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Track on mothballed lines disappearing


Jenny Emily

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On my travels I have noticed over the last couple of months track on a number of mothballed lines being ripped up. Recently the track has disappeared on the two branches between Junctions 30 and 29A on the M1. The line to Cheadle passing under the A50 has also lost its track. Finally, I spotted the track that passes under the A1(M) just before junction 34 southbound has been ripped up.

 

The Leamside line still appears to have its track, but for how long? Is there a specific reason for all these lines to suddenly be ripped up? Is the BRB cashing in on high scrap prices?

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Are you sure you know just who it is ripping them up? Does anybody?

 

Loads of money to be made by anyone. I mean who actually checks on these disused rails anyway?

 

That's enough questions for now....

 

Best, Pete.

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That's what I thought particularly with Jenny seeing them disappear near roads.

 

Get a "team" with Safety Jackets and some heavy lifting gear who would question it? I'm sure the local Bill wouldn't unless someone complains...

 

Best, Pete.

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Thought they were copper fairies, not steel moths.

Oh wait, that's on live railways, not mothballed ones.

 

Some was stolen from the Harworth branch in N Notts/S Yorks over the last couple of years too.

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The Bescot - Brierley Hill line has been receeding for years. Last time I was in Dudley last summer, both sides of the track for the entire length of the Dudley Tunnel was cut into 10ft lengths by gas torch but still resting in place on the sleepers, all of the chairs had been smashed out and neatly piled up just out of sight of the tunnel mouths. Even the galvanised steel gates originally closing off the tunnel had been half inched! I dare say that if I were to go back there now, there would be a lot of missing rail through the tunnel as well as most of the track which had already gone between the site of Blowers Green station and the A461 island. In other places all along the route, rail and the remaining signalling equipment is disappearing fast.

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I went to a meeting about 1970 to deal with the recovery of an old colliery connection in the Cannock area. When we arrived we found one of the local scrap merchants already removing the track. His vehicle number was noted and he spent several months at Her Majesty's Hotel. At another location, 700 sleepers disappered in one night. Wish we could get staff to work at that rate.

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That's what I thought particularly with Jenny seeing them disappear near roads.

Get a "team" with Safety Jackets and some heavy lifting gear who would question it? I'm sure the local Bill wouldn't unless someone complains...

Best, Pete.

That was how a gang up north removed several miles of mothballed route a couple of years back - looked for all the world like legit contractors doing a scrap recovery job. Alas their 'scrap recovery' work was very successful and a line listed for possible reopening was lost as the costs rocketed. Fortunately they were traced and several of them are now at one of Her Majesty's holiday camps penal establishments.

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Hello

 

At least one of the lines between J30 and J29a is being re-opened for a new landfill site. A lot of track in that area has been stolen over the years. All the track at the Oxcroft coal disposal point was stolen a year or two back as were some of the sidings between Barrow Hill and Bolsover. There was an article about this area in a recent edition of Rail Express.

 

Cheers

 

George

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On my travels I have noticed over the last couple of months track on a number of mothballed lines being ripped up. Recently the track has disappeared on the two branches between Junctions 30 and 29A on the M1.

 

IIRC That line is where the new dispoasl site for rubbish will be, once Roxby's full, in about three years' time.

 

It has been the victim of metal theives too.

 

Is the BRB cashing in on high scrap prices?

 

Not the BRB but some others! :lol:

 

The BRB doesn't really exist now - it does but on a very small scale - this may explain more -

 

http://en.wikipedia...._Railways_Board

 

Network Rail are responisible of rlines which are mothballed but considered 'operational', such as the Croxley Green branch*, even if they are anything but operational!

 

http://eastmoor.blog...asent-land.html

 

Remmeber also that mothballed lines provide a useful source of spares! If you look at the link you'll see S&T went through and took anything useful. I've been on closed sections recovering track components before - leaving a mile of sixty foot panels with no fishplates what so ever! :lol:

 

* Yes, I know the Croxley Green branch is closed now, but much of the stripping of useable components occured before closure officialy took place.

