Following the major engineering works to be carried out in January, February and March 2011.
The latest Mudlines report can be found here.
MUDLINES No 9
Issued 21st February 2011
By Dewi Jones (Traffic Manager) and Phil Sowden (infrastructure Services Manager)
As you will have seen in Mudlines 8 the up (east) platform line is back in place, ballasted and tamped. This side of the station was handed back to the contractor on Tuesday 15th to enable the platform edge coping stones to be relayed to give the correct stepping distance from rail vehicles. The contractor has now begun the task of relaying the brick platform surface from the station buildings to the north.
Bewdley South Viaduct
The completion of the civil engineering is in sight. Ballast which will come up to the underside of the sleepers should be in place by the end of Friday 18th. The contractor then has a number of minor things to attend to but they should be withdrawing from the viaduct and Bewdley station car park sometime around 24th February.
After the P Way gang finishes work between Arley Station and Victoria Bridge they will move down to Bewdley and relay the track across the viaduct. This should start during the week commencing 28th February. As for Arley to reduce the weight on the viaduct the main line and Stourport Line will be relaid with wooden sleepers and not concrete sleepers as were previously used.
Would everyone please note that although we are nearing completion at both sites they are still under the control of the contractor (not the SVR) and staff or visitors are not permitted on either site without prior agreement.
Photo update - 17th February 2011.
First four photos taken by Dewi Jones on 9th February:
After the concrete had dried, two layers of waterproofing were poured and brushed onto it.
New boots and trousers please!
Just to emphasise how deep down the arches are. The lighter stonework has and will be covered by sand and ballast.
Advert for anyone with concrete arches to waterproof.
The next seven photos taken by Dewi Jones on 16th February 2011:
With only one arch remaining exposed, one layer of stone and one layer of sand covers the whole of Bewdley South Viaduct.
From the Kidderminster end a second layer of sand has been laid, levelled and rolled.By the end of the day the whole viaduct should be in this state.
A close up of the exposed arch. Note from the right is a layer of stone which then will be covered by a membrane designed to let water through but not solids, this is then covered by the first layer of sand to get just above the arch and then followed by another layer of sand to cover the arch.
Two shots of Class 20 D8188 passing through Arley Station with another ballast train for Victoria Bridge.
Dropping ballast between Victoria bridge and Arley Station.
The SVR Apprentices at work on Saturday 12th February assisting the P Way Dept by filling in between the newly relaid sleepers in the Bewdley Down Yard Siding. Without them the siding would not have been handed back on time to the Engineer - well done everyone. Photo Roger Jordan
Issued 9th February 2011
by Phil Sowden (Infrastructure Services Manager) and Dewi Jones (Traffic Manager)
So far the weather has been on our side and we are pleased to report that the works at Arley and Bewdley South are on schedule – but who knows what might be waiting around the corner.
The viaduct arches have been cleaned off to expose the original waterproofing layer which had failed in some areas allowing water to penetrate the brick arch.The new drain holes have been core-drilled through the arches and pipework installed.
VICTORIA BRIDGE TO ARLEY
The full time P. Way gang have been working between Victoria Bridge and Arley. The section from VB to the accommodation Bridge No 16 has been relaid with new steel sleepers and flat bottom rail. The remainder from Bridge 16 to the south points at Arley has seen the worn bullhead rail replaced by reusing the best rail cascaded from the Bridge 16 to Victoria Bridge section. Therefore the line is now joined up so that we can get works trains from Bewdley and Arley again.
This does go to show that we can relay a significant length of track in comparatively short time if we can have an engineering possession for several weeks at a time and do not have to put it back together for each weekend.
As part of this relay a breather joint was installed at the Arley side of Victoria Bridge to compliment the one laid on the other side after the flood damage of 2007. This will allow the bridge and the track that it carries to expand and contract as necessary.
Several components of the south point at Arley have been changed or replaced in conjunction with moving the signaling equipment from the Up side to the Down side.
The work on Bewdley South signal box is also progressing well but a number of the existing roof slates were badly perished and could not be reused so we have had to source suitable replacements.
The S & T department have been busy at Northwood working on the crossing upgrade and as soon as they have completed there they will need to move into Arley to start on the reinstallation of the equipment there.
Another volunteer gang meets regularly at Bewdley under the guidance of Dai Price and they are working on vegetation clearance around the station area particularly to improve signal sighting.
Work has also started at Bewdley MPD on improvements that will enable the bulk purchase of oils and to generally tidy up the area around the inspection pit.
Photo update. All taken on 7th February 2011, by Phil Sowden.
Bewdley South Viaduct - the concrete pump lorry at road level awaits its next delivery. A view never seen by passengers and only a few enthusiasts.
