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important public announcement

Notice of maintenance works on Splitveld Fabriek.
preparing for running modern stock.

Service Upgrade Preparations

On request of our customers to update our rail service, tests were undertaken on Splitveld Fabriek using diesel traction in combination with long wheelbase stock like Uapps and Hbilns. This lead to the conclusion that an extensive track maintenance operation is necessary to operate this stock under safe conditions. Therefor a maintenance program was developed that will consists of 3 phases.

    Description of maintenance works:

  • Phase 1 will provide better access to the lower southern yard by replacing several points and widening the curves to 1000 mm for the main access track and 800 mm minimum for the secondary tracks. During this phase access to Maiserie Splitveld and Alibel works is limited by use of the northern bypass. The northern bypass currentl only allows access for short 2 axled wagons and during this phase all service requests need to be handled using wagons of type 2211A1 and similar.
  • Phase 2 will see improvement to the main access track of the yard. During this phase the main track will go out of service and access to the yard will be impossible. This period will be kept as short as possible and preferably these works will be carried out during a single weekend.
  • Phase 3 will see relief of the curve to the northern part of the yard by relaying the most northern access track to a minimum radius of 800 mm. This phase will limit the service of Belfer S.A. southern access and all traffic will be relayed over its northern access track south side.

The works will be carried out during the summer gap of 2018. After this operation Splitveld Yard can be safely operated with stock like Class 77, 66, Voith Gravita and Vossloh G2000, G1200 and similar foreign stock in combination with Uapps, Habilns and other long wheelbase stock with large overhang. This operation also allows access to the yard with historical long wheelbase stock such type 31 and type 26 steam loco's for Period 3 Fremo operation.
The works will also be used to prepair for installing new TOU's (Turnout Operation Units) of a more sophisticated version by servo motor operation with adjustable stroke allowing to replace the operation by wire for electronic wireless operation in order to allow layout operation from both northern and southern sides and installing a scenic background to enhance public viewing. For details about the exact dates and service during the works please contact SRSW.

Splitveld Rail Service Works
signed: 15 june 2018

simulation of the works in southern yard simulation of the required access curves.

Final track layout

work done Track laying finished, only the scenic entourage needs further attention with the main action on bringing the new plastic area into a representation of concrete and carry out some detailing on the grass area (e.g. a hair cut and some advanced colouring procedures) but that was already on the to do list anyway.

The weathering of the track and ballast was kept light to show the traces of maintenance work, except for the short piece of phase 2 in main entry. I accidently used the bottle with the ballast mix for the shoulders there instead of that for the track, this has a slightly finer composition but also carries some black pigment which is why it looks a bit more grey than the weathered ballast close to it. The entire layout has actually only a single ballast (Jeweha Phonoliet) but the original brown colour of that is overruled by applying pigment powders, mainly braking dust and dark rust colour. In actual railways after some 10 years of use all ballast beds end up having the same colour. The brown Phonoliet colour is similar to the local brown rock colour in eastern Belgium due to some iron oxide content, more south in the Ardennes its pure granite grey.

Some photos taken during execution of phase 3

phase 1 and 2 southern yard

The new trackwork installed as per phase 1, below baseboard is still to do here. Employed is a threeway point with 1000 mm radius, the curve closest to the buildings has a counter curve of 800 mm. The threeway has straight crossings thus there exist a small piece of straight track between the counter curves in all routes. The main track through the center now has a radius of 1000 mm. Tests shows that the 800 mm radius suffices for the available modern wagons with long overhang. The existing track with street rails had to be renewed entirely as the glue on the double sided tape had expired and these came loose upon cleaning the track. The NS strips of 1x0.3 mm for the street rails were unsoldered, cleaned and re-used, rails and sleepers are new.
Further as alternative to the above described phase 2 a widening of the existing entrance curve to 800 mm, as seen above, saves a lot of work. This curve will probably also suffice to get the type 31 around it without derailing. The kink created by the track following a catenary line was removed by forcing it into a curved section with 800 mm radius using the ply jig. Effectively after unsoldering the inner rail the sleepers about half way were shifted towards the center point over more than a full mm in order to ease out the radius.

Execution of phase 3

phase 3 lifting track and clearing out After ripping off the building that stands over the track, the track could be completely lifted and the base cleaned for phase 3 of rebuilding. The black viltscriber line is drawn for indicating the required edge for the sleepers on positioning these on top of the double sided tape.

phase 3 fitting rail in place The track itself was cleaned of ballast using a screwdriver, Jif, an old toothbrush and running tap water. Then using a minidrill with steel fiber brush the paint was removed from the sleepers along the inner rail and this rail was lifted with a soldering iron. The photo shows the remaining harp refitted to the new curve of 800 mm fixed on a fresh layer of (transparent) double sided tape. The actual length of track had to be shortened by about 1 mm to fit the new curve radius.

phase 3 fitting rail in place Using lots of track jigs the inner rail was fitted again.

view of rail jigs Low angle view during the soldering process using an Iphone.

Showing the new effective track radius is 800 mm This photo showw that the new track radius is now effectively 800 mm. (As long as you believe the engraved number on the ply jig!)

train on track Proof of the pudding is in the eating. The 800 mm radius suffices for this modern stock with large overhang without derailing due to overbuffering and lock-up of the MFK couplings. Effectively the track was shifted by about 5 mm towards the center.

The new northern track now runs much closer to the corner of the Belfer S.A. building but the NMRA track gauge shows that there is still over 1 mm left in the gauge. For normal use this will be OK but overwidth transports probably have to use the southern track. The radius of that track is much smaller but there is no chance of widening this to a decent radius without replacing the 3-way point entirely. But even with that the lay of track would probably not satisfy the eye and the clearances would be questionable. Thus this track remains as is, unsuitable for long overhang stock but it suffices for shunting to run around some wagons parked on the northern track with a single loco.

Next step is of course painting track and ballasting to restore the scenic view.

copyright: Henk Oversloot
date: 14 July 2018