January 2005 News Update 2 - Next Bridge repair begins
|If anyone has a suitable caption....||Photo © 2005|
The South Devon Railway's Civil Engineers, having dealt with the rebuilding of the 5 span Nursery Pool Bridge last winter are tackling another bridge this winter - but instead of being 200 feet over the main River Dart, this winter's offering is a mere 9' 9" over a mere trickle of a stream. The bridge is situated at 4m 7c along the branch right alongside the Riverford Bridge overbridge where the A384 crosses the railway and the River Dart. This small underbridge was identified as requiring replacement before the line can apply for upgrading from 18 ton axleweight.
Unlike the Nursery Pool project which was all designed and planned well in advance of the start date, this project will need to be seen through right from the planning stage to completion before the line reopens on March 19th. With the old bridge exposed (see photograph) all the necessary measurements have been taken and a design has been worked up which will see the old wrought iron trough girders replaced by new sturdy 'I' section beams. At the same time new handrails will be provided to the same design as used on Nursery Pool Bridge. Another feature of the design will see the old trough girders moved sideways and retained so that the new handrails can be fixed to them.
One that got away (and one that didn't!)
The South Devon Railway has carried out an assessment of various vehicles on the branch which are unlikely to be restored and it was concluded that two 16 ton mineral wagons were beyond economic repair. The two vehicles were B550472 and B587511.
B587511 was duly cut week beginning 10th January whilst its compatriot B550472 made a miraculous escape! A chance conversation with a visitor from another railway saw it receive a last minute reprieve and live to fight another day. Instead of heading into the razor blades bin it has instead hopped on a lorry and been transferred to the East Somerset Railway where it is expected to be used to store the balance weight from their ex GWR Steam Crane.
Various spares have been kept from 587511 which are intended
to be used on reconverting the two recently purchased ferry
wagons back to normal coupling and buffing - they were both converted
for use as barrier vehicles
with Class 151 diesel units.
|The one that got away-B550472|
|The one that didnt make it-B587511|
SDRA Christmas Dinner and Draw
On the evening of Saturday 15th January over 40 members of the South Devon Railway Association who provide the volunteer support to the SDR met at the Dart Bridge Inn for the Annual Dinner and Draw.
One of the highlights during the evening was the presentation
of the “Patron’s Cup” which this year has gone to a member of the Backroom
Staff of the SDR, that very well known voice on the telephone, Jo Stokes.
Jo is assistant to the General Manager, Richard Elliott and very often, irrespective of what time of day or night that a call is received on one of our Buckfastleigh telephone numbers, it will be Jo who is there to answer your question.
The photograph below shows Jo together with Rowena Houghton, daughter of Bob Saunders who was the founder member of the DVRA which later changed its name to become the SDRA after the SDR was set up in 1991 to run the Buckfastleigh Branch.
|Rowena Houghton and Jo Stokes just after the presentation.|