PERMANENT WAYThe Permanent Way Dept. is responsible for maintaining the track, drainage, lineside furniture (excluding buildings and signals) plus it takes a leading role in the inspection and maintenance of the bridges throughout the route.
Working with the P’Way, as they are called, is a very rewarding aspect of heritage railway volunteering. OK, it might rain sometimes but the team spirit is second to none and we do get to appreciate the really superb countryside through which the railway runs.
Headquarters for the P’Way is Priors Lane Depot where we store the track materials and ballast ready for upcoming projects. Messing and storage facilities are provided and a siding from the main line allows rail wagons to be loaded or unloaded.
The P’Way gang meet every Sunday, usually at a suitable signing-on point that is handy for the work in hand. Sometimes, work is undertaken mid-week if a possession of the railway is required. The various plans of the department, together with news, gossip and any rumours are communicated through a fortnightly note produced by David Barlow and known as a ‘barlogram’.
Training in the various aspects of the P’Way role, together with any specialist safety or plant training, are available as a new volunteer becomes established. At first, working with the gang and picking up the various practices is the norm. Some members of the gang have worked together for over 20 years but time-serving doesn’t preclude new members from being very welcome and recruits are encouraged to quickly become part of the P’Way team.