Civil Matters – A Look Forward to 2019, Part 1

James Barlow said it wouldn’t be too long before his next news article! As promised, now the Christmas and New Year celebrations are over Civil Department’s sights are now firmly on what is to be achieved in 2019. Both possessions this year see more substantial work being undertaken and the retirement of the long serving Chief Civil Engineer of the railway. And a big year for myself as I take over the reins.

Read what’s in store for our intrepid S&T and Civil Engineers and what the future holds for Mr. Barlow. Part 1, covers the May work with Part 2 following in the next few days.

As you will see there is a lot of work to do, whether you have a specific skill or just a willingness to lend a hand, if you can spare time to help James and his merry men, follow his appeal and come forward. Starting in May, the annual S&T week will take place this year with some S&T works (Ed – Surprising?)!

As part of a general progression to remove our reliance on batteries, cable runs are being installed in several places throughout the railway. This year, one will be dug between the signal box at Damems Junction and the Up Home signal, this is an easy signal to explain; it is the only signal post at the junction with two signals on it. Being obsessed with drainage, like I am, I have taken the opportunity to include some drainage works. There is an existing cross track drain under the south (Oxenhope end) points. Due to historic development in the area the catchpit, to get access to the drain steps is under the sleeper ends, not an ideal arrangement for maintenance (Ed – Even as a non-engineer, I can understand that). In addition, with the ongoing works to the cutting, this cross-track drain is needed to carry a more substantial volume of water. Therefore, the decision has been taken to upgrade this drain, with a larger pipe and better access. The cable under track crossing (UTX) will be placed in the same location, combining two jobs into one. Very efficient of us! (Ed – no comment!) Don’t worry it will never catch on. (Ed – thought it was too good to last.)

While we have plant on site, some other drainage works might be undertaken, this will be as time allows but could include the start of cess drainage towards Oakworth and the clearance of the crest ditch as discussed in my previous article (Network Rail Volunteer Days). The other major job is major timber repairs to Damems Junction Signal Box, required due to the continual deterioration of the walkway around the signal box and some structural timbers on the south side. Unsurprisingly this is the side that bears the brunt of the weather! We are also planning to do some structural repairs to the Damems Junction Up Home signal and the Oakworth level Crossing Down Starter signal to combat some corrosion in the signal posts. Planning is early, so other small jobs may creep into the week, so look out for the review of the possession sometime in June!

And now, as ever, I finish with a plea for volunteers, we are always happy to welcome anyone into the department. If anything from above has sparked your interest please come and talk to us, if you see us in our orange come over, we do not bite! If you are interested in volunteering please contact the railways volunteer liaison officer, contact details are just a click away on the website Volunteering page.

Till’ the next time

James Barlow – Civil and S&T Maintenance Department Engineer

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