel.

PROTECT PILLAR RAIL (ex ANTI-TIP RAIL)

Two Beams on a curve were trialled using wood as the material to stop a truck crashing into a Pillar if it derails. The design was taken from the Southport track who undertake public running each weekend. Our present design, using steel rail, expanses and contracts with the weather causing the trucks to rub against it as it is often buckled. The trial was highly successful (and cheap) so the go ahead has been given to expand this method to all the HIGH Pillars on the Extension.

OLD BRIDGE

Somebody, who will remain nameless, had the bright idea that with the track needing to be joined up at the old metal bridge on the RHS the opportunity should be taken to replace it with a culvert. This idea was met with great enthusiasm. A concrete tube is being sourced to be laid at an angle to the track along the line of the ditch. The 5 foot concrete Beam before the Bridge needs to be removed and replaced by a shorter one as its foundations are close to the edge of the ditch. Three more metal beams need to be constructed their lengths can only be calculated after the position of the central pillar (in the ditch) has been fixed. The fall has been calculated as 80mm to Pillar 504 on the new Extension. Calculations are being made for the gradients. At present the track rises (not constantly) to the Bridge which is an arch as the exit from the Bridge is dropping at a gradient of 1:125. More news as it comes available.

DaveM

 

 

Wednesday 27th July 2016

27 people turned up today. I would normally consider this to be a good thing, but it overstretched the tea making department, which meant I had to wait ages for mine. Someone (I think Amy Parsons but might be wrong) brought along a very nice LBSCR Terrier in 5″ gauge. I busied myself rewiring the starter signal by the main station (to replace the dodgy jack plug) and the junction boxes at the top end to suit the colour lights instead of the seized semaphores. Nearly there, but I’m afraid I was a bit sharp with at least one person after everyone who passed by wanted to stop and chat when I was trying to concentrate on which wire is which. Not easy when they are all red or blue. At the moment I’ve got 2 wires without homes, but hopefully next week we’ll be up and running.

Dave doesn’t mention below that the feeling of those present today is that the extenison should not be connected up until after the night running event in September. Sale of the very worn rail under the shed to a member at scrap price will cover most of the cost of the new rail.

Running day Sunday

EXTENSION NEWS

Last Sunday the 5 inch circuit was completed. The last four Pillars on the LHS which had their tops cut off, so that the new track would drop down to meet the existing track at Beam 120 (new number 620), were rebuilt at a constant drop of 3mm each. This means that the track is now higher at Pillar 616 which is the last one that can be built before the track is connected up.

CHECKING OF TRACK

Six bumps in the track have been identified across where two Beams meet. One bump was easily corrected by lowering the packing of the key sleeper at that joint while three more have had 5 or 6 sleepers removed ready to be planed next week.

3½ RAIL

Rapid progress is being made in laying the 3½ inch rail with 34 Beams already completed. Subsequent checking showed that there was not enough new rail in stock to complete the circuit. Authorisation has been given to buy in the required amount of rail for around £70.

DaveM

 P1030417 (Small) P1030419 (Small)

 

Wednesday 20th July 2016

Mr landlord has reseeded large areas of field to put right the damage caused by the Steam Fair, so PLEASE keep to the track. It has dried out, but is a bit rutted in places Work to sort it all out is planned.

I knew one of the semaphore signals had seized up after being out in the rain during the Steam Fair. When I got to track today I found that actually 4 have seized up. It will be a lot cheaper to convert them to colour lights (< 5 pounds per signal compared with 20 for new motors). It’s more work, but would only have to be done once. To prevent recurrence of motor seizing in rain would need some kind of labyrinth seal making which itself is work. Members opinions sought, if you want to keep semaphores you might get volunteered to make some bits.

 

natter night Thursday

EXTENSION NEWS

The Sunday track gang fixed down the last 4 beams on the circuit and even more importantly screwed the outer rail to the key sleepers right through the Pond area linking up the whole of the track – well done. Today enough sleepers were cut to fill in the missing beams as well as the amount required on the seven beams when the track is joined up. The inner rail was laid until there was no rail left with fish plates attached and both rails screwed down to the complete set of sleepers leaving just 6 beams to complete.

ADVANCED CHECKING OF JOINING UP THETRACK

When the gradients on the track were calculated over 12 months ago gradient step changes were set in ¼ inch chunks e.g. from a level beam to a constant rise of ¾ inch (1:106) this would be over 2 pillars (3 beams) at ¼ then ½ inch. It was found, due to the rigidity of the metal beams, that it would be best if the drop/rise were set in steps of 1/8 inch (smoothing) i.e. 1/8, ¼, 3/8, ½, 5/8 then ¾ inch over 5 pillars (6 beams). This results in the track ending up being lower/higher than originally planned. The two connections of the old track to the Extension were rechecked with the water bubble pipe to see what effect the new policy would have.

RHS CHECK- starting at the metal Bridge

The connection from Beam 87 is okay as it was found that the track coming off the end of the metal bridge is not level but already dropping at a gradient of 1:100 as there is a hump in the Bridge. This is to our advantage as can now make the first pillar 501 drop by 3/8 inch (1:212) rather than have it level as originally planned. The next two pillars can also drop by 3/8 inch giving a total fall of 38mm over the 4 beams which is what is required to meet up with the track already dropping away towards the Pond at a constant 3/8 inch. On the day need to consider slightly packing up the rail at the end of the Bridge to smooth the transition.

LHS CHECK – Long Cut to beam119

Here it was found that there is a real problem as the last pillar already completed in the Long Cut with a drop of ¾ inch (1:106), although at the correct height as planned, is too close to the existing track for the new policy of smoothing. Originally the change was to be over two pillars at a drop of ½ inch then ¼ inch joining up with beam 119 which is level. On checking what the gradient on the existing track actually is beyond that point it was found that while beams 119 and 120 are level the next beam 121 immediately drops away at a gradient of 1:102. This results in a big bump made worse by being on a curve which may have been the cause of derailments in this area.. A drastic rethink to smooth the whole lot has resulted in much discussion, laser measurements, graphs and e-mails. To calculate the drop and therefore the gradients on the computer new pillar 612 and old pillar 120 were used as reference points – both would not be altered especially 620 as it is an old concrete beam too heavy to relay. The drop is over eight beams (seven pillars) using a gradient change of 1/8 inch over the first 4 pillars and probably a 3mm change over the second four. This will be rechecked after the fourth pillar 615 has been rebuilt. It is not now possible to bring the track down to a level beam.

Today four beams, unfortunately with track already laid, were lifted and the tops of three pillars cut off. Starting from pillar 612, instead of falling at ¾ inch each, these will be re-laid next week to drop at 5/8, ½, 3/8 and ¼ inch. When the metal beams have been re-fixed the curve in the rail on these four beams needs to be reset as we had already nudged the bases over to the left tightening the angles and closing the expansion gap between the rail.

When connecting the track there will now be a gradual gradient change connecting into the falling existing track and also a smooth curve replacing the existing reverse curve. Pillar119 needs raising so that beam 120, connecting into the rapidly dropping beam 121, is no longer level. The opportunity is being taken to replace beam 120 with the surplus metal beam cut down to 6 foot.

3 ½ RAIL

There is enough new rail in stock to complete the 3½ inch track without the need for any of the old rail from the inner curve.

NOTE: Hopefully the completion of the 5 inch rail (photo shoot) and also work on the 3½ will start this Sunday afternoon and continue each Wednesday – bring your fully charged battery drill.

DaveM

Wednesday 13th July 2016

You will all remember that it is 100 years since the Battle of the Somme. The steam fair was a fitting reminder. Mud mud glorious mud. I went on Saturday and didn’t even attempt to get onto the field, parked on the road and walked.  Heavy rain in the morning seemed to have put off the punters, and there was an open day at Daresbury labs which also syphoned off visitors. I didn’t even try to get round the exhibits, the field was a sea of mud, some exhibitors left early Sunday as the public couldn’t get to where they were, and some people had to be towed off the field by tractor. Sunday was much better, although still not as busy as previous years. Our access track is now a mess, hopefully Mr Landlord will help us sort it out.

A big thank you to all who turned out to help, those who load passengers onto trains are just as important as the drivers, if not more so.

Today I carried on track circuiting, very nearly finished, but one of the semaphore signals has decided not to co-operate, so that is back with the guru for treatment.

EXTENSION NEWS

The brave skated their cars across the mud on the path but were rewarded with a sunny afternoon. The last three pillars were measured with the water bubble to get down to the last millimetre so that the two ends of the track met. These three pillars were built up to height in the afternoon.

