Sunday 27 January 2019

Boat of Garten and nearby, goings on - Week ending 26th January 2019

On Tuesday 22nd, myself and Roddy had a free day, so we decided to go to the "outdoor gym" at Boat of Garten - Georgie soon directed us to the Car Park, where it is pretty full of partly dismantled (thanks to Mike, Martin and others) short track panels - which unfortunately need to be removed before the start of the Steam season.
Above Roddy finally removes the Mills clips after the rails are out as it's much easier!
All the clips were tidied away, with the Pandrol/Mills clips and plastic biscuits all into separate stillage. Given that as a result of the lack of availability of the road rail excavator a considerable number of hours and physical effort have had to be expended in taking these small panels apart. This has rather dispirited the PWay team involved in the work, when if we had the use of the road railer each panel could have been moved to a position away from the car park as a unit. Furthermore at some point we might need to put these panels back together!!!

The first level crossing North of Boat of Garten - Milton No1 (below) will see an increase in road traffic at some point in the future, in connection with the removal of the High Voltage power lines and associated pylons.

 Georgie identified that the above trees posed a sighting issue and I had a few hours to spare Thursday 24th...…
 armed with a decent bushmans saw and after much huffing and puffing, dragging the cuttings to in behind the stored concrete sleepers (which one day maybe be used to get us to Grantown on Spey) the view from the crossing looking South has vastly improved, I hope!
Above the return working of the empty train mentioned in the last Blog, now loaded but awaiting warmer weather! Before being unloaded, as the ballast has frozen solid.
By yesterday thankfully, the frost had gone and the wet ballast made for easy dropping, we had the Class 31 driven by Steve and a Peak Railway Volunteer driver up here for ( no ) skiing! to assist as the 08 was having some light servicing.
 No other volunteer was able to assist Mike at Boat of Garten with changing a dud sleeper and he felt it!, in what was an extra day but despite heavy drizzle good progress was made thanks in large part to Georgie’s skilled use of the JCB and ballast wagon drops in the "four foot" (between the rails)
The proposed shed area is now well levelled off, apart from a bit local to the buffers and loaded mineral wagon of ballast left there will fix that.
Some building materials are on site now, the cladding on the car park as above and some cold rolled steel, neither stored where they should have been but should be moved easily enough to the correct site South of the South Signalbox.
Thanks to all that contributed to this team effort Blog.



Sunday 20 January 2019

"Operation Undercover" commences in earnest - 19th January 2019

Following on from my last Blog entry, Mike Tough (Volunteer Project Manager), Georgie and Nethy Steel Ltd our contractors, had a site meeting and an early start date was agreed with
 "Operation Undercover"- erection of open ended clad, Carriage Storage Shed - three "roads" wide by three carriage lengths long, at Boat of Garten - South Yard. 
Yesterday a ceremonial cutting of the first sod was attempted, albeit that the ground was frozen solid! (Above Front Left to right - John, Mike, Martin, Back Me (hat on) and Fergus) photo was kindly taken by Roger Snowdon whom is making a good recovery after a recent illness and we hope to see him back for light duties soon. 
Our first task was to carefully clear all the S&T miscellaneous bits and pieces back to where Fergus is on the right, so that our contractors have 2 metres of trip free access right round the proposed building.  
We even found some of our own PWay heavier material - base plates/chairs etc that we barrowed clear. In the background can be seen the wooden/soil loading bank which unfortunately, much to Georgie's sadness, also has to go. (Note also Rylock fencing below Boat sign for later)
Georgie also continued unloading spoilt ballast - which was donated recently by Network Rail at Aviemore, to level the entire site.


An almost empty train was loaded, marshalled and despatched, by the time it arrived in Aviemore, it was devoid of the fencing material (thanks to John & Fergus) required on just over of a mile of fencing to repair and be made stock proof using the aforementioned Rylock as above now strategically placed at 100 metre intervals in the Up cess.
To keep us warm as the sun sank, a start was made removing the sleepers from the top of the bank and
duly taken away by Georgie.
Thanks to all whom attended much was achieved but still an awful lot to do in such a short space of time..... Mike advised that "steel & cladding material are due to arrive 25/1/19 then hopefully foundations will be cast early February and finished by March" - weather permitting. 



Saturday 5 January 2019

Digging out sleeper beds near Summit - 5th & 6th January 2019

First PWay Weekend of 2019 saw as expected, a small dedicated squad, tackle possibly the least liked task of all - (as illustrated by PWay equivalent of "The Scream" by John Wood below)
 digging out sleeper beds in preparation of the never ending maintenance of the Railway Line - in the form of a continuation of re-sleepering towards the Summit between Aviemore and Boat of Garten, which we spent from March to July doing last year.
Above two adjacent life expired sleepers meant the whole bed must be dug out.
John reports Saturday -  "We managed 66 of 128, 42 being done by an earlier squad leaving 20 to be done, and no pesky trains to interrupt us either. Georgie noted that some of the sleepers to be changed were originally from the 1930s, so due a well earned rest me thinks (lets hope the replacements last that long!) Weather was cold but ideal for the task in hand." 
Thanks to Georgie, Mike, Martin and John - especially for info/photos (well one of them anyway)
Today saw an even smaller squad of Myself and Georgie dig out the remaining 20 beds before lunch and after we sourced 36 skirted cast fishplates and 36 skirted rolled fishplates, these are to be changed in connection with the re-sleepering of the 18 lengths of track. We loaded them into the "flatrol" wagon with all the new sleepers (as above) to be delivered to site by rail.
Above and below is the site of the proposed three road storage shed at Boat of Garten, devoid of the usual rail vehicles.
Mike Tough who has worked tirelessly for Months already on this project, hopes that a start can be made by the local construction contractor Nethy Steel Ltd sometime soon.