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Work in Progress: Thursday 2nd January

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Roadworks TriangleFirst one of 2020!

With Nigel Thompson still recovering from abdominal surgery, Roger Bye has once again sent us a few photographs of the first Thursday of the year.

1. The weather forecast for the first Thursday of the New Year was for heavy cloud and drizzle... and proved to be accurate! A stalwart few of the Thursday Gang got to work under a leaden sky.

As regular readers will know, we are able to replace individual sleepers on the running line when trains are operating. However, the replacement of sleepers supporting points is only practical when trains are not operating.  Another complication is that these sleepers vary in length throughout the point. Consequently, the first job of the day was to sort out the various length sleepers that had recently been delivered. These will be used during the shutdown to refurbish the timbers of points in the station area.

2. & 3. The grab attachment on the mini-digger made the moving of these (heavy) sleepers much easier. With Martyn in the digger, Anne and Keith checked off the sleepers needed for each location. In the foreground are two ex-MOD buffer stops procured recently for future use. These will need to be re-gauged – another job for a Thursday!

4. Outside the shed, Graham was preparing LYN for the annual boiler inspection. This requires draining the boiler and a proper clean of the smokebox. Wet and dirty but essential work!

5. & 6. In the General Manager's portakabin, Dave was making good progress with the partition to separate Martyn’s office from the equipment storage. In the background, Dave, (another one!) repaired an electric heater.

7. & 8. In the paint shop, Jim attended to some varnish defects that had annoyingly appeared over the holiday period. Geoff and Barrie worked on the First Class compartment – although Barrie’s gestures might suggest that they were having a theological discussion about heaven and hell or perhaps talking about the highs and lows of the job!

9. & 10. Having delivered sleepers to each of the locations where they will be needed, the works-train, loaded with rotten fence posts and other debris destined for the bonfire, made its way to Killington Lane. The opportunity was taken to load some wagon-wheelsets for transporting back to Woody Bay. The least worn wheelsets will be selected for refurbishing and machining as part of the restoration of Van 23.

11. Although the railway is closed to the public at the moment, a few visitors turned up. Here regular "visiting volunteer" Tracey, and son Harry, try the cab of HEDDON HALL for size during a break in shunting at Killington Lane. They and the rest of us here in North Devon wish you all a Happy New Year,

Text and photos by Roger Bye

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