Sunday 19 November 2023

Jacker Packing - 18th November 2023

As anticipated a large squad assembled at Boat of Garten on Saturday, in rather damp but milder weather, 

our P'Way train took the Squad to the worksite at the Aviemore end of Kinchurdy straight, preceded by the Jacker Packer,

which John Sinclair our Plant Manager has been doing a long term re-build on, he was fortunately on site for a couple of teething problems - loose ignition lead and fuses and

Ian managed to operate the machine the whole day, Fergus being its attendant, with Mike and Martin manually packing the inevitable missed sleepers due to the joints and Georgie levelling & sighting.

Peter (left) Angus (right) still smiling - so before they and John started tidying 300 yards of ballast, using the trolley to shift surpluses to where it was required reported to be a "Loooooong hard wet day".

Andrew and Kevin were given a track spanner each and told to proceed on foot to Aviemore, tightening any loose fishplates enroute, allegedly last seen on the road trying to thumb a lift back to Boat!

As the light started to fade, job successfully complete and the train propelled back to Boat with the Jacker Packer following - no foot crossing harmed on this occasion!  

Thanks to Georgie, Peter, Ian, Martin, Fergus, Angus, Kevin, Andrew & Mike and John who kindly supplied info/photos/video. 

Sunday 12 November 2023

Miscellaneous Mid October - 11th November 2023

Mid October saw some off-track activity by Fergus, in the form of strengthening a considerable length of our boundary fence behind Broomhill Station House to beyond the Station Cottages, by initially strenuously hammering in new posts manually with his mell.    

Fortunately the local Farmer took pity on him and quickly supplied the proper tool for the job and in no time at all, the pair of them had the posts flying in!
Many thanks to both.  

Meanwhile the ballast tidying yet again continued on the Kinchurdy Relay, by chance the first footplate crew threw off some not inconsiderable lumps of coal, which required more of David's muscle power before it could be turned into heat in the lineside hut - it burned very well - enquiries suggested it was Columbian. 

Mid week this week saw the above two ballast hoppers emptied under Georgie's direction at the Aviemore end of Kinchurdy Relay, also we threw off 80 fishplates 

and then ploughed using the Shark.

Saturday 11th saw a good sized squad meet at Boat of Garten. We took own PWay train to site for Mess facilities, as no service trains running, 

the main task was to replace the old fishplates, with the new stronger "skirted" ones, with the aim to reduce the number of breakages and oil them

this was rapidly completed with the aid of the battery wrench and a boot! When the entire 40+ length was done, much to the Squad's angst - Georgie asked for "a bit of ballast tidying boys", by 3pm the train slowly trundled back to Boat, Squad picking up all the old fishplates and returning them to their cars.
Many thanks to Georgie, Mike, Ian, Fergus, Andrew and the new chap from Helmsdale & John whom supplied the info.



Monday 9 October 2023

Kinchurdy Ballast IX - Saturday 7th October 2023

Report/Photos from John - "Despite the Met Office Amber warning of heavy rain being as close as Aviemore, a good number of volunteers still assembled at Boat of Garten on Saturday to receive our tasking from Georgie - the intended re-sleepering was deferred, as she was yet again called upon for Operational duties at Aviemore. Plan B was tidying ballast at Kinchurdy, we did linger in the dry comfort of our BG/Messroom listening to the rain battering off its roof and wondering about our sanity!  

But in the end, some had travelled considerable distances to get here, so we headed to the Kinchurdy Bothy and quickly got a good fire going and another cup of tea! Bruce (left) didn't want to get any blame for any Wiltshire variant of Covid, Iain from Fife, Andrew (who was glad to be back) Mike and David whose torch lit up the rather dark scene when the door was shut.     

The rain did ease off a bit and we did get a good number of lengths tidied 

but not straying too far from the bothy." - unusual tender first photo apparently the bright LED headlight could be seen through the gloom long before the actual locomotive. Credit to Fergus for joining the squad AFTER he had done the Aviemore Section track inspection, thanks to all that attended. 

Tuesday 19 September 2023

Kinchurdy ballast, visiting loco and second weedkilling - 16th/19th September 2023

Saturday saw Fergus, Peter, Iain and Michael meet up at a rather busy Boat of Garten due to the Steam Gala. Once Georgie was finally located, she dispatched them to "tidy up a bit of ballast boys"!

