P Way update - track replacement Up Platform Midsomer Norton
The P Way gang has been busy while we wait for the Grand Re-opening of the railway on May 22nd. Sundays so far in April have focused on replacing 2 panels of badly worn bullhead rail and sleepers in the Up platform originally laid about 20 years ago. This involved knocking out 96 rail clips (also called keys), disconnecting 6 fish plates, and then lifting out the 4 x 60 foot lengths of worn rail and 48 sleepers with the help of the RRV, sleeper tongs and ageing volunteers. The original sleepers were taken away and stacked and the bullhead rail chairs set to one side. Most of the ballast was also removed to one side to give a flat working surface. For the sleepers to go back in we used some of the stock of new sleepers salvaged from Brockenhurst in 2019. The bullhead chairs previously removed were secured to the new sleepers which involved drilling a large number of holes to take the coach bolts. The replacement lengths of rail were lifted in place with the RRV, secured with the fish plates and re-clipped to the chairs after ensuring the correct gauge and clearance to the platform edge. Finally, the ballast was shoveled back, the track jacked up in a few places to improve alignment, and a train tested over the newly laid panels to check platform clearances. Job done!