Sunday 28 October 2018

Network Rail Possesion at Aviemore - 27/28 October 2018

Yesterday, Mike Tough did the Boat of Garten to Aviemore weekly Line Inspection and I was tasked with cleaning/oiling the slidechairs on all the switches at Aviemore. 
Above is Bill Johnson, whom I pressganged into assisting me, after he had the pleasure of winning the Volunteer of the Year award in November 2017 - for all his dedication and hard work over the years as the Strathspey Railway Association Membership Secretary. He chose to take a return footplate ride as his prize, which he thoroughly enjoyed - I am not so sure the same could be said about oiling points, his high viz was a tad less pristine by the time we finished.  
Above one of the switches lifted over our fence, in the last PWay Blog and the Big Yellow Machines all poised for action, yesterday.

Davie Dow is a tall chap indeed, here he is looking North towards Inverness today. Spey Lodge and him! shadowing the single track Highland Main Line (HML)

And looking South from the same lofty position during the first of a series of 31 hour "Engineers Possessions" closing HML Inverness - Perth, with the Caledonian Sleeper and freight services diverted via Aberdeen and the rest Rail Replacement Bus.
"Old" track cut up into short lengths and discarded, old ballast removed into rail wagons on an old siding in distance, with fresh ballast levelled out
and as the sun goes down progress - new concrete sleepers perfectly aligned, presumably by machine, the wee yellow machine above is a McCulloch Rail Mover - allows the rail to be lifted in without using large machines or 360s.
cutting the rail possibly to join up with existing one?
I am indebted to Davie Dow for todays photos, the captions I made up!

Wednesday 24 October 2018

Network Rail work at Aviemore and PWay near Boat - 20th October 2018

Network Rail are shortly going to be extending the length of the Mainline loop at Aviemore by 350 metres to the North and full re-signalling and re-control of the Signalbox to Inverness Signalling Centre. Strathspey Railway are assisting Network Rail and their main contractor, Bam Nuttal, where ever possible -
Below, on Saturday night, possibly at "closing time"? Davy Dow (who took the photos) and Colin Stirling (who supplied info) came across
lifting long lead switches (points) by 25 tonne Kirow Crane in from Strathspey Railway Car Park at Aviemore to a bolster wagon on our run round loop in advance of running into position on Mainline.  
Stretcher bar used to prevent load "hog backing" and overstressing. In all 10 lorry loads were planned overnight (stretched into a second night apparently). Each standard concrete "sleeper" weighing at least 1/4 tonne, with larger cross members being heavier.  
Earlier in the day, our own PWay squad consisting of Ben Tyrell, John Hornby, Peter Muff, Ian Stanworth and John Wood were tasked to change and lubricate 17 sets of the old fishplates. With the newer heavy duty type of fishplates replaced on the rails from Morley’s Mansion down towards Broomhill, in connection with part of plan to allow Broomhill section of track to be inspected less frequently in the future. The gents made good time and the job was made much easier by the recently purchased two battery impact wrenches for removing and re-tightening the fishplate nuts, the task completed by 3pm, then it was tidy up time for the tools as they/us were covered in track lube!
 John was again working too hard to take any photos but the previous Saturday him and Ian spent 7 hours working replacing the hydraulic lever control block on the jacker packer, it was an onerous task as probably hadn't been taken been off since the machine rolled out of the factory, eventually got it done, but ran out of time to test it.
 Video clip above of jacker packer test runs this Saturday,(re-fishplated track in background) the refurbished control block seems to have helped but we think one of the traction motors still needs attention also.
Thanks to all in the production of this particular blog.


Saturday 6 October 2018

MSP in Kinchurdy cutting - 6th October 2018

A small squad made our way out to Kinchurdy Cutting, to attempt to rectify the minor track alignment defect as identified by Engine Crew a few weeks ago. 
Measuring was done, using sighting boards and cross levelling, datums set, design cants taken into account and transitions (all above my pay grade!) ie dark art of Measured Shovel Packing (MSP) was again put to good use, of course Sleeper beds needed digging as above, about a 60 foot length on the high rail and just joints on the low.

First rather steamy train of the day eventually arrived, some 15 minutes late, it was declared a "failure" on arrival at Broomhill - Georgie was summoned to get the Token back to Aviemore by car and we were advised to watch out for the
assisting Locomotive which duly rattled past.

We carried on dealing with the simpler dipped joints until Georgie returned and she

suggested "a bit of slewing boys", by putting the jack in at an angle and digging out the sleeper ends (above track is being slewed to the right, to Georgie's satisfaction.)
Above a jaunty Les Grant who was doing the Track Inspection, came quickly upon us and ignored all the lumps and bumps that we temporarily create until flattened out by rail traffic. We continued dealing with dipped joints up to Kinchurdy Bridge to physically finish us off!
Above left cab, Les gets a lift back to Aviemore (to spot anything he missed on the 5 mile walk there!) The train ran in "Top and Tail" mode for the remainder of the day, here 828 giving the class 31 a defiant shove on departure from Boat of Garten.
On putting away the tools we came across "Vandyke" McClintock who is now top coating the Brake Guard Van in its official livery- "Murray Duncan Green" as printed on the paint tin!
Thanks to all that assisted the PWay Dept in its wide ranging tasks in perfect weather today.