The opportunity was taken to check the gradient profile from the old metal bridge to pillar 504 on the RHS and also down to beam 119 on the existing track on the RHS. It was found that on the LHS there is a problem as new pillar is too low giving a big dip in the track. The track needs lifting over two pillars. Old beam 119 on the existing track is being replaced. The following Beam 120 is level leading straight into a 1:120 down gradient at Beam 121 – no wonder there has always been problems in this area. The track is going to be smoothed over 6 Beams which means that concrete beam 520 will have to be relaid.

A passenger truck was taken round the new track – not too many problems have been found so far. At the top of the Long Cut the ground is less than 14 inches but the pillar bases are okay so some soil has been dug out and some exposed bases filled in. This is the start of checking each part of the new track so that it can be signed off before running commences.

DaveM

Thursday 7th July 2016

It was all hands to the pump yesterday sprucing the place up ready for steam fair this weekend. Amy’s starter is now working, or it was when I left, there is a long history of ‘modifications’, which I then have to undo.

The really good news is that as of this afternoon we now have water supply back. Brian, Pat and Roy have done a sterling job. Most Important, this is not drinking water, we will continue to take water for brewing up , but at least loco water is assured.

JohnE has been doing a roster of drivers, but we need loads of helpers both days for loading people onto trains, taking the money,switching locos etc etc etc. If you show your membership card to the people on the gate they will let you in, I’m not sure how they can refuse entry anyway as there is a right of way through the first field.

Nothing more on the fate of the Hall.

EXTENSION NEWS

The two loose beams alongside the fence on the RHS could not be left unattached with the Steam Fair in the field so the opportunity was taken to level four more and screw down all six plus add the key sleepers. Only four more beams to go. The pile of remaining metal beams by the gate were moved for safe keeping.

A final tidying up of the Extension site brought the works truck, loaded with blocks, down through the Long Cut where it happily accelerated away. This gave thoughts to the connection to the existing track at beam 119 with the gradient. It was realised that the two tracks would not meet as they were too far apart plus there were variations in the approach curve including a straight section. Six bases were nudged over to bring the track further over to the left to enable it be blended in better with the right hand curve starting at beam 120. The key sleepers over these beams now need to be reset to smooth out the curve.

DaveM

Thursday 30th June 2016

Because oif the monsoon, Weenesday was put off until today

Main news has to be the fire at Daresbury Hall. See pictures at

Daresbury Hall fire under investigation

No damage to track or anything else on our side, but the Hall is a write off and will have to be demolished. Police are saying it was arson. The constabules who were attending the fire on Sunday came for a ride on the train, so a bit of community relations achieved.

There is a 3.5″g rally at Nottingham on Saturday http://www.model-engineer.co.uk/forums/postings.asp?th=117213  for details.

Yet again I didn’t make it today, having new windows fitted.

EXTENSION NEWS

Many thanks to those who turned out on a Thursday after the wash out on Wednesday.

TRACK WORK

To try and join up the track through the Pond Dip the top of one of the pillars was cut off in order to start the smoothing one beam further back following the calculations last Thursday. After building up four pillars the laser arrived to check progress. Disaster as the beams coming down from the Tunnel were still heading way too low to marry up with the level beam on the RHS. It did not help calculating the actual difference as there was a discrepancy in height when measuring back the other way. The troops vanished off for lunch while a solution was worked out. The only way was to go back a further beam which would gain us an extra 19mm as the track is dropping at ¾ inch per beam at that point. There were now 9 pillars to be built up. The first time of building normally two levels of grout were required but on the first 5 pillars this time only the top block had to be reset so progress was quick. After building 5 pillars with drops of 5/8, ½, 3/8, ¼ and 1/8 inch for the smoothing the laser showed that this time we are within a couple of millimetres of meeting. With spare grout the opportunity was taken to build a second level pillar on the RHS.

At the same time the track gang screwed down the 4 beams laid out on the pillars completed last week coming down on the RHS and also added the key sleepers. They also screwed down the rail from the Tunnel end until they could go no further having reached the newly laid wet pillars.

A good days work as there are now only 3 pillars (4 pitches) to finish. The pillars will be completed after the Steam Fair followed shortly by the beams and rail.

DaveM

Wednesday 22nd June 2016

I didn’t go this week, off driving a narrow gauge puffer in Wales. First a plea from Sam

I have just been reading a letter in Post Bag in and old issue of Model Engineer on Walschaerts Valve Gear. The letter refers to an article in Model Engineer of 19 August 1977 by Dr Burrows. Would you mind asking the club members if anyone has a copy of the magazine and would they a) email me a copy of the article or b) lend me the magazine for a couple of weeks so I can scan it in. Many thanks in advance.

 

then the EXTENSION NEWS

The Chairman was pushed round the track on a passenger truck through the Long Cut across the Bridge and through the Tunnel. The object of the exercise was to check the clearances at the exit of the Tunnel as the track is offset at this point towards the right hand wall. There was concern about how close the track was to the wall. Although the wall could be touched with an outstretched hand at least one tree was touchable on the way up. Our height clearance is no problem and is probably greater than on most other tracks.

A number of people have been asking why is the track not in the centre on exit from the Tunnel. It had originally taken considerable effort to align the track across the Bridge and into the cutting due to restrictions imposed by the trees throwing the track towards the right hand wall – note the “S” bend in the track above the Bridge. To re-align the track more to the centre of the Tunnel with say 50 foot radius curves would involve demolishing and rebuilding X amount of pillars and also misalign the track over the Bridge. The result would only bring it back towards the centre by around 3 or 4 inches. It was agreed that the track should stay in its present position and that the design of the exit portal should differ from the entrance with no jutting out piece to reduce the clearance.

If an agreement had not been reached then the Chairman would still be sitting inside the Tunnel.

TRACK WORK

The last two pillars on the RHS coming down from pillar 522 were built up to their full height. This means that the track has been smoothed down from its ½ inch per beam down gradient to a level beam between pillars 525 and 526 The track now rises again towards the Bridge but all the work will be towards this level beam. Thus the “Pond Dip”, being the lowest point on the Extension, has been reached even if it is on top of an embankment. The laser was again used to check the heights and found that there is around 1 ½ inch difference enabling a small easing of the initial up gradient to be possible. Three pillars were completed coming down at the old gradient of 1:106 leaving 7 pillars or 8 pitches to be completed after the gradient profile has been recalculated.

The Fiddle Beam was painted and placed in position together with another 3 beams beyond it. These were all screwed down, the key sleepers added and the rail attached – differing groups working one after the other with a lot of banter about who is holding whom up. The straight length alongside the fence is starting to look good. The rail on another 5 beams before the entrance to the Tunnel have been completely screwed down.

With a number of pillars on the Embankment being completed a better feel was obtained of the pillar height to the ground around the unfinished ones. It was easier to spread the soil piled up on one side before the beams were laid out resulting in the completion of this task.

DaveM

Roger inspection (Small)

 

Wednesday 15th June 2016

Today I went on a jolly to Markham Grange Steam Museum, far side of Wakefield. It only opens Wednesdays, but is well worth a visit. It’s attached to a garden centre so you can park SWMBO there whilst you do something interesting. Lots of interesting stuff, did you know that ‘mother in law’ is an anagram of ‘hitler woman’?

Today at the track there was a group digging a trench for the water pipe but I do not know what progress was made.

I’ve had a missive from Wigan Model Engineers. They are having an open day 31st July, see

http://www.wigandmes.co.uk/legacy/open%20day%20information%20for%202013.html

I’ll try to remember the poster for tomorrow night, can’t cope with this dirt mail stuff!

EXTENSION NEWS

TUNNEL

Very swish handrails have been fitted above the entrance and exit to the Tunnel. Ideal leaning posts to watch trains either ascending the bank or vanishing over the Bridge. A membrane has been laid over the roof and soil spread on top – some remedial work still required before grass seed is sown. A panel has been bought which will be cut into two to provide a retaining wall on the left on entry to the Tunnel and on the right on exit.

TRACK WORK

The newly constructed Fiddle Beam (still to be painted) is 1300 mm in length preceded by a 1600mm one which is the beam with a missing top bracket, shortened with a new base bracket welded on.

The 3 Pillars to incorporate the Fiddle Beams alongside the fence on the RHS were completed. This left 17 Pillars down to the level beam at the bottom dip alongside the Pond and back up to pillar 522 which was built some time ago when laying rail down from Beam 87. The laser was then used to measure the fall each way down to the level beam. The drop in height had been calculated on paper taking into account the smoothing required to reduce from dropping at ¾ inch per beam, alongside the fence, back up to a rise of ½ inch at beam 522. Unbelievably the two chalk marks on the measuring block actual met (maybe a few millimetres out on a later check).

