Monday, 14 August 2017

Milepost Vegetation Clearance - 14th August 2017

Today Myself, Ian Stanworth, Mike Tough and Andrew McCracken had a midweek PWay day. We set off walking from Boat of Garten towards Aviemore in pouring rain, the plan was to strim and cut the vegetation round all the quarter mileposts and improve the sighting at Level Crossings enroute. As time went on our tools let us down, one loper was useless and one saw broke 
and the vegetation just got thicker and thicker in the form of broom, which seems to have taken over the lineside in places. Above Andrew rediscovers the 86 milepost, whilst Mike and I tried to dispose of the cuttings as best as we could but had difficulty keeping up with the prodigious output of "Machine McCracken"!
Looks like the grass snake? had the right idea sheltering from the constant rain under one of the fire beaters.

At the end of the day Andrew (the "lineside forager") got his reward - chanterelle mushrooms apparently. 

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Bridge, Painting and Oiling - 5th August 2017

Dislodged & loose small pieces of sandstone cladding below the walkway at the Boat of Garten Nethybridge Road under bridge were made safe on 30/17/7 by Mike Tough. Until such time as 2  other potentially loose sandstone pieces were removed a temporary speed restriction was imposed. This was done on 4/8/17 by Ian Stanworth & Mike & the restriction lifted to the relief of the footplate crews. Other minor repairs to coping stones are planned.
Ray Kenyon and Colin Frost did some painting over 24/25 July of the gates by the Engine Shed at Aviemore. 
Above before
And after
The new board holding the signs on the middle of the gates has been made, and painted by Jack in the carriage shed and will be fitted to the gates when completed. Thank You to Colin for information and photos and as he says "improved kerb appeal". Another painting job was started but I will save it for the completion photos.
As per my last Blog the PWay Squad finished fishplate oiling at the 89 milepost, or so we thought, during a subsequent weekly Track Inspection, I noticed one spanner, one oil can opposite the 89&3/4 milepost and that the fishplate oiling had been completed up to that point. A big thank you to the unknown Warrior.

Today's Soldiers above - left to right John Wood, Andy McClintock, Ian Stanworth, Mike Tough, Roger Snowden, Ben Tyrell and Neil Howie (who took the photos and info) managed to complete an amazing mile and a quarter.

Glad to see Ben is still smiling as they approach Tullochgorum Bridge where they finished for the day.



Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Ellon and C&W Team Work - early July 2017

Ray Keynon measuring up the rather dilapidated running-in board on the Down platform, 14th of May.
Fast forward to June 30th and the Up and Down boards are ready to be loaded from old Speyside platform at Aviemore onto Fish & Chip Special Diesel Multiple Unit, to conveniently convey them to their final destination. I believe Colin Frost above left paid for the new boards, many thanks, what I don't believe is that William Dodds from the Carriage Shed did the restoration, as they look too Good!!! (subsequently found out that a whole team from the C&W Department were involved, apologies to ALL, hopefully Keith's Blog will give due credit)
The following day Nick Coutier, Colin Frost, Dan Courtier, Jim Hardy & Ray Keynon (who took the above photos) erected the boards as well as cutting the grass by the picnic tables. 
Many thanks to the Ellon Team for their hard work over the weekend which also included finishing off the Train Watering plumbing works at Aviemore Station.
More recent works done by the PWay Squad included - grass strimming at Boat of Garten and Broomhill thanks to Ian Stanworth, manning the footcrossing at Boat of Garten during the Family Gala Weekend - Thanks to Roger & Andy and of course a continuation of Fishplate oiling, now on the Boat of Garten to Broomhill section. Thanks to Ben Tyrell, Ian Stanworth & Mike Tough for completing 3/4 of a mile in very wet weather.
Which looks as if cleared up by close of play.

Saturday, 1 July 2017

More Fishy Tales - 30th June & 1st July 2017

The PWay Weekend started early for Volunteers from all Departments & Partners totalling nearly 60, as the Strathspey Railway Association organised a "Fish & Chips Special" in the form of hiring free gratis - Bob Faulkner's Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) from Aviemore to the Bridge over the River Dulnain.
Also many thanks to Bob for his expert Driving and stopping in time! Celebrated by stalwart Volunteer Martin Macleod, finding an appropriate beer in his collection for the evening.   
Above some Volunteers queue up in the car park at Broomhill, to be served very tasty fish & chips supplied by our local fish & chip "van". Thanks to Helen and Nick Thomson for putting on a good spread of condiments and "refreshments" in the Station.

Due to the remoteness of where we finished off fishplate oiling the last time, most of the large squad managed to get an early lift from Bob and his DMU, on the Saturday morning to milepost 86 as it went "Empty Coaching Stock" back to Boat of Garten. Above is a hurried shot of the first service train near 59 & 1/4 milepost.
Thanks go to Neil Howie(fore ground), Mike, Angus, John, Roger and Andrews Maclintock and McCracken for completing nearly a mile and 3/4's in one day, finishing at Dalfaber Level Crossing, which many of our Volunteers have been seeing rather a lot of recently-
as the Highland Council's crossing lights have been defective for in excess of a fortnight - necessitating our Flagmen to stop the road traffic. It seems to me as a Volunteer, just maybe Highland council could see fit as recompense for all our man hours & inconvenience, to use their Road Sweeper/Gully Sucker to remove all their accumulated dirt in the flangeway between the road and rail at the crossing, as it is on our to-do list, just haven't worked out a safe way to do it, as it is a busy road. 

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?