Network Rail traffic (i.e NR works trains)

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by Ken H, 15 Mar 2019 at 18:18.

  1. Ken H

    Ken H Established Member

    Messages:
    1,184
    Joined:
    11 Nov 2018
    Just watched a cl66 and a load of yellow wagons with a load that looked like ballast from an overbridge. Could not see any markings on the side of the truck
    It was near Hellifield so must have been 679B Mountsrrel-Carlisle, TOC = ZZ

    http://www.realtimetrains.co.uk/train/R00243/2019/03/15/advanced

    2 questions
    Why drag low value stone all the way from Leicestershire to Carlisle. there is a rail connected quarry at Helwith Bridge.

    How much rail traffic is internal stuff like this?
     
  2. Registered users do not see these banners - join or log in today!

    Rail Forums

     
  3. 8stewartt

    8stewartt Member

    Messages:
    19
    Joined:
    18 Mar 2013
    The train you saw was 6C89 Mountsorrel - Carlisle.

    The “low value” stone you refer too is not so “low value”.

    The stone produced from Mountsorrel & Cliffe Hill quarries, both in Leicestershire about 8 miles apart, both rail served and operating all the time, produce some of, if not, the best stone in the country for railway ballast, hence the flows being operated.

    In response to your final question, a LOT of stone is moved this way, all for Network Rail engineering projects. Most trains are run to virtual quarries at strategic engineering delivery yards, others are occasionally run directly from quarry to site for bigger projects. These quarries supply locations such as Westbury, Whitemoor, Toton, Doncaster, Carlisle, Crewe, Eastleigh to name but a few.

    Those yellow wagons, which are known as IOA wagons, can hold approx 75T of ballast each, and often run in rakes of 20 at a time. Mountsorrel loads approx 3 per day, 5 days a week, 50 weeks of the year, that’s a lot of ballast from just one quarry.

    Hope this helps.
     
  4. GB

    GB Established Member

    Messages:
    5,282
    Joined:
    16 Nov 2008
    Location:
    Somewhere
    Who says its low value? Theres clearly a market for it otherwise it wouldn't run. I don't know about the specific operational set up but perhaps the quarry at Helwith Bridge doesn't supply the stuff that Carlisle require?
     
  5. Tom Quinne

    Tom Quinne Member

    Messages:
    836
    Joined:
    8 Jul 2017
    Under BR it would be no value in terms of financial value to BR, but now it’s a huge part of FOCs profit each year.
     
  6. Spartacus

    Spartacus Member

    Messages:
    962
    Joined:
    25 Aug 2009
    Mountsorrel produces pink granite, perfect for ballast. Arcow produces siltstone and gritstone: both sedimentary, which is pretty much useless as ballast.
     
  7. Ken H

    Ken H Established Member

    Messages:
    1,184
    Joined:
    11 Nov 2018
    they used to use limestone from Horton....
     
  8. Llanigraham

    Llanigraham On Moderation

    Messages:
    3,796
    Joined:
    23 Mar 2013
    Location:
    Powys
    1/ It isn't low value, it is rail ballast.
    2/ Because the stone produced by Helwith Bridge quarry isn't rail ballast
    3/ Lots!
     
  9. Spartacus

    Spartacus Member

    Messages:
    962
    Joined:
    25 Aug 2009
    Depends on the rock. Siltstone and gritstone are no good, no doubt due to what they were originally formed of. Can't remember the high school geology but I think limestone's formed from coral and shellfish, which probably plays a bit part in it being so hard. Makes sense with a name like that.
     
  10. Dr Hoo

    Dr Hoo Member

    Messages:
    933
    Joined:
    10 Nov 2015
    Location:
    Hope Valley
    From various statistical releases on the ORR website, infrastructure traffic overall (not only ballast, of course) came to just under 10% of the total 'real freight' traffic (about 0.42 billion tonne km as against 4.3 billion tonne km in the most recent quarter).

