? Keighley and District Model Engineering Society. Minature steam trains, model yatchs and model boats.What we do in the winter.

Text logo for Keighley and District Model Engeneering Society

Home About Trains Yachts Boats Maps Links






Major Track Upgrade
Keighley and District Model Civil Engineering Society

Now government guidelines regarding coronavirus have eased we have resumed public running and are taking bookings for birthday parties. On our non running days we are still making improvements to the track and grounds.

First day back after lockdown This was the sight that greeted us when we visited Marley railway track for the first time after lockdown. Marley was being used as a Covid 19 testing station so we had special permission to assess what we planned to do while public running was suspended.
Grass cutting first First job was to cut the grass. Fortunately the weather had been hot with little rain so it was not too bad. That was to change in a few weeks.
Starting to survey. Derek brought his theodolite to help the survey. It went in the middle of the first curve and we then took readings to find out how much the track went up and down.
Week 2. Behind the bushes near the river. We got into our stride and in week two got down the back straight and then on to the curve behind the bushes where the tunnel used to be.
Week 3. Round by the car park. Week three and we took the readings round by the car park and on to the steaming bay.
The rain came as we got to the station. The last job was along the station as it started to rain. At least all the measuring was finished for Derek to draw out the track and start to work out what quantities of materials we might need.
Marking out trench for excavator Derek and Ian set off round the top curve with a couple of chains dangling from a cross beam on a truck. The grass was spray painted to mark out where the excavator should dig a trench.
End of excavator trench at beginning of back straight. The trench was marked out on the grass either side of the track to the beginning of the back straight. This is as far as we will go for the moment as the back straight was rebuilt only a few years ago.
Supervising the removal of bolts in the track. All the bolts holding the track down had to be removed so the curve could be dismantled.Colin took a major role supervising the work.
Bolts undone and track about to go. With the bolts undone the track was loosed before being stored away.
All the track on the first curve stored away. End of a good afternoon's work. All the track on the first curve stored away.
Start of removing sleepers. Starting to remove sleepers. Most were quite rotten but have gone to good use in people's gardens.
Unbolting and carrying away. Unbolting and carrying away the sleepers went remarkably smoothly.
The first curve cleared of sleepers. All the first semi circle from the station to the back straight was cleared of sleepers, leaving only the posts in the ground.
Digger team. Then we had some mechanical help to dig the footings. Many thanks to both Lingfield Services (Cross Roads) and Judsons who kindly undertook the excavation works for the track.
First curve dug out. The digger team made light work of clearing the bases and digging the footings.
Footings to back straight. The footings were dug as far as the back straight and some chippings put in the base.
Making a start on bridge repairs. The bridge is constantly being vandalised, so the opportunity is also being taken to make it as sturdy as possible.First thing was to attack with the angle grinder.
Seem to have sprung a leak. The old upright sprang a leak which was unexpected.
Two replacement post in. Day one saw the first two replacement uprights going in.
Bridge with new uprights and handrails. Four new uprights were put in along with handrails across the top.
Checking gradient of footings. The footings being checked for the gradient. The plan is to make it a little easier to get a smooth start away from the station.
Colin mowing and towing. Colin mowing and moving concrete blocks at the same time. Who said he couldn't multi task?
Colin mowing and towing 2. Close up to show the board hitched to the back of the mower to move the concrete blocks from one end of the field to the other. So Colin doesn't just supervise.
Lawn mower activity. The grass got really long and sometimes we overdid it. Here the mower is having the belt replaced.
Off loading materials. Supplies arrived by lorry on a rather hot day.
