Civil Matters – Civil Week September 2017

When leaves were still on the trees and the temperature was somewhat higher than it is now as Winter approaches and the Santa Steam Special season is only a week away, the Civil Engineering Department held their annual working week when major engineering work is undertaken that necessitates the closure of the line.

In another of his excellent reports, James Barlow gives an in depth report of the superb work that the “gang” undertook in September 2017. Following on from the major relaying of Oakworth level crossing in 2016, work was once again concentrated on the area around Oakworth and the bridge 17 to the south. Here is James’ report.

Oakworth Continued…

While S&T week was very different to previous years, Civil “Week” was very much as you were, although this year we had two weeks due to the works at Bridge 17 requiring a 12 day closure.

A significant amount of effort has gone into the maintenance, repair, and renewal of the infrastructure around Oakworth over recent years. In my time at the railway (seven years this October, how time flies!) we have undertaken:

  • Three bridge refurbishments along Mytholmes Curve.
    • Bridge 18 & 19 waterproofed and masonry/brickworks repairs.
    • Bridge 17 waterproofed, abutment masonry/brickwork repairs and painting.
  • Renewed the level crossing deck.
  • Installed drainage along part of the track.
  • Repaired a collapsed culvert running beneath Oakworth Yard.
  • Construction of an embankment toe retaining wall with gabion baskets on Mytholmes Curve.
  • Repointed two retaining walls.
  • Renewed the turnout into the yard.
  • Cleared spoil from the Mytholmes Tunnel landslip site.

Continue reading

Civil Matters – S&T Week 2017

It is a while since the last report, but we are delighted top publish once again an insightful report from James Barlow on the activities on the Railway during S&T Week. Yet again we start with an apology to James, who although himself delaying the report, holidays and other matters have delayed publication even further. It gives us great pleasure to now reproduce another of his superb articles. (Some of the to-does that James highlights have, by now been done.) Continue reading

Civil Matters – Steady Winter and the Year Ahead

We are delighted to once again publish a report from James Barlow on the activities of the Civil Engineering Department and what lies ahead in this respect for the rest of the year. But first we start with an apology to James. Readers will have noticed that we have had a visit from a big green engine which has taken up a considerable amount of time, the result of which James’ article got shunted into the Civil Siding. It gives us great pleasure to now reproduce another of his superb articles. Continue reading

Volunteer Vacancies

The recent restructuring of the Operating Company of the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway, a new department has been created to manage all the infrastructure on the Railway.

In addition to the civil engineering teams we are looking to recruit a tradespeople team of volunteers for the maintenance of our buildings, mainly stations. Listed below are the trades which this new team would, from time to time, be called upon. You don not have to fully trained in your chosen trade as we would emphasise that anyone with good DIY skills in these areas would also be very welcome.

♦  Builders
♦  Bricklayers
♦  Carpenters
♦  Joiners
♦  Drainage
♦  Electricians
♦  Plasterers
♦  Plumbers
♦  Painters & Decorators
♦  Roofers
♦  Stoneworker & Stonemasons
♦  Tilers
♦  Glazers

Signal & Telegraph Team

Main line railways are not alone in having challenges for controlling an ever-increasing growth in traffic. The Keighley and Worth Valley Railway has signalling systems to maintain and projects waiting to be developed. Just like the ‘big’ railway, the KWVR has to conform to strict signalling rules demanding safe systems of operation and control.

Like all other departments of the Railway, we are looking to recruit volunteers for our Infrastructure S&T Team. This would be of interest to trained Engineers and Technicians who would like to be involved in an ‘older’ method of operation, experience how it used to be done or for some people an opportunity to rekindle their former experience in this important skill. For more information Read more >>>

If you are interested in joining the Infrastructure Team and work alongside like minded people (enjoy good banter and drink copious quantities of tea) we would be very interested to hear from you.

Please contact Chris Jowett at chris.jowett@kwvr.co.uk for further information.

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. Continue reading

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 richard.jones@kwvr.co.uk

Civil Department Spring 2016 Report

In this, his 2nd quarterly report (his 3rd report in reality, including his S&T report) James Barlow reports on the Civil Maintenance matters around the Railway during the Spring.

