Saturday 20 July 2024

Bricking and rodding

Finally with much drier weather we have been able to concentrate on two planned activities which an excess of water would make difficult or impossible. Thus each week we are at Stanton 11B downside or Manor Lane 36A, or occasionally both.

Thursday 4 July

Just five of the team in attendance - just as well as the working space at Stanton 11B down side is rather restricted.

All the planned tasks for the day at 11B were accomplished. These were
1. Moving sand and bricks to site
2. Recovering the lengths of small diameter drainage rods which had become stuck in the 11B bore (the litter picker was the tool used!)
3. Concreting the final part of the inlet chamber base
4. Inserting the length of twinwall pipe into the first section of SGP in the bore
5. Commencing the bricking of the chamber walls

The twinwall extension of the 11B inlet replacing several broken lengths of SGP.

First courses of brick laid on the 11B inlet, this will be a unusual triangle chamber.

Additionally we recovered all the tools and other items from the LWB Transit which had not passed it’s MOT test. Plus the old wooden shed got a bit of a tidy-up following the PAT testing of all our electrical items last week.

Thursday 11 July

A team of seven attending. Four went off to continue building the new inlet structure for cross drain 11B at Stanton. After shortening the length of protruding twinwall pipe and receiving a delivery of dryer sand, mortar was mixed and the build progressed.

After dropping off the sand, the other three went in search of a damaged chamber near the down side low mileage end of bridge 10 at Stanton, in order to remove the damaged sections and determine a method of repair. The team battled their way through the undergrowth all the way to the aqueduct but couldn’t locate the chamber. At least this enabled a quick inspection of the aqueduct, which was dry, with the mastic still in place in the shallow chamber on the down side.

Next the three set off for cross drain 36A at Manor Lane, Gotherington with the new set of strong drain rods. The bore was rodded from the outlet (up side) end and after a couple of attempts, and using almost all the rods, the arrowhead attachment penetrated through to the chamber on the down side.

On extraction, a knot of tree roots was pulled out. We were subsequently unable to force the rods all the way through again with a larger diameter spiral attachment. So while we’ve shown that there isn’t, for instance, an impenetrable blockage or collapse somewhere in the culvert, roots are able to get into the culvert at at least one point. The new rods were excellent, and obviously made the difference.

Finally we checked the recently cleared roadside ditch up stream in Manor Lane. This was working well, taking the flow of water off Manor Lane and into the pipe which leads to the 36A inlet chamber just inside of the railway boundary (high mileage down side at bridge 36).

A very productive day, not because the team leader was on holiday but with no trains running (it was the day before the three day Diesel Gala) there was no need to stop work other than for coffee and lunch breaks and no temptation to bunk off and go for a train ride.

Wildlife report: It was a near-perfect summer’s day with frequent sunshine but never too hot. The buzzards were obviously enjoying it too, calling as they rose on the thermals.

[Report and photos for today by Dave]

Thursday 18 July

With seven of the team attending we split into two teams.

Polly, Dave and Nigel continued with the brickwork and backfill of the new downside entry chamber of cross drain 11B at Stanton. This was hot work in full sun! At the end of the day the brickwork was upto a level sufficient to insert the two stub pipes which will connect to the ditches running to the boundary hedge/fence.

11B progress [Photos by Dave]

Jonathan, Martin, Roger and Andrew spent the day rodding the roadside bores of cross drain 36A at Manor Lane, Gotherington. Using the new sturdy black drain rods with a variety of attachments we were able to get the rods completely through the main bore; and some way into the upstream bore which starts at the roadside gulley near the field gate (down side high mileage). A significant amount of silt was removed - the main bore now seems to be free of significant obstructions.

Wildlife report from Manor Lane: Water vole (or maybe a shrew), grass snake, honey bees, felis catus. Blackberries ripening.

Friday 28 June 2024

Digging deep

The team’s main task over the next few weeks is building a new structure for the inlet of cross drain 11B near Gallery Farm crossing at Stanton. As is often the case, the preparatory work revealed the task will be a little more complex than when initially planned.

Wednesday 19th June and Thursday 20th June

Three team members paid visits to the RAIL Live trade show at Long Marston. There were lots of interesting items, a few of which are relevant to drainage. New companies we made contact with were:
Demco (Marton Geotechnical Services Ltd) - make add-ons to GRP catchpit rings from Cubis which enable easier pipe connections; also make solid pipes with integrated sealing rings and tough solid pipes which can be placed as little as 300mm below running lines.
Geveko Markings - adhesive material for ground and structure markings; potentially a better way to attach identification numbers to structures and marker posts. We have got a small sample to try.
On-line On-track / Super-Rod - have ro-rail jet blasting machines and offer other culvert clearing services

A road/rail jet blasting machine of On-line On-track

Pulsar – a leading manufacture of certified, hi-visibility protective clothing. Founded over 40 years ago manufacturing clothing for deep sea fisherman. A productive piece of persuasive bartering has resulted in the donation of new hi-vis jackets and trousers for all the drainage team members; plus a supply agreement for the rest of the railway on advantageous terms.

93.001, the first tri-mode (25kv electric, battery and diesel) UK locomotive. Maybe a diesel gala visitor in the future?


Thursday 20th June

Five of the team attended on the day of the summer solstice. However, we did not start work at sunrise!

The focus was on preparation for the build of a headwall on the cross drain 11B entry on the down side at Stanton.

Ian and Martin spent most of the day on vegetation clearance - first the remaining part of the down side boundary hedge/fence line from bridge 11 up to 11B. This is now sufficient to enable the dumper and mini-excavator access. They also pruned around the entrance to Stanton yard.

Roger, Dave and Andrew spent the day further excavating the area around the 11B inlet - mainly digging down to enable 100mm of concrete foundation below the bottom of the bore. This revealed that the first length of pipe we had left in the bore last week was actually broken, plus has a bad join to the second section and there was a large void above it. So it came out. This has meant a rethink on the alignment of the new headwall, but does enable a lot more concrete infill between it and the embankment. Even with assistance from Ian and Martin on completion of vegetation clearing, we still have some more spoil to shift next week. Despite the clay probably being the optimum consistency for digging, it was tough going work, especially in the heat of the afternoon.

Access along the boundary hedge/fence from bridge 11.