Major Track Improvement Work

November 2008


Updated 20 Oct 2009

Express links to other stations

Whalley XXXX Langho xxxxRamsgreave & Wilpshire


Monday 10th November 2008


Photos: P. Bleasdale


Preparations being made for night working looking from Bawdlands Bridge towards the Level Crossings at Clitheroe, 20.30 hours

Above and below:

Clitheroe Station at 17:40 hrs on 11/11/08


Clitheroe at 18:22 hrs on 11/11/08


Wednesday 12th November 2008


Photos: P. Bleasdale

Apparently, the old track has been removed from the Up Road at Clitheroe overnight and the old ballast is being removed in preparation for new being laid.

Unfortunately, the sun has not risen quite high enough to enhance the colour, but, as I found out, if you are not quick enough, the train has gone.

Taken from Bawdlands Bridge looking North

Taken from Bawdlands looking south

Looking towards Low Moor Level Crossing

Looking towards Clitheroe Station, by the time I returned from Henthorn Park the train was leaving!

First Works Train loading on the approach to Clitheroe Station.

Second Works Train loading at Low Moor Level Crossing.

The plastic rolls seen at the side of the track in some of these pictures contain the plastic ducting, which goes in the newly dug trenches for drainage purposes.

Low Moor Level Crossing

Many new galvanised hatches have appeared on the recently dug sections.


Looking South from Henthorn Park Bridge, where the third Works Train is waiting its turn to load ballast.

Low Moor Level Crossing
At Bawdlands Bridge
At Clitheroe Station

At Clitheroe Station
Bawdlands Bridge at 15:51 hrs



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Thursday 13th November 2008

Photos: P. Bleasdale

Overnight, the first layer of new ballast has been laid and compacted and new concrete sleepers laid down to set the alignment; the rails will then be fixed to them and more ballast applied and tamped to raise to the correct rail level.

I have been talking to the foreman at Clitheroe Station, a very helpful and informative chap.


Long views taken from Bawdlands bridge



A close up of the new concrete sleepers
Foreman and Engineer checking details at Cltheroe Station

Machine for lifting concrete sleepers from the works train in Clitheroe Station

The new section of Flat Bottomed Rail joining the old Bullhead Rail in Clitheroe Station

New section of Flat Bottomed Rail joining the old Bullhead Rail in Clitheroe Station

Looking closely at the bottom left of this picture, one can see an example that the joints to be, Thermit Welded, are laid on wooden sleepers topped with a bolted steel plate.

Ballasting the newly laid track by lamplight!
Newly ballasted track
Friday 14th November 2008

Photos: P. Bleasdale

Expansion Joint for the new CWR Track in Clitheroe Station

The old track joins the new in Clitheroe Station

Our new CWR Railway Line looking towards Bawdlands Bridge for Clitheroe Station Platform

The newly ballasted UP Line looking towards Low Moor Level Crossing.
Only the rails to be replaced on the DOWN now!

Looking north towards Clitheroe Station

The work is a credit to the skill and dedication of the Contractors

Saturday 15 November 2008

Photos: P. Bleasdale

Overnight, the contractors appear to have removed the lineside timber, which is evident in the previous shot

Saturday 22 November 2008

Photos: P. Bleasdale

Track panels are being removed from the "Down" line at Clitheroe this morning

"Down" line track panels being removed for Bawdlands Bridge towards Henthorn Park

Old track being loaded onto "Salmon Flats" at Low Moor Level Crossing

A different view of the track loading at the Level Crossing

Class 66 locomotive 66596 stands at the head of it's train of partially loaded flat wagons under Henthorn Park Bridge

The first train of partially loaded wagons stands on the CWR section of track looking from Henthorn Park to the Level Crossing


Peter Bleasdale writes:

Re: the photo on the left, I was wondering if anyone could enlighten me as to the purpose of the machine in the lower centre of the frame ?

It appears to have seven or eight arms containing what appear to be some kind of clamps at the outer ends for holding or lifting.

Incidentally, the trackside plastic rolls, which appeared in previous Clitheroe photos of mine, contained the membranes for laying underneath the ballast as stated by Simon Clarke.

( See below left for the answer )

Simon Clarke writes:

I am led to believe that the strange contraption in the above picture is a machine for lifting and placing up to seven sleepers at once and getting them at the correct centres (roughly 650mm depending on sleeper type)

The machine speeds up the laying of sleepers in a job like this

Apparently, once the sleepers are in place, the rail can be laid at about 200 yards an hour!

NK writes:

Many thanks to Peter for posing this interesting question, and to Simon for his efforts to obtain the answer.


Tuesday 25 November 2008


Photos: P. Bleasdale

The contractors have obviously been working in two directions at once, so they appear to have laid the new sleepers at Clitheroe in the early hours of the morning.

The new head of concrete sleepers at Kemple View Bridge this morning.

The laying of new rail onto the concrete sleepers is made to look very easy

One complete length is laid accurately within one minute.


