Monday 22 December 2014

More Bridge work 20/21st December 2014

First task on Saturday was the clearing of snow and ice from the Down platform at Boat of Garten, finally proclaimed safe once the first packed Santa train of the day had arrived.
 Thereafter the small squad proceeded to the River Dulnain. Now that the rails are on the Bridge the approaching track was ramped up to Bridge Rail Level, by packing of the ballast under the sleepers and finally all tidied up. I believe there were some aching under used muscles located subsequently - you deserve a guilt free extra mince pie over the festive period!

An old view taken just under a year ago, showing the route to Grantown.
A fresh squad on the very wet Sunday- cut out, lifted and turned the temporary wooden decking boards, so that they are now on top of the cross members running parallel to the running rails.
Apologies for lack of photos during work - inclement weather and short daylight hours, will try and add some later of what the small but very hard working squads achieved.

Mike sent in this unattributed, even more historic photo, looking towards Grantown sometime prior to the lifting of the track by the looks of it.

I thank you all for your support (armchair included) and wish you all a Merry Christmas and hope to update you on PWay activities in 2015.

Sunday 7 December 2014

Bridge Work - 7th December 2014

A wintery scene greeted us today.

On Friday the ballast retaining wall was built by Victor, our friendly Builder assisted by John Wood.  On the Saturday the squad backfilled the ballast against it and the last two concrete sleepers were dropped in, the Base plates with yellow plastic ferrules and rubber pads were positioned on the bridge.
I think I am right in saying that the rails have a 20mm Cant, spacer plates just visible below base plates,

photos above and below.
Above looking towards Broomhill no doubt another ballast retaining wall required here in due course.
Today our own self propelled rail crane picked up the previously positioned 60 foot rails and gingerly propelled them into position.

Above the second pair of rails dropped into position.
Then a matter of fishplating up the rails together, pulling in the Pandrol clips, checking the gauge, drilling and screwing down methodically whilst again checking the gauge and alignment of rail.
You may well ask why the Crane had to go so far over the Bridge?
A  rare Celebratory posed photo, pretty much concluded the Cool days proceedings!

Monday 17 November 2014

Progress on extension 15&16th November 2014

On Saturday the 15th the planned PWay was cancelled as it was the AGM of the Strathspey Railway Association, with a special DMU  trip up to the River Dulnain to view the work on the bridge, almost 50 members travelled with a good proportion getting off to have a look and Mike gave an explanation of what has been done and what is still to come.
Meanwhile further up the line, Chris and Davie carried out a survey of the proposed additional extension up to the caravan park at Grantown. photos and explanations below courtesy of Chris.
We were using a piece of kit called a Trimble VRS which uses GPS and Mobile internet to give co-ordinates and elevations. During the survey we picked up various locations such as the old solumn, fence-lines, top of cuttings/bottom of embankments, any structures and spot levels in the field. We came up against some issues with the GPS coverage, caused by the deep cutting and the dense tree coverage, this slowed us down but we completed it by Sunday lunchtime.
This survey will allow 2 previous surveys to be merged into one big survey. There was a survey carried out by Bear Scotland (circla 2008) for the Gaich tunnel works and a survey, by a company called PAL ( late 1990's), which was carried on behalf of the Highland Council in the area at the back of Mackellar's workshop down the Council Depot/Lorry park. The combined survey will now give an overview from the Gaich Tunnel site up to the Caravan park.
Sunday saw Georgie and Stuart assisted in the afternoon by Chris and Davie make a start on putting in the longitudinal timbers on the bridge.
Trimming the timbers first for an exact fit.
Applying bitumen, the steel needed a helping hand to get dry first!
2 down a good number to go.
Who knows by the end of next PWay weekend, we may see the rails in position.....


