SOUTH DEVON RAILWAY BATTLES THROUGH SNOW TO GET RAILWAY READY FOR 2009 SEASON
|The Yorkie with a balast train||Photo © Richard Elliott 2009|
|1250 new sleepers means 5000 chair bolts to tighten!||Photo © John Cave 2009|
The South Devon Railway's track gang have been battling against the weather to get the track ready for the Diesel Railcar service due to commence on Sunday 8th February. The winter work programme has involved replacing around 1250 life expired sleepers. This week, with the job nearing completion, the weather turned somewhat inclement and the track gang have been braving the elements to get the work completed on time. Having replaced the sleepers and rails in the area required the final jobs were to tighten up all the nuts and bolts holding the chairs to the sleepers and then drop 500 tons of ballast from the railway's special ballast hoppers to hold the track in place. Whilst other areas of the country ground to a halt the SDR team battled onward!
As a result the Sunday Service due to start at 10.45am on Sunday 8th February will be running. Hopefully, by Sunday the worst of the winter weather will have passed and passengers will be able to enjoy a journey in the comfort of the line's newly restored single car railcar. This vehicle, built in 1957, was one of a type used on lines where traffic did not warrant longer trains. As such, W55000 is ideally suited for services early and late season on the South Devon Railway. The scheme to preserve this vehicle was the brainchild of enthusiast David Aldridge who has worked for many years to get the vehicle restored and back into service. It has now been put into the care of South Devon Diesel Traction Ltd, who are based on the SDR and own various of the line's mainline diesel locomotives.