Editorial: Loose Bearings
Happy New Year to everyone
Continuing on from the last YDR News we have some more new contributors for you this issue. I still have some articles in
stock but would always welcome more, no matter how short.
I have included in this issue a list of railway society meetings in York. There are many railway societies and organisations,
and it's a good way of making new friends. Societies meet in most major towns and cities; if there aren't any local meetings
listed in the Diary section of the railway magazines, try contacting your local library for the address of the membership
secretary for your local branch. It's often better than staying in and watching he latest version of Big Brother or some other
Finally from me a warning not to believe everythin you read in the (railway) press! Recent news articles about Green Arrow and
an article on Austerity tank engines in Model Rail have been peppered with errors. I have written to the editor, but so far
await a reply. As the source of the news about Green Arrow was the Head of Engineering at York, it's amazing how they managed
to miconstrue what he told them. It's also amazing what news they leave out.
Chairman: From the Chairman
The big news, and right up to date, is that the Yorkshire Dales Railway Museum Trust has been awarded the ‘Railway World’
Award in the 2002 National Railway Heritage Awards (NRHA).
The NRHA focus on railway structures, buildings, bridges, signalling installations, signal boxes and even dry stone walling.
Both the national network and heritage railways are included and a number of Awards are made, each sponsored by a major
railway player. Network Rail, London Underground, Westinghouse and First Engineering all feature together with the Ian Allan
The ‘Railway World’ Award was awarded in 2002 to Embsay Station Weigh Bridge Building for the excellent conservation of an
often overlooked part of the total railway scene. Well done to the team who delivered this fine piece of work - DRAB
Construction consisting of Bob Bonsall, Rod Fall, Anton Clarke, and Danny Ferguson and Stephen Walker for obtaining the 50%
grant funding that helped underwrite the cost. The grant funding came from the Yorkshire Museums Council and they are very
pleased that one of their grant-assisted projects has been recognised in this way.
The award was made on 3rd December 2002 at the Merchant Taylors Hall in the City of London and was presented by HRH The
Princess Royal - a very prestigious affair and I'm sure that you will all join with me in thanking the team for their efforts.
An interesting fact of life is that railways such as ours, operating without ex-British Railways locomotives but making good
use of suitable ex-industrial locomotives, often seem to be overlooked as not part of the mainstream. Awards of this type
reinforce the fact that we are to be taken seriously and we do deliver excellent heritage projects with first-class
This augurs well for the Heritage Lottery Grant application currently being worked up for the second phase of the Embsay
complex - the Museum Building and Resource Centre. By the time this reaches you I hope that we shall have made the application.
Elsewhere on the Railway a considerable amount of good work is being undertaken and excellent results recorded. If I may I
will mention a few things:
New Shed - starting to settle down now as a major change in our engineering capability. Still needs lights and power supplies,
but this is the subject of some lateral thinking at the moment. We did try and interest a major electrical contractor in doing
the work for us, but without success. Another direction is now being persued.
Bolton Abbey station - the new 'flagged' area around the buildings is excellent and should help to keep the floors clean in
the building. The Midland Railway buildings, ex-Hellifield and acquired last year, are destined to give Bolton Abbey an
enhanced appearance. The first is starting to be constructed to the rear of platform 1 and the second isdestined for platform 2
as a waiting shelter.
Holywell Halt - after years of being a 'Cinderella' and latterly a place where no trains stopped, Holywell Halt has had a
complete facelift that resulted in a complete transformation. It started one day in the Summer when a large team, made up of
members of all the departments on the railway, descended on Holywell for a blitz-type approach. Since then a team has laboured
mightily to complete the outstanding tasks and deliver a really attractive result. Work comprised: repairs to the waiting shelter;
new platform edges; new 'running-in' boards, announcing Holywell Halt; new station benches; re-created walkways in the picnic
area; new milepost and gradient board at the trackside; fencing repairs and a lot of paint. Well done to everybody who was
involved with this job - you know who you are.
