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GWSR General Discussion and Operations

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by michaelh, Aug 25, 2013.

  1. 1472

    1472 Well-Known Member

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    The modern understanding of soil mechanics dates from the 1920's.

    An old now departed driver I used to know who was for a long time Cheltenham Malvern Road based used to say that much weekend overtime was earned hauling material to deal with slips on the Cheltenham - Honeybourne line. Earthworks problems here are not a new thing.
     
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  2. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Mm, I know earthwork problems are nothing new. So given the Honeybourne line was built around the turn of the century, it does predate modern understanding, so perhaps the construction techniques used could be excused a little and not laid entirely at the door of the bean counters?
     
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  3. Kinghambranch

    Kinghambranch Well-Known Member

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    Very long term, nothing. Mother Nature will eventually win due to the position of that part of the Honeybourne Line between Broadway and Cheltenham, where it runs parallel to the Jurassic Limestone Cotswold hills and lies along a Liassic clay bed (well, several beds in fact). Add to that the erosion of the material from the hills by streams crossing the path of the Railway (such as the River Isbourne) and you have a big problem.

    In a shorter timescale (100 to 200 years or so let us say) there are several areas of the line which won't be affected very much by erosion and ground movement. Those that are can, and have been mitigated by good housekeeping with drainage and culvert repair, inspection. The drainage blog gives excellent examples of this. http://bridgestobroadway.blogspot.com/2019/12/river-isbourne-works.html This work is ongoing and will never end. I apologise if my Geology is a bit simplified but school was a while ago.

    I guess we should also remember that the GWR built this line in a relative hurry. It was part of a "cut-off" line from Birmingham to Bristol to compete with the Midland Railway. I recall one of the bridges on the Broadway extension having to be virtually rebuilt when it was discovered that the abutments had no "backing " to them except Lias Clay. It was only a small bridge mind but it was splitting apart!
     
  4. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

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    That's fair - I'd assumed that the extent of main line building by the turn of the century would have given experience of the key risk areas for earthworks.
     
  5. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    It does seem counter-intuitive that one of the last mainlines built in Britain was engineered so poorly compared to many previously built lines. Alternatively, perhaps the reasoning was (crudely) thus; previous lines have been massively over-engineered, experienced no problems at all, waste of money worrying about nothing?
    Or perhaps it was all built so quickly that no one had time to go "Err, hang on a minute" even if the knowledge was there, because the GWR certainly built it in a hurry.
     
  6. 1472

    1472 Well-Known Member

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    Earthworks stability issues are quite common on railways of all ages & it is certainly not unknown to have embankment & cutting slips on relatively modern motorways. The presence of water where it is not wanted is usually a factor. Railway engineers tended to accept steeper embankment & cutting slopes than would normally be used nowadays. But then shallower slopes mean greater land take.

    Whether an old railway route is subject to earthworks problems is down to the local geology, the way in which the earthworks were constructed and just how well the drainage was designed & maintained.
    When I worked in Gloucestershire there was a maxim that the county had more landslip issues than all the surrounding counties put together!
     
  7. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Having spent years walking my dog over the fields of clay I can well believe it!
     
  8. michaelh

    michaelh Well-Known Member

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    Was ash used as the fill material?
     
  9. 1472

    1472 Well-Known Member

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    It certainly was in widespread use in some areas presumably because it was a way of solving the problem of disposing of many tons of ash as much providing readily available fill. One of the problems is that many of the materials used (ash included) would nowadays be regarded as "unsuitable" in earthworks terms. If your railway has to be constructed through an area where only "unsuitable" material can be won for embankments then you face severe cost increases if "suitable" material has to be imported from some distance away. When designing the route & levels of a new line engineers would start by trying to balance the cut & fill requirements along a route for obvious cost reasons. The ability to predict what would/would not be suitable depends heavily on pre works site investigations. Such techniques & understanding of what was suitable and unsuitable are fairly recent in railway engineering terms.
     
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  10. Ken_R

    Ken_R New Member

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    Probably. I've seen a reference, possibly on the Drainage Blog, to the quoted term 'burnt soil'.
     
  11. Breva

    Breva Well-Known Member

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    This refers to the practise of burning clay to stabilise it.
     
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  12. Wenlock

    Wenlock Member Friend

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    I had read of burnt clay being used as "bottom ballast" and I am aware that the yard at Quainton Rd for example has a layer of the same across the whole area below the ash ballast.
    However I hadn't realised it was also used in earthworks.
     
  13. banburysaint

    banburysaint New Member

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    The earthworks issues are interesting and parallel similar problems on the bicester Ashendon junction line which was built at the same time

    Sent from my PRA-LX1 using Tapatalk
     
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  14. JJJ

    JJJ New Member

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    I see from one of the blogs that the loco engineering and staff room extension is coming on a treat, nice to see some heritage features in the brickwork, not just cladding like the carriage workshop extention.

    Can anybody enlighten us to what's going to be in the building? Plus with all these extra facilities being built - carriage works, loco staff rooms, a large loco shed, new offices and potential for new shop and cafe and talk of that elusive carrage shed is there much more the railway needs. Or has someone got a very long wish list of facilities somewhere?
     
  15. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    And a restored original GWR sign too:
    [​IMG]


    A proper mess room for the loco department rather than the converted carriage they currently inhabit, training classrooms, and (I think) extended machine shop space.

    Don't forget the turntable! Oh, also a proper undercover workshop for S+T, and building services too, both will lose their current home (an old carriage and a ramshackle shed, respectively) when the carriage shed eventually gets built and their current facilities are inadequate anyway. There's also a desire for Cheltenham to be upgraded in some way. A major bugbear is that the ticket office is at the top of the ramp which causes problems on busy days and can seriously affect timekeeping/customer satisfaction (either waiting for passengers who've bought their tickets or leaving them behind). So a new building, extension or something on platform 1 is something that some people would like, plus of course perhaps reinstating the waiting room on platform 2. I can't think of anything else off hand other than Broadway platform 2 stuff, but I think that should see us through for the next 20 years!
     
  16. Kinghambranch

    Kinghambranch Well-Known Member

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    The Toddington Goods Shed extension, as I understand from my colleagues working on 2807, will provide proper facilities at last for loco crews and maintenance staff. It will also provide extra storage space. Is there much more the GWSR needs? It needs lots of money. For ever.
     
  17. Matt37401

    Matt37401 Part of the furniture

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    Whilst agreeing with both those sentences I'd also add that they apply to all our heritage railways. (IOWSR excluding according to one poster!) Our 1:1 scale railways are very much like our model railway's, there's always something that you can tweak or improve on, it's never going to be perfect and there's never going to be enough cash to do everything you want to do at the same time. Rather like life, there's always a new challenge just around the corner.
     
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  18. jnc

    jnc Well-Known Member

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    I got the impression that they and the drainage gang were all going to wind up at Churchward House, although the timing is going to depend on budgets, which have been thrown out of whack by the two new slips?

    Noel
     
  19. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Well, not in Churchward House, they'd ruin the new carpet! :) But yes, in the yard that came with it, but they still need a building to live in, There's only some garage-y type things at the moment. Speaking of Churchward House, admin and others are busy moving in this week, a welcome upgrade from the portacabins at Toddington. The railway's official headquarters and address has now changed to reflect this.
     
  20. paulhitch

    paulhitch Guest

    Don't know where you got that from.
     

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