This gave us confidence to push on completing pillars (3) down from the Fiddle Beam and also start work on the four pillars down to the level beam starting from beam 522 – two so far completed. Once the second pillar of the level beam has been reached construction will only be undertaken down from the Bridge end. At the present rate of progress the track should meet the week after the Steam Fair.

The track gang were at it again and have screwed down the rail to all the sleepers laid out as far as the exit to the Tunnel. Beams and rail have been laid from the entrance round the curve to just before the Fiddle Beams.

Despite the heavy rain the Long Cut has drained well as long as nobody walks on the surface. Some clearing of the channels took place. At the exit to the Tunnel a known depression in the ground was holding water. For the second time a channel was dug to drain it.

DaveM

Finally, we’ve had an unofficial opening by the look of things

IMG_0727[2] (Small) IMG_0731[2] (Small) IMG_0733[2] (Small)

Wednesday 8th June 2016

Running day very good turnout and very good weather. Multiple flat batteries meant we had to pinch one from the club loco for the signalling. We need to get on with the solar panel, or some other way of charging batteries. Good to see Paul’s Duchess running well as he seems to have cured the teething problems. Can’t be many clubs with 2 Duchesses.

IMLEC Barrie reminds us that Duchess of Abercorn will be running in this years IMLEC at 14. 20 hrs. on Saturday 23rd July at Urmston DMES. The competition will take place over two days , 23rd and 24th of July with eleven entrants running on each day. The last runner on Sunday is reported to be a model of a Big Boy, that should be quite something

LittleLec is at South Cheshire Club, 25th/26th June, see http://www.littlelec.co.uk. If you follow the ‘this year’s host’ tab it actually says 2017, but I’m fairly sure that’s wrong.

Today Bruce brought one of the solar panels. Problem is going to be finding somewhere which isn’t shaded by trees. Since we had that big tree by the pavilion taken down the hut roof gets full sun for a couple of hours, but only when the sun is high in the sky. Tree growth will soon fill in the gap. We’ll find somewhere. One of the batteries I took home to charge is dead and will be skipped. We are now down to 2 good and 2 suspect batteries.
The mad mower (sorry Rob) was at it again starting to get ready for steam fair. It will need doing again, if you have a heavy duty strimmer you could bring it along and lend a hand. Some members started tidying up around the pavilion, we’ll have to have a moritorium on extensions in a couple of weeks. I started linking the track section from the distant to the home signal by the bridge, this time using SS wire. About 2/3 done, hope to finish in a couple of weeks. John E brought the boiler off his Simplex for test. One of the gauge glass fittings failed, another member has offered to make one for him, a very generous gesture. BrianR is working on a large water storage tank, we’ll still need to transport water to fill it up.

The problem with starting the generator (see below) was I think that the key was in my pocket, put there when I locked up on Sunday and forgotten about until Brian H asked for it. When you start it up there is a MCB on the left where you can’t see which has to be reset. Don’t ask me why, I’ve no idea.

EXTENSION NEWS

The warm weather encouraged the large number to get stuck in on a variety of jobs or was it because nobody had to barrow soil around the site. The grass cutter could be heard all day mowing everything in sight. 800 sleepers were cut to length, after the generator was persuaded to start, and delivered to the screw fixers on the LHS in the Long Cutting.

.TRACK WORK

Alongside the fence on the RHS the last 4 bases were aligned and then the blocks dug down to a deeper depth than normal as the track is falling rapidly at this point at 1:107 over undulating ground – it is easier to build up the pillars than lower a base block. Fortunately the ground was soft until the very last base when somebody up there decided that we were getting on too well and made us struggle through a sold mass of bluebell roots. The last 5 bottom blocks were cemented in – this completes these activities until the track needs joining up. As fast as the bottom block was cemented in the pillar (5) was completed to its full height – as soon as the pillar was completed a metal beam was placed on top. It has been decided to split the fiddle beam into two beams as it was coming out rather small in length. There was one beam behind the shed with a missing support bracket so that is going to be cut back slightly to enable the new fiddle beam to be of a longer length.

Our track manager was on a mission to get the rail laid through the Tunnel at least on key sleepers – he was seen heading that way with the track bending tool in hand. Success as the rail is at the entrance to the Tunnel with six other beams laid towards the Pond with three of them being screwed to their pillar. Through the Long Cutting the number of beams with all the sleepers laid out and screwed to the rail rose today from 24 to 45. This means that the track is completely screwed down over Daresbury Summit leaving just 10 beams left before the Bridge is crossed and then onwards through the Tunnel.

DaveM

Wednesday 1st June 2016

Extension News From PatM (Dave is off walkabout somewhere)

Today all the soil that Rob instructed to be dumped on the path of the fast moving
track extension was removed whilst Rob and his good lady were attending the filming
of the Antiques Roadshow at Arley Hall!!

Our bridge/tunnel engineer arrived today complete with timber and all
the materials to form the shuttering to close the gap in the tunnel
roof. By lunch time the shuttering was complete and as soon as we were
back on site the concrete was mixed and the job was complete well done
Paul a master class in organization.

Our President was also in full gear today he built up around 5 pillars
to full height and two more bases were dug and the first pillars
cemented into place so the gap is now only four bases and we will
link up with the right hand extension.

Barrie Purslow and his gang of one carried on screwing down rails on
the left hand side and are now over the bridge and at the tunnel
mouth.

Meanwhile those who are amongst us who delight in setting fire to
anything tided up the site and treated themselves to a bonfire.


IMG_1693 (Small) IMG_1696 (Small)
 IMG_1697 (Small)
Other stuff

Running day went off well, lovely weather and a decent turnout. I’m going to get some ear defenders before a certain Class 37 comes again. Either that or change the sound chip to Queen, now that would be fun! Perhaps Rolling Stones would be more appropriate.

The rails from the first distant in the track circuiting up at the top end have been drilled ready for linking together. This will mean that the first distant will go to danger as soon as a train passes it, same as the bottom end. I’ve ordered some SS wire off a well known internet site, so next week the connection can begin. It’s a lot faster working in summer than in winter, your fingers don’t freeze up and you don’t keep dropping stuff

I believe the portable track guys had a very good day at Rainhill Carnival. Tomorrow night is natter night. Still no news on water supply, alternative arrangements are being worked out for Steam Fair

Wednesday 25th May 2016

EXTENSION NEWS

On Sunday only two bases were dug and completed as at lunch time a downpour flooded the Tunnel due to water rapidly dripping through the joints in the roof. However in the afternoon the outer rail was laid through the “S” bend coming up from the Bridge. A small straight section has been laid between the two curves to avoid the problems we have on the existing track at beam 119.

TUNNEL

26 tie bars have been attached to hold the roof down – a tiring job reaching up with a heavy drill. It must be reported that no strengthening bars were hit by the drill. On the roof the joints between the concrete beams have been sealed leaving just the triangular piece to be dealt with. Soil has been removed from the area on the LHS when exiting the Tunnel and banked up to cover the roof at a later date.

EMBANKMENT

More soil has been moved down from the Tunnel to cover the areas were the soil is still thin over the polyurethane blocks. The soil is still settling between the blocks and falling down the slopes on each side which means that for the moment barrow loading is a weekly chore. The bank before the Tunnel has been cut into with the soil been piled up ready to be moved next week. This completes the necessity for the digger to mount the Tunnel bank and disrupt building pillars towards the Pond.

TRACK WORK

4 more bases were dug out and 7 bottom blocks were cemented in. This leaves just 6 more bases to be aligned to reach those already laid coming up from the Pond. We could only just keep ahead of a certain gentleman who was rapidly building up the pillars (5) to full height. All the pillars in the Tunnel are complete and await six metal beams.

The rail is being laid on the LHS at a rapid rate and has crossed the Bridge screwed to the key sleeper – another person putting pressure on the pillar gang to deliver. As the metal beams have a cross piece for the key sleeper at both ¼ and ¾ along its length the rail is laid exactly half way on these sleepers resulting in a constant curve – easy with no problems. In addition 24 beams have now had the track screwed to all sleepers. Admire the track laid out on the 60 foot radius curve on the Bridge and beyond towards Daresbury Summit and also through the “S” bend – better than BR.

DaveM

Other stuff

We got a phone call from a village resident on Monday evening warning us that a group of suspicious looking youths were en-route for the track. I went along with my very fierce dog (not!), but there was no-one there, and no damage. It is good that our neighbours are keeping an eye out for us.

Many members went to Doncaster, very good show. I even spent some money (not a lot!)

The more observant amongst you will have noticed that some of the track pillars have been given a blob of yellow paint. This marks the pillars which have conduit taking wiring from the track circuiting. This is an attempt to discourage the mad mower from wiping out the wiring. Yes even tho’ it is in conduit these strimmers are powerful beasts. On the section near the pavilion I’ve built up a pile of bricks at each pillar as further protection. When we do the extension I’ll use steel conduit! The battery connection clips at the top end were getting very rusty, so they have been replaced. We could do with some kind of enclosure to keep it all dry, any offers?

