Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by Paulthehitch, Jan 13, 2022.
Out of curiosity where is the rail rolled?
Smashing..thanks for that..
The new bullhead is going in to replace some of the second hand material from the Brading to Sandown singling that was laid for the extension in 1989-1991. The recent kind donation by SWR is flat bottom but it has all been cut into short lengths and will only be suitable for sidings.
Incidentally the bull head rail is a catalogue item from British Steel Scunthorpe - see page 2 of this pdf https://britishsteel.co.uk/media/40811/special-rail-dimensions-and-properties.pdf .
Presumably the Narrow Gauge lines must have their rail rolled to special order?
Yes indeed, there was a substantial cooperative order to recreate the Welsh Highland Railway and relay the Welshpool and Llanfair.
Thanks too, most interesting
New bullhead rail is being laid at the North Norfolk next week, in open countryside, as part of a rolling rail renewal program which has been in place for over a decade now.
The "little and often" policy is to replace short sections each winter. This was a strategy thought of in the 2000's when it was realised that if action were not taken, by 2030/2040 we'd have approximately 3 miles of 1940's era track become life expired. Given the price of rail, that could be catastrophic for a 5 mile line if a grant or major rail donation was not achieved. It will take at least a further 10-20 years to replace the whole section.
Luckily, with local conditions and curves etc, the 3 mile section has not worn evenly which fits in nicely with the policy to replace the worst sections each winter. Every few years (covid excepted) a relatively small amount of bullhead rail can be bought (but still five figures) which can come from normal earnings rather than storing up the problems and having to have an £X million track appeal.
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The policy on the Isle of Wight is very similar with a limited quantity of bullhead rail being replaced with new every winter. An appropriate number of sleepers are also replaced every year but not necessarily in the same places as the rail. Chairs seem to be lasting very well since the last of the LSWR chairs on the original section were replaced by S1s more than 30 years ago. Ballast, fishplates, etc ate also renewed as required meaning that there is little disruption and a steadily improving permanent way. All this is paid for out of general revenue and we try to reserve appeals, legacies and grants for developments rather than renewals.
If only other railways could do the same.
I wish that Bluebell had had a similar foresight. Unfortunately it was emphasis 9n the Northern Extension which meant that the original 5 miles from SP- HK became an urgent need for replacement, with similar 1940s vintage p/way. It's unfortunate that the position the railway found itself in, precluded the replacement of its worn out rail with newly- rolled bullhead. But what's done is done. At least the track is now something less to worry about
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