Trackside Report – Daresbury Gazette Xtra

Daresbury Gazette Xtra!

Latest trackside news bulletins from Daresbury and the WDMES

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All photos of this project can be found in The Deviation Gallery Winter 2020

Both pillars in the ditch have been built to a height of 3 breeze blocks with soil from the ditch firmed around them. The ditch crossing photo shows the wide area of firm ground for walking across the tubes while some landscaping has been applied above the entrance by planting daffodils.

Of the seventeen pillars which can be built before the track is broken into (implementation) sixteen have had their base flag laid with the first block aligned and grouted in place with six of them built up to the correct height according to the relevant gradient. The fixing of the top block onto a pillar to get the exact height is something of an art form requiring juggling solid blocks of differing thicknesses then grouted to varying depths. When there are no suitable blocks a shuttering former has been constructed to an ingenious design which slips over the tower then is tightened  so that the top edge is at the correct height before pouring in concrete. It is easily loosened for removal once the concrete has set – see the  photo of it in action on pillar 499 bringing it up  level with the preceding pillar 498.

While the cutting was easy to dig into it took many days of hard graft to remove and spread the soil. It was found that the exposed ground was soft and rather spongy so the pillar in the centre has had larger stone inserted underneath its base slab. A drainage channel is to be constructed down the side but the ground may well become firm once the soil dries out and the water table lowers. The track cutting through the resulting mound makes a small but attractive feature.

Whilst digging out the ground for the bases by two large trees our worse fears were confirmed – large tree roots below the surface which had to be hacked out. The policy from now on is to set    the top of the pillar lower than it should be and insert an extra red plastic packer (5.6mm) under   the beam to bring it back up to its proper height. As the pillar rises/tilts the plastic packer can be replaced by smaller ones with any tilt being handled by one side of the beam having a different sized packer inserted than the other.

While calculating the gradient for the drop in height (79mm) from the level beam 499 to the extension at beam 512 it was found the pillar 512 has been lifted by the nearby tree roots. With beam 512 too high it throws the height calculations on the other pillars and hence the gradient profile coming down from the summit. In addition the running track is plunging down steeper towards the pond on beam 513. Pillar 512 will now be demolished and its base realigned when the deviation is joined up so that beam 513 will point at a better angle towards the deviation.

A marathon session by Paul saw 14 beams welded. up in one go. There are 11 beams for the deviation consisting of a 2 meter beam of 102mm x 51mm channel the larger depth allowing it to abut up to the 3 meter beam, 8 normal 2 meter beams and the fiddle beam of 630mm. Extra steel had been ordered  to construct three 6 foot beams. The beams have been galvanised and straightened, ready for test fitting and future installation.

The Deviation Project has left the club a legacy in the form of a jig that can construct both 2 meter and 6 foot metal beams enabling the deteriorating concrete beams on the main circuit be replaced.

Dave Mulholland and Craig Scarisbrick


All photos of this project can be found in The Deviation Gallery Winter 2020

Enough materials have been bought to enable the bases to be laid for seventeen pillars and for these to be built up initially to the height of two breeze blocks. The remaining five pillars can only be erected during implementation and will be resourced later. There is a limit as to how many 600 x 600mm concrete flags or 215mm hollow dense concrete blocks can be carried in a car.

The radii of the curve from beam 076 through to the the pillar on the other side of the ditch had a final check by laying the curve plotting tool against the wooded sticks spaced at 2020mm marking the position of the centre of the pillars.  When digging out the square for a base flag the stick has to be removed. Another complication was that we were starting to build pillars on a 60ft radius curve. To mirror the curve three reference points were inserted in the ground adjacent to three  sticks using a wooden “alignment offset frame”. The frame laid against two of the reference points at a time gave the exact position, at the end of its legs, of the centre of the flag. The stick could then be removed and a square dug to lay a 600 x 600 base flag on sharp sand. The first pillar block laid on the flag was adjusted to the correct angle with the curve plotting tool.  Five of the six pillars before the ditch have been built to the height of two 215mm blocks.

The bank had already been dug away and the floor of the ditch levelled for the first of the two pillars to support the beam crossing over the pipe. This beam is on a 70ft radius and skewed at 45 degrees. The base was shuttered and the concrete mixer brought to the edge of the ditch to enable a couple of mixes to be poured down to form a solid base. The top surface was smoothed to provide a level base for the first block of the pillar. Its correct position was achieved using a combination of a vertical laser beam, a 2020 white pipe for the correct length and a plum line for the centre of the block. This pillar is now three blocks high with at least one more block to be added to bring it up-to almost rail height. The bank on the other side of the pipe has been dug out and the floor shuttered ready to lay the concrete base for the second pillar.

Four of the 6ft heavy concrete beams from the old curve were removed using the four man lifting bars and stacked neatly with the others against the fence. The pillars are very strong and resist being broken up even with the large sledge hammer. The rubble from the first one is now down in the ditch.

All of the steel has been cut to length for the construction of the 3 meter beam and the nine 2 meter standard beams for the deviation together with the 6 foot lengths to make replacement beams for the existing track. The angle iron and flat bar cross members have also been cut and their holes drilled. The 3 meter beam (to bridge the tree roots) and the preceding 2 meter beam have both been welded up using 102mm x 51mm channel.

