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Anatomy of a Level Crossing

Pat Pettett

PAT PETTETT looks at some maintenance on the real railways.

One of the benefits of our location right next to Ford Railway Station is that the real railway is immediately available for reference, and sometimes when engineering work is taking place we have a chance to get some insight into how things are done.

Over the weekend of the 20th-22nd of May, the level crossing was closed to all traffic, road and rail, to enable the decking to be replaced by Network Rail. I took advantage of this to see just how a level crossing is put together...

(Click the images to view a larger version)

Ford Level Crossing Works

This is the scene before opening the shop on Sunday morning. The old decking has already been lifted to expose the entirely plain track underneath, and the workers have cleared several years of rubbish to one side.

Ford Level Crossing Decking Laid

Later in the morning, and the first section of decking has been relaid. On the left can be seen the red steel support that will hold up the outer deck plating, and up against the rail of the right hand track supports are being laid for the plates on that side. Between the running lines old ballast has been cleared away.

Ford Level Crossing Decking Laid

The gap between the sleepers in the centre has been filled in and levelled off, and the next support beam laid. On the right hand side the deck is being laid, in a manner that both Hornby and Peco would approve of...

Ford Level Crossing Hammering Plates

The spiked jib on the crane on the right slides into holes in the plates, and they are lowered into place. The beefiest member of the gang then uses a delightfully sized rubber mallet to hammer the plate down as low as it will go.

Ford Level Crossing Clipping to the Rail Head

Then it is clipped in between the rails! The blue tool the chaps in the centre are using pushes against the rail until the plate clips under the top of the rail head. The entire thing goes together very much like a kit.

Ford Level Crossing Plates Screwed Together

The rods visible in the centre of the right hand track thread through the holes in the plates, and screw together. On the left hand track the edge plates are ready to be installed nearly finished!

Ford Level Crossing Maintenance   Work Finished

Ford Level Crossing Maintenance Work Finished

The following morning all is finished and the road and railway line are re-opened for traffic.

Modelling Track Maintenance

Fordhampton Level Crossing

Level crossings are of course available in a range of scales, browse our range HERE.

We can also supply all of your ballast needs.

Bachmann Track Workers

Track maintenance figures are available from Bachmann, Noch and Preiser.

Viessmann Tamper

If you want to go all-out with your model maintenance Viessmann produce a Tamping Machine in HO scale, which can of course run on OO track. These are used extensively on British railways.

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