The 12-inch gauge railway which circles the reservoir in north west London will reopen on Saturday 10 February.
Between now and the reopening, 260 metres of track around Eleanor's Junction will be replaced. The existing track was laid in stages: some sections in 2002, others in 2008 and the rest in 2011. The track due to be replaced presently has softwood sleepers which are now coming to the end of their life for use on the railway, something which is happening at an ever-increasing rate.
They will be replaced with sleepers made out of recycled plastic, which has a projected lifespan of 80 years. These products are larger and heavier and support the track far more effectively. Old sleepers will be sold on and are ideal for use in flowerbeds or allotments. Details of the sale can be found on the railway's website.
The new replacement rails will be heavier and longer. They will replace rails mostly dating from 1986. The new rails weigh 30lb per yard and come in 40ft lengths.
The old rails weigh 20lb per yard and came in 30ft lengths. Much of the track in the area where the rails will be replaced does not have a good bed of ballast under and around the sleepers and is contaminated with mud in some parts, making track maintenance difficult and leading to a reduction in ride quality. This is especially so though the former platform at Eleanor's Junction.
The railway's line side power system will be extended during the operations allowing track maintenance to be carried out more effectively. The enhanced facilities will also support an easier operation and decorations used at special events will be enhanced.
The whole project represents a £50,000 investment and work is being carried out by the railway's dedicated team of volunteers. Once the line reopens, services will run through half-term week until Sunday 18 February.