Wednesday 24 November 2021

Dalfaber LC update.

 Dalfaber LC update,

24th November,

Written by Robert Law.

Yesterday was the start of the Ground survey work at Dalfaber LC. Which has continued into today. This work is been done by SYSTRA (rail consultants) assisted by Strathspey Railway on behalf of Scotia homes. Who is investing in the community’s infrastructure around Dalfaber. Trial holes have been dug to evaluate the ground. To see that it’s stable and how it is formed for the installation of the new Equipment. Plus making sure that there are no buried services under the ground that are not registered.

Half road closure put in place for the work to be carried out safely. The railway is closed and no trains are running or allowed to run between Boat of Garten and Aviemore while the work is ongoing.

Trial holes been bug for various different parts of equipment. Depending on the results of the Ground type, this will decide how large the foundations will need to be to support the equipment.

Radar imaging map been created to understand what buried services are under the ground. 

One hole 2 cable’s, now are they post to be their?

The coring machine doing it’s work to discover what the Highland Railway built the railway on.

What it left behind a little bit of back filling required.

An example of one of many cores taken today. Turns out mostly sand.

Manholes and under road cable ducts been inspected. To see if they are serviceable or requiring replacement.

A long look into a deep hole. All have been labelled photographed and documented for future reference. 

This is only an illustration of what is hoped to be achieved. It is not yet approved and is likely to change. At the moment the plan show a half barrier locally monitored crossing. With a white light to the drive to indicate the crossing is working correctly and red if it is not.

Overall from what I have been told it has been a very productive couple of days and that no major surprises were found. Work will progress in the future as plans and diagrams are created.

Information and photo’s supply by Stephen Muirhead and Colin Stirling who were on site.

Wednesday 10 November 2021

Autumn S&T Report

Autumn S&T report.

By Robert Law

Well it’s been a while and there is a few things to bring you all up to date with. There has been lot’s of small jobs done by various people. 

Boat yard on a late evening visit.

The big one has been the removal of the trees that were growing into the telegraph pole wires at the back of the Boat yard. The Burch trees will be recycled and should be keeping someone’s home warm this winter.

Our P-way department has been doing some points timber replacement around the Boat of Garten station area. This was requiring S&T presence for one day with the timber under the sole plate of 8 points at Boat South was requiring replacement. This resulted in use having to preform an FPL test after the timber had been replaced. Which it failed! Steps were taken to make the necessary adjustments to correct it. Which then had a knock on affect to the signal detection, which also required adjustment to get both the main line and shunt signals working again. By the shift end, everything was back in and working ready for the Royal Scotsman later that afternoon.

Work in progress replacing the timber.

The completed job, good for another 20 years.

The main work of the last 2 mouths has been getting the key token machines ready for use. This involved making some locking alterations to the Boat of Garten, Broomhill section. The signal Boxes at Boat of Garten are now switched in and out with the Boat - Broomhill section token instead of the Boat - Aviemore section token.

The new section tokens.

Having a look at the now “old” boat - Broomhill section key you can easily work out were it had come from. In around 2001 Nairn was re-signalled to what it is today. Most of the redundant equipment ended up at Boat of Garten, including the shunt key and locks used to release the GF at Nairn. Allowing trains into the sidings off of the up platform.

The “old” section token 

The locks at Broomhill have been changed with the locks that use to be in use at Aviemore about 6 years ago when this project was first started. You can see looking at the new keys that they are a different shape to the original. This has been done on purpose not by mistake! To make a clear difference between the old and new. Hopefully reducing confusion with drivers as they get use to the changes.

The changing of the locks.

Anyone fancy doing some painting? Both new locks fitted to the ground frames at Broomhill but a bit of painting would not go a miss.

Aviemore station GF 

Just a reminder of the locks that are fitted at Aviemore, the annex’s type lock was fitted a few years back now. The second is the shunt key that is released by Speyside box when the box is switched in and the train is in section with the section key. Allowing shunting to be carried out when the Scotsman arrives off the main line. 

Boat and Aviemore token machines 

In the middle of the night when the railway is closed and most people are not around. The professional S&T were around doing some independent testing for the Strathspey Railway. Checking that all was correct with the installation of our key token machines. Which they were quite happy with, just a slight earth issue coming from the batteries at Aviemore but well within tolerances. The key token machines have now been made available for our operations department to start training on them. Once the railways Rule Book has been updated to cover there operation, hopefully we can bring them into use!

Boat Up distant signal

On top of all this, work has started getting the railway signalling ready for the winter season train running. We currently have two battery lit signals on the railway. Both being distant signals, this one the Up distant at Boat and the Up distant at Aviemore. Both batteries have been changed and should be good for the next 3 mouth’s. All other signal lights have been checked and their signal sighting checked. No point having signals if the driver can not see them. Signal wire runs have been checked and slackened off as required with the colder weather. It’s only when you start writing things down that you realise how much work has actually been done.