Friday, 23 June 2017

Train Watering points Aviemore Station - 21st 22nd June 2017

At Aviemore the existing unsightly water pipes and fittings are to be removed from the fence as many are perished by sunlight and are faulty. To achieve this a long 220 metre trench had to be dug to a depth of approximately 300 millimeters - not doable by hand! - this is where Neil Howie came to the rescue, with his own Wee Digger - just perfect for the confined space available.  
Above Neil expertly digs away, while Mike and Bruce investigate possible S&T ducting obstacles and hand dig as necessary.
    Jim Clark praying or maybe plumbing! with Royal Scotsman as backdrop, our Class 31 had hauled it from Boat of Garten with it being a 10 coach train.
The Class 66 sat at the Shed and then propelled it out and then headed North later in the morning ... note newly laid water pipes in trench awaiting standpipe connections and backfilling.

  Without Neil Howie and his digger this job would not have been done so quickly and so cheaply ..above Neil heading home to Lochcarron with BIG thanks from Strathspey Railway Company for his help.
This work will ease frost problems in winter in that system can be drained down and it will remove the pipes from the risks associated with being outside.

10 new standpipes are fitted, plus 3 for coach washing with hozelock couplings and the materials needed were funded by Strathspey Railway Association who are also funding water pipe improvements in Boat of Garten Station where vulnerable loft pipes are being put inside.
Thanks to Mike for info and photos. 

Monday, 19 June 2017

Tree cutting & Fishplates - 17&18th June 2017

Recently the Strathspey Railway Association paid for four members of the PWay squad to go on a four day chainsaw course :-
 "Day1 composes of workshop time, ppe/health & safety awareness, chainsaw maintainance/sharpening, risk assessments, environmental considerations. 
Day 2 in the woods, fuelling and cold starting procedure,operator positioning, practising on pre felled logs the following ,cross cutting,felling cuts, boreing cuts.
Day 3 in the woods, surveying work site, and breaking in/brashing live trees (removing lower branches to gain access to trunk for felling, as above) then felling live trees with a hinge cut, de-limbing and sectioning into logs
Day 4 in the woods -mostly same as day 3, then learnt a few extra  get out of jail cuts, eg hung up trees, limited access cuts, unstable and leaning trees.
Overall the course was very hard physically but we learnt a lot and will take forward the good practices into the pway squads tree and brush removal"
Glad to report all were certified competent (I think some just need Certified!) Anyway Congratulations to (above left to right) Jim, John, Neil and Ian and thanks to the appropriately named John Wood for info and photos.
 Meanwhile the planned weekend PWay work of fishplate oiling continues towards Aviemore.

Above the Saturday's squad take a well earned rest in the heat. Photo from Bruce Buswell (next time maybe photoshop out Mike's legs!)
And the Sunday squad do the same. Over the weekend in excess of a mile and a quarter was completed thanks to Roger, Mike, Ian on the Saturday and on the Sunday Fergus, Iain and special mention must go to Andy and Bruce for turning out on both.
Our recently re-painted class 27 hauls the return working of the Sunday Diner Train near milepost 86 and 1/4, maybe fishplate oiling miles from anywhere has its advantages after all, although it was a long walk back to our cars at the end of the day.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

A Fishy start to FishPlate Oiling - 4th June 2017

 Thursday I decided to make a start on Fishplate oiling, I coerced my friend Roddy into coming along. As an incentive, we did Level Crossing naming on the Dulnain Extension first.
Then got down to the task in hand, transpires Andy and Roger had found all the tools and cleaned them and Georgie had put the Tracklube out at the full mileposts but left none in the Tool Van! I decided to drive to Fishermans crossing and pick up a tin of Tracklube, as it was very close to the road. By the end of the day the Up Loop line at Boat of Garten was complete. Above unexpected arrival of 828 on last service train, surprises Roddy (and myself)
On Saturday the Down and Up Loops had been completed by Andy MacClintock, Angus and Kevin. On Sunday Kevin above - not "The .... Scotsman" - hails from Leicestershire where he works for PWay on Big Railway, anyway he suggested using the skates and trolley to aid our progress on the single line towards Aviemore.
Close to the Home Signal - a Fish that never made the Plate! (it didn't jump out of the Spey that's for sure) Even Andrew the "Lineside Forager" turned his nose up at it. 
A disappointingly blurred "Scotsman" departs Boat of Garten, maybe I should get a new camera, as my good one got destroyed by PWay wet weather.
 Service train passes Kevin, by end of the day we are almost 1 mile out of Boat, Thanks to Kevin, Andys - MacCracken & MacLintock and Stuart who turned up 10 minutes before we finished! But never mind Stuart only 10 miles approx to go, plenty of time to join us next time?


Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Weed killing and Holidays - May 2017

A couple of Months ago the Strathspey Railway Association funded three Volunteers from the PWay squad to go on a basic weed killing course, all three passed the rigorous exam and weed killer, pump dispensers and Personal Protective Equipment were purchased. The track itself was still done by our usual contractor on May 19th but the rest is being done solely by Volunteer labour - meaning a considerable cost saving for the Railway.
Here Mike Tough in his Weed Buster garb, does the Down Platform at Boat of Garten, Colin Frost and Ray Keynon raking up their bank strimming efforts in the back ground. John Wood subsequently had another go at the stuff higher up the bank.

The last PWay weekend was missing the above, whilst we did a week long Preserved Railway trip of Wales and England. Here getting an excellent V.I.P. guided tour round the East Lancs. Railway thanks to them and Dave Yeoman for making it possible.
There wasn't too much of this - Honest!
Seeing the above advert, in background for "Spooners" - which is the Railway Bar/Diner at Porthmadog, reminds me, that we had Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner followed by a few light refreshments all in the one day! - thoroughly recommend the place.
 Ian Stanworth may write up more on our trip, in a future edition of the "Express".
(John Wood took 2 out of the 3 photos, using his mobile "phone") 

Monday, 8 May 2017

Morley's Mansion Rail instalment - 6th May 2017

Good turnout on another of recent beautiful days, the construction of a small rail inspection pit inside Morley's Mansion at Boat of Garten had been constructed by Georgie using predominantly old sleepers, fishplates and chair screws as below.
  The day started with filling in the track up to rail level in the centre of the shed and up to sleeper height in the 4 foot, and then carried on with moving rails into place ready for laying track in.
The Grantown on Spey railway station nameboard was found in amongst stuff at the back of the shed at the start of the project and is likely to be preserved here for some time I suspect. 
In the afternoon the weather was so good I took a trip up, to see how things were getting on enroute to my work. On arrival, all I was greeted with - where are the ice creams?
The concrete sleepers were then lifted into the sloping alignment up from the shed towards the running line, rubber pads placed, waiting for clips, biscuits and of course rails
Not our usual worker to watcher ratio, honest! Georgie giving a refresher course on how to clip up flat bottom rail.
Thanks go to Georgie, Ian (for info and above photo), Roger, Neil, Jim, Andrew and Andy. 
Whilst doing his track inspection John Wood spotted the above, being resourceful his own human fire hydrant wasn't quite he had to go and get water from another stream.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Morley's Mansion Boat of Garten - 1st April 2017

Plan A for last weekend was to use the Jacker Packer but the drive motor seems to have packed in, so plan B swung into operation, 24 Mainline condemned concrete sleepers were recovered from undergrowth by Boat of Garten North yard & 8 x 60 foot rails lengths loaded on to a Flatrol in Boat of Garten main yard.

The Class 31 was able to assist in between service trains. The aim of all this is to make a start on putting rails into the late John "Morley's Mansion" below

So in the short term, the Jacker Packer can be fixed and stored undercover with its own wee test track! (guessing here)

In the past The Highlands and Islands Fire Brigade had rented the left side of the shed, for their small Fire Appliance and it was partitioned off, which was swiftly removed by the above Motley Gang.
The level of the dirt on the right was to be lowered by 330mm to accommodate the track. By 5.30pm on Sunday I believe 24 sleepers laid and four rails put in.
Thanks go to John Wood (for info and photos) Ian Stanworth, Roger Snowdon, Fergus, Georgie McNair and Andrews McClintock & MacCracken, special mention must again be made of Jim Clark for getting an emergency call to fix 7 plumbing leaks at Boat of Garten Station, when he only came to lay some track!

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Boat of Garten Bridge MSP - 18th March 2017

Ever since the Boat of Garten bridge was put in for us at Highland Council expense in 1996, the approaching trackbed on either side was raised considerably with a high point either end of the bridge but flat on the deck itself. Todays task was to finally rectify that and have a nice smooth curved vertical profile over the bridge seamlessly joining the existing track profile.
Above digging out every second bed continues on the high rail and using the sighting boards on the low rail for some major Measured Shovel Packing (MSP)
Once cross levelled by Georgie, taking in into account the cant of the curve and marking the measurement at each sleeper, the business of shovelling in under the sleepers, the predetermined exact amount of crushed chippies started,
fortunately the Diesel Multiple Unit was running to give us a break, at least Jim only gave Steve the Driver one finger and not two!
MSP complete by mid-afternoon, Georgie announces "a bit of slewing Boys" a few groans but novice Rigger Neil mastered the small but powerful Slewing Jack very quickly and he had the job done to Georgie's satisfaction too soon!
As Georgie got us to finish of the day by changing three broken chairs in the Yard, above Jim was well impressed with the hand drill, not sure which is the oldest?
Thanks go to Andrew, Andy, Roger, Jim, Neil and Georgie.
(Angus went and watched his team only draw with Ross County)