Sunday, 29 January 2023

Dalfaber and Kinchurdy - two week ending 28th January 2023

A chilly midweek day recently saw us meet at Dalfaber level crossing - to regulate the rails on the up side of the crossing,

to considerably close the gap between old and new. The less said about elastic spikes the better! But we managed and Georgie will fit the required fishplates in due course.

After a warming lunch was had in Spey Lodge we headed to the Down side of the crossing with the required tools and two new insulated fishplates required for the upgrading of the crossing. Angus and Mike removing the old plates above.

Georgie warming up the oil, prior to removal with rags - apparently to prevent erroneous track circuit failures.

Plates finally fitted in worsening snow conditions, as both Mike's and my wifes had phoned to say "get home" as in Inverness was snowing heavily, of course we did what we were told!
Thanks to Angus, Mike and Georgie. 

(more exhaustive news re Dalfaber can be found in brother blog)


Yesterday saw cool dry weather and again as requested a good sized squad met at Boat of Garten. PWay train eventually departed for worksite.

Some unusual, unwelcome trespassers were corralled off the premises, our fencing contractor (Fergus) was dispatched to find their access point - bit of a mystery, as fences all good.   

Transpired there were two worksites - measured shovel packing at the strap rails near Kinchurdy Cottages, attended to by Angus, Fergus, Roddy, David and Georgie. Big numbers were encountered but Georgie said it was about tens years since last done.

This left Les, Mike, Ian and myself to finish off the previously reputed record breaking 74 changed in one day! It took us the whole day to properly complete - squaring, gauging and screwing down everything, maybe we should half the record number?  (true to say maybe, 74 sleepers were inserted) Anyway thanks to all that attended and some photos from Mike and Roddy.


Saturday, 14 January 2023

First two Saturdays of 2023

First Saturday of January saw a small squad meet at Boat of Garten, PWay train went to Milton to pick up felled trees and further on towards Broomhill redundant timbers that had been used by a local oil company Raptor Oil which had been doing acoustic testing on pipelines laid horizontally in our four foot for some years.

Thanks to Angus (above) Michael in background and Mike who took photos/Info.


Georgie requested a good number of Volunteers for Saturday 14th January and the guys didn't let her down. The task is a continuation of the re-sleepering on "Kinchurdy Straight ".

P'Way train parked up clear of Kinchurdy Level Crossing, 33 sleepers readied for changing.


Slight widening of gauge required on curve behind train (only one end pre-drilled in advance to allow such fine adjustments)

Luncheon was taken in the warmth of the Brakevan (much warmer than the Messvan which wasn't in the train consist)

Almost certainly a record for The Strathspey Railway - 74 sleepers changed in one day!

 The complete pre-drilling to gauge of all sleepers on the straight definitely helped get them in quickly and above photo was taken by Strathspey Railway Chairman - Doug Scott who came to see the excellent progress.

Many thanks to Georgie, Martin, David, Fergus, Kevin and Ian & Mike who took the other photos/info.

Sunday, 1 January 2023

Milton Lade - 31st December 2022

Mike recently did a Track Inspection and checked that the water was going into the water tower at Boat of Garten and spotted passing traffic below!

Only Ian and me managed another extra P'Way day (Georgie was otherwise occupied - de-icing switches and salting platforms etc) on a cool sunny last day of the year at the Milton Lade, close to Boat of Garten. Task self evident from below



Seems there is an old crack on the spandrel wall, more or less below Ian but we can't blame him! - It appears to have been repaired in 1961. We also cleared the vegetation and debris from the lade - glad to report that our wellington boots did not leak. 


And similar for the other side, note the few Inch drop in water level by clearing down stream first.

There is a lot of silt and fly tip debris still to clear but with no where to dump it and more pressing Ian couldn't feel his toes! We decided to leave it for another day, it is possible that it  also has a smooth stone bottom..... like below 

at Lynchurn burn back in January 2015 after more extensive excavations. 

I would like to thank our P'Way Volunteers for all the work in 2022 and wish them a Happy New Year and good health for 2023 as Your Railway Needs You!
Any prospective P'Way volunteers please get in touch or press the donate button! 

