7¼" Extension News: Updated 17th March 2019
7¼" Extension: Written by Roy Hollingworth
Members coming to our site will have seen the continuing progress on the new 7¼" gauge track extension. Headed by Roy Hollingworth; the team of enthusiastic members have made fantastic progress. Roy continues to issue a monthly progress report to the Committee which advises on both progress and spend. Listed here are extracts from Roy’s March report:
So much has happened since the last issue that I don’t know where to start. The “steaming loop” at Mere Way has now been completed with a running track, steaming loop and points at either end and very impressive it looks too.
On Saturday Jan 12th we closed the site entrance road to traffic and began to dig up the tarmac. With Terry in the driving seat the trench was completed by mid-afternoon. The first layer of reinforcing mesh was put in place before the end of the day. and on Sun 13th a duct for 230v supply was laid in followed by the second layer of mesh. All of this positioned with spacing blocks and held in place with wire ties. Then the pre-assembled rail structure was lowered into place with the fork truck and supported by steel beams and jacking screws.
Timbers were placed across the top of the rails and the shuttering was suspended from. On Monday the 14th, the signalling cable duct was put in along with the shuttering being all braced up ready for concrete.
The mixer then arrived late on Tuesday morning and after 2 hours of pouring the crossing was completed with 6.5 cu. Mtrs. (15 tons) of concrete. As the light faded and rain started to fall we managed to get the concrete trowelled to a decent finish.
After a few days, the shuttering was then removed on Saturday the 19th and the rails were made flush with the road using a temporary MOT infill. With the drive being open to traffic by lunch time.
We have now diverted our attention to the Parkgate Station area. The old station building has been demolished and the concrete base broken up. Most of the old track has been lifted and the track bed is being prepared for the new layout.
On Sunday Feb 17th the GCRN kindly agreed to let us have some old concrete sleepers which we fetched from Asher Lane using Rod Chamberlain’s Land Rover and trailer. He also used his vintage tractor to load them up. Some of the sleepers have now been placed along the back edge of Parkgate to retain the ballast when it is laid.
Meanwhile, the signalling system is progressing well. Nigel Ball has put in a lot of work, installing the manholes, ducts and pulling in the cables. He has completed enough infrastructure to allow the new system to be integrated with the existing system ready for when we open for public running at Easter and Bill Hall plus helpers have completed the seemingly endless task of assembling the re-gauged track panels.
We now have enough to complete the entire extension bar for a couple of short curved sections. Well done Bill!