Bewdley South Viaduct - alternate arches are capped on the 7th Feb, the remaining arches were infilled on the 8th Feb. Note how the concrete is fluted up the wall to ensure as much water is diverted away from the sandstone walls. In the foreground one of the drain covers can be seen in the concrete.
Arley - showing the new brickwork of the far side platform and the infill in place behind the nearside platform, the old ballast has been levelled and where required new ballast has been laid. The partially buried black plastic pipe in the foreground will carry signalling and telegraph cables rather than have them attached to the outside of the platform wall.
This view shows similar work being done at the Highley end by the orange mini digger. The contractors will retreat to the centre and withdraw from the track bed before removing the temporary earth access ramp. Only the platform wall in front of the station house will not have been attended to in one shape or form.
Photo update, issued 3rd Feb. All photos by Dewi Jones, Traffic Manager, taken on 1st February 2011.
At Arley: With the drainage work at the north end of Arley Station complete, the base material has been vibrated ready to accept ballast for the sleepers.
A close up of the drainage materials. The main drain runs below the "six-foot" will additional feeder drains running like a herringbone from the platform walls.
With kind weather good progress is being made with the rebuilding of the platform walls. Machines in the distance are clearing off the top half a meter of contaminated ballast for disposal off site.
Although not planned for 2011, but with such good progress the opportunity was taken to extend the "six-foot" drain the whole length of the station. Hopefully it will now dry out the alcoves shown with so much water in previous "Mudlines".
At Bewdley South: The new drain holes have been drilled and plastic drain pipe and gutter is ready to be inserted. Note the core sample showing the remains of a four course brick arch.
The view looking towards Kidderminster shows some of the drains having been positioned. The top of the drain will be in line with the concrete capping for the arches.
Looking back towards Bewdley Station we can see that the carpenters are building the wooden shuttering ready for concrete pouring.
At Victoria Bridge: Standing on the north end of Victoria Bridge, the rails, sleepers and fixings can now be seen in place.
With the use of the road railer, steel sleepers are positioned ready to accept the next lengths of rail.
Photo update, all taken today 27th January 2011 by Traffic Manager Dewi Jones.
A close up of the newly installed insulated flat bottomed rail joint.
Bricklayers at work on the Up platform at Arley. Apart from one layer of bricks and the coping stones the Down platform brickwork is complete.
It was only two and a half weeks ago trains ran along here.
View of Bewdley South Viaduct looking towards the station. The exposed arches show that the tar laid down in c1850 has not survived which was letting damp into the brickwork.
The last of the ten arches at the station end being exposed.
Trial pits for the new drainage shows that after not having rain for days the base material still has not drained. This is what will be corrected with this new work.
Issued 20th January 2011 - additional photos added 24th Jan.
by Phil Sowden (Infrastructure Services Manager) and Dewi Jones (Traffic Manager)
As reported in the previous issue of Mudlines the contractor started work on schedule.
At Bewdley the S & T completed their disconnection and removal work at Bewdley South viaduct and the P Way moved in on Thursday 13 January. Both tracks and part of a turnout were removed by Tuesday 18th. The contractor immediately started scraping the ballast off the 10-arch, 275 foot long viaduct. The method of work is for two mini-diggers to scrape off the ballast and load it into two Hydrex road-rail dumpers shuttling it to the car park for loading onto lorries and disposal off site. Some of the ballast removed from the viaduct will be reused on the new track installed in the 'EMF/LNER/GWR' dock siding. Probably on Monday they will start removing the sand layer down to the arches. A trial dig by hand shovel has revealed the black tar covering of the brickwork now about two foot below the surface.
Please note that the viaduct will be fenced off at both ends and crossing it is now prohibited.
The contractor’s fenced compound in the Bewdley car park has taken up a significant area and therefore parking space is limited.
Erlestoke Manor Fund coach – opening Saturdays and Sundays as staff are available
It is planned that during the weekend of 22/23 January S+T work will be carried out at Northwood Crossing to bring it up to the current standards required for such crossings. This will entail the installation of additional and better road warning lights together with some changes to the 'white light' indication given to train crews. This is a Health and Safety Executive requirement that affects all level crossings of this type on both Network Rail and Heritage lines. Official notices will be posted to advise locomotive and train crews of the changes before the line reopens.
The Railway was visited by Her Majesty’s Railway Inspectors on 17th January as a follow up to their inspection last year and the opportunity was taken to show them the works currently underway at Arley and Bewdley together with other improvement works that have been carried out during the last few months. They acknowledge and fully endorse the work being carried out and planned for the next five years.
