Tuesday 30 March 2021

Aviemore & Boat PWay - 20&27 March 2021

 Another big squad, which Georgie split up Saturday past but alas some had to go to the virtual Strathspey Railway Association AGM for most of the morning. 

The masked young PWayer came back for more - despite nursing muscles he didn't know he had after the previous Saturday, overseen by Roger. The maintenance of this crossing finally completed after lunch.

Angus and Mike were detailed to plug all the old visible drill holes in all the renewed sleepers, with wooden plugs hammered in. Georgie had previously levelled new trackbed with JCB, then measured and marked up and then used the Colmar Road Rail Machine to lay all the above.

  The main squad of John, Martin, Ian, Kevin and Andrew set about re-sleepering Road 3, with a lot of digging required due to spacing constraints. In total seven were replaced enabling the removal of the "temporary" tie bars, which had become rather rusty! 


The following Saturday (not a PWay one) John and Ian were down early to check for birds nests on a Scots Pine that Georgie wanted out of the way (she apparently has plans for the area) with none being found.

  John carefully planned the fell, as it was not a small tree and the new Morley's Shed was within reach.


Ian and John quickly de-limbed and segmented, as we struggled to incinerate quickly enough, (Angus in the thick of it) after phoning what used to be called the Fire Brigade - as copious amounts of smoke emanating for Morley's might be a bit unsettling for Boat of Garten residents!   

Mike had asked John to use his pole saw to try and cut back encroaching branches round Boat North Signal Cabin, as scaffolding is planned so that the Ellon Squad can repair and repaint the large structure, hoped to commence in May, progress will be viewed on S&T Blog - https://signallingstrathspey.blogspot.com/?m=1/

 Meanwhile Kevin had single handedly barrowed all the segments round to near the gate (close to his car which was similarly well laden!)

"Stoker MacPhail" borrowed one of John's many gadgets (leaf blower) to try speed up the going home process, just visible in the background is the curved edge of the old turntable pit.

 After many, many buckets of water it was extinguished, concluding another successful day.
Many thanks to - John, Ian, Roddy, Martin, Kevin and Angus  

Monday 15 March 2021

Aviemore Headshunt And Tullochgorum Overbridge - 13th March 2021

On Saturday a good sized squad met up at Aviemore to finish the previously frost postponed re-sleepering of the necessarily emptied Headshunt.

Squad heading to site.

Slightly older hand Roger, was welcomed back after vaccine number two, who I am glad to see was on light duties and the back of a much younger potential new recruit - Justin, who was a big help with the impact wrench, removing and screwing down chair screws 

In total 27 sleepers dug out, changed, packed and mostly backfilled as the light faded.

Thanks to Andrew, Angus, Fergus, Kevin, Martin, Justin, Roger and Mike who took the photos and provided all the information.


Defects having been picked up during track inspections on the soffit of Tullochgorum Overbridge and knowing that an ORR Bridge Engineer may visit during 2021, repairs were authorised.
A stone mason over a period of ten days cut out loose mortar and bricks in the jack arches between the four 1866 Falcon Foundary (Inverness) cast iron beams.


After All gaps are tightly repointed

along with some open joints in the abutment & wing walls.
 Remedial work at other locations is anticipated - watch this space.

Again thanks to Mike for photos and text.

Sunday 7 March 2021

Caley 828 on P'way duties and S&C oiling - 6th March 2021

Steam Locomotive Caley 828 having recently passed her boiler examination needed a test run and Georgie needed a "wee shunt around" over the entire railway on Friday 26th February.

Mike got the above photo at Boat of Garten, Martin the Driver wasn't sure if he was coming or going half the day and Robert acting as Signalman had to second guess where the whole ensemble was destined for but fortunately Georgie as Guard knew!


Good turnout yesterday, the plan was to finish off re-sleepering at Aviemore, alas the ground was frozen. Georgie quickly moved onto plan B  

Angus and Mike were sent "Wombling" over the track around Aviemore up to Dalfaber level crossing. A good number of bin bags were filled with the accumulated blown rubbish. At some point they called into Spey Lodge where Plumber Jim was building kitchen units - somehow they managed to accidently break one - both Mike & Angus were glad to make it out to the bitterly cold wind again!

The rest of us were detailed to oil nuts and bolts on the switches and crossings (S&C) Aviemore Station - easier said than done!

Above south loop crossing with Andrew, Kevin, Roddy and a bit of Martin, off shot is Ian, didn't know his own strength and was nursing his wrist,

which fortunately came off better than his spanner did!

The crossings were definitely harder work than the switches. More people here than passengers on Northbound Highland Main Line train. 

The North end of Aviemore Station run round loop has hundreds of spring like clips held down with T bar bolts and nuts, Ian was glad of the power tool!

Roddy painted track lube neatly onto component parts, ready for reassembly. We all worked well as a team in finger numbing conditions and feel this S&C task should be completed on a Summers day.

Thanks to all that contributed over both days.