Saturday, 17 December 2022

Boat of Garten Water Tower - 17th December 2022

 Another weekend of the week long cold snap and more snow, meant  P'Way had other duties 

After Stoker MacPhail (Angus) lit the coal fire in the Ladies'  Waiting Room (our preferred messroom having mysteriously been flooded by a burst pipe) the squad moved onto yet again clearing and salting the platform edge, result as above right. Ian clearing Broomhill platform and Georgie clearing points at Aviemore.

Concern that the Water Tower could get water into the steam locomotive were justified,

the previous day Georgie had  made and lit braziers to try and thaw things out a bit, Mike soon discovered that we could get water out of the tower on the main platform (bit of a flood ensued, Martin & David breaking the ice that rapidly formed)

Angus and Mike re-lit the barziers.

Then it was discovered that no water was getting from the mains pipe to top it up, so we boiled water in a bucket hanging over the converted oil drum brazier, much as we tried to pour the boiling water over the piping it never did thaw.

To see how much water remained in the tank was another not simple task as the hatch lid atop the tank was frozen solid, bars and hammering to no avail

this time the humble bucket of boiling water did the trick - sufficient water in the tank to keep the steam locomotive running for weekend.

Passing traffic above  - the Santa Train arrived with the class 31 diesel leading and 46512 providing the steam heating.

Thanks to (Left to Right) - Mike, Angus, David, Martin and Ian (off shot buying the squad coffee and biscuits from the shop). The drone like photos bravely supplied by Angus from the top of the water tower.


Saturday, 10 December 2022

Festive white stuff cancels P'Way work - 10th December 2022

A few hardy souls fortuitously made up the P'Way squad today.

"Boat of Garten down platform being cleared of 4 inches of the festive white stuff (Fergus, Angus and Ian above) Georgie & David cleared all the required switches at Aviemore before all moved onto Broomhill Station and loop, as the planned re-sleepering was deemed impractical today YO HO HO"

Santa Express passing P'Way Depot (aka Morley's) at Boat of Garten.
Thanks to Mike for photos/info and the squad.



Wednesday, 7 December 2022

Another Friday Packing - 2nd December 2022

Another Friday was organised so that some more lifting and packing could be done whilst no service trains were running. Fergus was cajoled into being the Jacker Packer operator and bravely agreed, as Ian was away, by the time he got into the swing of things a hydraulic hose sprung a leak and the job was stopped early afternoon. 

Mike foreground, Andrew and Bob (who took the photo) all assisted in manually packing the sleepers either side of the joint that the Packer cannot do due to the fishplates getting in the way of the railhead clamps. All, including Bob's dog had an early long walk back to Boat of Garten as Georgie was called away to Dalfaber Level Crossing, leaving the class 27 and messvan on site.
Thanks to all that participated.

Saturday, 26 November 2022

Kinchurdy Down Distant to Level Crossing - 25/26th November 2022

Another extra P'Way day Friday was added originally so that more use of the Jacker Packer whilst no service trains running, but Georgie was called away with our Road Rail Vehicle (RRV) to Dalfaber Level Crossing.  

Angus and me were left in pouring rain to try and make the Kinchurdy P'Way Bothy more inhabitable clearing out the rubbish and insect life - Angus spent 45 mins trying to clear out the completely choked fire but as you can see he succeeded! with the help of Ian's  purchasing of smokeless ovoids the place did no longer resemble a smokehouse as the chimney does need a rebuild. 


Once the heavy rain finally gave way to instantly sunny skies we went and finished scaping away the pebble like "ballast" round the sleepers to be changed.

Thanks to all mentioned.


 The following day -Saturday 26th saw the commencement of the festive train service and the P'Way having given up their Absolute Possession of the Line the day before, 

with the Temporary Speed Restriction (TSR) Notices posted at the appropriate locations   

and the refectorised on track reminder boards in situ, the first of the Express trains eventually passed us at a sedate steamy 10 miles per hour.  

The mammoth task of re-sleepering started in ernest today. As Georgie expected, a certain amount of re-gauging was required, only the high rail sleepers had been pre-drilled, the opportunity was also taken to replace all of the remaining wooden ferrules/ & worn screws with new. Both Mike & I were glad Fergus was with us as he seems to be able to throw the heavy sleepers about with ease.  Approximately 20 sleepers changed in just over two lengths, took us beyond Kinchurdy Level Crossing but a long way to go.......

Thanks to all that attended and the warm sunny weather!