Our growing railway...
FURTHER PROGRESS of no small magnitude has been achieved over the past
12 months in extending our railway at our Waltham Windmill site headquarters.
In the main, the most recent activity has taken place out of view of public gaze, behind the trees on our parcel of land that stretches to Brigsley Road.
For several months, contractors Brian Plant Ltd brought lorry loads of spoil on to the site and during July used this to create a substantial embankment all the way round from the tree line at the left-hand ‘station side’ to a point opposite at the right-hand of the site (looking towards Brigsley Road).
This effectively forms the bed on which the new track will be laid at the far end, linking up with the new track that has already been laid alongside, as it were, our neighbouring properties up to the area just short of the tunnel. Those who have taken rides on our railway will no doubt have already noticed the new set of points at this ‘tunnel’ location where the new meets the old.
Some of the ‘new track’ at the Brigsley Road end will actually be rails we have had in storage for some time, meaning that our track-manufacturing gang will not have as much to construct as they might have, although there’s still plenty for them to do!
I should point out at this juncture that our original plans were to incorporate a 70-metre (230ft) viaduct across the stretch of land adjacent to Brigsley Road, but this has had to be abandoned in the face of the exceedingly high cost – estimated to be in excess of £20,000. Instead, it is now proposed to introduce two steel and concrete bridges at the corners.
But it’s more than just new track that’s required for our extension, there is also the need for more signalling, and work on this is also underway.
Apart from the additional signals themselves, there is a – perhaps obvious – parallel need for signal cabling, some of which has already been installed, while the rest will be hauled through trunking that has been buried in the ground alongside the track in readiness.
This, in turn, will entail significant modifications to our signal box equipment – adding to the headache of our hard-working signalmen with an increased number of levers for them to get to grips with!
As I mentioned on a previous occasion, an intricate crossover section and new points have been introduced into the station area that will afford every possible road combination at that new junction, including, of course, routing trains on to the new extension. Again, both the crossover and points have been built here on site by our members.
The extension will add around 290 metres – about 950 feet – of new track accommodating both 5inch and 7-1/4inch gauge locomotives and rolling stock and providing you, our supporting public, with longer, more varied and interesting train rides.
We are continuing to attempt to obtain more funding through the generosity of both industrial and commercial organisations and any individuals who may care to help – with contributions from pence to thousands of pounds!
Should YOU be able to help, or know anyone who might, then I would be only too pleased to hear from you. Alternatively, there are donation buckets in the station area where you can show your support NOW!
All the work – apart from the excavations – is being carried out by members on a voluntary basis, thereby avoiding additional heavy expenditure.
Meanwhile, we have our fingers crossed that additional funding may materialise as we press ahead with our ambitious plans – plans that we know will add significantly to the pleasure of those who visit our miniature railway in the coming years, expanding what has already become an acknowledged prominent attraction not only for the windmill site, but for the wider area as a whole.
We hope you agree!
Track Extension Sub-Committee,
Grimsby & Cleethorpes Model Engineering Society.