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i actually caught a couple of lads nicking scrap track panels a few years back, in fact i very nearly totalled their transit with my 66, i was on a loaded coal going down the ironbridge branch in the evening, in darkness, just short of 2000 ton of train behind me, plodding along at a steady 25mph, as i came round the curve near the old lightmoor jn i noticed a set of headlights on full beam pointing right at me, as i got closer i realised it was a transit type van parked next to the line with its back doors open, had the door not been on a catch i would have taken it clean off it was that close!!

 

as i passed the lads they acknowledged me with a wave, the first thing i noticed was although they had hi-viz it didnt have a company name on it, neither did the van which rang alarm bells, i carried on at a slower pace and phoned the box at madeley and asked if they had any p-way booked to work that night which they didn't so a call to btp ensued, i certainly wasn't going to stop and confront them and put myself at risk

 

after i had discharged the train i continued back towards madeley jn (after stopping to have a chat about model railways with a guy in the old crossing cottage near the power station who has a layout in his upstairs window!) i actually stopped to warn him there were scrap thieves about and to give btp a ring if he saw anyone about.

 

when i got to lightmoor btp were there so i got down and spoke to them, looking round you could see where the guys had been cutting up 20ft panels into managable chunks with a grinder, i must have spooked them somewhat as they had left a load of discs, gloves etc when they made their exit, when i looked at just how close their tyre tracks were to the running line it made me realise just how lucky i was not to have hit the van

 

while i was showing them where the van was parked were there i spotted a fresh clean piece of paper on the floor about where the van door would have been, we picked it up and low and behold it was someones name and phone number which i believe nailed them!!

 

the biggest worry from a drivers point of view is the likes of the ironbridge branch are not track circuited but have axle counters so had the thieves thought the mainline was mothballed and they had cut a length of rail out the box would have no knowledge on their panel (so i believe anyway)

 

one thing i will add for the wider "non industry" people on here is if you see a suspicious looking track gang then report it to the police, most importantly is ALL trackworkers should have the company name on their HV vest and any vans should have the name on too

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i actually caught a couple of lads nicking scrap track panels a few years back, in fact i very nearly totalled their transit with my 66, i was on a loaded coal going down the ironbridge branch in the evening, in darkness, just short of 2000 ton of train behind me, plodding along at a steady 25mph, as i came round the curve near the old lightmoor jn i noticed a set of headlights on full beam pointing right at me, as i got closer i realised it was a transit type van parked next to the line with its back doors open, had the door not been on a catch i would have taken it clean off it was that close!!

 

A couple of yearsback round here some cable theives parked on an unmanned occupation crossing (I'm not even sure if it's officially a crossing anymore) after the last train had gone. Only the timetable may have said it should have gone, but it was running a few minutes late. What they thought was the last train was the second to last train - and then...

 

BANG!!!

 

No one hurt but a bit of a mess!

 

the biggest worry from a drivers point of view is the likes of the ironbridge branch are not track circuited but have axle counters so had the thieves thought the mainline was mothballed and they had cut a length of rail out the box would have no knowledge on their panel (so i believe anyway)

 

That's correct - it's one of the problems with ACs. Similarly broken rails aren't detected by the system either.

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That was how a gang up north removed several miles of mothballed route a couple of years back - looked for all the world like legit contractors doing a scrap recovery job. Alas their 'scrap recovery' work was very successful and a line listed for possible reopening was lost as the costs rocketed. Fortunately they were traced and several of them are now at one of Her Majesty's holiday camps penal establishments.

That sounds like the Leamside line- local residents became suspicious when they didn't stop every five minutes for a brew, and phoned the police.

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It WAS the Leamside - up near Washington, iirc

 

Recently the track either side of the level crossing near Bowburn started 'growing legs' - NR & BTP were informed, and the ballast either side of the crossing was bulldozed into heaps to stop the 'metal fairies' driving onto the trackbed - not without having to bulldoze it flat again, of course... I see that either side of the Whitwell L/C the trackbed has now been obstructed too.

 

There's a lot of settlement occurred in places nearby too; close to the A1(M) bridge near Shincliffe the up side is falling away badly, & by Broomside Junction it's bad on both sides. It's heartbreaking, seeing it all slowly disintegrating...

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Guest Max Stafford

Rail thieves.

Just the sort of people the Barrett M82 was made for... :triniti:

 

Dave.

