Sunday, 3 November 2019

Level Crossing Sightlines and Ash Cesses - 3rd November 2019

 

As a result of the Office of Rail and Road inspection end of August this year, Mike and myself recently set out to measure and mark the sighting distances for our User Worked Crossings.
(below Mike starts out measuring from Broomhill UWC)
 
 
Using the Guidance Note provided by The Heritage Railway Association (HGR-A0458 if you are bored!) We sourced Reg Stanley's old measuring wheel, recently calibrated to the high standard of SR-3/180 ie 3 "sixty foot" rails measuring exactly 180 feet! and then painted white the sleeper end at the requisite distance from the level crossing. Posts are still to be hammered into the ground either side of track at a later date, so that vegetation can be kept in check between the sightlines.
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Yesterday's PWay day was deferred due to it clashing yet again with the Strathspey Railway Association's AGM - fortunately a few of us were able to come along today.
 
 
The exceedingly ambitious/impossible plan was to empty the last 3 months worth of waste ash from our steam locomotives, which had previously been mechanically loaded into 4 wagons and conveyed to Boat of Garten. We had to await the empty DMU from the aforesaid AGM trip arriving before we could get signalled on to the Aviemore section. The above photo may give the impression of speed but alas no, it was a dark drizzly day! Our locomotive didn't appear to be particularly healthy and this proved to be the case - parallels were drawn with of the classic Ealing comedy film "TheTitfield Thunderbolt" when the radiator started to overheat, I will say no more!  Consequently Steve the Driver and myself were despatched by Georgie to couple off from the train and swap the locomotive over with a more reliable one at Aviemore.
 
 
On our arrival back at the train a considerable amount of ash had been shovelled off onto the Cess (black area above) at this location the embankment is slowly sinking due to the marshy conditions below.
 
 
Pretty much the entire day was spent shovelling the ash from the wagons down onto the cess, under the watchful eye of Georgie who would, roughly spread it and control movement of the train,
 
 
after an extremely exhausting time, Graham (above) who only started volunteering with us today, was eventually given the less arduous task of tidying up, as can be seen he made a good job of it and more importantly he was still smiling by the end! but I suspect he may find some muscles he didn't know he had tomorrow, Fergus was a relentless machine that put rest of  us to shame, as we were all completely knackered.
Many thanks to Steve, Georgie, Mike, Andrew, Fergus and Graham - only what remains in the two wagons above to go!
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Today Mike, Georgie, myself, with Steve driving managed to empty the remaining ash
 
and level and tidy afterwards.