Grinding the rail ends in preparation for Thermit Welding



Modern technology in action.

A remotely operated machine engaging the Pandrol Clips onto the new flat bottomed rail holding it to the baseplates on the concrete sleepers, all in a matter of seconds

Smoothing the alignment of the curved outer rail at Bawdlands Bridge

The ballast train moves slowly forward onto Low Moor Level Crossing as work continues to secure and align the new track before final ballasting takes place

The temporary fishplate joint between the new and old rail holding the correct alignment before final welding

Final ballasting takes place

The Tamper and the Plasser & Theurer Ballast Machine both resting in the sunshine waiting for the new track to settle?

The Grand Finale, tamping the final lengths of track by floodlight at Clitheroe

The Plasser and Theurer Ballast Machine waits patiently alongside Booth's Supermarket to follow the tamper towards the Level Crossing

The Plasser and Theurer in action, setting the ballast shoulders and removing the excess from between the rails, a marvel of modern railway technology, and very exciting to watch


A rather dark shot of the Tamper moving slowly towards the level Crossing, as there are only lights on one side of the track





Thursday 13th November 2008


Photos: S. Clarke

66566 stands at Signal HJ 8 (Low Moor Crossing) with a empty ballast train

Road / rail machine prepares to leave track at Low Moor

Machine changes wheels from rail to road prior to leaving track

66566 creeps past Low Moor Crossing

A radio message is relayed to Horrocksford Box as 66566 passes

66566 stands at HJ 7 (Horrocksford Box) waiting for permission to leave the blockade.



Thursday 13th November 2008


Photos: B. Haworth


Low Moor Crossing


Low Moor Crossing



Saturday 22nd November 2008

Photos: E. Buckley

Seen from Bawdlands Bridge , a train of  Salmon flats has just been drawn forward by Freightliner 66 number 66531.

Various items of plant await their tasks

Looking south from Bawdlands Bridge , 66531 stands at Low Moor Crossing, awaiting its turn to enter the working area

The down track is being removed. Taken from Henthorn Park Bridge , looking back towards Low Moor, the next piece of track is about to be heaved out of the gravel

A few seconds later, and the track panel has been lifted. However, the foreman has seen something untoward, and the men spend the next few minutes knocking two sleepers out from the end of the panel

A sequence of three shots, taken seconds apart, showing how the track panel is loaded onto the top of the stack on the Salmon flat.

Not as easy as it looks, as excellent coordination is required between the two machine operators, to ensure smooth loading

See above captions


Freightliner Class 66, number 66596, waits by the footbridge off Kemple View whilst its train of Salmon flats is loaded up.

The photo demonstrates that there is quite a lot of tracklifting still to do

Looking back towards Low Moor Crossing.

The back end of 66596's train is now loaded, but 66531 has a full train of empty flats to be loaded.

It is likely that the new rail will reach as far as Primrose Viaduct




Sunday 23rd November 2008

Photos: D. Butterworth

Taken from the wooden overbridge, and shows the membrane laid down prior to the addition of new ballast

Taken from Henthorn Park Bridge, and shows the transfer of the new ballast from the trucks to the trackbed


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Monday 10th November 2008

taken at 14:15




Photos: A. Bowles



Taken just beyond Whalley station looking towards Whalley Nab and Whalley Viaduct


Looking in the opposite direction towards Clitheroe




Taken from the bridge on Whalley bypass looking towards Whalley Station



Taken from bridge near Shays Farm looking towards Clitheroe.


The empty ballast train departed just at the right time!!



At Whalley looking towards Clitheroe


At Whalley looking towards Blackburn



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Adjacent to Mytton Fold Golf Club

Sunday 9 November 2008



Photos: B. Haworth


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Sunday 16 November 2008

Photos: B. Haworth

View of newly-laid track from Doctors Raike Bridge Mytton Fold.

Another view of newly-laid track from Doctors Raike Bridge Mytton Fold.

Two track machines at rest awaiting their next turn of duty at Langho

Class 66 66013 awaits it turn in the build up of traffic on Langho Bank.

Class 66 66013 again awaits it turn in the build up of traffic on Langho Bank.

66 66013 shelters under an oak tree whilst awaiting its next turn of duty


Sunday 15 November 2008



Photos: S. Clarke

66171 stands in Langho station on 6L11 a salmon flats and empty scrap ballast train

66160 stands behind Mytton Fold on 6L10 waiting work to start lifting track panels on the up line

The work to lift the track panels has started

The panels are carefully manoeuvred onto the salmon flats

The panel is lowered onto the salmon

The track gang stand clear as a track panel is lifted

15.11.08 Mytton Fold

Work has started to lift the redundant track from the up line behind Mytton Fold farm. A train of empty salmon flat wagons (66160 on 6L10) waits on the down road for the track panels to be loaded.

A gang cuts the rail at 60ft intervals and the two heavy lifting machines pull the panel clear of the ballast.

The panel is lowered again and the gang clears any ballast off the sleepers before the panel is loaded onto the train.

