The last two weekends have mostly consisted of track maintenance activities at Dolgarrog.
As a continuation from the on going lifting and packing of the track, the process of the annual task of lubricating the rail joints, other wise known as 'fish plates'.
Our track, as well as the majority of jointed track on the national network are in 60ft lengths, joined by the aforementioned 'fish plates'. In the summer, as the rails heat up, this causes the rails to expand, making then prone to buckle as a train approaches.
For this reason, a gap of 10mm is present between each rail as it's set, which allows rail movement in within each joint, which gives the rail room to expand, in turn removing the risk of rail buckle. Lubricating the joints further promotes this, allowing to rail to move easier in the joint, which of course has to be correctly tightened to the correct torque.
The effect or rail expansion becomes apparent by comparing the gap in different seasons of the year. During the winter, these gaps will always be open, but in the summer they are ofter tight if not completely shut if the weather is hot enough.
Here are members carrying out the task of lubricating the joints.
Above: The finished product. Note the gap in the rail.
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