Here is the second of our regular features on the work being undertaken by our Civil Engineering Department. We are delighted to receive James Barlow’s report on the work undertaken during S&T Week when the Signal & Telegraph Department take possession of the line.
S&T Week 2016, Another Year Closer
As this is the second of the new updates about our possessions, here is a little background.
For a long time now the Civil Department has taken a five day possession at the end of summer running to undertake larger maintenance works. September was chosen as a compromise between disruption to summer traffic and the chance of good light and weather. It has always been very successful. The Signalling & Telegraph (S&T) section of the Civils Department have relatively recently started their own five day possession week. Taking place in May and hoping for the good weather again! In reality we may undertake civils jobs in S&T Week and vice versa but there is a main theme for each week.
The focus of S&T Weeks since their inception has been the Keighley Signalling Project. Currently, when we open the signalling at Keighley, the signaller is stood outside exposed to the elements issuing instructions to trains. all while trying to keep to the timetable (often complex) and ensure everything is running smoothly. Add in the chance of snow, rain and wind and you can imagine sometimes, it is not a very pleasant job. Without full signalling it also has an impact on the functionality.
The Signal Box at Keighley was brought to the railway, in bits, from Shipley Bingley Junction when that particularly box closed. Since then there has been steady progress to commissioning full signalling. Progress so far has mostly been hidden. Extensive works have been undertaken to install all the cable ducting required for the scheme. Ducting has been fitted from the box up to Globe Curve Cabin (the top of Keighley Bank) and also back along under Bridge 72 (Station Bridge). This ducting was practically completed this year. Many of the lineside cabinets and location boxes have now been placed with further progress made on these this year, including covering the graffiti they acquired in a previous life. The token machine has been moved to a more convenient position within Keighley West Cabin, an important job as the existing arrangements will still be required for a good while yet. The final major piece of work for this year was the installation of trap points on the turntable road. This is for the purpose of derailing any run away trains from Keighley Head Shunt. The orientation of the turntable road means these could end up lying across the Leeds – Skipton Network Rail line. Not ideal!
In addition, we also fit in some useful Civil Engineering or Permanent Way jobs into S&T week taking the opportunity the possession provides us. In the past this has included works on the Mytholmes Land Slips, works to bridges and repairs to retaining walls. This year the annual weed killing activities took place. It is a very important task that often goes unnoticed, mainly because we don’t do it when the railway is closed. For many years we have been able to undertake the task in house with volunteers but, unfortunately, with very particular competencies needed for deciding on the chemicals to be used it was decided that we would use a contractor this year. With a few hiccups along the way, work was finally agreed with Weedfree but not before our originally contractor cancelled at short notice due to the theft of equipment. The work was finally completed using their land rover road rail vehicle.
Next it will be the signals and more work to the box itself, but not until the design is finished and approved. A lot of work is yet to do but the groundwork, for now, is finished. If you have any interest in being a part of the Civil and S&T department please do get in touch with our volunteer liaison officer. Contact details are available on the website.
‘Till the next time.
James Barlow – Civil Maintenance Department Secretary
There is a constant and substantial amount of work required to our infrastructure to keep the trains running safely, and, as James points out in his report, extra hands are always needed to complete the tasks. If you can spare time to help either the ‘Thursday Gang’ or at the weekend, please contact Operations Officer, Richard Jones on 01535 645214 or firstname.lastname@example.org