Off loading materials. Off loading the concrete beams was easy with the hiab crane.
Off loading materials. Next was the plywood for the concrete shuttering.
Off loading materials. Just the steel mesh for reinforcing the concrete left.
Hammering pegs for the shuttering boards. The pegs for the concrete shuttering boards needed a sledge hammer to get them into the ground.
Working on the concrete shuttering. Fixing the plywood shuttering to the pegs.
Working on the concrete shuttering. First piece of shuttering screwed in place.
Working on the concrete shuttering. This is how far we had got at the end of the first day fixing the shuttering.
Working on the concrete shuttering. Day three of the concrete shuttering and we worked on the outer plywood.
Working on the concrete shuttering. At the end of day three we left everything neat and tidy.
Colin back. Good to have Colin back supervising after his eye operation. Unfortunately he can probably see what we're doing now.
Filling in behind the shuttering. Chris banking the soil up on the outside of the shuttering. We need the ground level with the concrete for the mower.
End of day 4. At the end of day four we were about half way round.
Load of road scalpings. There had been a delivery of road scalpings for us. This is what the pile looked like at the beginning of the day.
Scalpings going down. During the morning working party we moved scalpings to the track bed and to fill some pot holes on our access road. We had started to make an impression on it.
Tractor towing block. As we were tidying the piles of earth by the track we found another concrete block. Quick work to move it with the mower and sled.
End of day 5. By the end of day five we had made good progress.Probably 2/3 the way round now.
Shuttering the outside curve. Day six and Derek shuttering the outside curve.
Taller boards here. Having to make use of taller boards here.
Nearly there from station. Nearly there. View from the station.
Nearly there 2. By end of day six we are nearly there.
Theo filling the barrow. Day seven and Theo came down to help move the scrapings. Here he is filling yet another barrow.
Really deep boards here. At this point the surrounding ground is so low we are starting to need really deep boards.
Sides banked up as we left for lockdown 2. We did as much as we could to bank the sides up as we left for lockdown 2.
All the scrapings used.All the scrapings were used and the area left tidy.
Just tidy the ends to do. Really close now. Just tidying up the ends to do, but we have to stop for LOCKDOWN 2.
The scrapings tamped down. It's now February 2021 and we haven't been on site for over 3 months. Its LOCKDOWN 3 so we are all staying at home because that's the law.
The scrapings tamped down. However, the construction industry is still allowed to work during this third lockdown.
> The scrapings tamped down. So we hired in the people who could work. They tamped down the hardcore scrapings to make it all nice and solid and put ends on the shuttering. They also laid steel reinforcing mesh on top of this.
Concrete lorry in driveway.The Concrete lorry had to park in a particular way to get the load up the conveyor belt as the dump truck scoop was so high. 10.5 cubic meters of concrete was to be used - the full wagon load with 1/2 a bucket full left spare.
Dumper truck to transfer the concrete.The dumper truck was used to transfer the concrete to the shuttered strip. This was a lot easier than the proposed gang with wheel barrows that we would have done if we had not got the contractors in.
Pour started from back straight. The Pour was started from the back straight, furthest away from the lorry.
Pour started from back straight.The concrete mix was a bit wet at this stage so some slopped over the edges. We'll tidy it up when it's dried out.
Levelling the concrete.The concrete was levelled up between tips from the dumper truck. You can see the reinforcing mesh here.
Pour half way. This is the pour half way round.The finish is lovely and smooth.
Pour towards station.Looking towards the station and the pour is nearly finished.
End shuttering.Here you can see the end shuttering with the concreting finished. The steel reinforcing will tie in to the concrete pour from here to the station.
At the end of the day.All tidied up at the end of the day. It had taken just 2 hours to do the pour. You can see the tracks from the dumper truck. They could have been a lot worse as the ground was quite soft.
