You know how you are supposed to go into a deep sleep when you first go to bed, then you gradually sleep lighter and lighter until the middle of the night, after that you go back into a not quite so deep sleep, until you float back up to waking in the morning? And, you know we have the Carlisle to Newcastle railway running past our house?
Well, they’ve been doing considerable maintenance work on the line. We had one evening/night, a few months ago, when the huge track laying system clanked and crunched its way, ever so slowly, past us. It really was quite a sight to see the enormous machine taking up the tracks it was riding on and replacing not only the rails but also the sleepers underneath them. It only travels about a mile in eight hours, so it took nearly that long to cross our embankment.
What we didn’t realise, until last night, was that this massive machine didn’t know what to do with the old rails. Wouldn’t you have thought that if they were going to automate it to this degree, they would have had the facility to put the used rails straight onto eBay or something, you know, “buyer must collect therefore post and packing is free”. I wouldn’t have minded them borrowing my wifi as they trundled past.
We were shaken from our beds at two o’clock this morning by an absolutely unholy racket. It sounded as if a special train of soccer supporters had demanded their human right to carry sledge hammers and where knocking seven bell (at least) out of every corrugated iron barn and garden shed for three miles around.
When the source of the din emerged from behind the hill, all became clear. A couple of cranes were shunting up and down the near track picking up the used rails and carelessly tossing them into a row of wagons on the other track that inched along keeping pace with the cranes. I staggered out of bed wondering if I should phone the police. Then, realising that it was something happening on the railway line, I took the picture and stood there and watched for a bit.