Sunday 22 November 2020

Track alterations Aviemore Running Shed - 21st November 2020

An experimental 0900 start as currently brighter in the mornings, even Graeme managed to rise at the crack of dawn, alas Georgie (the boss) pitched up at the usual 0930 by which time it was pouring with rain, Angus aka "Stoker McPhail" had by this time got a good fire going in the van. We eventually braved the elements, once the stabled vehicles had been shunted out of the way,

Jim and me clamped the points out of use for number one "road" at Aviemore Engine Shed, as it was being disconnected, to allow work to commence on laying new track towards the anticipated new "Steam Running Shed" 

ultimately adjacent and towards the rear of the existing. Above left to right - Martin, Graeme, Ian, Angus & John pose for the "before" photo. Yet again the squad was big enough to be split in two -

allowing re-sleepering to continue, mid-week Georgie and Fergus had re-ferruled a good number of the chairs, so we thought plain sailing but we could not get our portable generator started, rather dejected we we returned to shelter in the Mess van to discover, the fire had also died!  

Angus & John working with Georgie in the Colmar Road Rail Vehicle (RRV) 

made rapid visible progress, fortunately the weather improved and John easily fixed our generator, Mike joined us after a virtual Strathspey Railway Board meeting and a few sleepers were changed.

Stats - 8 pairs of severely corroded/buried fishplates removed, un-keyed & un-screwed 180 chairs and removed by hand, sleepers as above. John and Angus will I suspect have a few aches and pains today!

Above scene as the light faded. 

Thanks to all mentioned and John for his photos and stats.


Monday 16 November 2020

Re-sleepering continues & Turntable work concludes - 14th November 2020

Another good turnout in wonderfully benign November weather, tools loaded onto rail trolley and pushed towards turntable line,

unfortunately third set of trailing hand points were set against us and no one noticed until CRUNCH! Wee minor derailment - swiftly rectified as above.  

Once we got to the worksite it was discovered that Georgie had to abandon the previous days P'Way train, with a broken spring on the North British Locomotive, conveying our required sleepers. Yet again Steve and the trusty 08 locomotive came to the rescue, above from the brakevan showing the train eventually leaving for the five mile sprint!

The sleepers were quickly thrown off on arrival at Aviemore and spot re-sleepering was able to continue. Meanwhile some of the squad were able to pack, backfill and tidy the previously changed sleepers, I had intended an after photo but light faded too quickly.

Also Ian and John (not often you see him lying down on the job!) stretched & fixed chicken wire over the decking of the turntable, hopefully to reduce slipperiness  

and finishing off with a job that John loves - painting! - on an oil based wood preserver.

Many thanks to Andrew, Angus, Kevin, Mike, Fergus, Ian, John and Georgie & Steve.

Saturday 7 November 2020

Re -Sleepering & Spey Lodge Level Crossing - 7th November 2020

 Largest turnout of P'Way Volunteers in a longtime.

 Initially rather cool with a freezing fog, which made walking across the turntable too slippery, the 20 sleepers and two level crossing timbers were on the stabled "flatrol" wagon above, fortunately Keith was shunting carriages anyway, he and driver Steve used the class 08 shunter, to let us unload the sleepers in roughly the right places and convey the timbers to Spey Lodge Level Crossing (below)

    where road traffic was taking its toll, at about this point we split into two more than socially distanced Gangs!

  Myself, Jim, Mike, Martin, Roger, Angus and Fergus re-sleepering and if you look close enough Ian, John & Andrew on Spey Lodge Level Crossing (Keith & Steve hand washing carriages) 

 After a rather slow start, by lunch we had pulled out the old "sleepers" (above) we certainly get our money's worth! And placed in the correct way up, the "new" second hand ones.

Here the gauge was too wide even for our liking and a tie-bar was the solution, with Angus doing the business.

  Next stage, Martin screwing down, using thanks to John Wood, the modern (light and powerful) equivalent version of a petrol "Bance", after Jim had dipped screws in creosote. In total 18 were screwed down, as we ran out of the plastic ferrules.

Meanwhile on our extended worksite - the technical stuff included - new bearers and ballast, checked timbers with chainsaw

and special mention went to Andrew McCracken "Chief Stoker who tirelessly shovelled ballast" on the now refurbished Level Crossing.

Many thanks to all mentioned, we are likely to be re-sleepering for many weeks to come......