Civil Week 2016 – A Roaring Success

Every year the Railway dedicates a week (or two) to undertake large infrastructure projects when the Railway closes down to all but essential traffic in connection with the work being undertaken. And 2016 was no exception. This year there were 3 locations where activity took place, the  most major being the replacement of the road surface on Oakworth Level Crossing, necessitating the closure of Station Road. In addition a collapsed culvert was repaired north of Oakworth and down at Keighley, beavering away almost unnoticed, were a small team repainting the station.

James Barlow has yet again put his virtual pen to paper in  a report on the work at Oakworth and, contributing for the first time, James Horrell gives his take on the work at Keighley.

Oakworth Level Crossing

Well it is another year and another roaring success for the Civil Department. The only minor hiccup is that the level crossing absorbed the majority of resources. There was not enough people power remaining to undertake the re-padding work at Ebor Lane; a shame but this will have to wait for another time, although the Thursday gang have made inroads into this outstanding job.

The renewal of Oakworth Level Crossing went well. As I write this the tarmacing has been completed and time is being given for it to ‘go off’ before reopening the road. This is expected to be finished two days ahead of the two weeks allocated. So far the comments from road users has been positive, so a job well done. Of course works started before the midweek possession. As the road closure was in place from Saturday morning we took the opportunity to begin removing the level crossing deck since this could be done whilst trains were still running. The removal proved to be a time consuming job and it was wise to start on Saturday; the crossing had been there for so long it was quite reluctant to come back out.

Once the deck was out the track was removed partly on Sunday night and continued into Monday morning. Then the digger moved in and excavated the ballast so that the new crossing would be sat on fresh ballast. The new rubber type of crossing to be used has been chosen due to its durability when compared to wood. The previous deck would very easily be damaged by the regular impact of buses and HGVs. In addition to replacing the surface we altered the profile of the road so that the sudden change from steep downhill to uphill gradient when travelling down from Oakworth has gone. The profile now means traffic continues downhill at all times which also helps with wear and damage although it has led to negative cant (camber) being applied to the level crossing. You may notice this cant when on the train through the station however it is only small. Although hard to perceive from the train, the cant means that the stepping distance at the Oxenhope end of Oakworth station is now bigger until alterations are undertaken before Christmas. We will do our best (as always) to keep disruption at the station to a minimum. A speed restriction will remain through Oakworth platform for 12 months until the track in the platform is renewed to allow for the levels/cant to be tied in with the level crossing renewal. Oakworth is certainly a long term project! A big thanks must go to a local construction firm R.N. Wooler and Company Ltd who assisted with the level crossing renewal and were involved principally with the road surface changes either side.

The ‘hole’ :0

The ‘hole’ at Oakworth was repaired by local construction firm R.N. Wooler and Company Ltd, along with their sub-contractors. For those of you who aren’t aware or do not remember, a culvert collapsed alongside Oakworth yard during the December floods. The track around the hole was removed on Sunday and work began in earnest on Monday morning. By Friday the culvert was repaired and the hole filled so that we could put the track back in, all successfully done by Friday night with only a simple ballast top up required on Saturday morning to finish the job. Once the track has settled and been lifted into final position the temporary speed restriction that has stood for nine months will be removed.

Minor Works

As mentioned above sadly we didn’t have enough people to set up a second worksite at Ebor Lane, hopefully this can be done during the year. Any willing and able volunteers would be appreciated.

A weedkilling run was undertaken and was more successful this time round. The time given to us by Civil Week allowed us to add in an extra run to specifically target the Mare’s Tail that has sprung up all around the railway. Hopefully, there should be a marked improvement in weeds seen around the railway on the track. The exception is Oakworth which could not be sprayed due to the possession for other works.

Civil Week 2017

Now we look forward to 2017 where S&T week will see further progress towards Keighley Signalling in May. Civil week is going to be a busy one next year, a two week closure in fact.

The current plan is to undertake a renewal of the track through Oakworth Station which will clear out the contaminated ballast in the process. In addition, the turnout into the yard will be renewed. Combined with the work this year the track through Oakworth will (hopefully) be in good condition for years to come. In addition, the two week closure between Oakworth and Haworth will allow for waterproofing of Bridge 17 to follow the last few years painting and repointing works and should finish the bridge refurbishment off for a good while.