Phil Sowden inspecting the trial brickwork at Arley. The darker blue bricks are a closer match to the original and this is to be used as their pattern. There is no truth that brickwork can be reused by Arley staff as a BBQ! Photo Dewi Jones.
The fifteen foot excavation shows the round top of the original brick culvert and the new inspection chamber. Notice the hole is dry - Traffic Manager, Dewi Jones is looking into it (get the pun!) 15th Jan.
Machines have dug the trench in the "six-foot", laid the drain and covered with teram sheeting to reduce the amount of debris getting into the pipe. 20th Jan. Photo Dewi Jones.
The other end of the buried trench can be seen here.The new brickwork is covered with hessian to keep the frost at bay while the mortar dries. 20th Jan. Photo Dewi Jones.
Bricklayers work under a tent, the new bricks. All the platform surface bricks are stored ready to be relaid. Rails in the four foot are those lifted at Arley and will be relaid. 20th Jan. Photo Dewi Jones.
The roof of Bewdley South Signalbox 20th Jan.
Issued 12th January 2011
by Phil Sowden (Infrastructure Services Manager) and Dewi Jones (Traffic Manager)
Before we do anything else we must put on record our thanks to the small Santa Team at Arley who pulled out all the stops and managed to clear the equipment into storage within the grotto coaches in double quick time. We must also thank the volunteers at Arley Station for their work in clearing the platforms of benches and similar furniture in readiness for the contractor to move on site. The Santa Grotto coaches were shunted ,as planned, out of the siding on Sunday 2nd Jan and returned to Kidderminster for storage whilst other engineering department vehicles were repositioned ready for the start of the work. The Santa marquee was dismantled by our supplier and taken off site, as planned, on Tuesday 4th January which then gave the engineering department a clear run at the job.
While this work was going on the S & T Department took the Down Loop out of commission and started dismantling the signal rodding runs and wires. This work was completed during the weekend of 8th and 9th January. The Permanent Way department moved into Arley on Friday 7th and made a start on dismantling the track through the platforms. The site was handed over to the main civil contractor on scheduled on the 12th January
Would everyone please note that Arley Station is now closed to members of the public and anyone else not directly involved in work at this station. Unless you have a valid reason to be working on site you will be asked to leave.
To avoid any confusion we will be reusing the existing rail through Arley Station but changing the sleepers to wood to give a more traditional feel to the station and lessen the continuous load on this less than ideal land. While we are rebuilding parts of the platforms the opportunity will be taken to correct the gauge clearances and levels. The other change that will become evident once the work is complete will be the relocation of the point rodding from the east platform face to the west platform face, this will then permit the use of on-track tamping machines through the Main platform.
Arley Station now seems to have two barbecues on the up platform. Keep reading Mudlines for a full explanation.
So what else has been happening:
The bad weather before Christmas caused problems in bringing permanent way materials onto the railway. Lorries from Crewe in Cheshire fortunately made it through the snow and ice to deliver 48 x 60 ft lengths of rail into Kidderminster on 23th Dec. This rail is currently on wagons at Bewdley awaiting movement and laying between Victoria Bridge and Arley.
Residents that live near to or may be affected by the works at both Bewdley and Arley have been advised by letter of the work to 'keep them in the picture'.
Visitors to Bewdley may have noticed that Station Road and part of the Station Drive were resurfaced by Ringway Infrastructure Services on behalf of the local council on the 4th January. The council required this work to be done before the schools returned after the Christmas break.
The sales coaches located at Bewdley next to the car park have also been shunted out and repositioned in Platform 1. This now allows the Bewdley P Way Department to relay the siding by replacing the wooden sleepers with concrete ones
Situation at end of day Wed 12th Jan:
Next Planned work
At Bewdley South Viaduct
For any SVR working members wishing to assist the Bewdley P Way Gang they have earmarked the following as work days: Jan 27, Feb 10, Mar 1 and 17, Apr 7 as well as Saturdays and Sundays
Also if you’d like to join the vegetation clearance gang working just north of Bewdley Station they will be at it on: Jan 23, Feb 6, 20, Mar 6, 20.
Bewdley Cattle Dock Siding, dismantled and awaiting replacement sleepers. Photo by Dewi Jones.
Three photos at Arley on Monday 10th January. Photos by Dewi Jones.
Three further shots at Arley. Photos by Phil Sowden
Phil Sowden and Dewi Jones
A number of reports have appeared in various publications and newsletters about the engineering works that are scheduled to occur on the SVR during the first quarter of 2011.
Some of these reports while being correct in principle have contained errors.
