Tuesday 8 December 2015

The welders are back

Haigh Rail have come back to weld up the 16 lengths we laid on the 400 sleepers.

It was a blustery day, with an almost cloudless sky. What you don't see in the picture was the short but very wet downburst at lunchtime, which the lucky few sat out in the backs of their vans. Not every crew was so lucky!

There are about 30 welds to be done on this stretch, and today saw two thirds of the job completed - they will be back tomorrow morning to finish off the rest.

These two pictures show the gang cutting a rail end off to achieve the correct welding gap, and the second shows the rail grinder being used to smooth off the excess after a hydraulic cutter has taken off the worst bits. Long views across the Evesham vale extend into the background.

One  of these hydraulic cutters can be seen in the foreground here, with a second weld waiting to be done on the left. Other welds that have been done are represented by the silver tubs that stretch out into the distance. These are the remains of the single use crucibles that most of the teams were using (there were several on site today). Little Buckland bridge is in the distance where the silver car is parked. The space without sleepers includes the area of a broken drainage pipe that passes under the trackbed, and which needs replacing by digging out. Any further sleeper laying will be limited by the hole that will be dug there for a while.

Looking the other way, we can see the team in action that started at the Laverton end of the 16 lengths. In the distance is the PWay relaying train, and nearer to the camera is the multi use crucible in action, temporarily turned to one side while the blow torch heats up the rail ends with the characteristic 'Vee' of exhausting flames.

The crucible is then swung into place, and lit - stand well clear ! A little mini-volcano at work.

This shows the northern end of the rail welding job, with Andy Smith of the PWay gang in discussion with one of the crews. A small number of PWay volunteers is needed to accompany the crews to provide logistical support, and tidy up the site afterwards.

Here is what you get after welding say 20 joints. Lots of empty single use crucibles, left over blocks of molten Aluminium, bits of excess molten steel, foundry sand, sharp bits of wire and packaging material. Just about  a van full today - well done Andy for clearing all this up. It will be sorted at Winchcombe to go into a skip or be recycled where practical.

The flail was at work again and has made great progress. The stretch up to Little Buckland is now done, and most of the next stretch to Broadway seems clear now too. Great stuff!

1 comment:

  1. Excellent welding guys!!!!! I had no idea before reading this, of how railway lines where made. My brother used to be a welder, so I know you guys are artists at heart. Seemed like an excellent day for it, despite the wind. Thank you for making train transport safer for us all.

    Rosemary Bailey @ Wabi Iron & Steel Corp.