In the second week the opportunity will also be taken to do some remedial work to the landslip outside the Oakworth portal of Mytholmes Tunnel. This particularly landslip is constantly moving and has required intervention twice in the last three years to dig back. A more semi-permanent solution is being developed to hopefully to keep the railway safe for the short-medium term. As with all planning we do as a department, this is all subject to change!

‘Till the next time.

James Barlow – Civil Maintenance Department Secretary

Spruce-up at Keighley

As the Orange Army were at Oakworth replacing the crossing, the week of no trains running was used to undertake some more work on the on-going project at Keighley, which is to smarten up the Platform 3 side of the Station. Rolling back a few months to when the gate leading to the signal box was repaired by the S&T Gang, it got us thinking about how neglected platform 3 was starting to look with the wood work starting to rot and the old Maroon paint on the Platform 2 ramp fence was all weathered and peeling off.

The job of repainting the fence was started in the last few weeks of summer running with the lower sections receiving attention first and then slowly we worked our way up the ramp, the process of sanding, undercoating and glossing took a while but with a team of 3 people and the sun gleaming down we soon got through the sections and as I’m writing this they is only one section left to repaint.

Another job we did while Civil Week was running was to creosote the wooden fence which runs between Platform 3 and the Picnic Area, as well running around the front of the Signal Box. This was carried out by the ever expanding Keighley team in around 2 days with both sides receiving a new coat of Creosote.

Jumping over to the Platform 4 (the main running platform) work has carried out on the ticket collector’s hut, better known to some as the ‘Tardis’, to smarten up the appearance of the inside. Due to the rotten chipboard being well past its use by date, this has been by plywood which gives the hut a much smarter appearance plus extending its life.

Staying on Platform 4, brand new poster boards have been installed by Ingrow Station Master, Stuart Mellin, who very kindly made them in the VCT workshop and spent Monday 12th September pulling the old ones off the wall and replacing them with the new ones. This alone has smartened up the Oxenhope end of the platform.

Work is always ongoing at Keighley with many projects still to do and with an ever growing Station Maintenance Team, more of these projects are being able to be carried out “in-house” rather than contractors. However there is always room for more volunteers – the more that we have, the more jobs are completed. So if you fancy lending a hand, get in touch via email volunteer@kwvr.co.uk, a warm welcome awaits.

Keighley Station Team
Andrew Brown, James Horrell, James Crossley, Sam Bates, Rosie Townend, Jonathan Cherkowski, Josh Smith

3 comments on “Civil Week 2016 – A Roaring Success

  1. THANKS Mr BARLOW FOR THE INTERESTING ARTICLE.

    WORTH VALLEY TRACK IS VERY WELL LOOKED AFTER.

    THE USE OF A LARGE PERCENTAGE OF TIMBER SLEEPERS IS VERY SENSIBLE AS TIMBER IS A GOOD SHOCK ABSORBER, ESSENTIAL FOR OUR HEAVY MAIN LINE TYPE STEAM ENGINES.

    SOME OTHER HERITAGE RAILWAYS HAVE ALL CONCRETE DOW-MAC SLEEPERS, AND PAID A PRICE IN RAILHEAD WEAR.

  2. I was at Keighley yesterday and very pleased to see the improvement work on platform 3. Sadly Network Rail are not looking after platforms 1 and 2 and the booking hall half as well. Keighley signal box looks as though it needs some repainting though.
    Good to see the hard work at Oakworth crossing being explained along with future work. My impression is that trackwork changes at Oakworth in 1956 led to a shortening of the platform alongside the goods shed. Is it worth considering whether a new turnout into the goods yard should be a little further north to allow the platform to be extended by, say 60ft. I realise that this would require further work in relaying track in the goods yard, but now is the right time to consider whether this would be a worthwhile long term improvement.

    • Re-working the Oakworth layout is only part of a story that would put Oakworth more firmly on the visitors must places to visit. The goods shed and the yard generally will doubt in the fullness of time receive the attention it deserves and civil find a new home. If you have a few pennies to spare anything is possible.

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