Tuesday 27 June 2023

Best laid plans at Boat - 27th June 2023

Today was an extra mid-week day squeezed in at Boat of Garten - to expedite the drilling of sleepers (62 done today) prior to the welcome arrival again of Lampitt Rail Services in August, to complete the big relay at Kinchurdy,

however halfway through lunch an unscheduled sea container arrived for The Royal Scotsman's use,

with the experienced help of the delivery agent, we surprisingly managed to plant it quickly.

Second attempt at luncheon was then interrupted by Dave Green (diesel driver) who reported a noticeable track defect (bump) at 85 (milepost) & 1100 yards, fortunately he was willing and able to take us to the locus quickly (as no road access whatsoever) - he was killing time between shunts and yet another arrival of Royal Scotsman, diagnosis - broken fishplate, which we carried out a temporary repair (couldn't find skirted plates in time)
Many thanks to Ian, Dave and Kevin (whom as usual, showed us up as doing a power of work!) whom I wished a merry Christmas! - however he did concede he enjoyed today......  

Friday 23 June 2023

Aviemore Running Shed Pits built - 22nd June 2023

West Pit of Aviemore Running Shed nears completion as at 21st June - photo Mike Tough

And appears complete as of CCTV date stamp

Confirmed by Alex Walker Builder/Stonemason who took above photo.
Many thanks to him getting through I am sure the challenging heat of recent.


Sunday 18 June 2023

A Miscellaneous Week ending - Saturday 17th June

 Sometime ago Tuesday 13th of June was picked as the date for the whole line Weedkiller train, as there was no service trains planned, little did we know that the line had been hired out for a private operation, so we had to fit in with them, 

on the plus side Signalmen were on duty easing operations, although a localised downpour stopped play for the day at Croftnahaven. Above clip from John who with Ian did Monday and Tuesday assisting S&T Squad work week at Boat of Garten, 

doing what the P'Way squad are good at, digging holes manually in blistering heat! 
Far too technical for mere P'Way Blogger to chronicle further! However Roddy, myself and Doug Scott (Chairman) filled them in Wednesday afternoon. 
(more info may appear in S&T Blog?)

Thursday saw Alec start on the West Pit wall at the new Running Shed at Aviemore.

Normal P'Way Saturday, saw Georgie yet again on Diesel banking duties whilst this hot spell continues. However she left a "few" sleepers to pre-drill using the bullhead rail jig. 

Apparently Iain asking Peter if the two done is enough!

Plenty of dis-tractions for the squad - The Three Peaks Charter train made a short notice Service stop at Boat of Garten, as there is a wash away on the Fort William line (passengers bussed from Kingussie to Ben Nevis) By the end of an exhausting day Mike, Peter & Iain managed to do 90 out of 320 in total which are destined for the big relay at Kinchurdy.

Thanks to all mentioned, Mike took last three photos. 

Monday 12 June 2023

Aviemore Running Shed and Boat Footbridge - week ending 10th June 2023

Aviemore Running Shed - Hot spell continues  

Blocks stacked where Alex (builder/stonemason) requires them, West pit floor shuttered and reinforcing mesh in position ready for concrete. (photo Alex) 

Friday saw a happy Alex mostly in the shade and our preferred contractor getting ready final pour. (photo C. Stirling) 

Saturday saw Ian cooling off the concrete with a good dousing of water.


Mike reports - With Georgie yet again on Diesel driving duties, to reduce high fire risk, a small P'Way squad - Mike, Michael and latterly joined by Fergus after Track inspection continued prepping & priming in red the Boat Footbridge. David carried out hand spray weedkilling in the yard.

 John caught 5025 heading off shed towards Aviemore Station prior to his long hot track inspection to Boat of Garten.

Thanks to all that contributed.

Monday 5 June 2023

Boat Footbridge, Fishplate oiling and Aviemore Running Shed - 5th June 2023

Mike reports -

"Boat of Garten  Footbridge was made in Inverness 123 years ago, to a design used throughout the Highland Railway. This one came from Dalnaspital as Strathspey Railway got going & replaced (in 1977) the original in a different place which was at Station House / Gas House in background above.

By 2000 it was looking very shabby & some of the balustrade lattice bars were corroded & had to be replaced. A specialist painter was engaged to scaffold shot blast & paint it with a long lasting oil rig type coating . This wax in 2004 & we recall being told to touch in any minor problems after 10 years but are now getting onto it only after 19 years! Overall it remains in good nick but many of the lattice crossings show cracks in the paint water ingress & rust.


Mike Tough under took to touch it in over Summer 2023 & decent progress has been made helped one Saturday by Reg Stanley & another Saturday by Michael Massie (above left)

    The odd hour with a scraper after other work has helped. After scraping off loose paint wire brushing with a battery drill we apply metal primer then black hammerite which on tin says it will last 8 years . Hopefully we will get longer with the prep & primer used . The steps on platform 2 need done & using safe high level access the middle outside parts over the track."

Thanks to Mike and all that assisted.


Medium sized squad met in glorious sunshine at Boat of Garten Saturday 3rd June for usual P'Way meet, alas Georgie phoned to say she was not with us, as she had to drive the banking diesel, to ease the associated fire risk from the Steam Service. "Not too hard a task" was set for us - fishplate oiling, once we assembled all the necessary parts which were scattered somewhat, we set off towards Drumuillie, every 180 foot length was oiled, thereafter every second joint on the usual 60 foot. 

Above left to right - Fergus was on the final torque tightening with the big spanner, Michael loosened and tightened with the battery wrench, Iain wheel barrowed all the oil and tools and most importantly our rucksacks, David was the advance dab of oil on threads before slackening nuts sufficiently for wrench and I had oil tin.

By the end Michael (who worked hard) had plenty factor 100 suntan oil in spots! The rest of us were suffering from heat and exhaustion but our target was met.
Thanks to all.


Late News - Today at Aviemore. Again Mike reports -

"Start being made on East pit blocks being put exactly where the stone / brick mason Alex wants them, using Strathspey Railway loader driven by John Sinclair and a hired in grab which is simple & cheap so all good, Georgie will excavate a bit more later on 5 th to allow base of West pit to be shuttered & concrete on 9 th Busy times ahead this week....."