Sunday, 22 October 2017

PWay Maintenance - Croftnahaven 7th October & Kinchurdy 21 October 2017

There was a good turn out but only Georgie, Ben, Roger & Mike ventured out onto the track where between mp 91 & 91 1/2 (Croftnahaven) various routine maintenance tasks were dealt with. Other essential things had to be done however by the others. Those outside enjoyed a pleasant Autumn day in a peaceful spot 
Above -Digging out below the high rail sleepers ..this was dug out maybe 30 mm & left to settle
Also present were Ian who assisted Ian Stokes a Volunteer who was digitally surveying the yard at Boat for a site for a storage shed Strathspey Railway Association are planning to progress. Ian also had to assess tree clearance needed at Aviemore Head shunt & was then with Neil Howie who appeared with a former work friend also Mike & they got into the faulty jacker packer & it seems the problem has been found & the machine will be in action soon. Valuable spares were retrieved from the other machines & taken inside where 2 almost new rail saws obtained by Davie Dow from a railway yard in Glasgow were spotted & admired .. well done Davie.
The track work included clearing ballast from below around 10 sleepers at mp 91 1/2 on the up rail to get rid of a horrible hog in the up rail top. By the end of the day the trains had got the rail back to level & this was lightly repacked & left to bed in further.
Afterwards & without Andy the expert measured shovel packing (MSP) tin man we did MSP at maybe 10 joints & dips around the curve & got a well done from the boss.

An out of focus Roger focussed on getting chippings to the MSP points. 
Thanks to Mike for the above information and photos.
Yesterday's P'Way saw another calm dry Autumn day, the location very close to Kinchurdy Bridge and the task was to dig out the sleeper ends to start the improvement of the drainage, above Mike in foreground, then Fergus, Andy and in the distance Martin Macleod fortuitously filling in a gap in the Track Inspection Roster (Lennon his high viz dog off camera but thanks go to both of them for this vital task)
and renew the ballast shoulder which was previously dropped in the "four foot" (between the rails)  Ben with a grape full of fresh ballast, Andy brushing the dirt off the sleepers and Georgie trying to tidy up our efforts on ballast shoulder and level cess. 
Last Down train of the day passes over Kinchurdy Bridge and thanks to Fergus for clearing out the steps down the steep embankment, making it an easier walk down to our cars after an exhausting day. 


Monday, 2 October 2017

Painting and Bo'ness Trip - 23rd & 24th September 2017


As promised Reg Stanley above and Bruce Buswell below, painted the recycled platform copings and sleeper stop at the well end of the turntable at Aviemore, they also painted the granite blocks that guide road vehicles safely round the exit to car park. Reg continued with painting the base stones to the new sign by the turntable (I am sure the fruits of Reg's working holiday will take sometime to spot around the railway)
Bruce thought it was "an act of geological vandalism" obliterating them in white masonry paint!
828 departing Aviemore with the Sunday Dining Train 24th Sept.
Above photos and info all courtesy of Bruce.
Saturday 23rd saw a number of us from the PWay squad (above) get a guided tour of the extensive site at The Bo'ness & Kinneil Railway. Many thanks to our guide Steven Ramage (above back right) who gave us our behind the scenes view and threw in a visit to the on-site Museum of Scottish Railways (well worth a further future visit), we then returned to where we had had breakfast, the Station CafĂ© for a cheap wholesome lunch before using our Strathspey Working Members Passes for a trip up to Manuel and back, washed down by a beer or two. All in all a worthwhile day out.  


Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Silted up Level Crossings - 16th September 2017

The good sized P'Way squad met at Boat of Garten, loaded the appropriate tools into Georgie's van and proceeded to Lynchurn No 2 Level Crossing. Where for sometime now water has been running off the main A95 trunk road, down the short dirt track onto the Level Crossing, depositing a considerable amount of silt contaminating the ballast, which all had to be dug out by backbreaking shovel. This is the second time that I recall having to this at this location, plan is to use the JCB to dig ditches to hopefully prevent a reoccurrence.
Andy, Andrew, Ben, Roger and Mike (left to right) pose for Iain Ross at Lynchurn No 2. (I suspect fresh ballast will be dropped after ditches dug) The squad then went onto Croftnahaven No 2 level crossing to repeat the process and coachscrews inserted to keep the flangeway clear, alas no photos as what seemed like the remnants of hurricane Irma! forced the squad into the palatial barn to shelter.
Ian and John tried to mend the Jacker Packer at Boat of Garten North Yard and then assisted some of the Ellon Squad tidying scrap there.
On Sunday Andy, Bruce, Fergus and Georgie put in flangeway screws in Lynchurn No 2 and finished off tidying up, possibly also the cess at Aviemore Station loop.
Yesterday Bruce was painting with Reg Stanley (who is up for two weeks "Holiday", so best not standstill for too long when Reg is about!)
Thanks to all those that attended and for info/photo.

Friday, 1 September 2017

Aviemore Turntable Sign & Fishplate Oiling - 30th August & 2nd September 2017


The original sign was well past its use by date.



 Ray Kenyon and Colin Frost painted the supports first over the 24th & 25th of July.

Whilst PPS Glass Fibre Ltd of Inverurie (they also did the Roy Hamilton sign) fabricated the wooden former, encapsulated in fibreglass, with raised acrylic letters.

This was delivered at 1030 Wednesday 30th August, with the help of Colin Vaughan driving the Coal Loader, it was lifted into place, held in position with nine fixing bolts and the job was successfully completed by lunch time.



The Team on the day, left to right - Colin Frost, Jim Clark, Ray Kenyon, Andrew McCracken and Mike Tough (who took the photos)


We are deeply indebted to Colin who paid for the fabricated board, letters and delivery costs as a kind donation to the Strathspey Railway Co. 
As Colin says "it should never need further attention in future - weather permitting!"
Today the P'Way squad continued fishplate oiling from 92 1/4 milepost towards Broomhill, after Georgie found us some more oil. Above left to right Roger Snowden, Roddy MacPhee and Ben Tyrell with a busy Broomhill Station in the background, the three coaches came from Cruise Maritime & Voyages cruise ship Columbus berthed at Invergordon for the day,
hopefully they appreciated the great weather and scenery, we were hot & bothered and too busy trying to rapidly finish off fishplate oiling, for the season

although Mike Tough had time to gaze for safety reasons you understand! 


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.