An 8 mile long railway has got 16 miles of verge to keep tidy and it has been a while since the line side grass and hedges of the Welshpool &Llanfair Light Railway had a good trim. Yes, there has been some strimming done and the Hedgebash Gang have been tackling some interesting projects but ……
Over the last couple of weeks the line has been getting a short back and sides.
You might ask why we want to cut back the ‘greenery’. Well for several reasons:
- Safety – brambles and branches that grow too close to the train may injure the crew or passengers if they lean out.
- Prevent damage – if the vegetation scrapes along the side of the locomotives and carriages it ruins the paintwork.
- Reduce fire risk – old brambles and long dried grass burn readily if ignited by a cinder from a steam locomotive. Short grass is less likely to catch fire and then burn for any distance.
- It enables embankments and cuttings to be inspected for damage or subsidence.
- Last but not least it makes the railway look well cared for.
The Flail Train comprising: diesel locomotive Chattenden, Ferguson 590 tractor fitted with a Twose TE480 flail mower and mounted on the ex Zillertalbahn Railway Rollwagen.
Cutting grass on the side of an embankment a couple of hundred yards east of Dolarddyn Road. This section took three passes to complete.
Hedge cutting near Dirty Lane (Hydan Fawr). Four passes were required: ground level, side of hedge, angle cut as shown in the picture and a top cut.
Dumped fencing wire can get caught around the rotor. This was some of the original GWR fencing wire which is nearly 1/4″ in diameter (6mm). Here it is being snipped out in a series of small pieces. This was ‘found’ near The Kink (MP7). Yet in this area the fence is a good 15 feet from the line and at least 6 feet lower. To confuse us even more when I traced this back to its source it turned out to be the top strand and was still connected to the rest of the fence.
Sylfaen Bank – here the hedge is a monstrous affair mainly of blackthorn. This lot took 6 passes. Unfortunately the arm of the flail could not reach out far enough to trim the top.
At the time of writing this article a little over 10 miles of line side have been trimmed.
Many thanks to the team involved: PS, DD, PM, BW, RW, WF, PM, GG (apologies if I have missed anyone)
The left side of Sylfaen Bank looking neat and tidy.
Two short videos showing the flail in action:
All this crawling around, stopping and starting takes its toll on the loco. On Saturday 14th of October Chattenden had a new set of brake blocks fitted.
The old brake blocks
Jiggling a new brake block into position between the wheel and the brake hanger.
3 o’clock Saturday 14th October ready for service.
Unfortunately Chattenden has now got a leak in the cooling system and is awaiting repair. This is delaying the completion the flailing task.
Some more photos over on Flickr