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Four days of no trains through Abbey Wood and there has been a massive amount
of work going on. Frequently three engineering trains could be seen nose to tail
between Abbey Wood and Belvedere and those more energetic than I am said there
were at least two more stretching out towards Erith.
The long weekend has been divided into two, first nearly a mile of track to the east of Abbey Wood was ripped up on Good Friday - I missed most of it - and the following 48 hours has been spent removing the old ballast and replacing it to a depth of 600mm before track laying.
The capacity of trains removing and delivering materials must have been carefully calculated because with possibly five in a line, requiring more sand when the train behind is loaded with 3,000 tonnes of ballast and the one behind that with track would be somewhat disastrous.
When each train had done its job they were taken to Battersea Park sidings where it could be reversed and taken back to the recycling facilities at Hoo junction.
The final track laying was highly mechanised with a purpose built train.
The diesel engine spotters have had a good couple of days.
The constant passage of trains through Abbey Wood prevented the other major operation starting until this morning. The installation of the station support beams at Abbey Wood. 17 lorry loads of massive concrete beams were dropped into position as precisely as if they were Lego bricks.
I have often cursed the filthy Perspex windows on the Harrow Manorway flyover. Nothing can overcome the flare caused by what is in effect a cheap lens filter when shooting into the light but I have learned how to prevent the reflections affecting the pictures. Now I am going to miss it. Soon there will not be a view at all except of the new station floor.
If peering at the detail of one of the pictures is not misleading me, the unfortunate exit from the station footbridge on to the new Platform 1 has been improved.
The pictures of the track work east of Abbey Wood station may be augmented as the day goes on but they show most of the recent events, night and day, and the month long build up to it. The photos that will make up the next installment of ‘Developments around Abbey Wood station’ are also incomplete but there is nothing to stop anyone taking a sneak preview now.
The 'technical' information above comes from various members of Network Rail staff. Each line closure begins planning 54 weeks in advance.