The salmon wagons, some at least 50 years old, have a maximum load of 56.26 tonnes and five panels with wooden sleepers (four if concrete) can be loaded to each wagon.

Not all the rail is in 60ft lengths and so cutting torches are used to cut the track to the right length. Once the track is lifted the next train will remove the scrap ballast and then the new membrane, sleepers, track and ballast can be laid.

The gang lifted the track from just north of the A666 road-bridge to the first footbridge at Mytton Fold in about an hour and a half and this seems to be a very slick operation and moved forward without a hitch.



Sunday 15 November 2008



Photos: E. Buckley

Tamping equipment stands ready on the up line at the south end of Langho station to tamp the new track later in the day. In the foreground is DR 73248

Behind is a new design of tamper DR 77001. Lurking in the background is 66013 on a ballast train consisting of modern high-capacity wagons, hard-up against the rear of a traditional ballast train.

66084 stands in the down platform at Langho with its trainload of new ballast, the calm atmosphere in the station contrasting with the hive of activity straight ahead.

An unusual view of the ballast train, taken from the station steps using a 200mm lens.


Class 66 66099 stands at the back of Mytton Fold Farm, with its ballast train.

The first few wagons appear to contain spent ballast loaded on, whereas the rest of the train contains new ballast for unloading.

In the background, both 66084 and 66013 can be seen awaiting their turn.

66099 taken from the golf course.

I wonder if the driver was tempted!



A close-up of 66099, the strong winter sun showing the complexities of the under-carriage to good effect.

The driver views progress.

As I was leaving the site at 12:01 , the driver sounded a long blast on his horn, and drew forward.


66099 then stopped in this new position.

The new up line has been laid overnight, and is awaiting ballasting, aligning, and tamping.



The rail-mounted JCB has moved closer to Mytton Fold Farm Bridge, presumably to commence unloading new ballast onto the newly-laid track.

66084 is drawing up its train behind for more unloading.

Once again, 66013 can be seen bringing up the rear, south of Langho station.

A taste of the future at Langho. Following the installation of intermediate block signalling in the Langho area, the RV Line now sees more intensive use, as three freights make their way northbound in quick succession, whilst some routine maintenance is carried out on the up line

Above an enlargement of the key area in the photo on the left



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Tuesday 18 November 2008 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 3.15 p.m.

Photos: N. Kirby

Viewed from the roadbridge spanning the track at R&W and looking towards Langho, where track from Platform 1 has now been lifted and stored on the wagons occupying the adjacent track.

One can just glimpse the old station at Wilpshire in the distance.

From the same location but looking in the opposite direction towards Brownhill Cutting, Blackburn, the old track and ballast are observed to be in the process of being lifted.



Old ballast being stored in the wagons.

A modern sophisticated theodolite (note the transmitter) being used to check that track alignment is correctly maintained.

Ostensibly, a slightly untidy Platform 1

Again looking towards the former Wilpshire Station with old track strapped firmly on to the wagon.

Final adjustments and checks, ensuring old track is securely fastened for transit, are made in the vicinity of the "farm"-crossing close to R&W station and the skew bridge pictured on the right.

A slightly unusual view of the skew bridge (an increasingly rare but important example) in Knowsley Road, Wilpshire with old track noted stradling the top of the bridge.

View from a road, just off Knowsley Road, with the railway no longer obscured by trees thanks to drastic tree-felling by Network Rail.

Also, the actual incline of Wilpshire Bank is just noticeable in this shot.


Thursday 20 November 2008

Photos: N. Kirby

At dusk, Plasser & Theurer tampers silently at work

Masked to a certain extent by trees, giving the appearance in this shot of a high-speed train streaking through R&W.
Friday 21 November 2008
Photos: N. Kirby

View from road bridge at R&W and the newly-laid track looking toward Clitheroe.

View in the opposite direction looking towards Blackburn and at the track laid with geometric precision.

Looking under the road bridge from Platform 1.

View from the end of Platform 1 towards work being undertaken at the unmanned farm crossing.

Work being undertaken to replace the level crossing and viewed from Platform 2.

"Diggers" then returned, and were noted at the end of the old Wilpshire Station platform.


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Craig Ward's Gallery of Photos

also taken at

Ramsgreave & Wilpshire


Tuesday 18 November 2008 ::::::xxxxxxxxx::::2:45 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Photos: C. Ward


Above and right:

Further on-going work at Ramsgreave & Wilpshire

Final sections of old rail being lifted on to the trackside at Wilpshire Old Station at the eastern extremity of the section of Up line being replaced

See left caption


Taken from the underpass at the old Wilpshire (for Ribchester) station showing the locomotive at the end of the trackwork.


This is a location rarely used for photography due to problems of access.

The balustrade, showing location of the path underneath trhe railway - usually very muddy - can just be glimpsed bottom left.

The path itself would have been very important for station access to the old Wilpshire (for Ribchester) station, linking Knowsley Road with Whalley New Road - still a useful shortcut in fine weather.