Wednesday 24 November 2021

Boat of Garten and beyond - 20th & 24th November 2021

Another excellent turnout in what was initially a mild wet day. 

First task, to remove all the excess stonework from the re-building of the Dock Platform facing that was lying in the "four foot" and at the same time bury the blue water pipe that runs between the sleeper ends and the platform (guys heading to main task, rainbow not quite in right place!)

 As our skilled Plumber Jim was many miles away on holiday, Mike assisted by Bob & Michael took the opportunity to rectify one of Jim's long standing leaks! - Will await his nod before burying the joint.

Many years ago Her Majesty's Railway Inspectors (HMRI) informed us that the Up Platform had to be raised to a more acceptable height, this was done by a contractor brickie and the story goes, that the only bricks available were engineering bricks, pretty much ever since they have been spalling, Mike Tough observed recently right back to the "frogs" in places and now our stonemason is slowing down the erosion process by removing the worst of the loose material and  

  applying the first layer of mortar (maybe more technical info in
Express  magazine....)   

  The main task was re-sleepering, by removing the "six foot" chair and jacking up the track sufficiently, the old sleepers can be removed over the rail of the Up line, above Georgie did it too quickly to show how tight it actually is.

Above new sleepers in, almost ready to pack, once jacks dropped. Note Fergus trying to outdo Georgie in hat department.

Just a case of filling in, alas too much "ballast" excess deposited in "six foot" to be cleared later, above Michael removing worst of spoil from chairs. In total 17 sleepers changed and weather cleared up but much colder.
Thanks to Martin, Angus, Mike, Bob, Fergus, David and Andrew.
Mid-Week morning saw 

Mike ("driving" into the sun) & Michael (pushing) returning from Broomhill section having changed some level crossing signage - spirit level required next time apparently!

Leaving Angus and Roddy to apply anti-freeze lubricant to the Mainline switches at Boat of Garten, I had the easy job of reversing all the points from the Signal Boxes at the required time.

After lunch we headed to the Broomhill end, Angus & Michael "Winterising" the points there, Mike, Roddy and myself levelling spent ash forming a cess, guess from steam locomotive 5025 as it was very light and a pleasure to work with, apart from finding face masks and ear plugs amongst it! As it was getting dark by this time, the end result might not quite be up to Georgie's high standard but we are likely to be at this locus again next year.

Again as ever thanks to all that helped.    

Sunday 14 November 2021

Up to 14th November Miscellanea

This is "On Track" activity of another kind - The Strathspey Railway own the access road to the Engine Shed at Aviemore, it is freely used by non-vehicular members of the public and a complaint had been received about potholes.

Lead by Mike Tough above, we filled in the deeper holes with railway ballast and brushed over with post-crete cement and sprinkled with water.

Michael admiring our work, how long the fix lasts, might depend on how often vehicles obey the 10 mph permanent speed restriction!


 Although overtime everything weathers and this includes parts of the platforms at Boat of Garten.
Earlier in the year we got some Government money to go towards maintaining our infrastructure - this is being used to hire in again our trusty Stonemason from Aberdeen-shire.

The Dock platform before


surplus masonry may get recycled

as other areas still require attention.....TBC


As usual the Strathspey Railway Association AGM clashed with a P'Way work weekend but this year's Diesel Multiple Unit trip took Members to the New P'Way Maintenance Depot a.k.a. "Morley's" at Boat of Garten.

Where Ian guided Members round the various bits of plant and inside the shed itself. After this Georgie had Sam, Bob and Peter possibly tidying the tool van? as the weather turned foul as forecasted. 

 Yesterday by chance John had his chainsaw with him, as he and Ian were to construct a sleeper foot crossing, but first Georgie dispatched them to clear the fallen tree that had been reported the day before by a dog walker near the 85 milepost.

John hard at work removing the brash.

The rest of the squad stayed at Boat - splitting in two - Andrew, Angus, Mike, Martin and myself started by pre-drilling one end of the new sleepers, using a template constructed many years ago by the late Hamish Mackay.

After lunch a start was made on digging out the sleepers to be changed

Alas the Diesel Driver Training Train (DDTT?) never stopped in the station to give us a break! - not that there is any ballast only ash and earth but it was hard slow tiring work.

The other squad lead by Georgie - Bob, Kevin and Michael did some measured shovel packing and other technical stuff ! - Kevin must have worked hard as they were let away before darkness.

Oh and "Fishermans Crossing" now for the first time ever has a proper sleeper foot crossing!

Thanks to all that attended, the Railway is being maintained and even improved.