Working in a Winter Wonderland!

With roughly two months left until we reopen, this week we have started work laying one of our ‘new’ points at Launceston station. The first point is being laid at the western (Newmills) end of the station, to replace the point currently there. In turn this point will be moved to the eastern (car park) end of Launceston station, to replace the point which gives access to the siding on our platform.

With the temperature having dropped recently, we have been treated to some snow showers this week, and the railway was attractively dusted with snow when we started the second day of point work this morning (Tuesday).

Some excavation is undertaken to allow the larger point to fit, whilst the first section of the point sits on the flat wagon alongside, click for larger view Our Unipower Forestry Tractor is used to move the next section of point for loading, click for larger view The Simplex and flat wagon are moved into place, click for larger view The middle point section is carefully lowered onto the wagon, click for larger view The final piece - the crossing section - loaded onto the flat wagon, click for larger view The morning of the second day of putting in the new point, and Launceston has been coated in snow overnight, click for larger view The morning of the second day of putting in the new point, and Launceston has been coated in snow overnight. Notice the point components laid out along the right hand side. Click for larger view The first rail is removed where the new point will be laid, click for larger view First rail removed, click for larger view All rails removed, with the sleepers waiting to be lifted, click for larger view Rails removed, viewed from the Newmills end, click for larger view Sleepers removed and set aside for reuse elsewhere, click for larger view Ballast is levelled with our minidigger, click for larger view First point section laid in place, click for larger view First point section laid in place.  The different angle and length of the new point can be seen clearly - the new point will actually end roughly where the current point ends! Click for larger view

4th February:

Another day of work completed, with the old point now removed and new point in place.

To finish putting the new point in place, the old point required removing - here Alex starts by removing the fishplates at the joint between the two parts of the point.  Click for larger view A view showing the first two sections of the new point in position, Click for larger view The final crossing section waits for the old point to be removed, Click for larger view The first section of the old point is lifted out. Click for larger view The first section of the old point is lifted out. Click for larger view The second section of the old point is lifted out. Click for larger view The final piece of the new point is carefully dragged into position, Click for larger view The final piece of the new point is carefully dragged into position. Click for larger view New point in position, waiting for the blades to be fitted. Click for larger view New point in position.  Click for larger view

5th February:

Day four of “pointbash” and the blades are fitted to the point, and the point then connected to the mainline.

First thing in the morning and the point blades are brought up to be fitted. Click for larger view 'The Boss' fits the first point blade. Click for larger view Both point blades now fitted. Click for larger view Tightening the bolts at one of the joints in the point.  Notice the appropriate letters (the points were originally at Penrhyn Quarry). Click for larger view The flatbottom rail on the mainline and bullhead rail in the points have a different profile, so special fishplates had to be made in situ to connect them. Click for larger view 'A weld a day keeps the doctor away...'. Click for larger view End of the day and the points are connected at one end - just need to connect the other end! Click for larger view

12th February:

Work has continued apace over the last week, with the new point connected up and trains run over it, carrying surplus rail to the car park. Although only a small railway with an average daily workforce of 2.5, it has taken us a week to complete a job which many larger railways would need an army of workers and several weeks to finish. The next stage will be to lay the new connection from the run round loop to the new point.

Friday of week 1 and new sleepers are in place at the Newmills end of the point, click for larger view Friday of week 1 and new sleepers are in place at the Newmills end of the point, click for larger view Week 2 started with fitting the tie bar to the point blades, click for larger view Tie bar fitted to the point blades, click for larger view Tie bar fitted to the point blades, click for larger view The first train over the new points, carrying surplus rails for the Lappa Valley Railway, click for larger view Drilling new sleepers ready for the new section of connecting track, click for larger view Drilling new sleepers ready for the new section of connecting track, click for larger view