The above are only snapshots and all departments are producing good work to the benefit of the railway. We have exciting plans
for 2003 and much to look forward to with a constantly developing railway.
Finally, there was a 'flyer' included with the last issue of YDR News for the 100 Club. Quite a few supporters of the 100 Club have
not renewed after the first year, unfortunately. This source of funding, together with the excellent efforts of the on-train
'Saver' sellers and the Embsay Fundraisers bric-a-brac shop, is extremely valuable in supporting the ongoing development of the
Embsay Shed complex. We will need funds to match the Heritage Lottery Grant, if we get it, and then there is Phase III to provide
even more quality workshop space.
Please support the 100 Club - more members, higher prices - and help your railway provide first class engineering facilities.
Departmental Report: Permanent Way
Since the Summer, activities have been concentrated on track maintenance. Stone blowing to repair joints, replacing keys and
replacing life expired sleepers in the carriage sidings.
The technique of using the hand-held stoneblower is improving, with the result that the dipped joints around Draughton are
now greatly improved. The main unit of the stone blower is a petrol driven generator and air compressor that can be wheeled
alongside the track. It has a separate petrol tank and a lookout control box and warning siren that allows the air supply to
be cut off and siren sounded as the lookout sees an approaching train.
To set the track up to repair a dipped joint, the ballast needs to be pulled back from each sleeper edge next to the rail for
one shovel width. The dipped joint is jacked up to just above the level using sighting boards and a jack. This gives room for
the delivery nozzle of the hand held hopper to go so that when the trigger is pulled the air blast will deliver a stream of
small granite chippings under the sleeper. The chippings have to be trickled into the hopper as required.
The blast of air delivers the chippings under the full width of the sleeper, and by turning the nozzle side-to-side delivers
chippings under the whole of the required load-bearing area. Once no more chippings can be blown under, that sleeper is fully
packed. Settling the jack too high will result in a raised joint that is not desireable, although the stone chippings will
settle a little under traffic.
It remains a surprise to see the quantity of chippings that can be blown under a single sleeper. The great saving of this
method is in the reduction in the time required to set up the job. The older method, called Measured Shovel Packing, requires
half the ballast between each alternate pair of sleepers to be dug out to the bottom of the sleeper over the length of the
dip. Setting this up was very labour intensive with only a limited number of joints being repaired in a day. The limiting
factor now is related to supplying enough chippings, and the time involved to move the equipment between joints. The overall
result measured in terms of track geometry is much the same for both methods.
Wooden keys in much of the bull-head track remain an on-going maintenance problem. In dry weather they dry out and shrink,
allowing them to shake out. In wet weather they swell up and stay put. All the time they steadily decay. The result being
the regular checking and replacement when required. We are steadily replacing wooden keys with steel ones of various designs.
The final burst of effort has seen the concrete sleepers moved from Healey Mills to Prior's Lane over the last weeken in
September, with some considerable effort to ensure they were loaded and unloaded in some degree of order to ensure the
different types could be kept together.
Even the best laid plans are subject to the vagaries of lorry transport where loads are dispatched at even intervals but
arrive all in a bunch to be unloaded.
Having received all these to be used relaying down to the junction and under Holywell Bridge, we are now to receive another
600 from GrantRail that will be delivered and unloaded at Prior's Lane in the first week of November.
Preparations are underway to relay the track under Holywell Bridge. The main problems here come about due to the limited
depth of ballast before reaching bed-rock. Autumn leaves are not so much of a problem on the rails, but in blocking the flow
of water through the ballast and into the drains. The result is that the existing timber sleepers sit for much of the time in
water. The plan is to deepen and widen the drains where possible, and to relay the track using shallow depth concrete
sleepers. This is to be tackled in the quiet season after Christmas, as the task will prevent any trains running over the
full line for four weeks.
Future work includes relaying part of the carriage sidings using concrete sleepers, building the sixth road in the top yard
and relaying the track to the junction once the bridge is replaced.
photos by Tim Warner