The Wrath of Tamp

Tamping and Lining a railway is one of the most important, but labour intensive, elements of the construction process. The Big Railway uses large and expensive yellow machines to do this, such as the one in the picture. These machines cost seven-figure sums, and are normally built in Austria. The Moseley Railway Trust, not having a seven-figure sum to spend, uses two kango hammers and, in this case, David and Alan to do the job. They aren’t Austrian, but it is alleged that they did once see “The Sound of Music“. The purpose of the operation is to establish the correct vertical alignment of the railway (having previously sorted out horizontals) and then pack ballast under the sleepers to preserve the vertical alignment. Jacks, spirit levels and experienced eyes are used extensively to align the railway. The kangos are easy to use, but quite physically demanding. Health and safety requirements limit the time any one person can use them, so a cycle of people taking turns is the only way to get the job done. It is fair to say that a trip to the gym is not needed after a few turns on the kangos. The improvement to the quality of the track after the tamping/lining is done is remarkable. Just to check, and for the benefit of a visiting party, we spent Sunday running heavy locos up and down just to check the track (or something). If you fancy a bit of track checking, or can’t afford the gym in these straightened times, get in touch here. This year’s chance to come along and see what we’re up to is on September 12 & 13. The Edelweiss will be in full bloom by then, assuming that the fictional snake hasn’t eaten them all.