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) 


Monday, 13 March 2017

Roy Hamilton Carriage Storage Shed plumbing & drainage - 10th&11th March 2017

With time running out before the new Catering starts on the Railway, a large squad was called on to get things done quickly, the digging was mostly done on the Friday.
Above Rigger Neil leaning on smallest spade ever, looks on enviously at the swift removal of earth and who says size doesn't matter! Martin is glad of the break. 
Above Colin and Plumber Jim.
Mike Tough reports- "The water to the shed had to be turned off whilst we plumbed in the new toilets in the Shed ...this caused drama & delay to the power washing of the 08 ahead of it’s imminent paint job .. all ended ok & the new toilet’s were working by lunchtime & Jim as is the plumbers right, demanded first use, Jim subsequently reported there were no leaks "which is above average""
 Mike managed to lose Colin's best file over the two days and had to take the associated ribbing.
Thanks go to Neil Howie, Martin McLeod, John Wood, Colin Frost, Jim Clark, Ray Kenyon who sent many photos and Mike for the report and Georgie for the JCB digging. 

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Aviemore Switch Timber renewal - 4th March 2017

Even though the weather forecast was not looking good at all, eight willing Permanent Way volunteers turned up as promised, meeting in the shelter of the Mess Van, which had previously been strategically positioned just South of the Aviemore Station Pedestrian Level Crossing. The task was to change 8 Switch Timbers, which had been individually identified by Georgie as life expired. They were purchased cut to measure from Raddery Sawmill on the Black Isle. 
Above taken by Mike Tough in early 1998, when our track alterations took place in the former Back Platform and yard at the recently refurbished Mainline Aviemore Station. 
Again from Mike's 1998 collection (a Sunday at 1008ish, I guess), showing a younger looking Andrew McCracken in foreground and others? possibly preparing way for the catch points.
Anyway back to yesterday....
An older Andrew (not sure about the wiser!) casting an eye over Fergus.
The longest Timbers were 16 foot, may have been a bit awkward getting them in, due to proximity of fence and of course the platform.
Did someone say tea?
Possibly thankful that there was a Private Photo Charter running Saturday & Sunday, giving them a break when the Loco run round, the photos don't convey the horribleness of the weather. Thanks to John Wood for last three photos and info. 
Sincere thanks to Andy McClintock, Bruce Buswell, Jim Clark, Angus MacPhail, Martin MacLeod, John Wood, Andrew McCracken and Fergus for enduring the extremely wet and cold conditions for the entire day (weather looked better in 1998!) and as always completing the task set. Again thanks to Bruce, A.McClintock and Georgie for tidying up the site today.



Saturday, 25 February 2017

Improvements to Roy Hamilton Carriage Shed - 25&26 February 2017

  The first job was to dig a trench (easier said than done) and bury the mains water pipe, so that it does not freeze and watering of the Kitchen Coaches can be done in all conditions on "Road 6" in The Roy Hamilton Carriage Storage Shed.
As preparation/cleaning up of the Dining Train is done at this location it means the sink effluent goes onto the track at the same place, building up over time.
The solution comes from an unexpected source - the tops of two double sided cattle feeding troughs! ("Graham Sutherland has his uses") Strategically positioned on a slight slope, with holes drilled in them
to drain away the dirty water.
Another improvement at the back of the Shed, was hoisted into position today using our Road Rail Machine, having been purchased at reasonable cost from a Plant Hire firm in Portlethen is?????
In passing the Down and Up Platform renovations at Boat of Garten have been competed by Georgie and Vic the Builder. 

A Male and Female toilet, for use by the Catering Staff, once they have been plumbed in and probably eventually electrically wired into the mains. 
I presume the Womens' are on the right because they always are, RIGHT that is!
Thanks over the Weekend go to Colin Frost, Ray Keynon, Neil and Dan Coultier, (part of the Ellon Gang) Georgie, Mike Tough, Jim Clark the Plumber and Ken Donaldson for collecting them with a trailer. 


Saturday, 18 February 2017

Track Slewing Lackgie - 18th february 2017

Todays task was "a bit of slewing" according to Georgie!
As the section to be slewed included Lackgie Level Crossing, the majority of the timbers had to be temporarily lifted as below. 

The next task was to dig out the sleeper ends, so as the ballast would not impede the intended lateral movement of the track. In total 16 x 60 foot lengths of rail were slewed, which nearly killed John as the slewing jack is a very heavy indeed, Jim was on the lifting jack and allegedly worked just as hard (no photos though!)
Fortunately today was the first weekend service running of the DMU - Diesel Multiple Unit  or "Vintage Panoramic Railcar" in marketing speak, anyway it gave all a short break whilst it approached and passed. The rest of the squad packed the ballast at the opposite end of the sleeper ends that had been dug out, to prevent the track from springing back to its original alignment and back filling and tidying the dug out ends, all under the watchful eye of Georgie.

Busy scene here reinstating the timbers

and then ballasting all around them, lets hope the rainbow landed in the till at
Broomhill Station.

Of course as there was such a big squad, the job finished early and Georgie decides that a bit of tidying up of ballast is always in order!
Thanks to Georgie, Andy, Angus, Andrew, Jim, John, Martin, Rodger, with Mike and Ian joining in the afternoon after their Strathspey Railway Association Board meeting. 
Thanks again to John for photos and information.