The roof support beams in the carriage shed have been cut back to allow the red trucks to be parked on the left hand track, so we are back to the previous arrangement, red trucks at the back of the left hand road, 4 wheelers at the front, and new 8 wheelers on the right hand road. We’ll need a further extension soon as Bruce is on with the woodwork for the 5th 8 wheeler.

Running day Sunday, forecast is good, so be there or be square

Wednesday 18th May 2016

Running day went off well, decent weather if a tad cold. Good to see younger members getting involved. The extensioneers were busy playing navvy rather than playing trains. Signals at the top end were not working correctly. Thankfully one member could describe the fault, ‘arm staying on danger, red light flashing and a broken wire between rail joints’. Not too difficult to diagnose that problem then, red light flashing means there is a wiring fault between signal and end of track section, as you will all know because you’ve all read the operating instructions.

Today I fixed the problem, took longer to check than actually do the mend. One of the interconnect wires had been cut, I strongly suspect by a derailed wheel, see photo. I’ll use stainless wire on the extension, the aluminium wire is too easily broken. Need to get opinions of drivers as to where to put signals, the first one is obvious, before the blind bend by the water tank. Installing posts through the polystyrene embankment could be interesting. Anyone got a very long 3″ hole saw? Can anyone scrounge some 0.8mm stainless MIG welding wire, need about 6″ for each rail joint, so we need quite a lot.

Sam was having driving lessons as he is taking over custody of the club’s Black 5.

Roger, John and Brian went to meet Mr. Landlord about the water supply. He is arranging for United Utilities to install a new supply just into the field from the road which runs from Daresbury Chuch to Hatton, then we will lay in the pipe (suplied by landlord) from there to connect up with the existing system. Don’t worry, very little digging, it’s going in the existing big ditch. Suggest a three way cock at the supply end so that when it is turned off it drains so it won’t freeze in winter.

Don’t forget tomorrow night we are to be addressed by Cecil B. DeWilson on his cinematographic exploits.

IMG_2818 (Small)

IMG_2817 (Small)

EXTENSION NEWS

TUNNEL (ex THRUST WALL PROJECT)

YES we now have a superb TUNNEL.

The four wall panels already in place on the LHS were the wrong way round as built in to one side of the concrete there are seven strengthening rods as against three on the other. It is important that the larger number are against the wall to bear the load rather than put the panels with the smoother side facing outward. With the crane in place the four panels were lifted, the soil, which had been filled in behind, then fell out and was removed before they were set back in. The four RHS panels were then lifted into place without any problems as the groundwork had already been completed. All the panels were then screwed in with steel ties before the six metal posts were cut down to below the top of the panels. All nine roof panels were then lifted into place (the correct side down) as a batch of four followed by five. As the Tunnel is on a slight curve there is a triangular gap (ventilation shaft for smoke) between the two roof sections. Once this gap has been filled will engines need a headlight to run through the dark Tunnel? The structure seems to generate a strong wind blowing from the Bridge end. The opportunity was taken to use the large bucket to quickly back fill soil against the RHS panels.

TRACK WORK

Despite all the excitement with the detraction of the Tunnel work carried on apace through the Long Cut. The key sleepers have been laid all the way over Daresbury Summit and down across the Bridge. The five inch rail has been attached to the key sleepers as far as Daresbury Summit. With the rail in place one can see the results of all the hard graft – the gently sweeping downhill run at 1:101 will probably require a speed restriction sign before the Extension connects with the existing track at beam 119.

The pillar on the Embankment, which had been covered with soil, has had a block cemented in. Two more pillars, which were in danger of vanishing, have also been raised. At the entrance to the Tunnel a pillar, which had been started months ago, has been completed to its correct height. We have 2 inch and 4 inch solid blocks but guess what we now seem to need more and more are 3 inch ones – the cutting of which will slow down the building of the pillars – any offers.

Do not forget the working party this Sunday.

DaveM

IMG_2820 (Small) IMG_2823 (Small)

Wednesday 11th May 2016

Reasonable turnout for running day, as I arrived Keith was leaving with his Metro (wrong soap?), Henry had his Emma Vic, Phil had his huge battery electric, Rob with LYR tank, and no less than 2 Duchesses. I’ve tried to find a collective noun, nearest I can get is a bevy of ladies, a coven of witches or a riches of matrons, take your pick. I think I upset one owner sufficiently commenting on the colour (sorry Paul), so I won’t suggest a herd of harlots

IMG_2811 (Small) IMG_2812 (Small)

It was raining today so I didn’t bother, however the stawart band turned up and worked on the extension, here’s Dave’s report

TRACK WORK

Despite the mud slabs and blocks were laid out through the Cutting for 9 of the last 15 bases still to be laid. When all have been completed the bases will have reached the fiddle beam on the RHS next to the fence. 36 pillars still need to be built/finished to connect the track over the Embankment.

Due to the wet weather the Cutting is holding water so drainage ditches were dug including a deep one towards the Pond to try and drain the hollow at the end of the Bridge.

On the LHS, through the Long Cut and down to the Bridge, 58 beams have been attached to the pillars. The rail has been fully screwed down on 20 of these beams.

EMBANKMENT

With the barrow boys still hard at it the laser was used to get a rough idea of the height the top of the completed pillars would be above the soil already spread across the Embankment. The maximum found was 20 inches which is just on the acceptable limit. As there is plenty of tolerance more soil can be added to cover any almost exposed polly blocks. An estimate was made that approx. another 200 barrow loads would be needed so the digger is being summoned to take more soil off the top of the Cutting.

Sunday 22nd May – advanced notice of a working party to build pillars, lay track and move soil.

DaveM

No meeting this Thursday, next Thursday don’t forget Mr Jonathon Wilson will regale us with his cinematographic tales, then it’s Doncaster exhibition.

 

Regards

Wednesday 4th May 2016

EXTENSION NEWS

TRACK WORK

On the LHS the track coming up through the Long Cut was connected with that from the Bridge at “Daresbury Summit”. The measurements for the last two pillars (three beams) involved fine calculations (that will have to do) in order to keep the gradient sloping upwards at a shallow angle. There are now two level beams at the top. The last 10 beams to be laid out on the completed pillars were brought up using the works trolley running on the new track. This gives us a continuous run of 58 beams to work on. So far 20 beams have all their sleepers laid out with 13 of these fully screwed down – do not forget your fully charged battery drill next week.

This area has had a clear up and now looks tidy. All of the surplus blocks lying about have been piled up on the other side of the bridge ready for a big base/pillar push starting in the Cutting after the track has been aligned. The wooden marker posts, surplus bags and general rubble have also been removed.

BRIDGE

Work on the Bridge is complete and it has been signed off.

THRUST WALL PROJECT

The last of the posts has been concreted in on the RHS. A group discussion then took place about buying in the other four concrete panels and also for the roof. It was felt that advantage should be taken while the field is dry and the lifting machinery is available (only over the next couple of months) rather than wait until another wet winter.

EMBANKMENT

Soil from a bulge in a mound just before the Cutting wall on the LHS was used to increase the height on top of the Embankment. The slopes especially on the Pond side were graded. There is now plenty of width on the top.

DaveM

Other News

The torrential rain put everyone off running day, so it has been moved to this Sunday the 8th. Still no water supply, Bruce is rigging up a water butt to catch the rain off the hut roof. Anyone got an old stirrup pump, we could then pump it to the header tank we use on steam fair days, a lot easier than messing with drums.

Rob the mad mower has been at it again, I need to get some steel protection over the conduit for the signal cabling before he rips it to shreds again.

Does anyone know where the old bogies off the red trucks have disappeared to?

It was good to see Mike P back from his sojourn as a guest of the NHS.

Tomorrow is natter night, then on the 19th we will be entertained and informed by Mr Jonathon Wilson about his exploits in the cinematographic industry.

I’ve put some photos of today’s efforts at /?gallery=4-may-2016. For some reason I can’t resize the originals, and so don’t want to paste them in here direct

And Finally

Anyone weant a lathe, about Myford ML7 size, free to a good home. Contact Roy Allen

Wednesday 27th April 2016

EXTENSION NEWS

TRACK WORK

The track construction gods were conspiring against us when working on closing the gap between the track in the Long Cut and that coming up from the Bridge on the LHS. The second pillar for the level beam was slightly too high yet needed a quarter inch grout, It was quicker to roll over the pillar and then lower the base rather than try to cut a solid 4 inch block. At the Bridge end the Fiddle Beam was at a too shallow gradient. Rather than take the top off the block to build it up the decision was made to pack up the beam to recover the missing 3 millimetres. The next pillar needed a 3 inch block which had to be cut as of course we only had 2 inch and 4 inch ones. After all this effort only three pillars were completed today. The track now needs a rise of 3.26 millimetres over three beams to close the gap on the LHS .