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Rail thieves.

Just the sort of people the Barrett M82 was made for... :triniti:

 

Dave.

 

Aye, I agree with you there,

 

In a lot of ways it makes sense that the authoritive bodies don't keep an eye on Mouthballed lines for such behaviour, but on another hand those routes may be destined to be reopened at some point in the future, thus keeping the rail in place would be a great idea, to me it would make more sense if we protected those lines but it seems like that won't happen anytime soon...

 

just goes to show how desperate and stupid people can be in these modern times.

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Rail thieves.

Just the sort of people the Barrett M82 was made for... :triniti:

 

Dave.

 

Take a trip to Florida and bring one home with you....

I'd gladly put up real movies of what it actually does to the Taliban - but there are a lot of sensitive souls on here.

 

I once handled and fired what must be the ultimate assasins weapon. It was made by a pro gunsmith and was a pistol complete with optical sight chambered for 7.62 Nato, a rifle round. It was accurate out to 500 yards and the action was by bolt (the action came from a target rifle).

Here's the neat bit - the barrel was about 10 or 12 inches (I can't remember which) deeply blued with a Gold-plated muzzle brake! The custom made grip was a beautiful piece of work in fibre glass and was shocking pink and left - handed..... the whole thing would fit diagonally into a rather small briefcase. The grip had been custom made to one person's hand, the dead giveaway was his/hers hand and finger prints were embedded into the fibre glass too, D'oh!! Someone has it in their collection - it was tagged "The Pink Panther".......could be in that place on the Embankment.

 

Best, Pete.

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In a lot of ways it makes sense that the authoritive bodies don't keep an eye on Mouthballed lines for such behaviour, but on another hand those routes may be destined to be reopened at some point in the future, thus keeping the rail in place would be a great idea, to me it would make more sense if we protected those lines but it seems like that won't happen anytime soon...

 

How would you protect it?

 

Regular patrols of the infrastructure would be required, which would stretch some departments as I suspect there's little or no money to pay for it. And how often would you check? It could be quite time consuming and costly. So much so you might as well keep the lines officially open and then run the occasional train to keep everything in working order!

 

In more rural areas maintenance teams cover some quite big areas - our S&T, for example, can easily be an hour and a half away when called out to a problem. So for such teams to find additional time to inspect lines would be difficult.

 

just goes to show how desperate and stupid people can be in these modern times.

 

They're anything but stupid in some cases. Some are very organised - I don't know if you've ever done any p-way work, but track is anything but light and easy to move. You'd need hammers, stihl saw, a bance and substantial transport to remove the scrap.

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How would you protect it?

 

Regular patrols of the infrastructure would be required, which would stretch some departments as I suspect there's little or no money to pay for it. And how often would you check? It could be quite time consuming and costly. So much so you might as well keep the lines officially open and then run the occasional train to keep everything in working order!

 

In more rural areas maintenance teams cover some quite big areas - our S&T, for example, can easily be an hour and a half away when called out to a problem. So for such teams to find additional time to inspect lines would be difficult.

 

Agreed on that, James and I had this in my mind when I typed my comment but didn't put it in. i totally agree though, it would be extremely impractical, unless you run the occasional train down them as you said.

 

 

They're anything but stupid in some cases. Some are very organised - I don't know if you've ever done any p-way work, but track is anything but light and easy to move. You'd need hammers, stihl saw, a bance and substantial transport to remove the scrap.

 

Yes I know, but when I said stupid I meant in the case of taking property which isn't theirs and potentially putting lives at risk by taking stuff away. I admit they are clever enough people to know what gear they need for the job but still it's the fundamental idiocy of taking what isn't yours on an illegal basis, hence why i called them stupid. but still all points taken on board and acknowledged :)

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I know it has been mentioned before but on the Walsall to Stourbridge line a colleague of mine was walking the line with a Network Rail colleague. They spotted a guy with a wheelbarrow picking up the ties from the track. This chap then just walked with his wheelbarrow past the NR chap and had the cheek to say hello as he took his barrow to the scrap yard for his weekends beer money.

 

Although the ties are disappearing it is more difficult for people to take the rail in this area as it is built up and would more easily arouse suspicions.

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