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Bullhead versus flat-bottom

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by MellishR, Mar 13, 2021.

  1. Ploughman

    Ploughman Part of the furniture

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    When will you get gangs of 30 plus nowadays?

    With preparation it is possible to relay with 2 people, but more bodies make it easier.
    We find steady progress can be made with a regular gang of about 6 - 7 laying in about 5 - 6 lengths a day.
    As for machines a mid range 360 degree excavator capable of lifting a 60ft rail or 4 sleepers at a time is all the heavy plant you need.

    A tamper to follow up is desireable for long lasting results but if you prefer hand packing carry on.

    Oh yes the sleepers we have been taking out for the last 2 years Bull head fittings on Concrete sleepers, almost as heavy as the FB versions.

    As to the flexibility of FB rail, has anyone seen CWR being Thimbled in or out of the track?

    Or delivered to site by train
     
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  2. Sim

    Sim Member

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    Now that's a surprise! Not the track, but a US train with only one loco!
     
  3. Andy Moody

    Andy Moody Member

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    Used to work long welded trains from Redbridge works (Southampton) to Eastleigh at 25mph, 10mph through crossovers. on a regular basis.
    Destination was Woking up yard.
     
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  4. Allegheny

    Allegheny Member

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    I hope it doesn't de-rail.:)
     
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  5. Martin Adalar

    Martin Adalar New Member

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    Tampers are no use on jointed standard guage track because you will get ballast memory at the joints which will dip in no time at all.

    I don't see how you can use a 360 degree excavator for lifting 60' rails when you need to lift with the rail head up and you need a two point lift with tag lines to avoid crippling the rail which would normally require the use of a spreader beam that is 25' long unless you have the use of two OTMs working in tandem on an adjacent track but of course most heritage lines are only single track. Surely a digger wouldn't have the lifting radius.

    I don't know what point you are trying to make about the flexibility of FB rail.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2021
  6. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    Bryan will give you chapter and verse on how the NYMR does it but they've been using this method for years. It does have the advantage that the line used to be double track so there is an emergency access track along virtually the whole railway. Tried to find some pictures of the machine in action but could only find ones of it lifting sleepers. A spreader beam is good but isn't necessary if you've got the boom height and long slings. The NYMR have laid anything up to a mile during previous winters by this method, followed by mechanical tamping. Although some of the line is welded, much of it is jointed and the tamper is used on this. Without such mechanisation, the small PW gang would struggle to maintain and rebuild the eighteen miles of railway.
    [​IMG]
     
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  7. Ploughman

    Ploughman Part of the furniture

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    Steve we do use a Rail Beam, but it is easily missed as it is only about 6ft long.
    We do not normally use long chains unless part of a lift with the 12t Plasser crane. That lift would probably be picking up sleeper packs stacked trackside.
    The tackle in the photo is the BH sleeper chains in use relaying new timber bh sleepers across part of Fen Bog.

    Ballast memory is not a problem unless you are relaying in the old beds.
    The best way is to uplift your track, blade your beds level or slightly canted if on a curve to at or below the required level.
    Then relay your track making sure that your end joints are not in an old joint bed.
    Tamping, All track, be it jointed, welded or check railed is tampable but some tracks such as check rail require special equipment.
    In the case of the site in the photo a hired in S+C tamper was used to enable tamping of the check rail otherwise our own normal plain line tamper could have done the job.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2021
  8. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    FWIW, on the Bluebell we are steadily relaying the plain line away from stations primarily with flat bottom, but jointed, track. It is routinely tamped (with modern, hydraulic tampers, not steam-powered ones ;) ).

    At a rough estimate we probably have about six miles of jointed flat bottom; about 1/2 mile of CWR flat bottom continuously welded bull head (through the tunnel) and the remainder - 4 1/2 miles - of bullhead on wooden or concrete sleepers. Some of that is pre-preservation; some dates from the early 1990s. The "new" track has generally been laid on a new formation, frequently with enhanced or repaired drainage as well. The philosophy seems to be about minimising future maintenance requirements as far as I can tell.

    Tom
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2021
  9. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Given 'local sensitivities' at West Hoathly, which flavour is used through the old station site there (My last visit, 15 months ago, was a return SP-HK only)?
     
  10. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Currently it is jointed bullhead on wooden sleepers - it dates from the ca. 1992 extension as far as New Combe Bridge.

    I was slightly wrong in my post above about the tunnel: I’ve just found the report on how it was done back in 2010 and it is chaired bullhead rail, but continuously welded through the length of the tunnel. See https://www.bluebell-railway.co.uk/bluebell/pway/relaying2010.html

    Tom
     
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