Saturday, 6 October 2018

MSP in Kinchurdy cutting - 6th October 2018

A small squad made our way out to Kinchurdy Cutting, to attempt to rectify the minor track alignment defect as identified by Engine Crew a few weeks ago. 
Measuring was done, using sighting boards and cross levelling, datums set, design cants taken into account and transitions (all above my pay grade!) ie dark art of Measured Shovel Packing (MSP) was again put to good use, of course Sleeper beds needed digging as above, about a 60 foot length on the high rail and just joints on the low.

First rather steamy train of the day eventually arrived, some 15 minutes late, it was declared a "failure" on arrival at Broomhill - Georgie was summoned to get the Token back to Aviemore by car and we were advised to watch out for the
assisting Locomotive which duly rattled past.

We carried on dealing with the simpler dipped joints until Georgie returned and she

suggested "a bit of slewing boys", by putting the jack in at an angle and digging out the sleeper ends (above track is being slewed to the right, to Georgie's satisfaction.)
Above a jaunty Les Grant who was doing the Track Inspection, came quickly upon us and ignored all the lumps and bumps that we temporarily create until flattened out by rail traffic. We continued dealing with dipped joints up to Kinchurdy Bridge to physically finish us off!
Above left cab, Les gets a lift back to Aviemore (to spot anything he missed on the 5 mile walk there!) The train ran in "Top and Tail" mode for the remainder of the day, here 828 giving the class 31 a defiant shove on departure from Boat of Garten.
On putting away the tools we came across "Vandyke" McClintock who is now top coating the Brake Guard Van in its official livery- "Murray Duncan Green" as printed on the paint tin!
Thanks to all that assisted the PWay Dept in its wide ranging tasks in perfect weather today.



Wednesday, 26 September 2018

MSP near "Fisherman's Crossing" - 26th September 2018

(No Members of Scottish Parliament were spotted - just plenty lorries on A95!)
In PWay speak MSP stands for Measured Shovel Packing-
Sighting boards used to measure how much the rail has dipped, by taking the readings from the adjustable scale centre board at each sleeper  
and then written down on the web of the rail
reflecting the number of cans of "chippies" that need to be evenly spread below the sleeper,
(one can = 1/16 of an Inch lift )
of course every second sleeper bed the ballast needs to be pain stakingly dug out first  
so that the swan neck shovel with requisite amount of chippies can fit under the jacked up sleeper and spread evenly. Above left to right in foreground Bruce, Dave and Reg - all up on separate "Holidays"!
Well done to all that attended this unexpected mid-week "SAGA" day, in total one 60 foot length got a considerable lift and a number of dipped joints were also rectified. 
Just a pity there weren't more trains to give us more breaks! as we all found it hard going. 

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Weedkilling and Minor Mainline Derailment - 19th September 2018

On a Monday in September, when the weather was good, a group of volunteers assembled and set up to weed kill along the line.
 New nozzles had been fitted to the wagon with a broader spray pattern to the 'arms' of the wagon that spray the cesses (above) and these were seen to be successful - so much so that the rest of the nozzles will be changed for next time.
The whole of the line, from the Network Rail boundary to the Dulnain Bridge (above) was sprayed well within the day, including loops, but not including the yards, which were hand sprayed by a contractor earlier in the year.
With some pesticide left over, and some time available, the platforms at Boat of Garten were also treated, using the long hose from the wagon on Platform 1 (above) and a backpack sprayer on Platform 2 (no image). Thanks to Georgie for getting things ready, Stevie for driving the Class 31 and Mike and Roger for working hard through the day. Some tweaks to our process will be incorporated for next years weedkilling, but the line is really showing the benefits of additional pesticide treatments.
And when the lineside is not kept in check! (above) on the Big Railway yesterday - the 6X88 - Hartlepool to Georgemas Jn "Pipes", having struck fallen branches just south of Culloden Viaduct, proceeded under authority at very slow speed until unfortunately the first two Locomotive wheelsets derailed at the first set of switches, closing the Highland Main Line for most of the day.
Thanks to Ian for Weedkilling text and photos and Mike for the Big Railway photo.

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Pway "Line Inspection" - 15th September 2018

Every few years the PWay Squad get to informally "Inspect the line" from the comfort of the Watkinson Trust's - LMS Inspection Saloon being kindly added to the service train for the day.
We get a grand view of the track when at the rear of the train
and the sights sounds and smells when directly behind the locomotive. This year we had in addition to our own usual liquid refreshments, for the PWay anyway - Gourmet Fine Dining! (soup, pies and sausage rolls) provided by our own Strathspey Railway Catering department, many thanks to John -Head Chef, Howard -Sous Chef and Lucinda-Front of House and below Photographer!
Above is a group photo hastely arranged on Boat of Garten platform, of the first sitting of the hearty soup etc, the Strathspey Railway Co. AGM attendees had the late, on the 2.45pm departure
The Saloon being shunted off, with Tommy at the ground frame -whose tireless efforts sourcing, fitting, replacing and testing 46512's steam brake, since her failure on Wednesday certainly paid off.
Many many thanks it would not have been the same behind a Diesel Locomotive.
I thank all those that attended and hope that they had an enjoyable day and look forward to suggestions for next years trip/event......

