Civil Department – Civil Week Preparation

Once again we are in debt to James Barlow for his report on how the Civil Department are preparing for Civil Week, which this year is Monday 12th – Friday 16th September.

Civil Week 2016

We are now very quickly approaching the most important week of the year for the Civil Department. Civil Week! Every year we take possession of the line at the end of summer running to undertake major jobs.

As I started writing this news article, despite years of planning, we still did not know what our major job would be. The road closure required to renew Oakworth Level Crossing had not yet been granted. Eventually it was, but this led to us preparing for two jobs in parallel. The renewal of Oakworth Yard turnout was the back-up job and the switches for this can be seen in Oakworth yard being set up. This has now been delayed till next year, but we have already made good progress in setting up, hopefully making preparations for next year much simpler.

Now to the jobs themselves. As mentioned above, our major project this year is the renewal of Oakworth Level Crossing. This is renewal of the deck, not the gates themselves. The deck has two problems which have led to severe deterioration of the crossing and the track in the vicinity. The problems being the profile and materials it is constructed from. The profile involves coming down a steep hill before then hitting the crossing, going slightly up hill and then dropping off back down the hill again. This causes larger vehicles to strike the crossing and all vehicles to exert large forces on the crossing. This makes the road and the crossing surface break apart very easily. Any temporary repairs are often very temporary, taking a matter of days to disintegrate. The profile will be eased to reduce the strike action in addition reducing the amount of storm water which is captured by the crossing. This constant flooding has led to very poor track within Oakworth platform.

160831-1-Crossing-Flooding 160831-2-Crossing-Flooding

In addition, last year a sink hole appeared beside Oakworth Yard, a particularly deep one. Since then you may have noticed trains passing the yard much slower. This is due to a 10mph restriction placed on the track after the collapse to reduce any further potential damage as much as possible. We will be taking the opportunity during Civil Week to take the track out and repair the deep culvert. A local contractor firm will be undertaking the work on our behalf once we have removed the track.

Moving south, Ebor Lane will be the next work site. Although not one of our major jobs, it is likely it will absorb a large amount of the man power. The flat bottom rail here sits on pads to cushion the rail against the sleeper, reduce wear and help distribute forces more effectively. These pads are now in need of renewal, this will involve jacking up the rails and then replacing all the fastenings before lowering the rails back into position. While in the area some small drainage works may take place on the landslip site, this will depend on how well other work goes.

Lastly, we will be having another weedkilling run. Due to the problems with the previous contractor the weedkilling was undertaken very late. This, combined with the warm wet summer, has created a rather large explosion of vegetation. This will be addressed as vegetation starts to die back, starting with a September weedkilling spray. Keep a lookout for a Civil Week completion update.

‘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 in Civil Week please contact Operations Officer, Richard Jones on 01535 645214 or

One comment on “Civil Department – Civil Week Preparation

  1. Pingback: Locomotive Roster for Weekend 10th & 11th September 2016 | Keighley and Worth Valley Railway News (

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