Monday 3 November 2014

MSP and Ballasting 1st 2nd November 2014

Saturday saw a long length of Measured Shovel Packing, 240 feet close to mile post 89, below is the Pway train ready to leave Boat of Garten (fire lit in mess van) later ballast was dropped and tidied
Information and photo courtesy of John Wood
Above is a likely long term lineside feature, it is a length of rail that is in secure level storage in roughly the right place until it is required, possibly when the Rail Welders come back. 
On the Sunday another hopper full of ballast was carefully dropped on the Drumuillie straight, unfortunately the Sun was on the wrong side of the photo, for an action shot!
A good sized squad tidied the ballast and the day was finished off with MSP at a number of joints close to Lynchurn Number 1 Level Crossing as below. (Muscle Man was driven from Broomhill to Boat for future use)
We were blessed with good weather the whole weekend, long may it continue....


Tuesday 28 October 2014

Recent events ending 18th 19th October 2014

Thanks to ian for info and photos.
PWay team members (idiots?) John Wood and Ian Stanworth became White Van Men for the weekend, taking a van from Inverness down to the Leighton Buzzard Railway to pick up bits of two Jacker Packers to act as spares for the operational machine that we have. They picked up the bits that the haulier may have left behind, and which may well be valuable in the future.
The timbers have arrived to sit in the channels on the Dulnain Bridge and will be installed once the blacksmith has completed fitting the channels onto the crossbeams. The chamfers on the timbers are to ensure a better fit in the channels.
The days work commenced with tidying of ballast between Milton No1 and No2 Level Crossings where a team of 6 were in attendance. In the afternoon, following the SRA meeting the team swelled to 8 and measured shovel packing was undertaken nearby, together with similar work being undertaken on a total of 4 joints in the section where rail welding has taken place.

Wednesday 8 October 2014

Rail Welding 6th & 7th October 2014

Last PWay weekend saw considerable tidying of ballast, measured shovel packing (MSP) etc on the Drumullie straight, tiring but satisfying work as it should require very little maintenance in the future. 

When we first laid the line we where left with short irregular lengths of rail, meaning joints straddling sleepers, staggered joints and other unsatisfactory things for the long term. To rectify these "defects" and reduce maintenance in the form of oiling fishplates and MSP etc. It was decided to weld together the short lengths and make a number of 180 foot lengths.

Above in preparation of the Welders coming, temporary clamps and fishplates necessitated a long 10 miles per hour temporary speed restriction, which I am sure theTraincrew enjoyed immensely!

Warming of rail just prior toThermic Welding, photo from M.Tough

The still very hot mould after welding, photo from M.Tough

Rail Grinding off the rough bits.

I believe in total 27 welds were completed over the two days, thanks go to the professional welders from Renown Rail Services from York & Doncaster and if money permits they may well be back.

Here's a video of the Thermic Welding in Sweden

Sunday 28 September 2014

PWay Annual "Track Inspection" and Interring of John Morley's Ashes. 27th September 2014

The opportunity was taken to have our Annual "Track Inspection" the same day as the Interring of the Ashes of the late John Morley, who helped the PWay Department considerably by maintaining and fixing our Plant.

The LMS Inspection Saloon, which is owned by the Watkinson Trust, was added to the Service Train formation for the day.  It was for our exclusive use and thanks go to the Owners and Keith Holyland, the Engineering Superintendent (I believe anyone can hire it, at a cost though!).
It gave us an excellent view of the Track and we perused a possible Track Plan of the layout at Grantown on Spey. We retired to the Cairngorm Hotel for a beer and a hearty lunch and returned to the Saloon to imbibe in some more light refreshments and chat.
Bob doing what he usually does on a PWay day!
Later a Special Train was used to convey friends and colleagues to the final resting place of John Leon Morley
Overlooking the Milton Loch, his eulogy was repeated for the benefit of those unable to attend the Leicester Crematorium late last year, a tribute poem written by Mae Munro was read out and a few religious words were said.  


