Monday, 11 October 2021

Miscellaneous & "Line Inspection" - up to 9th October 2021

Mid September saw Georgie, Mike, David, Bob, Iain and eventually Michael, who slept in - make good progress in changing six timbers, South of the South Signalbox at Boat of Garten. Photos were taken but alas Mike's mobile phone went amiss (never to be seen again) - hence no timeous blog posting.

The next time P'way met up was one of our at one time annual "Line Inspections" from the comfort of the London Midland Scottish Inspection Saloon with some light refreshments to hand! Above photo was about the only decent one (and no the track isn't bumpy!) showing a few of the current and past P'Way Gang in attendance - of note is Roger being the best dressed as ever, but being in his 82nd or is it 83rd year? he has decided to take things a bit easier and has retired to the platform at Aviemore - we thanked him for his contribution and wish him well for the future. 

Light luncheon was paid for by our "P'Way Boss" Georgie, many thanks to her and the Catering Dept, John the Chef & Diarmid especially, The Watkinson Trust and The Strathspey Railway Company. (We provided Mike with an alibi for the wayward golf ball that broke one of the windows further back the train)

Mid Week 6th October saw Georgie and Bob assisted by Rob Law (Signals & Telegraph Dept)

change a mere two timbers!

 But in typical S&T fashion Rob claimed they are "the two hardest ones"!

Leaving the long, heavy 20 foot timber and 6 others to the Weekend squad of Georgie, David, Michael, Fergus and Mike.

 Assisted by John and Ian, after they had finished putting the final underbridge railings on the Croftnahaven Cattle creep, hopefully concluding that special project at The Office of Rail & Road's behest.

Thanks to all that participated in the work (and play) and for the contributions to this blog, photos came from me,Rob,Mike & John.

Tuesday, 7 September 2021

S&C Timber renewals Aviemore - 4th September 2021

Good sized squad assembled at Aviemore in perfect working weather, the task will continue to be Switches and Crossings (S&C) timber renewals, for some time I guess, as Georgie mentioned that to get the best deal, quantity mattered, so an artic lorry load was dispatched from Boston (Lincolnshire presumably but the white pine came from Germany!)

Kevin supervises after doing a good bit of the digging, as a four man lift required to get new timber maneuvered into place, incidentally four rail jacks were also required to lift the considerable weight of the track at this location.

Just visible behind Georgie is the tiny battery drill that had successfully drilled all the holes until mid-afternoon, when both our batteries gave up and the more conventional equipment was draughted in from the Sheds.

Thanks to all that attended, especially Sam who had a reoccurrence of an old injury necessitating him to go all the way home again mid morning. Alasdair and possibly Bob were up for more PWay work on the Sunday  

Sunday, 22 August 2021

Timbers large and small - 14th & 21st August 2021

14th  August - Mike reports - Another big squad met at Boat of Garten splitting into three!

A team finished south box foot crossing John both Ian’s & Angus subbed for Fergus

B team started fishplate oiling heading North until the Nethy Road under bridge when Georgie arrives with sighting boards & measured shovel packing gear to sort some dips in new point work into Pway depot .. I thought Sam & Bart needed that pleasure & we split up again

 leaving Michael, Les, Dave & Mike to carry on & we reached short of Milton 1 where concrete sleepers start
Michael stayed a bit cleaner today!


Yesterday we met at Aviemore yard in light rain, our first house keeping chore  

was to stop the S&T point rodding wearing away our sleeper! - dug out bed so that sleeper could be relocated one inch further South. Angus sourced wood planks and nailed to keep the assets apart in future. The next job was to replace two mysteriously damaged sleeper chairs by Spey Lodge level crossing, by the time complete, Georgie had organised the timbers for the main task of the day - 

replacing life expired switch timbers and opportunity was taken to move the switch lever, for operational safety reasons away from the recently laid track,

  Above Angus removes planks, Bart disconnects point lever, Michael and Kevin dig out.

after much huffing and puffing right 12 foot 6 inch timber was replaced and the left "good" one was pulled through, gauged drilled and screwed down.

Timbers packed and boxed in, new wood was cut to size by John and his many battery tools and Bart got a lesson in how to hammer in nails!

Thanks to Kevin, Michael, Bart, Angus, Mike & Ian and John who completed the foot crossing below


using all three bags of staples attaching the anti-slip mesh.

Sunday, 8 August 2021

Nearly end of fishplate oiling and foot crossing - 7th August 2021

 Alasdair Jackson kindly sent the following two photos of fishplate oiling for week ending 17th July, I was on holiday at the time and did not appreciate

A - the size of Iain's piece!

B - the distance covered in a day - being about a mile and a half.
Thanks to Iain, Bart, Sam, Georgie (in shorts!) and Alasdair.


Yesterday saw a large squad assemble at Boat of Garten Yard.

 Mike's squad continued with the dreaded fishplate oiling through the switches & crossings and very long loop line at Boat of Garten.