View from station. This is the end of the day looking from the station. We are now keen to get on, but we will now be able to do some measuring and preparation of the pillars.
Delivery of top soil 1.We needed some top soil to bank up the sides of the concrete.
Delivery of top soil 2.So we got a big lorry to deliver some the last week of lockdown 3.
Delivery of top soil 3.First job for recomenced work parties is to spread it out along the sides of the concrete.
Concrete spill all tidied up.Actually, the first job was to tidy up the spilled concrete. There is a suggestion of getting some mechanical help as there was a second lorry load of spoil.
We set up a test section.5 steel bases were made up and then the concrete sleepers were put on top. A bit of track and a passenger truck and it was all looking pretty good. Ian is providing some ballast as the trucks do go down a bit with weight on them.
How many degrees of tilt?There has been much discussion about putting cant on this curve section so that the trucks lean in slightly. The spirit level is calibrated in degrees and the posts were packed to see what would work best.
New stands and concrete sleeper.This is what the new stands look like close up.
This is how it will look.This is how it will look with the stands, sleepers and track.
Drilling concrete sleepers.All the concrete sleepers need to be drilled for fixing to the upright stands.
Heavy work these concrete sleepers.Heavy work these concrete sleepers.
Time for a think.Time for a think about how to transition from the curve to the existing back straight.
Join from curve to back straight.This is join from curve to back straight.
Drilling the new uprights.Drilling the new uprights for the fixing bolts. We were working between showers so Ian is sheltering in the doorway of his van.
Painting the new uprights.Colin then got on with painting them in the clubhouse.
Today's view from the back straightToday's view from from the back straight.
View of progress mid May.View from the bridge of progress mid May.Uprights and concrete sleepers in position ready for final fixing.
Unloading digger.Unloading the digger to level out the mounds of earth.
Levelling outside of track.The digger was used to spread out the mounds of earth that had been delivered ealier. You can also see the progress with the track bases and concrete sleepers.
Levelled ground view towards station.This view is towards station showing the mounds levelled out and how close the track bed is to the bridge.
Widened access road.Some of the piles of earth had been placed on the far side of the access road. These were spread out to make more parking space near the club house.
Fixing the track down.At last, fixing the track down round the rebuilt curve.
Welding some new sleepers in the track.Some of the fixing bolts now fouled the cross sleepers in the track so first some new sleepers were welded in.
Cutting sleepers where the bolts clash.The offening steel sleepers were then cut out.
Checking track for flatness.The cross sleepers were then all checked for flatmess as some had distorted during their life on the old wooden sleepers..
Two man lift positioning the rails.It's a two man lift to turn them over and position the track.
Still painting support pillars.The seemingly never ending job of painting the support pillars continued, but out in the sun.
Hard work with a pick axe.It was hard work with a pick axe preparing the banked sides for grass seeding. The work that had been done with the digger had now baked hard in the hot weather.
Not enough energy for the heat.Not everyone had enough energy to keep going in the hot sun and had to have a lie down.
Digging out the station footings.The footings for the last bit of concrete to join the curve with the station were also started.
Brushing out the mounting holes.When a mounting hole had been drilled in the concrete it then had to be cleaned out thoroughly. First with a bristle brush....
blowing out the mounting holes.... then it was blown out with compressed air.
Compound down the hole.A very sticky compound was then injected down the hole.
bolt in the goo.A bolt was then inserted in the goo. When the compound sets it will secure the bolt in the concrete.
Tightening bolt in base.Gently tightening the bolt in the base. They will be fully tightened when the track is all in position and adjusted for level and cant with the 4 jacking screws that can be seen in the bottom plates of the pillars.
Nearly round the concrete plinth.Where we got up to at the end of today's working party. Nearly all the track positioned round the concrete plinth.
