Progress in the HLF/NTB funded Carriage Gallery has been largely internal and away from the dramatic scenes of the superstructure being erected to internal fitting out of electrics and the construction of the internal platforms.
Wednesday 6th July saw another milestone with the start of the rails for the three roads being moved in and fitted to the concrete floor.
DCDR volunteers assisted the contractors, Glasgiven, in this area due to our specialised expertise.
This involves setting the correct gauges – both the track gauge, and the distances away from the internal platform edges.
Two types of rail have been used – 95lb flatbottom rail has been used to join up the two shed roads into the old workshed, while 85lb flatbottom rail from Wellington Bridge in Co. Wexford has been used in the “dead road” at the Gallery entrance. It was decided to use this lighter rail here as the gallery curves at this point, and that it would be easier to bend than the heavier rail – given the lack of purchase points on a pre-cast concrete floor. It also will not be joining up with the workshed, which uses the heavier rail. The lighter rail was first used in the “New Tin Shed”.
A problem to overcome was the difference in height between the new gallery floor and the existing workshed – this was due to settlement of the old workshop, which created a slight tilt in the floor. Rather than replicate this in a brand new building, it was agreed that the Gallery would be built on the level, and the rails made to fit the tilt. This can be seen on some of the photos on Facebook where wedges have been used to make up the difference in heights – only a few inches at the highest point.
With the rails laid throughout the gallery, the Glasgiven contractors secured the rails to the floor, and today the new concrete floor has been poured to rail height – completing the floor.
Outside, work continues on preparing to connect the gallery to the main line. This has seen the reassembly of the first turnout, acquired earlier from the year from NIR’s Adelaide depot, which will be moved to the correct location when the contractors have prepared the trackbed.
We are also indebted to Clive Bradberry and the team at NIR who have released a quantity of concrete sleepers from their Portadown depot to help connect the different types of rail used in this project, and to Andy Irwin of Northern Excavators Rail who organised transport of them to Downpatrick, and once again to Walter Watson for the transport of rail fitting to Downpatrick. These sleepers will be laid in the coming days.