The 7th February saw the completion of a months work of activity, marked by the new siding at Lawley Village being opened for use. A brief outline of the work required is detailed below.
On 3oth December, immediately after our Santa specials ended, our permanent way team got to work to prepare No 1 point at Lawley Village station for connection to what will eventually become the second platform.
The point works involved a little more than just putting a couple of rails down. The turnout was slightly out of alignment, and wouldn't have been function if left as it was, so we used special jacks to manually move the track over sufficiently to ensure safe operation.
Work halted for a couple of weeks due to issues with the weather, but in the 2nd week of January 2 rails were swapped around and then put back in.
In the 3rd week of January we put in the 'closure' rail - this is the rail that directs the train towards the other side of the point, this involved power tools to drill the sleepers for new bolts, and the fishplates that are used to join the track together are greased to allow some movement due to expansion and contraction caused by temperature changes
During the 4th weekend (24th January) we bolted down the closure rail from the previous weekend, and installed the matching rail on the other side. We managed to get enough of this done and dusted to enable us to test the point action by driving the loco over it (not very far as there was a bit more work to do)
Work halted for a couple of weeks to allow us to concentrate on other activities required for the Heritage Rail Association (HRA) to visit us following on from their AGM in Wolverhampton on 6th February. Following the departure of the HRA 3 of our volunteers headed up to Lawley Village to drop some ballast into the new siding, the ballast was required to raise the sleepers up a small amount due to them being too low compared to the rails joining off the point. Once there was sufficient ballast under the track, a test run with the loco (Rusty) and the ballast wagon commenced, heading all the way up until reaching the point at the far end of the station, which is still to be completed.
This achievement is a major stepping stone to other activities, it enables us to move most of the rolling stock out of the yard at spring village and to start work on the new sidings that are planned to be put in for our new carriage shed (more details soon). The rail for the new sidings will be the rail that will be lifted from the permanent way south of Horsehay & Dawley station, which is not of passenger carrying standard, in preparation for relaying rail of passenger carrying standard.
A huge thank you to all the volunteers that have helped with this key piece of track work.
Thank You to Phil McIver and Kevin Jones for the pictures and Phil McIver for the words.