Couple of pieces still missing here.Couple of pieces of track still missing here between the curve and back staright. We need to make the transition gradient a bit smoother.
Shuttering for concrete by station.Today there was a big effort to prepare the last section ready for a concrete pour. We got shuttering in, added some hardcore to the base and ramped up the sides with the soil.
Short gap left.You can see there is just a short gap left before we have the track connected up again.
Lots of holes to drill.There are a lot of holes to drill in the concrete to fix the supports down.
Last Support inserting goo.Today we reached the last support pillar before the back straight. Here is the fixing compound being injected in to the hole.
Bolts going in last support.And the last bolts going in.
New Platform for loco crews.We decided to extend the platform both sides of the track at the end of the station to help the steam loco crews.
Under bridge ready for concrete pour.We finished the shuttering for the concrete and refixed the water supply so this is now ready for he concrete pour.
Ready for the concrete. The following Friday the hard core was whacked down and the reinforcing mesh laid as last time. All was then ready, hoping the rain would ease.
All action. When the lorry arrived it was all action. Fortunately the ground was firmer than last time and the lorry could get on to the site so the concrete went straight in to the prepared shuttering.
Getting stuck in. There was no option but to get stuck in to the job, hopefully not literally.
Sea of concrete. There was a sea of concrete to deal with.
All neatly finished off. It was all neatly finished off in the end, and taped off to deter the inquisitive.
Pillar swap out. We made new pillars and swapped them out with the old ones to smooth the transition between the curve and the back straight.
fixing the track back down. We then fixed the track back down.
Transition from curve to back straight. This is what the transition between the new curve and the back straight now looks like.
This much finished. This is how much we now have finished.
All joined up. Two weeks later and all the supports are in place and the track joined up. Still work to do making the final alignment, but running trains again is in sight.
Cleaning tables. We also made a start on tidying up. First job is cleaning the club house tables before Janette notices ;-).
Trial with Loco. Well we had to get a loco out. This is the first trial round the new cuve.
New floor in  the tower. When we went to check the water supply in the tower we discovered the floor had gone rotten. The tanks came out and a new floor went in.
Cutting back the jungle. Sunshine and rain turned some of the field into a jungle. We started cutting back so we could open the gate.
Trimmed the trees in the station. We also tidied up the hedges round the track and trimmed the trees back behind the station.
Getting all the toys out. Having got a complete track again we decided it was time to try things out. We had a running session for club members and some of their children. Here we are getting all the toys out.
The start of the new curve. This is what it now looks like at the end of the station with trains running. The grass is starting to cover the bare soil.
Plenty of smoke. Plenty of smoke as James raised steam on Charles.
Good to run trains again. Everyone enjoyed running trains again for the first time since Covid started.
Father and son with Toby. Father and son with tram engine Toby.
Mr Cool and Theo. Here we see Mr Cool and Theo with Derek's Metropolitan-Vickers locomotive.
James and Janette. Janette came down of course, and wanted a ride behind anything steam!
Guard to go under bridge. With reduced head height under the bridge it was decided we ought to make it a little safer for the loco crews. A preformed sheet of metal was purchased. The next job was to attach it to the underside of the walkway.
Holes to drill. There were lots of holes to drill.
Painting and drilling. Then painting and more drilling on the footbridge walk way.
More painting. And more painting when the sheet of steel was in place.
Smart Bridge. It looked very smart at the end of the day. You can also see how the grass is growing over the new soil banks.
All working on the bridge Withe the smoke deflector in place it was time to put on some new railings.
Making sparks fly. Colin was making sparks fly cutting off the bolt heads.
Just needs painting. All the handrails done. Just needs painting.