Yes you've guessed where - Kinchurdy half mile straight, Iain reports that he found it knackering but plenty trains passing meant plenty breaks! Thanks to him for photo and it looks pretty good to me, well done.

Later John having completed his track inspection captured Georgie giving more instructions, this time to the driver of the other visiting steam locomotive, which was on freight demonstration runs also at Boat of Garten as part of the Gala. Thanks to all that attended.


Tuesday day after the planned day due to the forecasted heavy rain, Mike reports - "Very non-eventful weed killing day with kind weather and only a few nozzle chokes.

 Entire mainline and the loops done from Network Rail boundary Aviemore to near the river Dulnain where the bridge got load tested by some full spoil wagons (from our own HS2 site at Aviemore AKA new Running Shed) which were shoved ahead from North of Broomhill.

Georgie drove the class 08 locomotive with Michael on the starboard spraying arm, Mike in the middle and John Sinclair to port in case of any pump/generator breakdowns (none for once!). All complete by 3pm which was almost the starting time back in June"



Sunday 27 August 2023

Miscellaneous tasks progressed - 26th August 2023

Saturday saw another extra P'Way day semi planned - plan A was to continue fishplate oiling from where Fergus, Michael and Richard had finished off two weeks ago - which was amazingly more or less the start of the 1/2 mile Kinchurdy relay (which we had been told to skip for now as newer stronger fishplates are planned soon) alas the rain was too heavy for the task and I did not want the dirty fishplate oil sloshing about in my car anyway! Plan B was to go and dig out the remaining 15 sleepers at the South end of the Relay, so Mike, Peter and myself set off to the Kinchurdy P'Way hut where the required tools were handily stored.

From the car we could see the new chimney pot now in situ and we looked forward to shelter from the rain and getting a roaring fire going, unfortunately the hut was locked and despite hunting all around, the elusive key was not found, the builder of the chimney was blamed as above (inscribed in the cement)

I drove back to Boat of Garten and scavenged the required from the Toolvan and by the time we were about to start digging, the first train was on us! Sleepers dug round, time for lunch, in the rain! Afterwards we set about doing a bit of ballast tidying where we had finished off previously, by 3pm we had had enough and headed back to Boat of Garten, 

where Mike wanted to paint the platform edge coping stone that he had replaced earlier in the week but he got carried away painting the ramp as well! 

Opposite us we found Ian, Fergus and John with his vast array of power tools extending the screening fence to hide the Royal Scotsman's new sea container, John supplied the above finished photo and his quote "roughest build i've been involved with in a long time" - looks fine to me, anyway thanks to all that attended.

Monday 14 August 2023

Welcome rapid progress Kinchurdy - 14th August 2023

Lampitt Rail Services have again intensively been changing sleepers for us at Kinchurdy, thankfully only leaving 42 for our squad to tackle, (I have borrowed the below photo from their Facebook page, where other photos can be found of their excellent work) can only thank them for their hard work, it would have taken us Months! 

Saturday 12th August saw Georgie, Ian, Angus, Martin and a new volunteer - Richard from Helmsdale meet at Boat of Garten and headed straight to Kinchurdy, over the day, much to Georgie's satisfaction 27 sleepers were dug out and changed and the remaining ones being on the transition ramp - can be done at our leisure.
Thanks to all that attended this big push forward,

which must have continued on Sunday - with Georgie probably removing the dead sleeper before dropping and spreading ballast, as Mike took this photo today, on another of his of recent many track inspections, so much so he has had to buy another pair of boots this year!

 He also spotted at the same locus the above chimney pot

which just might fit! Hopefully get some heat from the fire this Winter.....


Sunday 30 July 2023

Ballast tidying Kinchurdy - 29th July 2023

Another half day of tidying ballast at the Kinchurdy relay

as first service train gingerly approaches from Aviemore,

by mid afternoon we had had enough and a shower of rain finished us off!
Thanks to above - Left to right - Iain, David, Michael (who sprang into very unusual action at first sight of camera!) joined by Fergus, who reports we only have six 60 foot lengths to do...
Thanks also to Mike and John who did the requisite Track inspections.