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Bluebell Railway General Discussion

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by Jamessquared, Feb 16, 2013.

  1. Dan Hill

    Dan Hill Part of the furniture

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    Just seen on their Facebook, that Heritage Painting have also started repainting 80151 at Sheffield Park.
     
  2. Chris86

    Chris86 Well-Known Member

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    Malachite green with SOUTHERN across the tanks please this time ;-)
     
  3. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Resident of Nat Pres

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    [​IMG]
     
  4. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    [​IMG]

    The latest issue of The Bluebell Times is now available to view for February.

    In This Edition
    • “When Gordon met Gordon” – our 4-VEP goes to London Waterloo.
    • Mammoth winter works at Sheffield Park to relay track, repair the platforms and fit new footbridge steps.
    • The Maunsell Restaurant Car enters the Carriage & Wagon workshop.
    • Workshop updates on Sir Archibald Sinclair, Beachy Head and a brace of Southern Railway vans.
    • The Carriage Shop is poised to return – and provides another £2,000 towards two restoration projects.

    The Bluebell Times is published monthly on the second Friday of every month. The next issue is due out on Friday, 8 March 2024.

    https://www.bluebell-railway.com/bluebell-times/

    Tom
     
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  5. Cuckoo Line

    Cuckoo Line Member

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    Another interesting insight of what happens behind the scenes
     
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  6. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    The infrastructure report and photos was sent to me about a week ago. In the intervening time the team have finished up at the station and the most recent photos were preparing for the big relaying project at Ketches. That will take place after half term. The aim is to relay about half the track from the bottom of Freshfield Bank to the north end of Poleay Bridge (the bridge immediately north of Sheffield Park). That distance is about half a mile, of which half will be relayed this spring. Once that is finished, I think there will only be 1/4 mile of original track left between Sheffield Park and Horsted Keynes - the rest will have been relaid over the last ten years or so.

    Tom
     
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  7. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Resident of Nat Pres

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    Its the idea of ballasting with pebbles that makes my hair stand on end!
     
  8. torgormaig

    torgormaig Part of the furniture Friend

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    It is interesting that both platform roads at Sheffield Park are once again relayed with concrete sleepers. No other heritage railway would dream of such a move but it is how things were when the Bluebell took over. As a nine year old I vividly recall the whiteish concrete sleepers through the station on both roads on the reopening day in 1960. I guess that BR had relayed the track shortly before the 1955 closure ( a sure sign that closure was imminent:(). 1 Aug 65a copy copy.jpg

    By the time of my first ever Bluebell picture, 1/8/65, the whiteness of the sleepers had faded somewhat after five years of Bluebell train running but you can clearly see that they are concrete. I don't suppose that the concrete markers (what were they for?) in the four foot will be reinstated.

    Peter
     
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  9. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    The original concrete sleepers were put in during the late 1940s. It seems odd that such a backwater would get relaid with the most modern materials, but I think it may have been a trial to see how it worked in practice before rolling out more widely.

    The markers in the four foot way are “monuments”. I believe that they would originally have been accurately placed with regard the course of the line and would then form a reference point for the linesman to measure any distortion of the track. There is still a sequence of them around Ketches, though maybe not for much longer.

    See this photo - not mine. https://snowgood.wordpress.com/2017/11/23/ketches-farm-halt-bluebell-railway/ The concrete sleepers / bulkhead track in that photo is 1940s, and is what will be replaced in a few weeks time. The halt platform has already gone.

    Tom
     
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  10. Dunfanaghy Road

    Dunfanaghy Road Well-Known Member

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    The concrete markers are 'monuments'. There is a portion of fishplate cast into the top, with a cut mark to give a track centre. There were also marks giving the cant (if applicable) and there was also a number from the series at each location. (I've not explained that bit too well, but I can't think of a better way).
    Pat
     
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  11. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Photo of a somewhat isolated one at Kingscote:

    IMG_4121.jpeg

    You can just make out the fishplate in the top. I’m not quite sure why this one is here, I suspect it was found during the restoration of the station and set up for preservation in isolation.

