Monday, January 19, 2009

Town End Trackwork

“Balfour Beatty has been asked to produce a budget estimate for replacement of the trackwork at Town End with the current layout, based on the works at Wakebridge.” Contact 379

The layout of Town End is a hangover from the quarry railway, when we laid second-hand sleepers, then second-hand tram rail on top of Stephenson’s track bed, a tactic that produced a working tramway from the very limited resources available. Those pioneers produced an acceptable line whilst working within constraints that today’s volunteers (if there are any) probably could not appreciate. It was less than perfect even in those early days.

The Wakebridge construction methods will undoubtedly produce a much more stable layout although the softer ground over the old cutting will be an additional complication. However we also need to consider what improvements can be incorporated and we need to try and think of what legislation and our customers will expect in 20 or 30 years time.

In a letter to Bob Pennyfather, Chairman of the Development Committee, I have suggested the following design aims:

  • level track for at least two trams at both the loading and unloading points

  • kerbside loading and unloading (many of our customers are elderly)

  • a separate level loading and unloading point for Berlin 3006 and any future single sided access trams

  • in the long term move the printing office sideways to give better clearances (this could be bundled in with the Ripley Police Station project).

My dream is for a scissors crossover which will address these issues. It will also give us the opportunity to demonstrate an electrically operated point mechanism – a world first for a museum line?

I suggest that you write to Bob Pennyfather with your ideas before it is too late and the new track is literally ‘set in concrete’.


  1. Anonymous24/1/09 18:17

    Is this an admitance that the work done several years ago wasn't properly planned and sorted? Seems a lot of wasted money to me, but at least if we do have the work done, it'll be a proper job like Wakebridge. Heard several stories about the organising of previous work done, contractors did all that was askeD.

  2. Richard,
    Your ideas are fine as regards a level loading area, proper area for 3006 to load/unload, but what about a turning triangle for the steam tram and trailer?