Not only does this department maintain the 7 miles of track but it is also responsible for a wide range of duties including fencing, ditching and line-side clearance. Contrary to popular belief, work on the track is not all strenuous and jobs can always be found that suit all abilities. As one might expect major work such as track renewal takes place during the winter months with scheduled working parties undertaking major relaying projects often to a strict deadline. During the summer months other tasks are carried out that do not require total possession of the railway. Volunteers are more than welcome at any time to work alongside the full time staff.
Each November and January, we hold “Track Week” events when a substantial section of track is re-laid by a combined team of staff and volunteers. This involves removing the old track, digging out the ballast with the help of a digger and then assembling the new track in situ before reconnecting it to the rest of the railway. Ballasting and packing of the track then follows. If you take part in either of the two track week events, you get a hot lunch provided. If you have an dietary requirements, please let us know in advance.
Fishplate greasing is an annual task which each year sees one third of the fishplates on the line removed and greased. This is an essential task that prevents the track from buckling in hot weather. Greasing involves working as part of a highly organised team although one has to be warned that the nature of the task usually involves getting very dirty!
There are some 12 miles or so of fences that need to be maintained. This can vary from patching holes and replacing the odd post to complete renewal of long stretches of life expired fence.
There are numerous other tasks that fall under the auspices of this department from repairing dry stone walls to digging ditches or erecting signs.