The concrete sleepers have been loaded onto flat wagons for transport to the work site. Before work started on the relay, the tops of the rails were marked at both ends. This is the joint between North rails numbers 3 and 4. A view over the first panel to be relaid. This starting point was chosen as it was adjacent to an existing length of track on concrete sleepers. Work progessed from here in an Easterly direction towards Cranmore. Nick is seen removing keys prior to the rails being lifted out. Brad (360 excavator operator) lifts the first pair of rails out, which are guided to the side of the worksite by Tom and Terry. After the running rails have being removed, a pair of short rails are used to lift out 7 old wooden sleepers simultaneously. Terry guides the old sleepers to the far end of the worksite. The old sleepers will be collected later on in the week, when space becomes available on a flat wagon. The pile of old sleepers is beginning to grow. Chris, Tom and Alex are supervising (!) as Terry gently maneuvers more old sleepers to the ground. The pile of old wooden sleepers can be seen on the righthand side here. The object on the tripod is an optical level, used in combination with the transit stick in the foreground to measure the height of the track. Along with measurements taken along the length of the rails, this was used to ensure the sleeper bed was dug out to the correct gradient. The optical level is used to establish a horizontal line throughout the worksite. This can then be used along with measurements on the ground to determine the correct depth to dig the ballast out to, ready for the concrete sleepers. It is necessary to dig out the ballast, as the concrete sleepers are deeper than the old wooden ones. It`s amazing how quickly a railway can be dismantled with the right tools! The gap that has to be filled with concrete sleepers grows throughout the day. While Nick may appear to be lying down on the job, he is in fact cleaning up the ends of the rails. This allows the rail ends to be carefuly inspected for any signs of damage or cracking. Permanent Way, or not so Permanent Way? This is the view from halfway down the worksite. In the background Nick is cleaning the rail ends while Phil and Bruce are removing wooden sleepers. Terry watches on as Brad begins to grade the trackbed. Steve is using the transit stick to measure the height of the bed at known distances from the optical level. This is then compared to the calculated level at this point to give Brad a guide as to how much more stone needs to be removed. A view down the gradient. In the immediate foreground can be seen 3 of the existing concrete sleepers. And a view from the other end of worksite. The length to be relaid was split into two sections, this was to enable the concrete sleeper wagons to remain reasonably close to where the sleepers were needed and hence reduce the amount of time spent carrying them along the worksite. Alex steadies the first concrete sleeper to come off the wagon. Soon the sleepers are flying off the wagon. After enough sleepers are offloaded, they are lined up and a pair of rails reinstated, enabling the sleeper wagon to be pushed closer to remaining gap. Alex ensures that each sleeper is level when it is lifted off the wagon. This makes it easier for Brad to lift it in a controlled manner and for the team on the ground to guide it into the correct position. With one pair of rails already lifted back into place, the sleepers are leaving the wagon at an impressive pace. As soon as the rail joints and keys have been replaced, the train will be moved up. Nick replaces the fishplates with new fishbolts, while further down the track Mick, Graham and Bruce are installing keys. Terry is tightening the previous set of fishplates while Ken and Steve contemplate their next move. It`s beginning to look a lot like a railway again. Taken during a rare pause in the work, only one panel of the first half of the worksite is left to reinstate.