Spring has Sprung for Civils

I am pleased to confirm that we have had a much more successful few months than at my last update. The main focus of work by the weekend gang has been at Haworth Top (Loop South Turnout) and between Ingrow and Damems. The Thursday gang have been their usual productive selves quietly carrying on with minimal fuss on a wide variety of jobs. Continue reading

Civil Department S&T Report

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.

S&T Week 2016 - Weed Killing

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 richard.jones@kwvr.co.uk

Civil Department Winter Report

In what we hope will be a regular feature during the year, we are delighted to receive James Barlow’s report on the Civil Maintenance matters around the Railway.

A Wet Winter for Civils

Well it’s not been the best winter we have ever had that is for sure! Whilst our midweek ‘Thursday Gang’ have been cracking on with several jobs every week the weekend gang has been hit by weather and insufficient staff, possible attributed to the weather, so I will just stick to blaming that.

December ended with us rectifying some of the problems encountered during the Boxing Day Floods, I am sure by now you have all seen the photos! From the Civil Maintenance Department’s perspective we got off relatively lightly. The majority of the problems were simply ballast scouring around bridge abutments and in Haworth platform. All were rectified satisfactorily by 11am on Sunday the 27th December. I think we justifiably gave ourselves a pat on the back for that particular achievement. Since then we have continued to work on Fridays with the works train removing the build-up of sedimentation on the downstream end of Bridge 27 (Bridge over the Beck outside Haworth Yard). Hopefully this should increase the capacity enough to prevent any flooding in the short term, as long as we don’t get any record breaking rainfall again!

Outstanding work from last year’s Civil Week has continued with the plain line track brought up to the final alignment from the Oxenhope Loop North Turnout into Oxenhope Platform. The work to bring the actual turnout up to final alignment has continually been delayed due to firstly frozen ballast, followed by torrential rain both working weekends during February. Although the early March snow did its best to halt proceedings once again it was finally completed before the Easter Weekend. This involved Kangoing (vibrating) stone underneath the sleepers to firm up the ballast bed. It also allowed us to make the first use of our new Seacow Ballast wagon. Work will now move onto finishing Haworth Loop South Turnout, which has remained in progress since Civil Week 2014. With the impending visit of a main line tamper focussing attention to finishing the job so it can be tamped at the end of April. Fingers Crossed!

Ox-Turnout-160425

Civil Gang take a well earned rest in the background, with the Oxenhope turnout looking very smart in the foreground.

Seacow-160425

Dropping ballast using the ‘new’ Seacow ballast wagon, on a rare sunny day.

As further evidence that Civil Week is pretty much a Civil Year, we are already planning and preparing ourselves for this year’s Civil Week which will focus around Oakworth. Various jobs will be undertaken but as some involve outside parties nothing is set in stone. Hopefully the level crossing will be renewed along with the removal of the speed restriction alongside the yard imposed following the appearance of a rather unwelcome sink hole. The majority of the man power will be located at Ebor Lane, renewing the pads on the flat bottom rail there. Hopefully work to the level crossing will result in a reduction in the flooding problems encountered and the impact it has on the track at Oakworth. There will be more information to follow in the Spring update. We also have our S&T Week fast approaching during May, the main focus as always will be progressing Keighley signalling. Again more information in the Spring update.

Our ever steady ‘Thursday Gang’ has been having a productive few months with work on welding rail joints, repairing our boundary walls, clearing vegetation and investigating drains around Oakworth. They have also assisted the weekend gang with work on Oxenhope Loop North Turnout allowing us to finish that job quicker and move onto Haworth Loop South Points during April. They certainly have a completed job list much longer than the weekend gang’s, and credit where it is due.

