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.   

Saturday, 21 December 2019

UWCs and re-ferruling - 20/21 - December 2019

Yesterday saw myself and Roddy start a "temporary" fix for the sighting posts (previously mentioned) in connection with the visibility splays at our User Worked Crossings (UWCs), as most are some 920 feet from the crossing, they were very difficult to see.
The intension is they will be painted white in the better weather, in the interim we have recycled the back of out of date Big Railway plastic poster timetables.
By tightly wrapping them around the post and using roofing felt nails to secure, as above, only time will tell how long they survive the ravages of our Highland climate.....
Today saw a really impressive number of PWay Volunteers - the avoidance of Christmas Shopping may have had something to do with it! 

Our task was to re-ferrule the life expired wooden ferrules that have rotted away and replace worn sleeper screws. Georgie marked them up, we removed the screws using one of our petrol driven Bances, got out the old ferrules inserted new plastic ones, lightly hammered in then screwed them down again with the other Bance.
Even though John, centre above, bought new hardened steel pins to hold the chuck heads on, they broke very quickly indeed and we reverted to another person manoeuvring the chuck from screw to screw - until Jim got some fence wire which lasted longer!
Photo Mike - Some passing traffic didn't stop our progress
fortunately Santa did! - as there was a bitingly cold wind and it was back breaking work but really good progress was made thanks to Georgie - supplying all the appropriate tools, Roger, Mike, Angus, Ian, John, Les, Jim and special mention to Andrew - whom at very short notice did the Track Inspection from Boat of Garten before joining us.

Friday, 13 December 2019

Digging and more Digging! Boat of Garten - 11th December 2019

Mid week produced a welcome massive squad of eight, Georgie tasked Angus and I to obtain and put up the Temporary Speed Restriction (TSR) Boards required for the proposed switch into Boat of Garten North Yard,
unfortunately we could not source a 10 mph board for the above Warning Board but sharp eyed Drivers should be able to spot the 10 at the Commencement Board though!
Plumber Jim was mildly critical of their plumbness, I retorted that they lean into the prevailing wind so that they don't blow over! 
 Once we had finished that Angus and I joined the main squad, in a continuation from last Saturday, of digging out the ballast to the bottom of the sleepers.
Admiring job done, right up to the North end of the Boat of Garten bridge, in the background at the 88 3/4 mile post can be seen the Termination Board of the speed restriction and on the obverse is the 10 mph Commencement Board for Up trains heading towards Aviemore.   
As we had daylight still available Georgie told us to remove the excess ballast from the four foot (between rails) and build up the shoulders further down the line. The photos do not do the inclement weather justice as there was a biting wind and snow showers (my camera does not like any form of precipitation) but many thanks to Graeme, Martin, Andrew, Fergus, Mike, Angus and Jim for braving the elements and the hard labour.

Sunday, 8 December 2019

Sleeper renewal and switch prep at Boat of Garten - 7 December 2019

Report and photos from John -
"This Saturdays pway squad update, 8 life expired sleepers changed in front of the North signal cabin at Boat of Garten completed by lunchtime,


The afternoon was spent digging out ballast for the new points install at the south end of boat road bridge, 15 beds dug out before it started to get dark and the inclement weather took its toll and the squads spirit became life expired!!
Thanks to Georgie, Fergus, Mike, Jim " not that Clark" and Ian " transport manager" for their care and consideration/abuse as it was my first day back on the squad after my Op."

Sunday, 24 November 2019

Posts & Railings - 21st November 2019

A semi planned midweek PWay day saw us trying to pick up the tools from Boat of Garten yard, our progress was impeded somewhat by a forty strong film crew which had hired the Station for the day!

A short narrow gauge railway? photo courtesy of our Film Liaison Manager.  


Jim & Martin, above and I trundled off towards Broomhill, hammering in surplus round fence posts to more permanently mark the sighting distances of the User Worked Crossings, which I described in 3rd November Blog entry. Martin was a dab hand at creating a pilot hole with a bar, then Jim and I would take turns melling them in, Jim being our "plumber" ensuring they are plumb!  They still need to be painted, otherwise likely to get flailed!  
Meanwhile Mike and John Sinclair, were making a start on putting hand rails on both the parapets of underbridge at Milton as per the Office of Rail & Road (ORR) instruction.

Mike reports the following good news-
The purchase of the above Colmar 4300. Road Rail Vehicle is confirmed from Ab2000 Glasgow. 
A heavy duty rotating grab is also purchased, it will also be able to have our larger vegetation flail finally fitted which will allow more extensive lineside clearance, due to the much longer reach than the current JCB RRV. 
It is getting rail wheel brakes fitted at Allan Hargreaves Plant Engineers Ltd in Lancs and should be with us in February next year. This machine will greatly assist the planned future track changes at Boat of Garten North site (Morleys)  and at the proposed new Aviemore Running Shed.

Saturday, 16 November 2019

Stay Wires and Estate Level Crossing clearance - 16th November 2019

The task was clearing of tree limbs underneath pole route wires and clearance of the visibility splays at the Estate Crossing... We started off from a chilly Boat with the class 08 locomotive, 3 well wagons and a brake van, with a very reluctant fire and headed 2/3 of the way to Aviemore. Three of our lot (Mike, Jim and Roger) were dropped off near the summit with Bow Saws and tasked with clearing the Broom around the stay wires for the Pole Route
 above shows them being tasked, Peter and Ian then carried on in the train down to the Estate Crossing where the brake was wound on in the Van, the 08 and first well wagon detached and set off for Aviemore, where they were needed by our S&T colleagues. Peter and Ian set too with bowsaw and electric chainsaw clearing back as far as possible.

About 11 we heard a locomotive coming back to out train, to find Georgie had swapped the 08 for the NBL shunter - her favoured locomotive now it is in finer fettle, although it still needs a few finishing touches - one thing is for sure - you can hear it without the warning horns. This took us to an early lunch, by which time the rest of the team were down with us at the Crossing and lunch was had in the Brake Van - which was full of smoke thanks to the just discovered hole in the chimney....
Today was a shortened day as some had to get back to Inverness for other plans so a shortened afternoon saw us working towards Dalfaber Crossing, undertaking similar work to clear stay wires for the pole route (the rest can be handled by the flail on the Road Rail JCB) and clearing saplings and tree limbs affecting the pole route wires. Work done we then propelled back to Boat of Garten and into the Yard by the NBL (below), which we could certainly hear... Georgie told Ian that she thought the same engine was used in U Boats - we pity the poor submariners!

Thanks to Mike, Peter, Jim, Roger and his Son in law and Ian (for also supplying all info/photos)