CR Permanent Way

Any aspect related to the structures and equipment on the Caledonian Railway Company.
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tony brenchley
Posts: 348
Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2012 10:36 am

CR Permanent Way

Post by tony brenchley »

Its not often we have a post on this subject but now I can offer something from a man who should know.

I am working on transcribing the articles in the September 1907 issue of the Railway Magazine which celebrated the Diamond Jubilee of the Caledonian Railway. These will be published in The True Line eventually.

One of these articles is about the Engineering Department written by Donald Matheson. He describes some of the recent Civil Engineering developments and in particular the recent enlargement of Glasgow Central Station.

The final section of the article looks at the permanent way. I learnt a lot from this that I didn't know and I think it is worth sharing with everyone.

The text and relevant illustrations are attached.

Tony B
Engineering Department009.jpg
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Engineering Department002.jpg
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Donald Matheson on CR PW.docx
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Jim Summers
Posts: 1190
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2012 9:54 pm

Re: CR Permanent Way

Post by Jim Summers »

Thanks, Tony,

It is true we haven't had much on this side of things recently, but we were discussing ballast back in 2011 on this Forum.

One of the topics getting (some of) us excited then was ballast, and I offered this piece from Donald Matheson's visit to the USA, which might be worth giving an airing again. The party had noted that on the Pennsylvania Railroad hard durable limestone was used. The great man wrote:

“On the Caledonian Railway, the material used for the best ballast is old slag obtained from Iron Works slag heaps and broken by stone-breaking machines to pass through a screen of 3-inch mesh for the bottom ballast and 1 1/2-inch mesh for the top ballast. The cost is about two shillings per cubic yard free on rail in hopper-bottom ballasting wagons".

"The advantage of limestone or other hard stone ballast is that it can be broken small and still bear the necessarily firm packing under the sleepers as well as the hammering of the engine wheels, and of course it is very durable. On the other hand, slag of ordinary quality when broken small tends to crush into dust, and with firm and repeated packing of the sleepers even the best of it becomes "spent".

"Limestone or whinstone ballast on the Caledonian Railway, if broken and screened to New York Central Railroad requirements, would cost free on truck not less than about five shillings per cubic yard, and, while it would be comparatively free from dust and thereby better for the rolling stock and advantageous generally in the permanent way, the first cost is prohibitive, although it should be borne in mind that good limestone or whinstone or granite ballast is practically imperishable".

For a discussion on the spikes in chairs, mentioned in passing in the piece you have kindly transcribed, some of you may remember my article in TTL65 (June 1999) "How many bolts in a four bolt chair".

Short Road Pilot
Posts: 18
Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2013 9:12 pm

Re: CR Permanent Way

Post by Short Road Pilot »

I unearthed a drawing from my drawings box and as it relates to permanent way it may add another wee bit to the C.R. history. It shows that there were variations in the number of sleepers used in making up the C.R. track panels. Unfortunately I cannot add further information to this drawing and the file is too big to upload (1.29MB) to the Forum. This is a somewhat neglected subject and there appears to be not a great deal written on C.R. Permanent Way.
There is reference, as Jim says, in the report of the American visit but not much else. In C. J. Allen's 'Modern British Permanent Way' in 'The Railway News - 1915 there is scant reference to the 'Caley', though it appears that the keys for the cast steel chairs were of a uniform section throughout being 7" long x 2 1/2" x 2 1/8" with a 1/2" chamfer top and bottom on the rail side. There were a variety of key shapes for other Pre-Grouping Coys. Allen gives, for 1915, Caledonian Railway - Rails(weight per yard) 90lb - Length 48ft - Sleepers. No. used per rail 19 - Fishplates. Weight per pair 22lb - Chairs. Weight each 46lb. Whether this adds to the total sum of knowledge of C.R. Permanent Way ??

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