With the running season behind us, attention has switched to the winter maintenance programme. An intensive burst of activity took place today. It’s a good job it was active, otherwise we’d either drown or freeze. Or both. Various sleepers past their sell-by date were changed – quite a quick job with the right kit and team. During this task, an eagle-eyed member of the team spotted what seemed to be a flaw in a rail; on closer examination this was a crack in the foot and web, probably emanating from a historic flaw. Although this was not going to pose an immediate threat to safety, it was a case of “We can’t leave that”. So, the rail had to be changed. Just to add to the jollity, it was a curved rail of non-standard length, meaning the rail had to be curved, cut and drilled on site. None of which is terribly good fun in the rain. It was at this point that our PWay engineer complained that the rain was only vertical; he trained on the Ffestiniog Railway, where the rain has a significant horizontal component. Get in touch here (unless you are from the Met Office).