Out & About
with Craig Munday
A varied week with a trip on our very own test train!
Earlier in the week 70801 visited Truro with the Fugro test equipment fitted. The loco was seen at Crugwallins and Coombe on return.
The 8th saw a (work) opportunity to travel through the county on the Friday NR test train. Not the NMT this time, but the PLPR service. This is an electric mixture of mark 2 and mark 1 coaches, including the Mentor test car. The ensemble was headed by former EMR power cars making a rather non-uniformed look to the train. A stop at R31 signal allowed a quick photo near Chacewater.
To finish the week prior to a week on stage with St Austell AOS with our performance of SHREK the musical, I had a shift at Goonbarrow. Some beautiful light once more and some pictures obtained in the area.
Best wishes for now, Craig
Mark Howells & Neil Phillips
Indeed, it’s an absolute honour to cover the entire Western Route. Especially considering how many great railway engineers have gone before me.
I’ve been doing this job for 10 years now and in the railway for 13 years. Starting in Reading in various P.Way roles all for Network Rail.
Very happy to explain the rationale for the blue grated covers, as follows:
- Reduces the time needed for inspections, the previous covers were solid reinforced concrete.
- Reduces manual handling for inspections. Obviously for maintenance work(s) it makes little difference as you still have to remove the cover.
- Covers are much less heavy, each old concrete cover weighed on average 25kg (3no per catchpit generally). The new grated blue covers are circa 12kg for the entire cover.
- Blue is normally associated with water, for example water mains are all blue. Blue is generally more visible, even after UV degradation.
- The covers are made from recycled glass and plastic which is combined with resin to produce a glass reinforced plastic (GRP) making the cover both light (relatively) and strong.
- As you've noted, making the covers blue also makes them visible to staff and drivers etc.
Another few weeks in the West Country coming up from next Monday. Numerous locations including Exeter, Plymouth, Devonport, Laira, Torquay, Teignmouth plus more... pictures for CRS will of course be forthcoming.
I realise I'm very privileged, albeit there are often very long and anti-social hours. Let's just say I have a very tolerant and understanding wife!
I have an absolute passion for drainage and all things railway. Still can't believe the company pays me to travel so widely in both a works vehicle and of course by train.
Enjoy your weekend.
Mark Dennis Howells BEng (Hons) MPWI MIAM
Senior Asset Engineer (Drainage & Lineside)
I was out for a walk on Thursday and while crossing the road bridge at the east end of Par station I noticed a Class 70 with Fugro equipment attached standing on the down loop, the first time I have seen anything on those rails since I moved back to the area over two years ago. It was parked too far away to get the number (and I feel photos from that side of the bridge are not safe as it’s on a blind corner with little to stand on) but I knew somebody would report its visit to the CRS and Mick House duly obliged. However the article reported its arrival back in Plymouth at 14.30 and my sighting was at 16.30, so it made another trip back into Cornwall? I made my way to the footpath alongside the line west of Par hoping to get a nice low-angle close-up of the loco and Fugro gear as it passed by but it resolutely refused to budge and at 17.15 I gave up and went home!
Mark Howells’ impressive photo of a Class 59 at Patney and Chirton is the kind of view I’d hoped to obtain – however for me the steel footbridge visible in the background has a special significance, because at 22.15 on the bitterly cold but clear evening of Saturday 26th February 1977 I watched the passage of D1023 Western Fusilier and D1013 Western Ranger from this perch as they headed the final leg of the final ‘Western Tribute’ tour back to Paddington, marking the end of the diesel-hydraulic era. It was very dark and perhaps not surprisingly I was the only one there......!
Best regards, Neil Phillips.
Chris Bellett and Colin Burges
The two Annetts Key release instruments at Bodmin General are currently utilised as Train Staff release instruments, one for the Bodmin Parkway Line (Train Staff Annetts Key Configuration ‘A’) and one for the Boscarne Junction Line (Train Staff Annetts Key Configuration ‘E’). The plan is that next Winter 2022/2023 that they will be replaced by Key Token working with proper token instruments which are currently being refurbished (Key Configuration ‘B’ for the Bodmin Parkway Line and Key Configuration ‘C’ for the Boscarne Junction Line). These will work on the ‘No Signalman key Token’ (NSKT) principle as we don’t have any signal boxes at Bodmin Parkway or Boscarne Junction!
A question from Colin to Chris which is, I believe answered in the paragraph from Chris Bellett above. Are the key boxes along the line still used, I wonder? Or are the keys simply used for ganger's occupations and returned to the signal box?
If you have a moment or two, I'd be grateful if you'd cast your expert eye over what I have written to see if you think it accurate.
Thanks, Colin Burges, Christow Station.