Monday 22 September 2014

Maintenance near Broomhill 20th 21st September 2014

Thanks to Colin and his gang on the Saturday a good number of sleepers were changed in the Broomhill area and I believe that the elastic spikes were living up to their reputation of being a .... to remove!
The curve through Broomhill was the tightest on the line between Aviemore and Forres
and because of this Georgie decided to replace the usual base plates with "L C" ones at the fishplates as they have a better fastening both to the sleeper and the rail.
Foreground shows usual elastic spikes and background shows an "L C" which were designed to be a Low Cost way of deferring a complete renewal of track.

Sunday 7 September 2014

Extension Work 6&7th September 2014


Ironing out the hollows continued this weekend using the very useful Jacker Packer, I believe that spares, sourced by Ian from South Tynedale Railway at Alston, have now been paid for and only the logistics of getting them up here are now in hand.
Mike & Ian survey their work, continuing the clearing by hand of the Down Cess from the "BG" to the Dulnain bridge, as it is likely to be used a lot, walking back and forth for tools and of course, the odd Tea Break!

Sunday 31 August 2014

Re-sleepering 30th August 2014

An extra PWay date was squeezed in yesterday.
Re-sleepering in the Croftnahaven area, above 46512 approaching Croftnahaven No 2 Level Crossing with the gang eager to get back to work after an extremely long lunch break, which was spent sheltering from the heavy rain in the new incomplete hay barn in the background.
Whilst Ian takes a rest from removing the dreaded elastic spikes earlier, Bruce gets to grips with hammering them, in under the watchful eye of Mike (also resting like Ian)
Can you see some sleeper ends sticking out, there are number on this section. Georgie explained that they are 9 foot long sleepers instead of the usual 8 foot 6 inches and that the Caledonian Railway used them, which makes them possibly 100 years old!
In all eight sleepers changed, continuation of ballast tidying and fishplates tightened all the way to Broomhill.

Friday 29 August 2014

27/28th August 2014

With 46512 in the Shed for a boiler washout and our mainline Diesel Locomotives currently out of action, West Coast's class 37 came to our rescue, hauling the service trains on the 26/27th August. In the background can be seen the freshly painted North Cabin at Boat of Garten. Passing photo taken by Mike, whilst mid-week squad, were laying cable for water tank valve trace heating.

The last Publicly Timetabled DMU service of 2014? on the Dulnain extension, with the Bridge in the background yesterday. A local Blacksmith has been working on the bridge and the longitudinal timbers for fixing the track to it, hope to be delivered next week.........

Sunday 17 August 2014

Jacker Packer 17th August

Norman having fixed the major hydraulic leaks on the Jacker Packer meant that it could be brought back into productive use on the extension.

It certainly still gobbles up the ballast, as can be seen from the before and after shots from above, unfortunately the rain was very heavy today and we got soaked and even finished early!

The height of the river Dulnain recently, can be seen from the debris caught in the fence.
Glad to report to no damage that I could see.

Here's a video of the water level further upstream

Friday 8 August 2014

Mid Week MSP 7th August 2014

Yesterday a small squad did some Measured Shovel Packing (MSP) at dipped joints close to both Croftnahaven Level Crossings and in the afternoon tidying up the ballast for a number of lengths of track was completed to Georgie's satisfaction.

I had wanted a photo of the Service DMU on the extension but as we were working at Croftnahaven No 2 Level Crossing, I had no choice, only down side is you cannot see the perfectly manicured ballast below it!

Wednesday 6 August 2014

Recent Extension works

I have been away on holiday hence lack of blog posts. I believe the 12 Tonne Rail Crane was used to place the above troughs onto the bridge awaiting to get bolted into place. The Flatrol in the background is the limit that the service DMU (Diesel Multiple Unit) can go as far as, to view our work.
The authorities stipulated that the appropriate signage be erected at the five Level Crossings between the bridge and Broomhill for commencement of the DMU service (refer to Strathspey Railway website for dates/times) This has now been completed with a combination of JCB digging a hole, planting a post, concreting it in and of course our Infrastructure Director checking the plumb!

before shovelling in all the earth again.

The opportunity was taken to dredge the outflow sump of a culvert, who said we don't leave the best jobs for the new volunteer!  Welcome Fergus.