February 3rd, 2016

Building Bridges – February 2016 Update

Rust is needle gunned off the metalwork.

The bridge gang are hard guys; two weeks ago I was working in the (relatively speaking) warm and dry North Weald shed on the railcar, while these guys were working up on the bridge – exposed to the drizzle and cold. That’s dedication for you.

From a distance, and with unknowing eyes, you would think little progress was being made. But if you look carefully, you will be surprised just how much work has progressed.

The main bridge was carefully examined towards the end of last year, by our own engineer in charge of the bridge, working with an external structural engineer. Generally it was all good but a decision was made to cut out some wasted sections of steel while the guys had safe access.

It was explained to me that over many years, damp, dirt and other debris have built between the bridge decking and bridge supports. Combined with acid in the smoke from steam engines, this caused sections of steel to waste away – the team have cut this wasted steel away and are welding in new sections. Very skilled detailed work.

There are also a number of new bolt holes being drilled out for newly fabricated reinforced sections to carry the new top level steps. Many holes are being drilled in the lattice work intersections of the platform-to-bridge steps to allow the metal strips to be bolted together.

Work is progressing on new bridge sections for various parts of the main bridge span, and the steel decking for the top of the bridge is being prepared for installation.

Chris Travers