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Long Siding

ReclearanceWork_Sept2017_300x200The two road engine shed, which the Vale of Berkeley Railway currently occupies, is based on the far side of the docks, connected to the now disused dock railway system over a 300 yard section of track, currently refer to as the long siding. The dock railway in turn was connected to the Sharpness branch line at Oldminster junction, where we eventually hope to establish a working heritage railway museum.





When we moved into the shed this long siding was completely overgrown, but through the hard efforts of our volunteers we have uncovered the track, though it’s in a poor state. Whilst this isn’t our main priority, we would very much like to repair the track in order to offer short rides along it, until we’re able to gain access to the branch line.




Autumn 2017

Work has continued to clear the Long Siding. One particular problem is the remains of the stumps from bushes and small tress that had grown up over the years of disuse. The point nearest the shed has a particularly large stump that has grown around parts of the track and pushed the point rail nearly 2″ out of gauge.






The point nearest the shed has a particularly large stump that has grown around parts of the track and pushed the point rail nearly 2″ out of gauge.







Through the use of Edgar’s chainsaw, leavers, and lots of hard effort this stump is eventually remove and can be seen finally defeated and out of harms way.

Some of the sleepers in this point need replacing and the point work moved back into gauge, then once a lever is fitted the point will be operational again.



Other parts of the siding have also continued to receive attention, with weeds, brambles and stumps being removed. Noel, one of our long distance volunteers, has travelled from Devon to work on the track for the weekend.










The efforts of all our volunteers will be worth it and already parts of the siding are looking great.




Summer 2017


Edgar & Derek clearing round one of the points

Over the last few months as the weather has improved, lots of weeds and brambles have started to grow over the long siding again.

Led by Edgar, our new permanent way team leader, he and his fellow volunteers have spent many weeks this summer clearing away all the new weeds.







The permanent way team are also trying to repair some of the track, replacing badly damaged chairs and keys were required and are possibly looking into replacing some of the old wooden sleepers.








Permanent Way work, or P’way as it’s often abbreviated, can be quite hazardous. This section of track had to be abandoned by the team after they disturbed a wasps nest inside one of the rotten sleepers and were chased away to the tea room.








Summer 2016 to Spring 2017

During the rest of the year a number of vehicles have arrived at the railway and can be seen on the long siding. Some of these vehicles are to be restored when current projects are completed and include:


Sturgeon – now restored


Hopper wagon











Esso Tank Wagon


22.5ton Tube Wagon










Spring 2016

VolunteersOnTheTrack_640x480By spring all the tree & bush clearance work had been completed. Attention moved to digging out and cleaning up the point outside the shed in order to move vehicles from one shed road to another. Some of the timbers were found to be in poor condition and tie bars were installed








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We also had to clear a flange slot in the concrete outside the shed to enable vehicles to be moved from the siding to the shed. This involved using a concrete cutter to cut the slot then hammer and chisel to remove the material from the slot.










Winter 2016

As soon as the bird nesting season had finished and we’d received permission from the land owner, Canal & River Trust, we started to clear the 300 yard long section of track in front of the shed. Over the years lots of bushes, small trees and brambles had grown over the line.

SidingClearance_Feb2016_2_640The first part of the clearance involved cutting down the small trees and bushes that had grown up between the tracks. This was done using a chain saw in sections over the course of a month.

















SidingClearance_Apr2016_2_640Next our volunteers moved in with spaces, forks and barrows, to clear all the brambles and weeds, digging out parts of the track and cutting away the stumps to as low to the ground as possible.