After a huge effort, phases 1 and 3 of our plan had been completed. We had to pause at this point to allow the Autumn Night Run to proceed because we wanted to make sure that the track was running ok. The last thing anyone wants in the dark is derailments. As it happenned, the track performed perfectly.
The next event was the Christmas Party and we aimed to complete all work by then. We were all getting tired, the nights were closing in and the weather had a nip to it. We waited for a clear spell but there wasn't much hope in the forecasts. We picked a Monday that looked promising and made a start.
Phase 2 looked relatively easy but had TEN points to lay, THREE connections to the existing track and TWO tricky sections under the foot bridge and going into the sidings nearest the cabin. We also had to pay special attention to relative levels and some tight junctions.
The weather was fairly awful throughout, it took much longer than anticipated and it was very, very cold. If we all look cold it's bcause we were. Though sometimes we were wet too. However there was lots of tea and a few mince pies so we kept fairly cheerful (Did I mention the cold).
Lucy and Elliot took the photos.
First job, take up the old track and dig.
Establish levels and lay the Filcris strips.
We found that the base level was slightly higher in this section...
...so instead of cementing the Filcris we screwed it directly to the slabs from the original layout.
Old track into the siding...
The sub-surface was a mix of concrete castings and original slabs.
The concrete was hard to drill but the slabs were very crumbly in places.
The siding near the cabin took a lot of digging out with the intention of cementing block pavers in place. Notice the mitre saw in the background. This was Elliot's salvation. It was amazing that it didn't trip the power but it saved Elliot's aching arm (We made him count his fingers regularly).
It was so cold that the cement didn't set well in places.
This corner was awkward because it's so tight and it needed to get to the correct level to join to Phase 1 sidings and reversing junction.
The exact arrangement of the points was problematic. But the Filcris made adjustments really easy.
Tricky point in position and now fiddling about getting the base right...
...but worth the effort in restoring the reversing siding.
The two trickiest bits in the whole relay are in this picture.
The junction to the sidings with its very tight tolerances...
...and under the footbridge. So we talked Don into doing these bits.
All hands were put to good use...
..the laying of endless points continued...
...we used up all the Filcris, most of the pavers and a load of hard wood flooring blocks...
...set more points...
...and left poor Don to get under the bridge.
We recycled the gravel (which turned out to be really good stuff)...
...and left poor Don measuring...
...is he in pain? Lucky there's no sound perhaps.
Elliot got stuck in.
Then it was done. Perfect. Well done Don.
We were really tired and cold but determined to finish so...
...work progressed into the sidings at both ends...
...until we were done.
Time to test it out.
Some posed pictures but...
...once we got the grit out of the points...
...we had a brilliant run.
And so our track renewal and improvement program came to a conclusion.
A huge improvement both in reliability and usability.
Many thanks must go to Mike, Don, Dave and Phil for most of the track laying.
Also thanks to Clive, Eric and John for heavy engineering and earth shifting (and cementing).
Elliot and Lucy for extensive Filcris cutting general help and photography.
And Tom for supervision of plant life on behalf of head gardener Glenis.
Photos by Lucy and Elliot
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