Dave Mulholland and Craig Scarisbrick

/ deviation


All photos of this project can be found in The Deviation Gallery Winter 2020

The Deviation starts at beam 076 with a straight section which includes a 3 meter metal beam spanning the tree roots c urrently lifting beam 078 and then bends away to the right on curves up to 60ft in radius. The ditch is crossed 6 meters to the left of the metal bridge then continues in a straight line until joining the extension at beam 513 via a slight curve. The new route eliminates the reverse curve, bypasses the sharp right hand curve and solves any problems caused by the deteriorating state of the old bridge. The rails are on 23 metal beams giving a total length of 46.5 meters with a fall of only 40mm i.e. level track.

Initial ground work involved inserting 6 posts along the route using a laser beam to set cross pieces at rail height. Calculations show that the ground either side of the ditch needs digging out to form a shallow cutting. Before the ditch only a small amount of digging is required while the other side is higher with a greater spread.
Four 1.4 meter long thick walled water pipes 560mm in diameter were obtained free of charge and off-loaded by the station. They were moved up to the ditch by inserting a metal bar through the tube and with a four man lift placing each across two of the small passenger trucks to form a bogie train. After some scratching of heads on how to unload them the solution was to hold tight to the trucks and give the pipe a quick push keeping well out of the way as they rolled themselves to their resting place.

The ground surrounding the ditch has been cleared using a brush cutter and the bottom of the ditch levelled. The first water pipe was pushed over the edge and easily rolled into position within the ditch. The second pipe was not quite aligned properly starting its roll. It bounced up the bank on the far side before dropping back to fit perfectly with its end hard against the end of the first pipe – obviously somebody knew what they were doing. Stone left over from the drainage channels at the entrance gate has been used to pack round the bottom of the pipes and by rocking the pipes back and forth settle some stone underneath. A start has been made to drop rubble down the sides of the pipes initially taken from by the water tank helping to tidy up that area.

A viable route has been successfully plotted. Marking out is undertaken using an adjustable curve plotting tool with the appropriate radius (straight, 90ft, 70ft, 60ft) set for the curves together with a 2020mm white pipe to set the distance. The tool is laid against two previously inserted posts with the next post, at the end of the tool, being the position of a pillar for the 2 meter metal beam.

The route starts with a 7 meter straight section which cuts through the reverse curve followed by two transition curves set at 90ft then 70ft leading into the 60ft radius curves. The ditch is crossed on a 70ft radius curve with a skew of 45 degrees, the two pillars located either side of the ditch are on unstable ground. Nine beams take the track through the middle of two trees in a straight line before joining the extension.

The steel to construct the extra eleven beams required for the deviation has been ordered. Money was authorised to increase the steel order to include the fabrication of a 6 foot jig plus the construction of 2/3 beams. One of these 6 foot metal beams has already been allocated to replace beam 212 on the down line opposite the station which is breaking up. The 6 foot jig is a lasting legacy to the club which will be used in the future

Dave Mulholland and Craig Scarisbrick

/ deviation

Model Engineer spotted with N Gauge!

Mini TRACKSIDE REPORT: Model Engineer spotted with N Gauge!

Special news report just in…

Barrie paid a rare visit to the TGMRC (whilst preparations being made for an up and coming exhibition) and to our shock and disbelief he was spotted ‘rerailing’ a train that was N Gauge! We never thought this day would come – could this mean his famous steaming bay is soon up for grabs at Daresbury? Will he be creating his own N Gauge layout? Fear not, 5 inch Gauge Steam engines are within his DNA!


The Mysterious ‘Who painted the tunnel black!?’

TRACKSIDE REPORT: The Mysterious ‘Who painted the tunnel black!?’

Special news report just in…

Steve Hudson and his lovely wife Christine whilst messing about in the woods, stumbled across a ‘bespectacled character’ covered in black spots!! Not something you would expect with love in the air! It was infact our Chairman Barry Linaker who had been painting the tunnel black! It is now akin to the Black hole of Calcutta. A nice surprise for those that turned up on Easter Sunday for track running!


Storm Gareth Attacks Track Cleaner and Shed!

TRACKSIDE REPORT: Storm Gareth Attacks Track Cleaner and Shed!

Special news report just in…

Storm Gareth has been a bit too windy recently, and has managed to blow over the track cleaner, taking its shed and some of the track and support pillar with it from the siding! Luckily it was repaired and the track cleaner is back safe in its home, ready to clean the track again for another day!


Santa visits Tunnel via the club loco!

Santa visits Tunnel via the club loco!

TRACKSIDE REPORT: Santa spotted at Daresbury Track at the new Tunnel!

Special news report just in…

Santa has decided to drop in at the Daresbury Track on Sunday 23rd December 2018 before his busy evening of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day! Hopefully a quick ride around the track (in the opposite direction!) will give him some great ideas to deliver his presents!


Could the Club Black 5 have been spotted!?

TRACKSIDE REPORT: Rumour has it a Steam Club Loco is spotted at Daresbury Track

Special news report just in…

Speculation at the track since the last known ‘where-a-bouts’ in June is that the Club Black 5 Locomotive made an appearance at Night Run 6 – photos of the said loco may have been captured within the following gallery…


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