‘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 richard.jones@kwvr.co.uk

Keighley Signalbox – erected 20 years ago

Whilst there are a number of anniversaries coming along this year, there is one that Archivist, Paul Brunt, does not want to go un-noticed. Seen here lit up as if in action at the Winter 2014 Steam Gala, it is 20 years ago, 1995, that Keighley Signalbox was lifted into place on the Railway, having last worked at Shipley on 25th June 1994 and moved to the KWVR the next day. This has been a long and thorough installation and it is anticipated that Keighley signalling will be commissioned in time for the 50 year anniversary of the opening of the line in 2018. Here is Paul’s report.

Doesn’t time fly, a collection of photographs from member F. W. Smith of Ilkley came into the archives last year and whilst cataloguing these I came across a sequence of images from the installation of the Ex-Shipley signalbox into its position at the end of Platform 3 at Keighley.  The date of the lift was 25 May 1995.

As can be seen from the images it was moved in two parts and used the BLS 50 Ton Craven Breakdown Crane No. 1015/50 hauled to site by the Railway’s English Electric Class 20 whilst painted green and numbered D8031.

Keighley-Signalbox'2

The signalbox base is moved carefully into position

The base of the signalbox lever frame is moved into position

The base of the signalbox lever frame is moved into position

Keighley-Signalbox'3

The top half is then lowered and fixed into position

The signalbox top is still supported by the crane whilst D8031 waits for everyone to finish so it can take the crane back.

The signalbox top is still supported by the crane whilst D8031 waits for everyone to finish so it can take the crane back.

The signalbox is now in place and has since become a familiar sight to our many visitors

The signalbox is now in place and has since become a familiar sight to our many visitors

 

Work Almost Completed on Bridge 17

As the photos testify the work on Bridge 17 is on schedule for completion ready for all line working on

Taken last week, the first photos show the deck stripped back and with D0226 bringing in a tanker full of water the deck was pressure hosed to give a good surface. The 4th of the photos shows how well the bridge has stood the test of time.

Bridge-17-140915'1-MBBridge-17-140915'4-MB

Dried out by the September sunshine and again with D0226 in attendance the bridge looks in remarkable condition and ready for the painters to come and apply the protective paint to preserve the bridge for years to come

Bridge-17-140916'4-RLBridge-17-140916'3-RLBridge-17-140916'2-RLBridge-17-140916'1-RL

The painters finished there job and the results can be seen on the bridge sides. tThis week it was all hands on deck to return rails to the bridge ready for the weekend. What started out in pleasant but misty conditions ended the day in what can is often described as typical Pennine weather. D0226 on duty again, a protective membrane was laid over the painted decking and ballast then redistributed along the formation. With still much work to do, it is confidently predicted that rails will be back across the bridge on Friday and normal service will be resumed on Saturday.

Bridge-17-140925'2-TMBridge-17-140925'1-TMBridge-17-140925'3-PLaBridge-17-140925'2-PLa

Photos: Top, Margaret Bonner; Middle, Robin Lush; Bottom, Tim Moody & News@kwvr

Spruce Up for Keighley Water Column

Whilst all the major work was taking place further up the Valley and there were no steam engines needing their thirst quenched down at Keighley, a small band of volunteers gathered at Keighley to give the water column on Platform 3 a well earned spruce up .

Although on a Midland branchline, the column has greater connections with the old GNR line to Bradford & Halifax. It was rescued by a group of members in the early 1980s from the National Coal Board’s Manvers Main Colliery near the Sheffield to Swinton railway line and appears similar in design to those used by the GNR/LNER.

Civil Week Update

Last week the Railway was severed in two places. At Haworth top points, the old turnout, which has been out of use for some years, was removed and replaced and further down the line the well publicised major severance at Bridge 17 took place for the decking to receive serious attention,  work which is going to last for two weeks. Continue reading

Weekend Special Timetable

With the railway severed at Bridge 17 a special timetable involving an Oxenhope – Haworth steam shuttle, reminiscent of winter services in the early days of the Society, and a diesel multiple unit service between Keighley and Oxenhope.

Click HERE to download the timetable for this weekend.

Featured image: Keighley & Worth Valley Railway Facebook (Official) [Michael Russel]

IMPORTANT NOTICE – September Service Disruption

On the weekends of 13th, 14th, 20th and 21st September the railway will be severed with no full line service between Haworth and Oakworth so essential maintenance can take place to one of the bridges between the two stations.

