This week, I have been working in Devon. The High Output train has been in action in the Wrangaton area on the Up Main. This has resulted in the Down Main still opened for traffic, and over 200 yards of rail replaced, tamped and ready for traffic each morning. Quite an awesome feat bearing in mind the engineering, operational and time constraints.
Each evening the Output train travels down from Taunton to Plymouth to cross over, and return to Hemerdon on the Up. It enters the engineers possession there shortly after it is taken, accompanied by the on track machines from Tavistock Jn.
Around midnight, two Up trains run from Plymouth, and this has required Single Line Working (SLW) over the Down main between the crossovers at Hemerdon & Aish near South Brent - some 8 miles. I have been the Pilotman which required being present to personally authorise each train along the section, and to issue a Driver's ticket. The first train 2E78 a 5 car unit has been sent each evening, and then I have been riding with the GWR Night Riviera through the section to Aish. On arrival there, the points are reset and I travel back with 1C98 the last Paddington to Plymouth HST.
The train trip through the section has been fascinating. An army of staff working on the Up line with the immense train split in two, complemented with On Track plant and On track plant all stretched out over a mile or so. All lit up like a film set whilst we creep past the site at 20mph.
It's been poignant to hop off at Aish and see the powerful class 57 regain the UM line and see the train snake through the crossover, with all the blinds firmly shut on the sleeping cars, satisfied that the snoozing customers have travelled by soundly with no concept of the work going on just a mile or so down the track.
All the best, Craig
Fascinating details of what goes on through the night to keep the railways running. Many thanks to Craig.
Plymouth to Westbury
at Camborne today
So it will be no excuse for not having a ticket! as heavy penalty fares are applicable over the national rail system.
A powerful picture by Clive Smith