In the Long Cutting 7 new beams, straightened on Sunday by two muscle men, were laid on the pillars. Eight of the twenty beams, with a full set of sleepers, have had the rail screwed down. Due to the alignment of the base block on the pillars being at an angle to allow for the gradient the plastic packing at the end of most of the beams has been changed to a blue one (thicker) to avoid the shattering of the top block on tightening the fixing screws.

CUTTING/EMBANKMENT

The guys on the barrows, moving the soil from the cutting down to the embankment, had to work none stop to keep up with the digger as one scoop filled each barrow – many tired souls. The mound of soil on the LHS towards the Bridge has been removed to give a clear line of sight and the subsequent slope graded. On the RHS, beyond the tunnel wall, a walkway has been cut into the bank to enable evacuation from the cutting if necessary. The soil was mainly used to increase the angle of slope on the fence side of the embankment. Some more soil is needed on top of the embankment but the exact height of the pillars are still to be calculated. The higher one builds up the embankment then more and more soil will cascade down into the pond – the old beams from the inner track are needed as a retaining wall but cannot be put in place until the extension is completed.

DaveM

Wednesday 20th April 2016

EXTENSION NEWS

Phil with his digger was at the Cutting early digging into the bank on the RHS and depositing soil on the floor of the Cutting ready for the barrow gang to move it down to the Embankment at a later date. Just beyond the concrete panels on the LHS the mound of soil has been lifted over to the other side which will give a line of sight onto the Bridge for drivers of engines. Above the Thrust Wall there is a fantastic view of the track coming up from the Embankment and round to the Bridge.

What about a request halt with steps up to a viewing point.

BRIDGE

The kick rails at the edge of the decking on the Bridge have been drilled into place, but the metal does have a sharp edge to it.

TRACK WORK

On the LHS in the Long Cutting there are now 20 Beams with rail screwed down to the key sleeper.

All the sleepers have been laid out but the rail still needs to be attached to each one. It has been found that by sloping the top concrete block to allow for the gradient if the beams are screwed down to tightly then the block could potentially split.

On the LHS coming out of the Long Cut a smoothing of the track to meet the track coming up from the Bridge is being worked on and has proved difficult to make the two ends meet exactly.

The first decision was to reduce the bumps to 4 millimetres at a time. This meant that the rise from a gradient of 20mm to the level beam is spread over four rather than two beams – the result of this is that the track does not rise so much. With the start of the reduced gradient being made two beams further back this means to keep[ to the 14 inch rule 2 bases had to be lowered by tipping them on their sides with the first block still attached., digging out the ground and then levelling them After two of the Pillars had been cemented in it was found that the spirit level, which has been used on most of the Pillars on the Extension, is inaccurate – the spirit level was assigned to the tip on the way home. The top blocks, which just had been levelled, had to be lifted off and re grouted as the spirit level gave a reading of five rather than four millimetres.

The good news is that after completing the building of four pillars we have reached the summit level beam on the LHS but the bad news is that on checking the next 6 pillars down to the fiddle beam two extra tops need taking off to smooth the gradient as the track is lower than initially estimated. These 6 pillars will need specific blocks to be cut to build them up to the relevant height rather than using the standard  2 and 3 inch blocks available.

The two ends of the track must meet exactly so we are talking in millimetres as the pillars are built up. It will take at least two weeks to build these eight pillars. All a learning curve which will help when calculating the exact height of the pillars through the Embankment.

DaveM

OTHER NEWS

We now have both red trucks converted with the bogies from BICC club. The wheels on these are much bigger than the old ones, so should cause less track wear and tear, but they have no vertical suspension (the old ones didn’e either), so the ride is very dead, you can feel every rail joint. Fitting new bogies has lifted them slightly so one of them fouls the carriage shed roof frame. This will be dealt with, but for the time being please take note of which order they go into the carriage shed.  They are to be given a fresh coat of paint, hopefuly finding something which will stick to galvanised sheet.

I’ve finally finished the steelwork for the first of the new trucks and passed it over to the woodwork department for fitting of side sheets and running boards. If we carry on like this we’ll need to extend the carriage shed again, forwards this time as there is a tree in the way going backwards.

Whilst we were sat having lunch we were joined by a family of mice. At one time I could see three. Here’s a couple of widlife pictures (thanks Roy)

mice 3 (Small) mice1 (Small) mice2 (Small)

 

Wednesday 13th April 2016

After last weeks cold and wind, today was a really nice spring day, warm and sunny. Because of all the recent rain, the car park area is a bit soggy, don’t park near the fence if you have ambitions about going home again!

I managed to wire up the ‘slotting’ board, so on the signal post near the bridge we won’t get distant on clear and home on stop. This was obviously confusing some people. Worked first time this week, it wasn’t a case of RTFM, the manual was actually wrong (I wrote it, so mea culpa. I’ve put it right now)

Keith brought along his Himalaya & Darjeeling loco for steam test, which it duly passed. It is a really nice model, complete with steam driven water pump and turbo generator (which actually works)

Bruce connected up the new solar panel. Now that it had some real sun as opposed to winter version it was whacking about an amp into the battery, this will easily keep signal batteries charged. We’ve actually got 2 panels, so next step is to mount them permanently.

Extension news

This is from Pat, as DaveM is swanning about somewhere foreign looking at chuffers:

On Sunday 10th April around seven volunteers arrived on site and
quickly set about forming a wheelbarrow chain this resulted in around
50 wheelbarrow loads of soil being deposited on the embankment.Now it
really does like a embankment gently sloping round the curvature of
the pond.

Phil  removed the concrete from around the steel support for the
concrete panels and re dug the hole into the correct position for the
Wednesday gang to rebuild. All in all for such a small group a
tremendous amount of work was done.


Wednesday 13th April A good turnout today a sizable gang carried on
wheelbarrowing soil onto the embankment by the end of play there was
very little sign of the polystyrene its all but covered only the top
is exposed enabling the pillar gang to move in to carry on up to the
cutting.

A second group replaced the steel girder into its correct position and
then called in Craig to finally sign it off before concreting started
when completed they moved on to the kick plates for the bridge
cleaning then painting them ready for the next working day

A third gang started to lay rail on the return section laying around
30feet of rail what a difference the rail and sleepers make well
done..

IMG_1615 (Small) IMG_1612 (Small) IMG_1610 (Small) IMG_1608 (Small)

 

   Wednesday 6 April 2016

Extension News

THRUST WALL PROJECT

An early shift soon had the four panels on the LHS lifted into place. They fitted between the posts without any problems (the wooden 15 foot former for the width was spot on) but some digging out at the base to remove some stones was required to get the vertical alignment correct.

The post on the RHS nearest the Bridge, which had been concreted in too near the track, was successfully lifted out.

A quick check was made of the alignment of the track between the two centre posts to make sure that it was slightly over to the right to allow for the curve in the wall. It is important that the two outer RHS posts are concreted in at the same width as the centre posts to enable the top panels of the eventual tunnel to be of the same size.

EMBANKMENT

At load of ash was brought up and dumped over the fence next to the embankment.

The field was too wet to take advantage of the machinery on site to move soil down in bulk to the embankment. The soil therefore had to be dug out by hand from the surplus pile on the LHS and barrowed down to continue the covering of the Polly blocks – construction Irish navvy stile.

TRACK WORK

When the rail was screwed down onto the beams on the RHS leading down to the Pond it was noted that a change of gradient results in a hump between the two relevant beams. This can be solved by planing the sleepers. Discussion took place as to what limit in millimetres the gradient change should be should be to stop a long engine like a Duchess lifting its front bogie off the track. This was set ideally at no more than 5mm. Calculations then turned to smooth the track over the hump coming up from the Bridge into the Long Cut. It now looks like there will be two level beams at the top. Unfortunately it is best that two bases are lowered to comply with the 14 inch rule which has the benefit that the blocks on these pillars can now be grouted not glued in.

The hump in the Long Cut has been fixed by lowering the offending pillar which originally had its top block glued. The pillar was found to be about 3mm too high. A block was cut which enabled it to be brought down to the correct height by cementing it in.

Over lunch there seemed to be smoke coming from the top of the field. This was traced to the cutting of the 3 x 2 flags into 2inch blocks which are ideal and are used to build up most pillars.