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Repainting of the ‘hotel’ side of Boat Station & PWay Maintenance -1st September 2018

For the first weekend of the repainting, between 24 – 26th August the Ellon Team of Ray Kenyon, Nick Courtier, Jim Pittendrigh and Colin Frost were ably assisted by Malcolm and Marion Timperley, Neil McQueen and Mike Tough.  Marion and Malcolm completed the painting of the tops of the 13 windows on the platform side, and the remaining team commenced preparing the hotel side – or main entrance. 

First jobs were to remove the display boards from the walls, rub down the existing paintwork
Above left to right -  Nick Courtier is replacing defective putty in the windows and Jim Pittendrigh is continuing the sanding, Colin adjusting ladder, Ray sugar soaping, with Mike applying undercoat to the rapid drying aluminium oxide primer that was applied to the bare wood. (rest assured Ian no flowers were harmed during this production line)
On the Sunday the weather was not kind to us, but by the end of the day  we had applied the undercoat to all  the brown painted areas and primed and undercoated the metalwork on the pipes and gutters.
For the second weekend 31 Aug to 2 Sept the team consisted of Ray Kenyon, Jim Hardy and Colin Frost from Ellon and Mike Tough and Robert Walters.

The over Friday and Saturday the remaining windows requiring new putty were completed and the cream areas of the walls and windows were sanded and undercoated, and Jim Hardy was able to commence applying some cream top coat.
By the close of play on Sunday all the walls of the building had received a top coat of Cream or  Brown paint.
This just leaves the top coat to be applied to the windows - and that will be another job successfully completed. 
Thanks for text from Colin Frost and photos courtesy of Ray Kenyon.
 Meanwhile Permanent Way work continued - on Saturday 1st September, with Georgie (after another timeous departure of the Royal Scotsman), Mike, Fergus, Roger and Ben attending to many dipped joints in the area of "Fishermans' Crossing", by the dark art of Measured Shovel Packing.

Above Ben Tyrell, whom we haven't seen for a while but has been kindly refurbishing one of our chainsaws at home - So we shall let him off !
Photo and Info from Mike.
Thanks to all concerned. 


Monday, 20 August 2018

S&T and PWay join forces briefly - 18th August 2018

  A kind offer was made for Strathspey Railway to re-house a straight Lattice Post signal (amongst other Signalling paraphernalia), which is understood to have formerly stood in Inverness Station Platform 7 until 1987 and has since that time been stored in a garden near the old station at Culloden Moor. After Robert Law from the Signalling & Telegraph Dept ("S&T") made a site visit and not an inconsidrabley vast number of emails later 
(no wonder S&T projects take so long!)

the PWay Dept were drafted in assisting to provide the muscle power to lift it onto a trailer, above Angus and Mike survey the task ahead, with Ian Stanworth and John Wood limbering up, loading their trailer with other smaller parts.
A pleased looking Robert Law and Mr Muirhead Jnr survey the load prior to departure to Boat of Garten Yard.
Meanwhile whilst half the PWay squad were enroute from brief secondment to S&T, Georgie, Peter, Fergus,  Andrew and Roger - whom we welcomed back with "Light Duties" after his wee fall a few weeks ago, were busy tidying up after the re-sleepering, fishplate shims removed, ballast shoulders reshaped, cess de weeded and scraped smooth

and all redundant parts collected up (except the sleepers), it was a hot day, but all done by 3.30pm.
Thanks to all involved and Stephen Muirhead for S&T photos/Info and likewise to John Wood for PWay (G. Sutherland photoshopping)

Monday, 23 July 2018

Boat of Garten station painting part two - 2nd-6th July 2018

The second week of painting was from 2nd to 6th July, and this picture shows how it was left after the first weekend, when nearly all the undercoat had been applied.

So on Monday Ray and Colin completed the undercoating and we were joined by Dick for Tuesday and Wednesday when the brown top coat was commenced.

Great progress was made on Wednesday with the very welcome help of four fiends from the P/Way Mike, Neil, Martin and Iain.  The gutters were painted and a start made on applying the cream.
Ray and Colin continued on Thursday and Friday, but some time was lost with a mix up in the brown paint supplied, still all the brown was complete by Friday evening and Mike returned the following Tuesday to complete the top coat on most of the windows, thus allowing Ian’s great floral arrangements to be put in place ready for the 40th anniversary celebrations.

Next task for the Ellon Team, paint the other side!
Thanks to Colin Frost photos/text.