Monday, 17 February 2020

Slewing, Sighting & Packing Boat of Garten North Yard - 15th February 2020

John Wood reports -
"Another big squad today, two Ian's, Mike, Roger, Jim, Angus, Martin, Fergus, John, and Georgie. Weather was as predicted cold, windy and wet (aka Storm Dennis)
First tasks, slew the assembled siding 6 foot 6 inches from the mainline to ensure the were no gauging issues, then move timbers and sleepers to the  Boat end of the worksite ( Ian and Georgie ) with the Road Rail Vehicle (RRV)
  John, Fergus, Angus & Roger replaced all the temporary fishplate bolts with the correct length items (as they could not be sourced first time round!)

   Rest of the squad began sighting, lifting and packing the first rail, then cross levelling, lifting and packing the second rail on 154 sleepers on the new siding. This task took us until well after lunch, once complete, we re packed a couple of dipped joints on the siding and buffer end.

Lastly we dug out six beds to accommodate the cross timbers which will be used to locate the new RRV rail traversing platform to enable the RRV to get onto both the siding and the mainline in a timely manor.
Good to see the DMU out with fare paying passengers aboard" (seen above at Aviemore, poised for Service on the Sunday)

Thursday, 13 February 2020

Sidings & Restaurants! - 8th & 12th February 2019

John Wood Reports - Saturday 8th Feb
"Georgie, Andrew and myself, unloaded short rails and some other rail parts at Morley's from the PWay train, one long, one short bolster wagon, brake van and the wee shunter using the Road Rail Vehicle (RRV)
Wooden sleepers were slung and moved with the RRV to bridge the gap in the proposed siding up to the buffer stop, then 60ft lengths of rails were put into the previously laid concrete sleepers, Mike, Ian and Jim pitched up to assist after lunch. The 60ft rails were then clipped up (Mills clips ready to be hammered in above)  and fishplated, with the closure rails cut to length at the buffer stop end. Job was just about completed with just 120ft to be clipped before we called it a day.
Didn't manage much in the way off photos as it was bitterly cold wind, I wasn't taking my gloves off lol. Photos show finished siding to be slewed leveled and packed in the future."


Wednesday 12th Feb

For some Months now, the PWay squad have, as in previous years been seconded mid week on a temporary basis to the Carriage & Wagon Department to help clean and polish the carriages of the Strathspey Railway. The warm environment of the modern shed are indeed quite inviting at this time of year. 

As is usual, its teamwork that gets things done, Angus and Andrew apply the polish
Mike and Jim remove it.
Meanwhile outside in the cold, the first of the mid-week Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) Services convey a handful of passengers admiring the Winter scenery, just visible through the diesel induced "clag" are the Signal Boxes at Aviemore our one working and Network Rail's one now redundant.  
The above "RU" - Restaurant - Unclassified - meaning it caters for 1st & 2nd class passengers, was last repainted in 2013 and now looks as good as new!
Apparently going to get an internal makeover - perhaps it might feature in in the future? 
Many thanks over the past Months to - Angus, Andrew, Mike, Jim, Bruce, John H, Martin, Roger, Les, Roddy Roderick and many more I am sure!
Rumour has it there may be a "quick paint job" of a carriage to keep us busy!

Sunday, 2 February 2020

Track Laying "Morley's" - 02.02.20

Today Georgie gleefully told us that it was only minus 6 degrees! That only took us a little longer to get the Mess Van fire satisfactorily going before we ventured out.
The previous day Ian and Bruce had carefully marked up the positioning of the proposed sleeper ends in yellow on the ground and the spacing of the sleepers at 22 per 60 foot length (it is only a siding!) marked in white on the rails.
The Road Rail Vehicle (RRV) had positioned the re-built buffer end in approximately the correct position -  6 foot 6 inches from the Running line.
In true Strathspey fashion it snowed, obscuring all the markings! but we still managed to sling in all the required concrete sleepers - although a wee bit higilty pigilty.
After some more fine lining of sleepers, Georgie decided we could start putting in the rails
by after 4pm, 3 lengths were in, with a few Mills Clips holding it all in place, we left Georgie and Bruce attempting to fishplate up our credible efforts - certainly visible progress today.
Many thanks to Bruce, Kevin, Andrew, Mike and Georgie - in the nice and warm cab of her RRV! 

Saturday, 1 February 2020

Siding construction "Morley's" - 1st February 2020

Another excellent turnout from far and wide, to start construction of the track into Boat of Garten North Yard ("Morley's")

Roger gets High Speed instructions from Kevin, on how to break the metal securing band on the second hand sleepers. 