 DaveM

P1030183 (Small) P1030180 (Small) P1030179 (Small) P1030172 (Small)

Other news

Running day went off well, very good turnout. we still have no water supply, so if you’re intent on running a steam loco you need to bring your own water, both for loco and the essential tea. Mr Landlord has it in hand, it will have to be sorted by steam fair at the very latest.

Today I wired up the gizmo which will stop the situation where a distant is showing clear whilst the home signal on the same post is showing danger. This never happens in full size practice, so I’ve made a small bit of electronics to sort it out. Connecting the output to what should be the input and vice versa probably wasn’t too good an idea. By the time I’d worked out what was wrong my fingers were too cold to do anything else. It was extremely windy today, not the best day to be doing intricate wiring.

Progress on trucks is slow, someone else will need to volunteer to do the second one, I’ve had enough!

The North West 0 gauge modellers show is at Leigh Sports Village on 23 April, 10:00 till 16:00. Loads of parking, I know, electric trains, but the detail on some of them has to be seen to be believed.

Tomorrow night is Auction night. Bring along all the junk you can’t find a use for, don’t forget to apply insecticide to your wallet, it’s embarrassing when the moths fly out.

Wednesday 30th March 2016

Extension News

If I get any I’ll paste it in, however, people seemed to be laying track and moving large quantities of earth to cover over the polystyrene embankment. It really is progressing at an unbelievable rate of knots, and I believe that the long cutting no longer resembles a WW1 trench

Track, truck and signals inspection

All done and all minor problems dealt with. This means that there will be running on Sunday. Signalling system checked out and found OK. All joints betwen sections now have insulated fishplates. Note in case you’re wondering the outer rail is ground, common to all sections, so it doesn’t need insulated joints. I hope this isn’t a case of famous last words! The paxolin fishplates are showing signs of being out in the rain over 2 winters. Whilst they are still OK, we will make up some more fibreglass ones and replace over the summer

Auction Night

is on Thursday 7 April. Now is the time to give your shed a good shaking and find all the stuff that you will never use but is too good to throw away, or bring back what you bought last year in the clutches of auction fever and see if anyone else is daft enought to buy it.

and finally

many years ago I sold off a load of axlebox type springs at an auction night. I wish I hadn’t now, as I need some brake release springs for the trucks. they need to fit over a 6mm bolt and be about 20mm long (free). If you bought the originals off me I’ll buy them back, or do you have anything suitable? 8 off needed for the first truck, obviously another 8 for the second truck.

 

Wednesday 23rd March 2016

Extension News

On Sunday the track on the LHS was blended in over the last three Pillars from the 70 foot radius curve coming down from the Long Cut to the Fiddle Beam which is on a straight length of track. The Fiddle Beam was calculated as being 1680mm in length. By Wednesday the beam had been fabricated, painted and laid out on its Pillars which had just been built up to the correct height. The pillar has a height increase of 11mm instead of the usual 13mm to give the same gradient of 1:159. With the Long Cut having dried out 9 Pillars were built up to their full height which gets us through the potential boggy area with rain forecast. The track just fits within the 14 inch rule, from the top of the Beam to ground level, when coming over the top of the Long Cut. A check with the laser was made down to the fiddle beam pillar to make sure that the track coming up at 1:159 actual meet at the top after allowing for transient beams. It is a close run thing giving only one level beam. Only 8 more pillars need to be completed on this side which will give us a run of 60 beams to lay rail on.

Coming off the Bridge a kink was found in the beams which meant that the radius was greater than the proposed 60 foot. The base of the offending Pillar was nudged over to spread this tighter curve over more than one beam. On the RHS 6 bottom blocks were cemented in which takes this side as far as its Fiddle Beam. The track alongside the fence is straight for 10 beams

EMBANKMENT

In preparation for the arrival of the polystyrene blocks soil was dug out from the mound at the fence end of the Cutting and barrowed down to the Pond area. This soil was raked around the Pillars to give a level area for the laying of the blocks.

Today the main activity was dealing with the polystyrene blocks. Two vans picked them up from Birmingham setting out at six in the morning. Cutting holes in the 10 inch blocks they were fitted over 18 pillars and weighted down with slabs to stop them blowing away. The taller pillars were covered with two layers of polly blocks. Later they will be covered with soil to disguise them – they can be seen from the road as white blobs.

THRUST WALL PROJECT.

All the work on the wall was done on the extra Sunday shift. In the Cutting the digging out of the middle hole on the RHS was completed together with the one nearest the Bridge. These two metal posts were cemented in with the spacing checked with the 15 foot former.. The third hole, nearest the field, cannot be dug until the 4 concrete panels on the LHS have been lifted into place as access is required for the lifting machinery. The spacing of this hole will be checked so that the track is aligned right in the middle of the arch of the tunnel.

DaveM

Other news

Bruce and Frank got on with pre season track inspection. Until this and the annual truck inspection are completed we cannot start running. A lot of the rail is mushroomed over, this needs filing off to maintain gauge, and quite a few anti tipping rail supports have come completely detached from their pillars over the winter.

I brought along the chassis for the new truck just to check clearance (no problems) and then tightened up all the track cicuiting bonding. The aluminium wire is still compressing, the section using stainless wire was much better, a pointer to the future. Insulated fishplates will be fitted next week.I need a length of 20mm steel angle, which Paul will order with his next consignment for work. Until then I can be getting on with painting what’s there (oh joy), fitting brake gear to the bogies and conjuring up some brake operating gear.

Wednesday 16th March 2016

Extension News

With the prorogued dry spell, thanks to the gulf stream, the wet area in the Long Cut on the LHS has dried out sufficiently in most areas and is now firm enough to be walked on with care.

The track was aligned through thirteen pillars over the top of the Long Cut (Daresbury Summit) and down towards the track coming up from the Pond  stopping just three pillars before the fiddle beam. It took some time to get this alignment right as there is not a constant curve through this area even though the eye gives that impression. All thirteen bottom blocks for these pillars were cemented in – a record number in one day thanks to the guys working in the Cutting not wanting to go home early. In the Long Cut there is a problem with two beams not being at a constant gradient giving a hump – they have been lifted in order that the pillar in the middle can be reset.

On the RHS running down to the pond there are 9 beams with all the sleepers laid out, the five inch rail is fully screwed down on the first of these beams – what a sight. The trusty rail bending tool was dug out from the depths of the container to bend the rail into a smooth curve. The comment is that we do not have much straight track in the extension only lovely curves.

 

THRUST WALL PROJECT

After a Sunday shift to concrete in the middle metal post, today the other two posts on the LHS were concreted in. The 15 inch wooden spacing tool was used to make sure that the spacing was right so that the concrete panels will slot in without jamming. On the opposite side of the cutting the hole for the middle post is almost dug to its full depth after the distance across the cutting was checked to make sure that the track can be aligned correctly between the two walls.

retaining wall

Other news

Whilst all this activity on the extension has been going on, others have been getting ready for the running season, in particular starting on the annual pre season truck and track inspection. as the road has dried out a lot (not sure about parking area) we will be running soon, but if we are to comply with the club’s procedures we can’t start running unti the inspection has been completed

Final reminder: AGM tomorrow night.

Wednesday 9th March 2016

Extension News

The Key Sleepers were bending when tightened up as the three cross bracing on each Beam are at a lower level than the sides. Shims were inserted where the hole is drilled through the centre. Looking down the Beams it appeared that, at the end of the row, the Beams were rising not falling. Panic over when they were checked with a spirit level. They are falling but the ground is falling faster – all a trick of the eye.

This section of track is cut through a slight ridge which had to be dug out when laying the base blocks to make sure that the track is high enough above ground level. The area was back filled with this surplus soil so as to cover the base slabs. It is important that all Pillars are back filled in this way to firm the ground especially around the bases.

A jig has been made to drill the two holes in the rail for the fish plates. Nineteen lengths of decent rail, left over from the last build, have been drilled and had a fish plate attached. Will there be rail on the extension soon – read next weeks exciting report.

On the LHS at the top of the track through the Long Cut the final base slab was lifted and relaid at a lower level. The hope is that more than one beam can be set level in this area as the opposite gradients meet i.e. coming up from the Bridge at 1 in 159 changing to 1 in 101 down to the existing track. This should be achieved by making sure that as the track comes over the top it will have a height from rail to ground of the minimum of 16 inches.

In the wet area at the top of the Log Cut the drain on the RHS, leading down towards the Daresbury Drain, was deepened at its bottom end. This seemed to help the flow of water into the Pond. A black pipe mysteriously appeared which happened to be the length of the drain. The idea is to insert this into the drain and cover it with pea gravel during the summer.