    Tom
     
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  12. Mark Thompson

    Mark Thompson Well-Known Member

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    Does anyone know when/ why monuments were first introduced? They don't seem to appear in any pre war photographs.
    It's amazing how items like this endure, often long after the lines themselves have disappeared back into nature. There are many still visible, repurposed as entrance markers or protecting domestic verges in the rural lanes of Kent and Sussex, a sure sign that a railway once ran nearby. Similar to the concrete "pimples" from WW2 Stop Line defences, they are mute historical reminders to those who know what they are looking for.
     
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  13. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    The Bluebell ones I think date from the 1940s when the line was relaid.

    A hunch more generally would be that they probably date from the same time concrete sleepers were introduced, which I think again was around that time. I can’t think that you would retrospectively go and fit them in wooden sleepered track unless you were completely relaying it.

    Tom
     
  14. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    It was very common in Kent and Sussex in the nineteenth century. It fell out of favour as train weights went up and the deficiencies became obvious. The dock siding at Sheffield Park is still ballasted with shingle, as a non-passenger carrying line, I hope it stays that way.

    If you look at old maps of Kent and Sussex and see a straggly siding petering out on a beach somewhere, it’s a good bet it’s a ballast siding - i.e. in place to allow wagons to be loaded with pebbles for ballast.

    Tom
     
  15. Ploughman

    Ploughman Part of the furniture

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    Monuments are markers for Alignment and Cant.
    Normal practice in the NE was to install them in the 6ft for Double track and on the 4ft centre line for Single track at 1 Chain intervals and more frequently on curves, dependant on the Cant transition length.
    A special gauge is used to position the monument to the markings. Again NE practice was to cast a Lead block in the top of the monument and stamp the details in the block.

    Now they are considered as a site hazard as the monuments get ripped out of the trackbed by Ballast Cleaners and can jam up the excavating chains.
     
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  16. Mark Thompson

    Mark Thompson Well-Known Member

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    IIRC, it was beach ballast which was identified as the cause for a string of derailments on the SE division during the wet summer of 1927, culminating in the Sevenoaks disaster in August. River Class 2-6-4 tanks were the unfortunate victims in all cases. This led not only to the immediate withdrawal of the Rivers, but also the SR banning the use of beach shingle on passenger carrying lines.
     
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  17. Steve B

    Steve B Well-Known Member

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    That thought went through my mind as well, and I've just been looking at the report of the Sevenoaks derailment - the ballast was very much a contributory factor. https://www.railwaysarchive.co.uk/eventsummary.php?eventID=93
    Interestingly, these NE monuments also get a mention in the Sevenoaks report when discussing the trials made with the River class tanks on LNER tracks after the accident. The locos ran well on the well track maintained there, and comment was made about the monuments aiding the track workers getting the levels and cant correct
     
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  18. MellishR

    MellishR Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    The last few posts prompt two questions. Why are these things called "monuments"? And why the association with concrete sleepers?
     
  19. Steve B

    Steve B Well-Known Member

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    I don't think that they are particularly linked to concrete sleepers - the NE ones predate them. As to why they are called monuments I have no idea. It might be interesting to know if originally they were called that (ie. an official description), and whether there was any variation across different railway companies.

    Steve B
     
  20. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    On the second point: I suspect part of the the answer is that, since if you are going to use them you need them by the thousands, then they were well-suited to manufacturing out of concrete. So their use probably goes hand in hand with track relaying using concrete sleepers.

    (Part of the SR design philosophy of "if we have to make this at all, can we make it out of concrete?"

    There's another interesting concrete survivor on Freshfield Bank, which is a fogman's hut. I assume it was at the original location of the Sheffield Park down distant, but since the station has been resignalled in preservation days to add inner and outer homes, the distant has been moved further up the bank and so the Forman's hut is now out of context in its current position.

    Tom
     
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