Tuesday was one of those days, when our contractor B&R took their Plasser & Theurer 07 out on to the Broadway extension.
The 07 is open to hire by any railway, so moves about from job to job. This week it was based with us.
The first job of the day was to refuel it. The tamper has a high revving diesel engine, which amongst other things runs a hydraulic pump that propels it along and operates the tamping tines.
From here the tamper travelled up the line to Pry Lane bridge, measuring as it went. It does a recording, prior to the job.
Here is the 07 on those twists, which were easily removed.
If you look carefully, you can see a low bit between the tines and the front bogie. This is lifted as the machine moves a long, a bit it a time, and tamped, a bit at a time.
The spot between the white marks was actually the pulling point for the second 1000m of CWR, and hadn't been tamped before, hence it was a bit lower than the rest.
The operator sits in a small gondola suspended under the machine, just off to the right. All he can see is two sleepers, directly ahead of him. A second man sits in the cabin, and makes sure the machine doesn't (very slowly) run over anything.
Not visible in the picture: the microwave and the kettle! You are out on your own here. We didn't even stop for lunch, these are hard working people.
The screen of the track recorder shows various attitudes, and also top left in red the distance still to be travelled to the end of the measuring run.
That was handy in the dark, as we couldn't see where we were... a beep tells you that you have arrived.
The second job was to (re-) tamp the last of the three 1000m CWR sections after an additional ballast drop. That's now ahead of us.
Can you imagine that iron ore and coal trains hacked along here at 60mph?
That would have scared the wildlife. Well, we did anyway. Here are three roe deer galloping away from us across a field, their white back ends hopping up and down.
They gathered at the top and peered back at us, as we slowly ground along with a steady drone.
Here's a picture you won't see very often, as the tamper approaches bridge 4 at Peasebrook farm.
There is new fencing all along here, and the bridge is private. Once the line is up and running, steam locos will be pulling away here, as it is uphill.
Another job for the second man is to warn the operator of any difficulties up ahead.
Here in the foreground we have the next pulling point, midway in the new CWR section. The rails here are only held together by temporary fishplates and clamps.
Further along is the breather (expansion joint) another thing to look out for.
|A 'space ship' at Peasebrook|
The tamper here has paused for a bit of TLC. All the kit is on board, so it doesn't take long to fettle it from time to time. Good moment to take a moody picture too.
Finally we reached the end, the beep came and told us so. We were at Pry Lane bridge (bridge 3) although you'd never know it. We had a full beam on, so you could just make out the pilasters in the gloom.
To make the tamper fit for travel back down the line, the tines and measuring wheels have to be retracted again, and secured.
The next day the regulator came out and swept the same section. It is now ready for the final preparations for stressing.