    The FOCs are only marginally profitable. Most made a loss in 2016-17 but overall they made a profit of £33m on turnover of £826m in 2017-18 (i.e. <4%, nowhere near even offsetting the previous year's losses of £98m at DB Cargo, Freightliner and DRS). So infrastructure traffic might have generated (say) £3 million over 5 FOCs. Hardly a king's ransom in a £20 billion+ per year rail industry.
     
  11. Mugby

    Mugby Established Member

    Messages:
    1,357
    Joined:
    25 Nov 2012
    Location:
    Derby
    Where exactly does it come from? I've passed through Mountsorrel many times but never seen any sign of a quarry face anywhere.

    I've also looked on Google earth and there's no sign of a quarry. Surely the stone isn't mined, is it brought in from elsewhere?
     
  12. Spartacus

    Spartacus Member

    Messages:
    962
    Joined:
    25 Aug 2009
  13. Mugby

    Mugby Established Member

    Messages:
    1,357
    Joined:
    25 Nov 2012
    Location:
    Derby
  14. swt_passenger

    swt_passenger Veteran Member

    Messages:
    18,908
    Joined:
    7 Apr 2010
  15. sharpley

    sharpley Member

    Messages:
    41
    Joined:
    18 Aug 2018
    Mountsorrel is one of the largest quarries in Europe, its definitely on Google Earth...
     
  16. AndrewE

    AndrewE Established Member

    Messages:
    2,597
    Joined:
    9 Nov 2015
    your friend:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mountsorrel_Railway
    The site at Mountsorrel http://heritage-centre.co.uk/visit-us/mountsorrel-railway/ is well worth a visit too.
     
  17. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

    Messages:
    20,247
    Joined:
    12 Oct 2010
    Location:
    Work - Fenny Stratford(MK) Home - Darlington
    because Tarmac have the largest part of the contract ( I assume having assumed it on the creation and subsequent sale of Lafarge Tarmac) to supply NR with the right sort of aggregate for track ballast. Ballast isn't just random stone. It has to be of the right make up, size and shape. It is high specification ( for stone!) and quite expensive for aggregates. Pink Granite is the best apparently. It gets shipped around the country to various NR depots ( Carlisle being one) and is then used in works on the railway


    It is odd that there is such competition to win these contracts if it is of such minimal value to the FOC's. The NR press release suggests differently:

    https://www.networkrailmediacentre....ve-year-haulage-agreement-with-five-suppliers

    The stone is conveyed a considerable distance to the loading point next to the MML

    Who is "they"
     
  18. swt_passenger

    swt_passenger Veteran Member

    Messages:
    18,908
    Joined:
    7 Apr 2010
  19. furnessvale

    furnessvale Established Member

    Messages:
    3,025
    Joined:
    14 Jul 2015
    In BR days we were forced to use limestone because it was cheaper, and it was rubbish!

    It was a false economy as pumping, especially under concrete sleepers reduced it to a slurry in months meaning another expensive reballasting job was needed.

    Eventually, common sense returned and we were permitted to use granite again.
     
  20. DPWH

    DPWH Member

    Messages:
    136
    Joined:
    8 Sep 2016
    The quarry itself is quite well hidden from the surrounding roads. It is a massive hole in the ground, but you can drive past it without really noticing it because it is hidden by forested hills.

    AFAIK The quarry itself is considered to be of national strategic importance, i.e. I believe it (plus Bardon Hill) are basically the biggest lumps of granite that are furthest south. Granite is heavy and so hauling it around is expensive. Buy a lorry load of granite in Kent for road construction, and a lot of the price went on transporting it from Leicestershire. It's better (cheaper) therefore to transport it from Leicestershire to Kent than from the Pennines to Kent.

    But I would think that there are other sources of granite nearer to Carlisle than Leicestershire.
     
  21. Bald Rick

    Bald Rick Established Member

    Messages:
    8,037
    Joined:
    28 Sep 2010
    Another big source of ballast certainly used to be Glensanda near Oban. That was brought in by ship to a couple of places before being transferred to engineering trains. Not sure if it is still used.
     