The result of this is that trains will be unable to run between Oakworth and Haworth. Steam trains will operate between Oxenhope and Haworth only, with a 1950s Diesel train operating between Oakworth and Keighley. Due to limited road access for buses and large vehicles, a special Vintage Bus service will operate between Ingrow and Haworth. Passengers from Keighley to Haworth should travel by train from Keighley to Ingrow, then by Vintage Bus to Haworth, weather permitting, an open top bus may be used. Passengers can take a steam train journey between Haworth and Oxenhope. Large groups or disabled travellers should contact the office on 01535 640464 for special arrangements to be made.

Please note that Bicycles, Prams and Pushchairs that do not fold down and Wheelchairs cannot be conveyed on the Vintage Bus service. The special timetable can be accessed via the main website.

September Line Closure

Every September the railway is handed over to the Civil Maintenance Department to undertake major works and 2014 will be no different except that on the weekends of 13th, 14th, 20th and 21st September the railway will be severed with no full line service. Essential maintenance will take place to one of the bridges between Oakworth and Haworth.

The result of this is that trains will be unable to run between Oakworth and Haworth. Steam trains will operate between Oxenhope and Haworth only, with a 1950s Diesel train operating between Oakworth and Keighley. Due to limited road access for buses and large vehicles, a special Vintage Bus service will operate between Ingrow and Haworth. Passengers from Keighley to Haworth should travel by train from Keighley to Ingrow, then by Vintage Bus to Haworth, weather permitting, an open top bus may be used. Passengers can take a steam train journey between Haworth and Oxenhope. Large groups or Disabled travellers should contact the office on 01535 640464 for special arrangements to be made.

Please note that Bicycles, Prams and Pushchairs that do not fold down and Wheelchairs cannot be conveyed on the Vintage Bus service. The special timetable can be accessed via the main website.

A Week in the Civil Gang

Whilst we all stand and admire the restoration of locomotives and rolling stock, the attractive stations and the scenery around the valley and enjoy the fruits of the labours of the catering team, few of us will give any thought to the work that goes week in, week out to make sure that the Railway runs smoothly and that new lineside projects are brought to fruition. None of what we see would be possible without the dedicated orange clad team of the Civil Maintenance Department. What lies behind locked doors and what goes on during those line possessions, when work is undertaken away from the public gaze, is a mystery to most of us. All we see are the results of their toil.

Continue reading

Work progresses on Keighley signalling and signal box

S&T-Week-140512-2This week the Railway is closed to the public for our annual “S&T Week” (Signals & Telegraph). With a target of commissioning the signal box and the whole installation in time for the 50th anniversary in 2018, the Railway is in the process of working towards completion of the project that has been undertaken for a number of years.

This week  jobs have included extending the lever frame to an impressive 32 levers, digging under bridge 72 for lineside signalling equipment to be installed and much more!

S&T-Week-140512-1

Featured image: inspiring images
Photos: Keighley and Worth Valley (Official) Facebook

Have you seen a tamper at work?

859924_10202797269267365_8286483362322874628_oWhilst very visible restorations capture the limelight, there are a lot behind the scenes activities that rarely get publicised or even photographed. It was a pleasure therefore to have submitted photographs and video of a permanent way tamper in operation 13th November 2012. Few members of the public ever witness these operations so we are delighted to bring this collection to a wider audience. So just what does a tamper do?

Photos & video: Matthew Robinson

Keighley turntable gets a spruce up!

The Keighley & Worth Valley Railway is one of the few preserved railways to have a turntable. Originally built in 1884 for the Midland Railway and rescued from Garsdale on the Settle & Carlisle line in 1990, the Keighley turntable was installed in the long abandoned turntable pit at Keighley was now starting to need some attention to complement its fine surroundings. In recent days this traditional attraction has received the attention of Society workers and new decking has been fitted returning the table to its former glory.

Turntable 140225'1Turntable 140225'2
Photos: James Horrell