Infrastructure News

News reports covering work on the track, lineside, buildings old and new, signalling, bridges and other civil engineering across the Bluebell Railway

7B Points at Sheffield Park before renewal - Jon Goff - 28 February 2022

7B Points at Sheffield Park renewed4 March 2022

Jon Goff’s photos cover the relaying of the 7B Points at the South end of Sheffield Park, which took place on 28 February.
As previously reported, the point blades, chairs and sleepers had been prepared in advance at Horsted Keynes. The renewal was just of the blades and associated rails; the crossover part had been renewed a few years ago.
On the right we see the points before renewal, and below, the old blades being lifted out, and the ballast dug out and the underlying ground being levelled.

Old points being lifted out - Jon Goff - 28 February 2022 Ballast and clay being dug out - Jon Goff - 28 February 2022

Ballast going in - Jon Goff - 28 February 2022
Left: An impervious membrane and then a geotextile layer now sit beneath the new ballast.
Below: the new rails are cut to length, and the trackwork all completed by the end of the day.
The S&T then reconnected the point motor and signalling over the following two days.

Rails cut to length - Jon Goff - 28 February 2022 Completed - Jon Goff - 28 February 2022


Infrastructure update17 February 2022

Track after tamping - Jon Goff - 8 February 2022 Jon Goff’s photo on the right shows the re-laid track which was tamped last week in advance of services restarting last weekend. At the time of the photo it awaited mechanical brushing to tidy the site of the re-lay.
Below are a series of photos from Mike Hopps.

The Sheffield Park 7B point ends (at the south end of the platforms there) are to be replaced, and these are being assembled at Horsted Keynes. Scaffolding has been erected around Horsted Keynes water tower to enable to replacement of the roof. The tower itself (unlike the adjoining engine/pump house) is in good condition, but with its tank having been removed in BR days, and the roof we fitted 40 years ago now life expired, this work is to secure the future of the building for the future.

Replacement for Sheffield Park 7B points being assembled - Mike Hopps - 7 February 2022 Scaffolding around Horsted Keynes water tower - Mike Hopps - 7 February 2022

UCL Surveying - Mike Hopps - 16 February 2022 Yesterday a working party from University College London (UCL) were helping us with a very accurate survey of the lineside and boundaries to identify structures, track alignment, culverts, drains and access points. This data, when all put together with footage from the drone, will help particularly with the planned duct route from Sheffield Park to Horsted Keynes, and will allow us to update digitally information we already have. The scanner was mounted on the Wickham trailer and the line was surveyed all the way from Leamland Junction (north of Horsted Keynes) to the Pump House siding at the south end of Sheffield Park. Separate readings and scans were taken at intermediate points as well to establish references. This was also done in the Salt Yard at Horsted Keynes and the Loco Yard and the platforms at Sheffield Park.
The drone has a high definition camera and data collected allows images to be overlaid on the topographical scans. The system, even from a moving vehicle and guided by GPS, is accurate to 10 mm. We managed to get a picture of the drone before it flew away!

UCL Surveying - Mike Hopps - 16 February 2022 Drone for surveying - Mike Hopps - 16 February 2022

Below we see work that is taking place in what will be the car park for the carriage works and Heritage Skills Centre, where kerb stones and drainage channels are being laid out prior to tarmacking. Also shown is an area outside OP4 where several short track panels have been made up with examples of different sleepers, rail, clips and chairs, which will be used by visiting training groups.

Work to create car park at for Heritage Skills Centre - Mike Hopps - 16 February 2022 Track types for training behind OP4 - Mike Hopps - 16 February 2022


Ballasting of recently re-laid track2 February 2022

09 with ballast hoppers - Kevin Tucker - 1 February 2022  
The 09 provides the motive power for ballast drops from the dogfish hoppers, and the road-railer then acts as a ballast plough.
The photos were taken on 1 February by Kevin Tucker (right and below right) and Jon Goff (below left). The ballast drop was completed on 2 February.
This section of newly relaid track between Lindfield Wood and Waterworks will be tamped next week.

Ballast being droppped - Jon Goff - 1 February 2022 Ballast plough in action - Kevin Tucker - 1 February 2022


Winter track re-laying:
Joining up the previously re-laid sections. Week 2 – 20 January 2022

Track re-joined - Jon Goff - 20 January 2022 The re-laying north of Lindfield Wood has gone well, and the track is joined up again.

Jon Goff’s photo shows the track re-laid, but awaiting final alignment, ballasting and tamping.

The second week’s report with more photos is here (pdf).

Track re-lay - week 2 (PDF)


Horsted Keynes Up Inner Home signalJanuary 2022

Horsted Keynes Up Inner Home signal - Ali Bruce - 23 January 2022 Ali Bruce provides this photo showing the culmination of a recent signalling improvement at Horsted Keynes. The new Inner Home, Calling On Signal (with the “C” arm) and Route Indicator are now installed at Horsted Keynes. Due to a shortage of spares for the traditional Westinghouse Signal machines, the new signals are powered by a hydraulically actuated system that has been developed in house. The route indicator is housed in a genuine SR fitting, also an improvement compared to the previous BR-era one as befits the SR-era portrayed at Horsted Keynes.

The entire installation has been the result of a massive team effort by all of the Bluebell S&T with support from others in the Infrastructure department.

The old bracket signal to the right (which was the third on the site in Bluebell days, installed 26 years ago) has been stripped of all its parts and awaits removal. It had become difficult to maintain, and now that the land on the up side no longer slopes steeply away, it was possible to site a more appropriate signal in this location. Because the site is made-up land, the new post is actually 39-ft long, with much of it underground!


Winter track re-laying:
Joining up the previously re-laid sections. End of week 1 – 16 January 2022

Track re-lay in progress - Jon Goff - 16 January 2022 The re-laying covers 311 yards of track at Milepost 9/1 (between Lindfield Wood and Waterworks), which is the last significant stretch to be re-laid between Sheffield Park and Horsted Keynes, although a section south of Freshfield Bank, and a short section over New Road Bridge remain to be tackled.

Jon Goff’s photo shows the track re-lay in progress.

You can read the full report here (pdf).

Track re-lay - week 1 (PDF)


OP4 J-road inauguration - 4 August 2021 - Bruce Healey

OP4: J-road connected and stock enters last part of the storage shed August 2021


Bruce Healey’s photos show the inauguration of J-road of OP4 (Operation Undercover Phase 4) on 4 August, with the C&W Works Sentinel shunter breaking an improvised ribbon, and then putting the first carriages (LSWR 494 and SECR/SR 1050) inside the final road of this long-term storage shed.

OP4 J-road inauguration - LSWR 494 - 4 August 2021 - Bruce Healey OP4 J-road inauguration - SECR/SR 1050 - 4 August 2021 - Bruce Healey


splash The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service

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Last updated 5 March 2022 by Richard Salmon
with huge thanks to Barry Luck, Jon Goff, Mike Hopps, Kevin Tucker, Brian Kidman and Bruce Healey.