Engine Shed Replacement, 2016-2017
Week 1, January 2017
Everything was checked over in storage in Leek prior to commencement of the works - once the site was handed over to the contractors we couldn't move anything back for at least 4 months.
The following is a record of the engine shed replacement which took place during the first half of 2017. Work had started late in 2016 with movement of the stock to a warehouse in Leek plus lifting of the track around the old shed. We pick the story up in a cold and wet January 2017.
One final look at the old shed and yard prior to demolition. A sad sight for sure, but one that would be soon replaced with more modern facilities the railway needed.
Week 2, January 2017
The site was handed over to the contractors and demolition of the old shed began. This entailed knocking down and burning of the wooden structures and removal of the old containers. One container was temporarily retained to house the works train for winter track work.
Week 2-3, January 2017
Site clearance continued with levelling of the site ready for the base, plus removal of suplus material ahead of installation of the retaining wall. Work progressed on schedule despite a slight delay for snow.
Week 3, January 2017
More site clearance, marking out and measuring. Heavy machinery brought in to assist with the considerable levelling needed; the site drops 10 inches over the length of the shed.
Week 3-4, January 2017
The start of digging of the footings for the shed plus the import of the hardcore for the base. Final setting out of the retaining wall. Also a couple of drone shots giving a view of the overall site at this stage.
Week 4, January 2017
Significant progress with the final levelling of the site, completion of the footings, installation of the retaining wall supports and panels plus fabrication of the shuttering for the base concrete (the base was to be poured in two batches).
Week 5, February 2017
Despite several days of cold weather which delayed things slightly, the concrete was poured for the base. The first load and second load were separated by a couple of days and the bases were joined together with reinforcement rods. The base was then left for around 10 days before the next stage of work commenced.
Week 5-6, February 2017
Whilst the concrete cured, the shed structure was delivered in two loads from Omega Steel Building Solutions. The frame and doors came direct from the supplier on one lorry, and the cladding came direct from the fabricator on the other. All were unloaded on site ready for erection.
Week 6, February 2017
Erection of the building commenced with the raising of the far end frame, with able assistance from the Tuesday Gang. The builder decided to erect the whole building first before bolting into the concrete to ensure exact placement.
Week 7-8, February 2017
The building frame was erected, moved, straigtened and finally bolted down over the course of two weeks, with a couple of break for bad weather. Once fully secure, cladding commenced with the roof panels.
Week 9, March 2017
Cladding continued with the roof finished and the sides being progressed rapidly.
Week 10, March 2017
Building trims were added once cladding was complete and attention turned to the doors. However a problem was encountered in fitting the doors so work stopped on the main building whilst a solution was found.
Week 10-11, March 2017
The new lever frame was collected and the service trench for the shed dug. The lever frame would be located near to the trench so that had to be dug first. Once the trench was located, the retaining wall was installed ahead of services being installed.
Week 12, March 2017
Interior fitout commenced with the building of the office in the shed. External contractors finally fixed the doors which meant the building was now secure. The railway sign was put up and the site handed back to the railway team for the next phase.
Week 12-13, March 2017
With the shed now secure, the last container on site could be emptied. Temporary track was laid and the works train and container contents moved into the new shed. This was officially the first train into the new shed.
Week 13, March 2017
The last container on site was removed and finally the new shed and space created became visible for the first time. The transformation over the previous weeks was remarkable.
Week 13-14, March 2017
All the remaining track (and the loco lift) was removed and the area in front of the new shed dug out and levelled. Services were laid into the shed and the trench covered up. Fabrication of the new water tower and the rails in the shed commenced.
Week 14, April 2017
A layer of compacted ballast was laid ahead of track laying. Track laying commenced with setup of the track around the shed before cutting and final ballasting. The lever frame was also installed in its final position.
Week 15, April 2017
The first move from storage in Leek took place with the return of the locomotives. This again was done expertly by Reid Freight and everything was returned safe and sound to it new home.
Week 15-16, April 2017
Various jobs were ongoing at the site with erection of the new storage shed. A set of Mull carriages were moved into the shed ahead of resoration later in the year and further trackwork for the new carriage roads was undertaken.
Week 17, April 2017
The final move from storage in Leek was undertaken with the return of the remaining rolling stock. This was a full day job and used two lorries to get everything back. Again all expertly handled by Reid Freight.
Week 18, April 2017
The end was in sight and attention turned to final trackwork completion, installation of the steel door frame around the track and testing of King Arthur (the largest and heaviest locomotive) over all the new track and points to check levels and clearances. Fitout with installation of lighting, CCTV and other misc jobs completed the shed itself.
Reopening, May 2017
The grand reopening took place on the 1st May. After six months of hard work by contractors, volunteers and staff the railway reopened with a full service of trains over the public holiday weekend.
The transformation was complete, and the two views below, taken only a few years apart, show the difference:
(the fence with the "no public access" sign is in the same location in both photos)
With the railway back in service, work continued on the multitude of other jobs still needed to be done (completion of the new toilet fencing, connecting up all the points to the new lever frame, ongoing misc jobs inside the shed etc), whilst the railway maintained its usual operating timetable. Photos etc of these activities can be found in the news pages and work continues.
Various visitors and volunteers recorded our progress during the project, and links to their videos are below.