Next Step - The Back Straight

We had another club running day on a rather wet Saturday in October 2021. This was prior to starting the next phase of trackwork. Having completed most of the work from the station round the first curve, our attention has turned to the back straight. The wooden sleepers have been in place for many years so we are replacing them with concrete beams. We will also take out the couple of dips caused by the rabbits burrowing under the bases. At the moment there is an incline between the curve and the straight as we transition between the concrete and the current wooden sleepers. The theory is that we can put the incline further down the straight if we want to stop the work and run trains!

Robin Inspecting
Four man lift. The Concrete beams are heavy. It takes four men to lift them.
Careful marking under supervision. The beams need cutting so careful marking under supervision.
Cutting to length. The wooden sleepers we are replacing are not quite the same length, so all the new beams need a little bit trimming off the end. The concrete beam is resting on a couple of modified bogies we are using to transport the beams.
Lining up. Once in place the concrete beams need lining up to make sure we have a pefectly straight base for the track.
Ready for next week. Tidying up at the end of the day. Some more concrete beams moved ready for next week. We had made a good start.
Drilling holes in the rubber pads. After the first week it was decided to put rubber pads between the concrete beams and the steel bases. Here Colin is drilling holes in the rubber pads.
Drilling and track fixing. When drilling the concrete beams it's quite important that the drill is vertical, so the onlookers are not standing idle! Meanwhile, the track is getting fixed down on the concrete beams positioned last week. It was quite a quick job to slip the rubber pads in first so this section is all finished.
Transporting the rails. Any rails not fixed down are stored in the clubhouse during the week. We had just moved some beams in preparation for the next working party, so used the bogies to take the rails back.
Bolting down in the rain. This was not a good day with the rain quite heavy at times. However, we want to get this finished so we can run again, so work carried on in the rain.
Moving more concrete sleepers. These bogies are really proving their worth moving the concrete sleepers. We're finding them useful to move all sorts of things back and forth to the clubhouse.
Not far to go. There are not many sleepers to replace now, but the rain got too heavy and we had to abandon for the day.
Notching out with a chain saw. So we can have a private running session over Christmas we need to make an incline from the concrete sleepers to the old track base. Here Derek is notching out an old wooden sleeper with a chain saw to make it thinner where it meets the concrete sleepers.
Packing pieces going in. We put a number of the rubber pads to act as packing pieces under the last couple of concrete sleepers to make a gentle gradient up to the wooden sleepers. Lesson learnt and a jack was used to raise them rather than manually lifting.
Temporary transition. This is a view of the temporary transition. Looks like it should work. You can see how near we are to getting this back straight to join up with the concrete sleepers on the curve.
Robin Inspecting. We had a track inspection (passed) by the local robin, though I think he was more interested in the grubs we had disturbed.
Back straight looking straighter.This is probably the straightest the 'Back Straight' has ever looked.
Moss and weed killer application. Last working party of 2021. We came down to tidy a few things up and make sure all was in order for our private club running session over the Christmas period. However, with the increse of Covid 19 it has been decided to postphone the club running and suspend working parties for the time being.
Here moss killer is being applied to the existing concrete sleepers to stop water being held in them which might cause them to break in the freezing winter.
Few track bolts we had passed over. Not all the track fixings had been put in so we went back around the curve drilling and fixing the missing ones.
Clearing moss in station. The station is the other are of existing concrete track support, so we cleaned the moss off and sprayed there too.
Public Running Marley Dec 29th 2019. This picture was taken on December 29th 2019. It was our last public running day, now 2 years ago. Little did we know what might happen a few months later. When I titled this page 'Major Track Upgrade 2020-2021 it was with the thought that we would be running in October 2020, and then work some more over the following winter.
When we are able to continue working the title will no longer reflect the contents of the page. Maybe I should offer a prize for the best new page title of a free ride behind Charles at the first public running day. Look forward to seeing you there anyway.
Wishing you all a Happy Christmas and a healthy New Year.
Charles' driver.
Start of final day on back straight. Lovely and sunny at the start of the final day on back straight.
Transition over last two concrete piers. The last last two piers are original concrete blocks so these needed a bit more work to get the concrete sleepers at the right level.
Ready for track. The concrete sleepers are all lined up and ready for track.
Making a small adjustment. It never goes back together in the same way as it came apart, so here a small adjustment is being made with the angle grinder.
Last joint going together. This is the last joint being put together at the end of the long back straight. A few things still need adjustment, but essentially the track is a complete circuit again.
All joined up again. This is the transition between what we have just finished and the next section round the hidden curves.This bit was relaid in concrete sleepers a few years ago, so just over half the circuit now is concrete sleepers. Hopefully this will cut down the maintenance.
There were a number of dips to look at. There were a number of dips along the back straight that we wanted to look at.
Need to take out some dips. At each dip we jacked up the sleepers and put more rubber pads under the joints.
Obviously needed to try it out. We obviously needed to try it out.
Looks much better now. The back straight looks much better now. Any dips and peaks are much more gentle.
Building under back straight. Shuttering boards have been placed along the back straight at a distance measured down from the track. Scalpings are being laid in between to build up the ground so we have a similar safety platform to the first curve under the track.
Digger at bottom curve 1. We have started work on the bottom curve to reduce the distance from the track to the ground. This is for health and safety reasons. Today we are using a digger at bottom curve to level piles of spoil that we have been accumulating. The truck in the foreground is used to get the track to earthe base uniform and was used to set the shuttering down the back straight.
Digger at bottom curve 2. Filling in under the track had to be done manually with shovels.
Bottom curve at end of day. This is how the bottom straight looked at the end of the day. There is still a lot of infill needed.
Loading scalpings. We also used the digger to load scalpings into the new trailer which can be hitched behind the mower.
Widening driveway. We are expecting delivery of another container soon. We are having to straighten out the driveway that will run behind it.
Car fencing removed. Another job has been to remove the fencing from around the track where the model cars used to race. We have an exciting new use for this. All will be revealed in due time.
Third container arrives. The third container was delivered and off loaded along side the first two.


Contact Trains


Webtrains by Mike Badger


This page was last updated on Sunday 29th March 2022 at 19:00.

Web Master