A deep trench was cross cut through the wet area from the field side to the main drain. When first dug it was dry but it soon started to fill with water. This proves that we have interrupted the flow of water from the field to the Pond. Hopefully in the short term the trial trench will be enough to drain this area. In the Long Term we need to dig a substantial trench for 10 meters alongside the wall on the field side before bringing it across to the main drain. This will have to be lined with a permeable membrane like Geoteck 90 and filled with pea gravel. A number of other cross drains may be required.

DaveM

Truck News

We appear to have acquired some driving trucks from a defunct club. Whist the trucks themeslves are too short for serious passenger carrying, their bogies are a lot better than the ones under our red trucks, and can be fitted with very little modification. We will soon have 8 big trucks and 4 little ones. as the carriage shed is hemmed in by proteced trees both sides, the only way to extend is backwards, a job for the future perhaps.

I’m waiting for the road to dry out to bring the assembled chassis of the first of the new trucks across for a trial push round. Here’s a couple of pictures. I need to get the chassis out of my workshop, as I can’t move in there, but SWMBO isn’t keen on having it in the house. Talk about unreasonable

IMG_2672 IMG_2697

Other News

My brolly turned up, perhaps it will stop raining now. AGM next Thursday (oh joy oh rapture), you’ll receive last years minutes as soon as we can get Henry’s computer system into the 20th century (that’s not a misprint!).

Wednesday 2nd March 2016

Extension News

In heavy wet snow and a freezing gale some members got drenched crossing the field while the rest sat it out in their cars.

The water supply to the site has been switched off at the main valve on the roadway leading to the old hall. Warming tea was brewed from a bottle of water kept as a backup supply. The majority then called it a day.

In sunny but cold conditions three stalwarts dug out two bases alongside the fence leading away from the pond to protect the route up to the critical white alignment post while one other finished deepening the trench as far as the Daresbury drain. This has helped to increase the flow of water away from the top but the whole site is very wet and holding water especially in the two cuttings.

In the middle of the storm 2,000 feet of flat bottom rail, in 10 foot lengths, was delivered from Anglesey to Richard’s farm.

A bulk order of 14,000 stainless screws is being picked up this weekend from Sheffield.

Put this Saturday (5th March) in your diary as Paul has arranged a working party at the usual time 10.00 to 10.30, if the weather is fine, to concrete in the LHS middle post of the Thrust Wall.

DaveM

Other news

Our stand at the NAME exhibition was very good, thanks Brian. Lots of good stuff to see on other stands as well, pity about the venue, if they do it again they need more space

Bogie frames for one truck are assembled and painted, axles for 2 trucks are complete, one set painted, axleboxes made and painted. Once the fioeld has dried out I’ll be able to get the wheeled chassis across to the track to confirm that the drawbar arrangement is OK, then it’s just skirts and seats.

Tomorrow is final speaker of the winter season, on Rebuilding a (Full Size) Beam Engine. The on 17th March it is AGM (oh joy of joys)

And finally, a couple of weeks ago I left my umbrella in the pavilion. Anyone got asny idea where it has disappeared to?

Wednesday 24th Feb 2016

Extension News

Lots of topics discussed with Roger especially drainage in the Long Cut, construction of the Wall and ideas for the types of materials which could be used as a basis for the embankment by the Pond with special regard to protecting the tall Pillars.

Near the top of the long Cut it is still very wet over an area between five bases which is stopping the alignment of the track. One is liable to leave one’s wellies behind in the sticky clay mud. The drainage channel at the side is being deepened with a trenching tool and is now 6 inches deep with cross channels feeding into it from the embankment on the field side. Unfortunately we do not have an ideal fall of 1 in 40 or 1 in 60 minimum to lay a drainage pipe to enable the water to flow away – while age is against us digging down at least one foot in sticky clay.  Interestingly it was found that it was easier to dig the channel now, with water in the base, rather than wait for later when the clay would be a solid dry mass. It is now best to keep out of the area to let it dry out but it was noticed on the Thursday that the volume of water in the cross channels had increased even though there has not been any more rain. A long term design is required as the layer of impermeable clay is bringing in water from the field.

In the Pond area three of the Pillars were increased in height with an extra block being added. The final blocks on any of the Pond Pillars cannot be laid until the Pillars alongside the fence are complete – these are started at the Bridge end and cannot be built until the Wall is finished. Only when the two ends are within sight of one another can the final gradients and therefore the individual heights can be calculated over the last 10 Pillars. All the marker posts alongside the fence have been removed including a critical white post. These can be reinstated but involves an extra days work for two people – this situation was entirely avoidable with a little thought from the person responsible.

On the LHS the summit top of the track has finally been identified. It needed a quiet Thursday to calculate the gradients over the final 18 Beams. The calculation needs to be rechecked a few times as the gap closes to make sure the two ends of the track meet spot on. The initial gradient plan had the top more or less in the same place but with a couple of level beams as against only one level beam at the moment – efforts will be made to try and change this. Do we want a “Daresbury Summit” board.

 

THURST WALL PROJECT

Two of the holes for the steel posts have been dug to the full depth and a start made on two more. A barrow train was spotted heading for the Pond loaded with soil which was dumped at the edge of the Pond to raise the bank nearest to the water. A panel of fence has been loosened next to the gate to widen the gap to enable machinery a better alignment when accessing the Cutting.

DaveM

 

Other news

All 4 colour light signals now finished.

Barrie has finished the wheel/axle assemblies for the new trucks, Frank has made the brake gear, Bruce is machining axleboxes, and I’ve made a start on one chassis. The brake blocks have arrived from China. If you look carefully you might see ‘VONO’ painted on one of the longitudinals. I wonder where that material came from?

 

IMG_2661 (Small) truck wheels (Small)

 

Thursday 18th Feb 2016

In the rain on Wednesday the intrepid few straightened and laid out 22 steel Beams.

On the Thursday they were back again this time in the sunshine. In the Long Cut on the LHS 21 Beams have been screwed down to the Pillars plus the key sleeper attached. This is as far as Beams can be laid due to Pillar work not being able to progress any further as the ground is still to muddy.

Blocks through the Cutting were temporarily laid out using the wooden posts as a guide in order to check the alignment.

 

THRUST WALL PROJECT

The 6 steel posts have been brought onto site.

 

DaveM

P1030164 (Small) P1030167 (Small)

Wednesday 10th Feb 2016

Reminder to those on t’committee, Thursday is your night. I picked up the plasma cut brake discs for the new trucks this morning and delivered them to Barrie at the track. The cutter man hadn’t actually started when I got there, but using his CNC plasma cutter it took about 3 minutes to cut out 8. Definately a lot easier than doing it by hand. I’ve had another volunteer who is going to make some of the brake bits, we’re beginning to make progress. Cheapest place I’ve found for brake blocks is Gibraltar. No I’m not joking, what us old guys recognise as a brake block is now classed as ‘vintage’, but the Gibraltar man is on holiday. Of course if you’ve got a load of decent blocks in your cache of ‘it will come in someday’ all donations will be accepted. We need 8.

Extension report from DaveM:

Exceptional progress on a beautiful day BUT – read on:-

On the LHS 11 Pillars were completed to their full height – this amount of work would normally have been scheduled over at least two weeks. The Pillar gang made such rapid progress that they caught up the Base gang struggling in the mud to lay the last 5 bases including two of the  2 x 3 flags which were rocking in the saturated ground.

An attempt was made to drain more of the standing water by deepening the trench without much success. The mud is so bad that all work on the LHS has now stopped until drainage is laid and the ground dries out. Hopefully some perforated plastic drainage pipe will appear next week.

The muscle men straightened all of the 22 Beams on site and transported them up to the Pillars. There is now a run of 18 Beams on the RHS leading towards the Pond and 18 more in a run from the Bridge as far as the fiddle beam on the LHS. All but four of these Beams have been screwed down to the Pillar with a packing piece to level them.

The track alignment through the cutting and down the fence on the RHS has been provisionally marked out with wooden posts. With a little bit of detail planning some of the Bases towards the Pond beside the fence could be laid together with their first block. This could be a high risk strategy as this should be done only after laying bases and Pillars through the cutting.

If we do not have a run of dry weather then construction work on Bases and Pillars will come to a grinding halt in three weeks time. However 24 more Beams can be laid giving 60 Beams on which track can be screwed when it arrives at the end of February. To keep up the momentum the start of attaching anti-tip rail should be brought forward once the steel has been bought.

THRUST WALL PROJECT

The middle hole for the steel post beside the high bank of soil was deepened to its full depth but then it promptly filled with water. The way forward is to dig the holes when the posts are on site and then immediately concrete them in. The field is too wet at the moment to bring them across. Drainage at the base of the panels must be designed and constructed before the panels are slotted in.

 

DaveM

Wednesday 3rd Feb 2016

Tomorrow night’s speaker is Rae Owens on how to build a guitar. He gave us a very entertaining talk last year, so I’m looking forward to this.

