A most satisfactory and productive day as we home in on the key outstanding jobs. The PW team tended to Shottle North Junction and reconnected the points to the ground frame after the ministrations of the tamper. Necessary adjustments were made and the facing point locks gauged and proved satisfactory. An eight man team dealt with the southern breather switch of the long welded section involving the unclipping of some 100 metres of track and then clipping it all up again. Opportunity was taken to put new pads into the majority of there area unclipped preserving the life of the concrete sleepers there. Drain covers made from recovered sleepers were cut to size and, if all goes well, will be placed tomorrow.
The breather switch is designed to permit the welded section to expand and contract without the track buckling by means of a sliding process. A major task that has been very well done.
After the change of corroded rails under bridge DJW 6 lift plates were fitted today, these deal with any step if the rail head profiles are different through different rates of wear, and the remaining rail joint held together by a clamp was adjusted to fit a conventional fishplate. My thanks go to today's team who have dealt with some critical requirements before the opening.
There will be an extra day of permanent way work tomorrow with the Works Train leaving at around 0930 from Wirksworth to make the necessary provisions for the welders arriving on Saturday and attempt to restore the foot crossings taken out to facilitate the tamper operation. As ever, all welcome!
The Duffield team have installed the Duffield Station signs along the platform together with the interpretation board. They also concreted in the bottom post of the new fencing erected by VCT at the north end of the platform and the handrail down the staff steps. VCT also received an inordinate amount of timber for the fencing to be erected at Duffield next week and the lone soil riddler was reminder that there are only five riddling days left before the lawn arrives.
VCT also managed to move a further eight loads of brash for burning and reported one large fire.
Three cheers to John and Joe who have dealt with the toilet in the Saloon which had suffered burst pipes and nearly completed the refurbishment of the operation of the two toilets in the SK. Further work was achieved to the ceilings in the Saloon and there was some discussion as to the presentation of the toilet seat in case there needed to be a Royal flush. This represents the ultimate joys of volunteering. The SK also received further deep cleaning and I am sure the coach has not received so much attention for decades.
The Booking Hall continued to process bookings for the opening weekend and Robin is working on placing Royal Saloon bookings on line for all the dates that 78019 is with us.
The process of dealing with issues presented to us by HMRI continues and many people are working behind the scenes to remedy any perceived deficiencies. I would ask to welcome Bob Swepstone into the fold as an about to retire Permanent Way Engineer for Network Rail. He will be examining the rail conditions over the next few weeks so we have an audit of track conditions deemed very necessary by HMRI. He has also organised a couple of Network Rail training days next week were groups will do a little ballast bashing starting from Duffield on Tuesday. It's all about team building and bonding so I am told - I feel very old.
PS Just to emphasize there is another PW opportunity tomorrow and it would be good to polish off all the tasks planned.