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Quainton News Archive - Quainton News No. 25 - Autumn 1975
Down Yard Development - Part 1 - by Rik Hunter
It is good to report that the first part of this major work of track reconstruction is complete. This is an account of the task which was vitally necessary for operations at Quainton. It was a task which was time consuming and energy sapping but it had its rewards when it was finished and the results of our labours could be seen.
The work was started as soon as the Society's last steaming Sunday finished in October 1974. The situation at that time was that there was no track in the restoration building and the down yard needed lifting to allow a completely new layout to be laid. While waiting for the end of October the Permanent Way gang had been busy during the summer in the up yard. They had managed to uncover the two long sidings which were under many years growth of trees, bushes, long grass, bits of old wagons, etc. By the end of October the longer of the two tracks had been completely dismantled as far back as the weigh bridge office and we plan to refit the buffer stops at this point sometime in the future.
November 3rd was D-Day. On this day all the rolling stock in the down yard was moved out to give us total occupation. Work could now begin in earnest! The track was lifted back to the platform end on both roads and a start was made on preliminary levelling of the formation. During the month of November the rails from the long up yard siding plus sleepers and ballast was moved across to the down side using a 45ft long flatbed truck, a hydraulic crane and a tipper wagon. A few facts and figures might be appropriate! 1500 feet of rail, about 18 tons; 250 sleepers complete with chairs, about 16 tons; and nearly 50 tons of ash ballast were shifted for reuse in the yard and in the restoration shed.
In December the track from the platform road, No. 1, was well advanced and this included the points leading to the re-railing spur where so many locomotives and stock have first made their acquaintance with Quainton. Adjustment of the curve was necessary to achieve the correct radius from the platform to the front of the shed and this proved quite a difficult job. After much effort the correct radius of 5 chains was obtained and the laying of the other two roads, Nos. 2 and 3, proved a lot easier with the experience gained. So, by Christmas, No. 1 road was at the shed entrance.
In the New Year the first task was to move No.3 road by the water tower and a satisfactory curve was again achieved. Now the PW Department tackled one of the most involved technical jobs they had undertaken. This was the construction of the new points by the water tower which were complicated by the fact that the two tracks forming the turnout were both curves of different radii. These tracks led to the Nos. 2 and 3 roads in the shed. Many a long weekend was taken in its fabrication and the regular gang were encouraged by additional labour from other members of the Society. Their aid in 'humping and dumping' was much appreciated.
As the reconstruction work proceeded it became very clear that some of the old track which had been lifted earlier from the down yard was not in a fit state for reuse. This accounts for the fact that the track in the shed could be laid only to 70ft and it will have to stay that way until the rail lifted from the up yard has been transported to the site, and laid on sound sleepers.
In February the work was concentrated on raising the level of the track in front of the shed and extending the three roads into the shed. March started wet and 'rain stopped play' but some jobs were able to continue inside the restoration building. The final connecting of the shed roads with the tracks outside was completed after the Easter Open Days but visitors were able to see the shape of things to come when they came to Quainton on that cold weekend in April.
During the month the links were made, the tracks were lifted and packed, and the curves were carefully adjusted. No. 1 road proved to the be most difficult and it was necessary to cut the rails, re-drill fishplate bolt holes, realign and reconnect before allowing stock to enter the shed.
The LNWR twelve wheeled diner was the first vehicle to take up residence and was followed two weeks later by Chislet onto No.3 road. At last the restoration building was able to be used as planned for so many years. It was a proud day for the PW gang. The next target is the completion of track laying through the shed to rescue the stranded rolling stock at the far end of the Brill siding. The rail for this work has been lifted from the long sidings on the up side yard but the sleepers were in rotten condition and progress will depend on the purchase of about 250 sleepers of good quality.
This brings the story of the down yard development up to date and the photograph shows the area where all the effort has been made. The Department needs plenty of manpower for all the jobs in hand but it thanks its stalwart supporters for the splendid achievements of the past year and looks forward to recording Part 2 of the development in 1976.
Text © Quainton Railway Society / Photographs © Quainton Railway Society or referenced photographer
Page Updated: 28 October 2017