Monday, April 21, 2014

How I added a siding to serve the mill

 For some time, I have been planning to add a siding to my railway to serve a water mill, similar to that found on the Southwold Railway. The most obvious place seemed to be where the railway ran beside the stream on the approach to Peckforton from the Bulkeley direction (see Progress Report 41)

 I have had three five foot lengths of Tenmille flexible track and a sleeper pack sitting doing nothing for several years and so decided, as the weather was clement, to get cracking on adding the siding.
 The first job was to assemble the track, which was simply a matter of sliding the sleeper sections on to the rail.

Next, I decided on a position for the R3 LGB point and dug a shallow trench (about 6" (15cm)) deep, leading up to the edge of the stream, exposing the plastic liner in the process.

Some vegetation was removed from the route of the siding on the opposite bank of the stream and a cutting chiselled from the sandstone to take the track.

The upper edge of the trench was lined with sandstone blocks to act as a retaining wall for the soil and a layer of stones was spread and tamped down in the base of the trench to act as hard-core.

A length of track was positioned loosely along the trench to check it was in the right position ......

...... and then the trench was filled with a 3:2:1 mix of sand, gravel and cement, to which some red cement dye had been added (to match the red sandstone). Chunks of sandstone were positioned on the lower edge of the embankment to retain the cement, which was smoothed off with a trowel and checked horizontally with a spirit level

Rawlplugs were inserted into the wet concrete at intervals along the centre line of the intended track (the length of track used to ensure they were spaced appropriately beneath the sleepers)

 The cement was left to harden-off. A day later, while the concrete was in its 'green' state (ie soft and crumbly), the sandstone retaining rocks were scrubbed with a wire brush to remove excess concrete and expose the craggy finish.

 While the concrete was hardening, a gap was made in the existing track to accommodate the R3 turnout, using a junior hacksaw and a fair amount of grunting.

The R3 point was then inserted into the gap and held in place with rail joiners. I tend to avoid screwing pointwork down to the underlying basework as this can distort the rails and lead to derailments.

The concrete was left for another two days to fully harden-off.

The track was then laid, being fixed to the concrete with screws. Sleepers were removed from the section crossing the stream as I intend to construct a simple wooden trestle bridge based on that which spanned the River Blyth on the Southwold Railway (see How I constructed a simple wooden trestle bridge - pending)

 At present, I have not decided where the mill building will be positioned. I had envisaged it would be between the siding and the river, but I am now not sure there is sufficient room. There is more room on the opposite side, which I might consider.

In the meantime, I am happy to include the siding in my daily freight movements and will add ballast and more details as time permits.

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