Using the well built sleeper template, constructed many years ago by Hamish MacKay, the holes are pre-drilled to gauge again by Roger ( Octogenarian learning more new skills!), in the pouring rain.
 Quite a production line was in operation - getting the chairs, new ferrules tapped in, screws dipped in creosote then tapped in and finally screwed down. The 24 Network Rail sleepers bought from Doncaster, soon turned into very useful components for building an eventual bullhead track panel (I guess!).
Meanwhile another team got to re-build the buffer end, which was surplus to requirements from the Network Rail re-modelling scheme at Aviemore last year. Georgie using the rail jacks to get the correct gauge.
Above John carefully cuts, the previously crude gas-axed rail ends, so that they can be fishplated up eventually, once the rail drill has done its job. A fair bit of huffing and puffing was required to try and get buffer end true and square. 
The Gang worked through the weather elements and a lot was achieved. Thanks to Jim, John, Ian, Bruce, Kevin, Angus, Roger and of course Georgie.


Sunday, 26 January 2020

Switch prep Boat of Garten - 25th January 2020

Another PWay extra Saturday squeezed in, with extra Train Services planned this year access to the track is likely to be even more difficult (looks like we may be building the switch off - site and craning in) so we took advantage of the good weather. Today's task was to cut to length, scarfe joint 5, fill in all the previous bolt holes in the reclaimed Network Rail timbers from Aviemore refit of March last year.

Roger and Angus got the unenviable job of cutting the plugs using age old method of small blocks of jarra wood (below) beaten with a hammer through a sharpened die of the CORRECT size. They seemed a little large for most of the sleeper holes loll.
Above is of the tight grained very dense Jarrah hardwood.

The old holes were splodged with bitumastic paint then the plugs hammered in and cut off flush, this is to prevent water sitting in the holes and causing rot to the timbers.
the scarfe joints needed to join two timbers together, cut using chainsaw and circular saw, also sleepers cut to length, chainsaw skills come in useful not just for felling trees at the railway.
Georgie touching up the last off the plugs with bitumastic paint and the finished sleepers spaced out ready for the next task.
Productive day, we all went home happy and covered in black paint, literally lol
Many thanks to Mike, Angus, Jim, Roger, Ian & John (who supplied all photos/info)

Sunday, 19 January 2020

Spot re-ferruling Boat of Garten Station - 18th January 2020

Another excellent PWay squad turnout to a frosty but sunny Boat of Garten - task
 spot re-ferruling between the Signal Boxes.
 Georgie marked out the ones requiring replacement,
 then remove the chair screws, above the old wooden ferrules still in situ, with the replacements already poised.

Next Angus has the unenviable task of extracting them - some are easier than others!
Followed by Andrew attacking the most obstinate ones, with Georgie on platform cracking the whip on team two!
Looks like they broke the rail!!!! - the new ferrules are gently hammered in.

Then any worn screws replaced with better ones, dipped in creosote by Angus, tapped in by Martin and screwed down by Jim. Three bags of ferrules were consumed during the day and squad still had time to lay out most of the timbers for new switch into Boat of Garten North Yard as mentioned in previous PWay Blog of 11th Dec 2019, John said he was too busy to take a photo! (I will try in a few days) but thanks for all the photos and info.  

Many thanks to volunteers - John, Angus, Martin, Jim, Roger, Andrew, Ian & Fergus for braving the snow flurries and achieving a lot through teamwork.

Saturday, 11 January 2020

Ballast Drop Croftnahaven - 11th January 2020

We managed to squeeze in an extra PWay day at short notice but we all wondered if we were wise, as driving up from Inverness it was very wet indeed and the weather forecast was not very promising.
Georgie had the train all ready, even to the extent that the fire in the brakevan was already lit! From Boat of Garten we headed towards our worksite - just beyond Croftnahaven No 2 Level Crossing. I declined the offer of being ballast controller (so I could try to get a photo) above Mike drops ballast on the shoulder successfully,

less so for the four foot drop, the above photo does not convey the mountain of ballast, he blamed the Driver - Georgie, for not going fast enough!
Anyway it took us most of the day to dig out and spread the resultant ballast.
Georgie and Mike disposed of the empty ballast wagon by taking it away to Broomhill.
 Leaving myself, Jim and Angus to first have a cup of tea in the by now roasting brakevan, then cut down the broom bushes and remove some of the mud deposited by tractor wheels over the timbers on the crossing. On Mike & Georgies return, they started to lay out the cattle grid like things, that in theory deter the cattle from straying onto the line when they are herded across the line (this was asked for by the Farmer recently)
Finally loading up the pruned bushes, many thanks to all that turned up and the weather was not too bad after all!

Unlike "this day" 11/01/2004 - Pre carriage maintenance shed, Pre Roy Hamilton carriage storage shed and Pre climate change!
And yesterday was even better weather,
we retrieved many of the old fence posts that Fergus has quietly been spot changing for new ones over time near Broomhill.
And above is his completely new 300 metre length near Fishermans Crossing, with the old having been loaded onto the "flatrol" to be taken away for the scrap merchant.