LNER track ballast policy

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Deesider
NER Y7 0-4-0T
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LNER track ballast policy

Post by Deesider »

Is there a source of information where I could find what type of track ballast the LNER used during its existence? Did they have a policy of introducing stone ballast to areas where this had not been used before? I know that in the area of the former North British Railway there were different types of ballast materials used in 1923; the general design for new track called for stone ballast or slag but there were areas where sand and gravel were still in use e.g. along parts of the West Highland line and on the Ballachulish Branch.

Any pointers would be helpful.
Pyewipe Junction
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Re: LNER track ballast policy

Post by Pyewipe Junction »

Wasn't stone ballast more or less mandated as a result of the Sevenoaks crash in 1927?
Mickey
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Re: LNER track ballast policy

Post by Mickey »

Can I broaden this topic slightly?. Yesterday I wrote a post but deleted it before posting it about the ballasting of yards & sidings and what was the 'substance' used to lay the track on?. I noticed in Kings Cross Goods yard back in the late 1960s & 1970s and other places like Bounds Green old carriage sidings and Hornsey carriage sidings that the sidings track was laid on a soft substance instead of conventional stone ballasting it was almost like a black coloured dirt(?) and made the track almost level with the sidings floor/ground so what was it?.
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Dave Cockle
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Re: LNER track ballast policy

Post by Dave Cockle »

Micky the fine powdered material in yards and sidings was known as stone dust. Basically fine stone particles.
Mickey
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Re: LNER track ballast policy

Post by Mickey »

Thanks Dave I remember seeing it a lot in yards & sidings back in the late 1960s & early 1970s and wondered what it was?. Obviously a place like Hornsey carriage sidings and the individual carriage roads they were hardly going to be 'deep ballasted' although having said that when Ferme Park Down carriage sidings were up graded to stable main line ECS back in 1973-74 I vaguely recall those carriage roads had 'slightly' deeper' ballasting.
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StevieG
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Re: LNER track ballast policy

Post by StevieG »

Weren't some low speed tracks, like yards probably, possibly Goods and or Reception/Departure lines (and very likely loco sheds) with a very smooth base under/around the sleepers, sometimes referred to as laid on 'ash' ?
If yes, I suppose it's use may well have varied from 0 - 100% depending on availability of local-ish sources of such (any?) materials.
BZOH

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drmditch
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Re: LNER track ballast policy

Post by drmditch »

Not at all sure about 'stone dust'.

I would suggest looking at Andrew Dow's 'The Railway - British Track since 1804'.
ISBN 978 1 47389 757 1

Different materials used over time include small (and thus waste) coal, ash, smokebox char, quarried rocks (such as granite and limestone), and sometimes (with eventual unfortunate effect on the SR) beach shingle. Like everything else it would be a matter of first cost, availability, transport cost, and how it worked; especially as higher speeds developed.

In LNER days, many less important ex-NER lines used ash ballast, although from 1910 the NER was using hard limestone from Hulands Quarry (near Lartington). There was also use made by the LNER of crushed slag from steelworks. Quite a large operation was set up in north Lincolnshire.

Like many other aspects of railway technology and history, what seems a simple question is actually quite complex with lots of local variation.
I can thoroughly recommend Mr Dow's book.
Mickey
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Re: LNER track ballast policy

Post by Mickey »

drmditch wrote: Fri Feb 12, 2021 11:25 pm Different materials used over time include small (and thus waste) coal, ash, smokebox char, quarried rocks (such as granite and limestone), and sometimes (with eventual unfortunate effect on the SR) beach shingle. Like everything else it would be a matter of first cost, availability, transport cost, and how it worked; especially as higher speeds developed.
Yeah I remember seeing stuff what looked 'coal ash and smokebox char' especially in sidings such as Welwyn Garden City Up sidings, Bounds Green old Up carriage sidings & Hornsey Up carriage sidings and a number of other yards & sidings around the railways during the late 1960s & 1970s.
Original start date of 2010 on the LNER forum and previously posted 4500+ posts.
rockinjohn
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Re: LNER track ballast policy

Post by rockinjohn »

Yes an intresting comment on the SR "beach shingle"ballast(please elaborate if possible)the Southern sure would have had plenty on hand of that particular ballast in the Kent area, seem to remember @ the time an ongoing row between the Civil Engineers& Motive Power Dept, with a class member being tested on the LNER southern area to prove it wasn't the locos riding abilty,however all eventually, I think rebuilt as tender locos from photos the "Rivers"were a handsome looking tank engine,
drmditch
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Re: LNER track ballast policy

Post by drmditch »

Both the SER and the LCDR who were locked in unrewarding competition, tended to take shortcuts with track. Even when combined as the SECR and later the SR the legacy of this remained. Ballast relies for it's effectiveness on it's resistance to movement both vertically and horizontally. Obviously it wants some movement to give resilience ( It took G Stevenson and I K Brunel some time to realise this. Robert Stephenson and Joseph Locke were better at this.)

Quarried hard stone has sharp edges which provide resistance to movement, and allow gaps for drainage. Beach gravel doesn't have sharp edges and moves around more. Finer particulate materials can clump together and block drainage. Also, the substrate needs to allow drainage. Clay can cause hydraulic working and dropped sleepers and track joints.

All ballasting though, depends on maintenance with packing and re-packing essential. The Sevenoaks accident, the cause for which was debated between the Engineer (responsible for track) and the CME (responsible for the rolling stock) had several contributing factors:-
Poor Ballast
Poor Drainage
Recent heavy rain.
A dropped track joint
A heavy tank engine with water surging in the side tanks.

The same class of engine when tested on the GN Main Line didn't roll to anywhere near the same extent.

You can find more about this in several places. Now, please excuse me, I need to get on with my inspection vehicle so Engineers can see my track properly
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