The purpose of this newsletter is to inform readers of what will be taking place on the Valley during the next few months. Due to enormous amount of work and varied tasks facing the railway it was felt that the best way of keeping our staff and others informed was by resurrecting a newsletter similar to that of the “Floodlines” issued in 2007-08
The first of these newsletters will give details of the various locations at which major work will be carried out, it will also explain the reasons for carrying out the work, the ways in which the work will be carried out and the intended timescales.
Subsequent newsletters will advise on progress at the various locations to keep people 'in the picture' as the work progresses.
Why are we doing the work?
The work at Arley results from the need to install new drainage systems beneath the track. We have for a number of years been aware of the poor ground in this area which has resulted in mud and clay pumping up between the sleepers which consequently gives us problems in maintaining the track alignment within the required limits. However the work on the trackbed will necessitate dismantling significant sections of the platform and we will take the opportunity to rebuild the platforms to the correct alignment and levels using traditional methods and materials.
The work on Bewdley South (Sandbourne) Viaduct is necessary to ensure that the deck of the viaduct is waterproof and the drainage systems are working. This will form the first phase of work on the structure, subsequent work will involve replacement of sandstone once the structure has dried out. This viaduct is a substantial structure the size of which is not generally appreciated. To give some idea the viaduct has 10 arches and an overall length between the abutments of approximately 300 feet.
The trackwork between Victoria Bridge and Arley Station is to be renewed to bring it up to the current requirements for our level of operation, this will entail full renewal of rail, sleepers and ballast over approximately half the distance and rerailing of the remainder.
Work at Bewdley Station will concentrate on the track where the EMF coach and others are usually located, the sleepers in this location being life expired. We also hope to carry out sleeper renewal along part of the Rock Siding. A detailed inspection of the track between Bewdley and Northwood will also be carried out to address a number of concerns we have in this section. If we have sufficient resources we may also be doing some further work near to the Kidderminster end of the tunnel.
We also intend to carry out work on Bewdley South Signal box roof, Arley Signal Box steps the installation of additional safety equipment within Bewdley Goods Shed and a number of other smaller projects.
How will the work be done?
Prior to the contractor moving onto site and again upon completion the work associated with signaling and trackwork will be carried out by SVR staff and volunteers.
To comply with current legislation all members of SVR staff (paid and volunteers) should be aware that once we have removed the track the site will be handed over to the contractor until they have completed their work. This means that we cannot have our staff wandering into the worksites 'to see what is going on'. Only authorised SVR personnel will be permitted into the worksites, anyone else who is found on the contractors site without permission will be asked to leave.
The remaining sites will be under the jurisdiction of the SVR but please do not just turn up without making prior arrangements.
At both of the major sites there will be a significant number of road vehicle movements, all materials being removed from beneath the track have to be taken off site for disposal at designated sites and all replacement materials have to be brought in by road.
The sites at Arley and Bewdley while both being under the control of Wash Construction will run concurrently and be treated as separate contracts each with their own designated work force.
The timing of the work
The closure of the south end of the railway will take effect from the last traffic movement on the evening of Monday 3rd January. If everything goes according to plan (and I am writing these notes while the temperature has just risen from –5˚C and the ground is still frozen!!)the railway will reopen on the 26th March. However by that date we will only have reinstated a single line through Arley. The complete railway will be back to normal operation in time for the Easter operation and the Tornado visit.
The timing of the start of work at Arley is critical to ensuring that we can get the railway operational again at the scheduled date. The Christmas team at Arley have agreed to pull out all the stops to enable the site to be cleared by 4th January in readiness for the contractor to move in during that week. The work involved in clearing the site after Christmas should not be underestimated, it takes months to set up and to strip it all out within a week is a big challenge.
The contractor will also be moving into the Bewdley site during early January.
Other points to note
At Bewdley the contractor will be based on the station car park and approximately half of the car park will be fenced off to form a site compound. Access will be maintained to the Carriage and Wagon via a designated walking route.
During the coming weeks there will be an increasing level of activity as we prepare for the work. Materials and spares for the track relays will be brought in and loaded onto rail vehicles, and will have to be positioned in readiness for the works. This may cause disruption to traffic and siding space will be at a premium possibly resulting in additional shunting.
Bewdley will require major reorganisation to ensure that all materials required for the works can be accommodated on rail vehicles within the station area - once the line is cut at Bewdley South and Arley we cannot easily bring in things like 60ft lengths of rail!
The next four months are going to be busy!!
We want volunteers to continue coming to the railway to carry out the many other tasks that are needed to keep the railway going such as vegetation clearance, cleaning of locomotives, sprucing up stations not to mention general routine maintenance. A list of work and persons in charge is being drawn up. This newsletter will be updated as and when interesting or significant developments take place or when suitable information needs to be published.
There will be plenty to do so just because half the line is closed don`t start to think that you can take half the time off!!