BarrieP has collected the wheels etc for the new trucks, and has volunteered (been volunteered?) to make the axle assemblies. There are plenty of other bits and pieces to make, so don’t feel left out. in the short term we need braske discs, I’ll copy the drawings and bring them tomorrow. I spent some time trying and failing to find the bogie frames, which were once upon a time in the container. Realised they might be at the bottom of a cupboard at home, but it’s inaccessible at the moment. Headstocks and angle for longitudinals already sourced.

Our own tame glider pilot has also taken an aerial movie of the extension, no not from his glider, from his Quadcopter. To view click the arrow in the middle of the picture.

The Harrogate exhibition is at Doncaster this year, if you follow the logic. This is quite a bit further than Harrogate, so I’ve been in contact with Alan Pennel from Wirral, who confirms they are running a coach again this year. Pick up from near Pewterspeare, cost will depend on numbers, and I’ve no idea whether they are stopping for a fish supper, they didn’t last year. If you want to reserve a place let me know by 18th Feb.

Extension report from DaveM:

After a rather showery start to the morning the weather brightened up enabling a number of jobs to be completed. On the Bridge a drain was laid alongside the retaining wall as this area was a quagmire. Coming up from the Bridge on the LHS the last 4 pillars, before the “stop” at the fiddle beam, were built up to their full height. On the LHS 7 bases were laid in the drier area coming out of the cutting as far as the fiddle beam. This just leaves 5 more in the wet area in the cutting to be laid once the ground dries out, unfortunately this includes two 2 x 3 flags.

After lunch more sleepers were cut to length – the able body guys wanted to join in rather dig out bases but they did not have their way. The laser was used to check the 1:100 gradient coming up through the cutting. This was useful exercise as it showed that the two bases at the top will have to be dug down so that the top of the base is not above ground height to give our 14 inch clearance. The laser was also used for a first alignment of the track through the cutting taking into account the wall – no problems were found. All the six pillars at various points around the site which needed the top block to be glued rather than grouted were finished. This means that a further 34 beams can be laid out once the twist has been taken out – come on you muscle men. They can be set out as follows:-

1) On the RHS towards the pond a further 7 to the 11 already laid out.

2) Before the Bridge 4 leading into the cutting.

3) Beyond the Bridge 13 as far as the fiddle beam.

4) On the LHS leading away from the track the first 10.

 

THRUST WALL PROJECT

The steel and 4 concrete panels have been delivered to Paul’s farm.  Once the steel has been painted they can be brought up to the site. The digging of the first hole (middle one) in the cutting has commenced.

DaveM

Wednesday 26th Jan 2016

Bits and pieces went well, I won’t list all exhibits as I’m bound to forget some-one and cause offence (who me?) Next Thursday we have a speaker Rae Owens on how to build a guitar, something out of the ordinary, although I remember one of our club members giving a talk on how to build a banjo, at this rate we will be able to make a string band

Extension report from DaveM:

The Daresbury flood defences dealt well with storm Jonas. If keep drainage ditches clear then the water will flow. Daresbury canal was filled in with plastic drainage pipe. Still required to be laid is perforated plastic pipe from the wet area at the top of the cutting which still has a inflow of water from the RHS bank.

Paul gave a presentation to Roger and those in the hut of his proposal for a Thrust Wall to support the soil in the Cutting on the LHS approaching the Bridge. The wall takes the form of concrete panels of 15 foot by 3 foot 3 inches high by 4 inches thick supported by steel H section posts dug down to a depth of 3 foot. The design allows for the wall to be used as the basis for a future tunnel. With this in mind it was unanimously agreed that we should immediately order 4 panels to give a  LHS wall of a length of 30 foot times 2 meters high. This length covers the highest part of the bank which is 2 meters and starts at the large tree high up on the bank from which we dare not remove any more soil as we would expose more of its roots. To support the wall we needed 3 posts but after some debate it was agreed to order 6 steel posts in order to dig out all the holes on both sides of the Cutting before the bases and pillars are laid. Paul has managed to order the Steel and Concrete Panels before he goes on holiday this weekend. These will be delivered to his farm so the club will pick up the posts next week after his son has painted them.

Get digging lads.

Full of enthusiasm wooden posts have already been put into the Cutting to mark were the holes need to be dug. Over the length of the wall the track rises by 4 inches. The top of the Beams was found to be at a maximum of 21 inches up from the floor. This is higher than expected as at that point there is a depression in the floor.  These calculations must be taken into account when allowing for clearances in the future tunnel. The white posts at the side, which mark the height of the top of the steel beams, were checked with the laser against the actual height of the pillars – they are accurate which is very pleasing.

With all this going on work still went ahead apace with 5 Pillars coming away from the Bridge completed to their full height, at a reduced gradient of 1:159,  and the final 3 bases up to the fiddle beam had their bottom blocks cemented in. In addition 3 more bases were levelled in the mud on the LHS while we are starting to look like we have track on the extension with the fixing of the key sleepers to the 11 Beams on the RHS.

 

DaveM

 

Wednesday 19th Jan 2016

Extension report from DaveM:

A small group put in an extra shift last Thursday to complete 3 bases from the Bridge to reach the stop before the Fiddle Beam, align the track in a constant curve through the top of the Long Cut and drain the water in the Cutting.

BrianH’s  chop saw was smoking after an enthusiastic gang cut 920 sleepers to a 5 inch length which is the width of the beams.

There is still two areas holding water at the top end of the Long Cut. The channel down the side towards the Daresbury Canal was cleared and deepened while another drainage channel was cut and lined towards the Pond to drain the water at the top. 5 Bases in this area were levelled despite having to wallow in the mud.

The weather warmed up more than expected to enable 4 Pillars immediately beyond the Bridge to be grouted and built up to completion together with 1 in the Long Cut. It is intended to use the laser next week to see were the gradient can be eased from its current 1:106 leading away from the Bridge.

DaveM

Editor’s note, I’m sure Dave means 9″ lengths for the sleepers

 

Wednesday 12th Jan 2016

Extension report from DaveM:

Twenty four hardy souls came to view the flood in the Long Cut which since last Wednesday, with all the rain, had doubled in size and depth. With two pumps in operation the water level was soon reduced below the base blocks in the top part of the flooded area. However with only 1/2 inch bore pipes available it would have taken all day to drain the vast majority of the water. Once a first cut was made to dig a channel towards the Pond a large gang were inspired to dig the Daresbury Canal which soon drained the water. It is constructed with a gentle curve to make the maximise use of the slope. A wooden bridge has been added as it crosses the path through the trees.

Meanwhile other work continued on the first four pillars beyond the Bridge. They are almost completed to their full height with only some glue required to finish three of the pillars where the gap is too small for a grout. There are a number of pillars around the track which require gluing – all will be scheduled to be finished on a warm day.

Beyond the Bridge on the LHS, towards the fiddle beam, three bases were aligned, the ground dug out and levelled, using a new metal frame which defines the area to be dug, followed by the bottom block being cemented in.

In the remaining mud and water of the Long Cut the track was aligned over eight bases with four bottom blocks cemented. Despite a trench having been cut to drain this area water was still flowing which appears to come from a field drain in the bank.

Next week it is planned to start cutting the sleepers in addition to the usual construction work.

Dave

And here are some photos from Frank

_MG_9909 (Small) _MG_9910 (Small) _MG_9918 (Small) _MG_9921 (Small)

Wednesday 5th Jan 2016

 

First of all Happy New Year to all our readers

Extension report from DaveM:

Good progress made on a number of fronts.

Henry completed the building of four pillars leading down to the Pond. With just two left to glue (fresh tubes of No-Nails required). This finishes all the Pillars that can at this point of time be worked on towards the Pond. Henry reported that the actual track height was well within tolerance of the white marker post. This will increase the number of Metal Beams to 18 allowing this area to be used for laying track once the sleepers have been cut and rail obtained.

There was a great deal of activity around the Bridge area. Before the Bridge the last two blocks of the four planned were cemented in. The digging out of the earth bank on the RHS was completed. The coping stones on the wall were cemented in.

Beyond the Bridge aligning of the bases towards the fiddle beam was started with one base block cemented in. Craig reported that the alignment is now much better with the “S” curve removed.

There is a major problem in the Long Cut as the water has drained further down into the work area to a depth of 2 inches allowing only two pillars to be completed instead of the planned four. Next week the plan is to pump out the water to enable work to be undertaken on the four flooded Pillars. Long term drainage plans were discussed.

Dave

Tomorrow night we have a talk on Blue Streak, the UK’s attempt at rocketry. Be there or be square as the saying goes. I’ll bring along the prototype colour light signal to play with.

 

2015 Daresbury Gazetts