Above left to right, new recruit Bob, Michael (could do with braces!), David, Sam & Bart and Mike reports that it seemed that the crossover at the South Signal Box had not been done in decades as they were very difficult to loosen.

 Fortunately there were plenty of breaks for passing traffic. Sharp eyed PWay buffs will notice the lack of foot crossing? (other things maybe of interest too!) 

John's squad lifted the rather dilapidated existing South Signal Box foot crossing

 only to discover a number of track sleepers that were rotten, which were awkward and time consuming to change!  Above left to right Ian, Fergus, John and Iain.

Using John's vast array of power tools, the rest was relatively plain sailing although Fergus at one point had difficulty finding a real hammer!  To be completed next the same "Special" Squad.

Thanks to all that attended, I think Andrew and David managed to escape being photographed and photos/clip from John, Mike and Ian Lamb who is submitting an article for inclusion in Hornby magazine.


Sunday, 11 July 2021

Fishplate oiling continues - 10th July 2021

Good sized squad parked up at Kinchurdy underbridge, Georgie duly arrived and conveyed most of us 

 on the back of her truck along the gated somewhat overgrown track,(above Sam, Iain and Bart) all the way to where we finished fishplate oiling sometime ago - Estate level crossing,

 just in time for the first train of the day to pass.

progress was swift until the we reached the bomb proof steel plates with nylock nuts, above Mike takes the strain, with Michael giving leisurely assistance as the tab had broken.


At lunch Mike alerted me that the dreaded track lube had somehow managed to migrate upwards! The weather just got warmer and warmer and by mid afternoon we where taking a wee extended break, as Georgie had to go and get replacement fishplates from Boat of Garten - she came back with unexpected but appreciated ice lollies! Somehow Michael managed to get two?

  We managed to do nearly a mile and a quarter before we were exhausted and bad light stopped play -  torrential rain followed,(my camera does not like H2O) hence above Met Office shot, sure the stuff we had should have been white on the scale, even though it was only a short walk back to our cars, some of us got wetter than others (Michael jogged to the Station to wash his hands, before getting in his car, maybe burning off the extra lolly calories!)

Thanks to all that attended to this much beloved task and Fergus for doing the track inspection.


Meanwhile John and Ian finished the handrails at Dalfaber pedestrian underpass, not sure if they too got wet. 

Sunday, 4 July 2021

Aviemore North siding complete (for time being) - 3rd July 2021

Friday morning saw only two responses to the usual weekend PWay call to arms but by afternoon numbers had more than doubled, fortunately Georgie was updated that evening. 

and she finally got the new "North" siding packed, slewed (again) and tidied to her satisfaction, thanks to the above - Sam, Fergus and Iain in four foot, Roger left and Michael right & Mike who took photo and assisted. The long term intension is for it to be extended right up to the coal bench, unfortunately the old redundant Aviemore Speyside Station footbridge and signal cabin are in the way!

And looking towards Aviemore Shed, number "one road" will be reconnected by a switch off "two road" roughly where the rail jack is in the above photo, I guess next year, as we are falling behind on track maintenance work.

Of recent Mike as been assisting Ellon squad with roof work on Boat of Garten North Signal Cabin (more info ) whilst there he took this almost drone like view looking North towards our PWay Depot - "Morley's" 

Steady progress has been made on fitting hand railings on underbridges by John and Ian, the Down side still to be done and location will then be revealed.

Sunday, 20 June 2021

Two Weeks ending 20th June 2021

 Week past Saturday saw Angus, Bart, Sam, David, Fergus, Justin, Michael (who mysteriously vanished), Mike Tough at least had the excuse of a Board meeting to attend 

and above Reg Stanley who was a regular with us until moving to North Wales (on "holiday" I guess, he did more days volunteering installing rodding & hand point lever with Georgie and left an unexpected but very welcome donation to the PWay fund) Much lifting and packing with inferior "ballast" that was discarded from Network Rail Aviemore upgrade a few years ago now, but perfect for our needs.

 This was the intended worksite yesterday - finish off new siding for time being, more slewing and levelling ballast but alas Georgie had more pressing matters to attend. Note the wilting weeds as our weedkiller train ran the entire length of line midweek recently (no photo yet of complete switch and hand points, as rail vehicles parked atop already!)

Plan B was continuation of fishplate oiling.

David here our most recent recruit with impact wrench competes with Andrew on speed! Angus having just caught up with our supply wheelbarrow, but the commendable winners always were Bart and Sam, whom have youth on their side and worked very well together.

Our extended breaks were obtained about train times and we did from Dalfaber Level Crossing to Estate Foot Crossing about a mile and a quarter (only 3 more to go!) but it was a long tired walk back to Aviemore for all of us.

Many thanks to Roger, David, Sam, Bart, Andrew, Angus and Les. Also Les & Fergus who were Track inspecting.and Mike for replacing slates atop Boat North Signal Cabin.. 

Today Georgie, John and Ian renewed the disabled access Foot Level Crossing at the North end Boat of Garten to Stationmaster Walters apparent approval.

 828 taking water -photos/info from John, still South end to tackle.....