  22. furnessvale

    furnessvale Established Member

    Messages:
    3,025
    Joined:
    14 Jul 2015
    We used to get our granite from Shap.......the best there is, but probably too expensive now, even allowing for transport costs.
     
  23. alangla

    alangla Member

    Messages:
    371
    Joined:
    11 Apr 2018
    Location:
    Glasgow
    A lot of Scottish lines have a reddish ballast that I believe came from Cloburn near Lanark, though recent ballast seems to be grey. Is the Cloburn stone unsuitable? I know it’s not rail connected, but there’s plenty of places it could be loaded, e.g. Mossend, Millerhill
     
  24. AndrewE

    AndrewE Established Member

    Messages:
    2,597
    Joined:
    9 Nov 2015
    Cloburn stone is excellent ballast and makes for a very attractive trackbed, especially when wet! I like to think I am on the Royal route to Scotland when I first notice it on the WCML going north.
    It has been loaded onto rail at Carstairs, but I guess road costs and logistics are against it.
     
  25. Ken H

    Ken H Established Member

    Messages:
    1,184
    Joined:
    11 Nov 2018
    its formed from the hard bits of any sea creature. its mostly calcium carbonate, similar to your bones. Dissolves in acid, which is why we get limestone pavements and caves. Even the carbon dioxide dissolved in rainwater (that makes carbonic acid - H2CO3) is enough to dissolve it.

    Its also the basis of concrete
     
  26. furnessvale

    furnessvale Established Member

    Messages:
    3,025
    Joined:
    14 Jul 2015
    Indeed, it makes the strongest concrete due its specific properties. Horses for courses, as they say.
     
  27. Ken H

    Ken H Established Member

    Messages:
    1,184
    Joined:
    11 Nov 2018
    you heat up calcium carbonate to make calcium oxide
    CaCO3 → CaO + CO2

    portland cement is different

    chemisty stuff here - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cement#Chemistry

    sorry, dont know how to do subscripts for chemical formulae on here :(
     
  28. AndrewE

    AndrewE Established Member

    Messages:
    2,597
    Joined:
    9 Nov 2015
    Surely not? Limestone is relatively weak compared to most igneous rock and quite a lot of metamorphic ones (which is why worktops are made of marble and not limestone.) I'm certain that concrete made with granite or similar aggregate will be stronger than one made with limestone, but at least the limestone version won't get this:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alkali–silica_reaction which has done for a lot of concrete.
    The actual mineral content of cement (after roasting and grinding then rehydration) is weird, but I just remember that Portland cement needs clay minerals in it, which is why some cement works on pure limestone or chalk have to import clay rocks of some sort!
    p.s. it seems that the actual strength of the aggregate is less important than other factors: https://www.engr.psu.edu/ce/courses/ce584/concrete/library/materials/aggregate/aggregatesmain.htm says
     
    Last edited: 16 Mar 2019 at 10:23
  29. Ken H

    Ken H Established Member

    Messages:
    1,184
    Joined:
    11 Nov 2018
    I think we are confusing the making of cement, and the rock used in aggregate
    remember, concrete = cement + sand + aggregate

    you need limestone or similar to make cement. you need small stones to use as aggregate.
     
  30. AndrewE

    AndrewE Established Member

    Messages:
    2,597
    Joined:
    9 Nov 2015
    No, you are confusing a lime mortar and Portland cement. Lime putty results from slaking calcined limestone and mixing it with sand. Portland cement (which sets under water) needs clay minerals in it as well as the lime fraction. Adding aggregate to either of these gives concrete. Different aggregates have different effects on the concrete, as my link explained.
    Look at the wikipedia page that Ken H linked: it says
     
    Last edited: 16 Mar 2019 at 11:22
  31. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

    Messages:
    20,247
    Joined:
    12 Oct 2010
    Location:
    Work - Fenny Stratford(MK) Home - Darlington
    You have answered your own question. There might be granite nearer Carlisle but teansporting it has to offer value. It also has to offer the same value to thise people in Kent.

    I believe some does still come from glensanda via ship. MOST comes from Leicestershire

    There is your answer. Double and triple handling makes little sense.
     

Share This Page