Wednesday 16 February 2022

S&T Winter works

 S&T Winter works.


Written by Robert Law

It’s been a bit quite on the S&T front over the winter period, I am afraid! But still we have been working away trying to keep out of the worst of the weather. Plans have been made and changed and put at the bottom of the pile as priority’s change. 

A view from the summit looking in the Up direction towards Aviemore 

The pole route between Boat of Garten and Aviemore is getting our attention while the railway is closed. It has survived the latest round of storms. Thankfully there was only a few branches down along the line and none of them landed on the wires. Definitely got away lightly with that one. 

A trip out, doing line proving after the storms 

The pole route has since been walked and each pole has been given a health review. There is a good number of poles that are showing there age and requiring replacement, with four that are at the top of the list! With two more not that far behind.

Looks not to bad from the line side, A nice solid pole!

Not the best when you look at the base!
Which engine crew burnt this one I wonder! 

Looks ok as a hole?

Found a hole at the bottom!
Rotten from the inside, but still standing!

In total there are eight poles that are on the watch list and we will get to them in the coming years. The P-way is about to put a large order in to the sawmill in the next few weeks. All going well, we will be able to get the poles added on to the order.

Boat of Garten North cabin has not seen much work from the S&T. Although the p-way has been doing a lovely job of tidying up and putting in a retaining wall in to stop the ballast from slipping away.

A view a nice tidy job. A few bit on the other side to go to the sandpit.

With the increasing amount of trains now been routed into up platform from the south. The Scotsman and the odd charter train to name a few. It’s time to adapt the signalling system to suit what is becoming a more common feature of the railway. To achieve this FPLs need to be installed to both 13B and 17B points, to start with! Then on top of that fouling bars, detector rods and detectors. With signal wires diverted through a new detector on 17B points and a new signal to be installed too! But not all at once this will take time to complete! All this is instead of the current approved written procedure. Of both points been clamped and scotched before a train with passengers onboard is allowed to travel over them in a facing direction. This project will help to improve the safety on the railway for both trains and our ageing signallers. Taking away the need for a wheelbarrow with two clamps and scotches each time a passenger train is routed into the up platform from Aviemore.

Tools arriving to the job, with all the components for installing the FPL to the side.

13B points with its FPL equipment installed. To be connected to the signal box in due course.

17B points FPL equipment installed, rodding will be connected to the signal box in due course.

The stumbling point for this project is the need to replace the timbers on the lead off table in front of the signal box. I’m told that the current timbers were installed 40+ year ago! Plus where second hand when they came to the railway. So I think they have done very well and are entitled to be retired, as they are completely rotten! Until this is done we are unable to move/install the cranks on it, to create the space and connection for the rodding to the signal box. Again this wood is going to be added to the order going into the sawmill.

Timber not in the best of condition. Leaves have been cleaned away since this picture was taken. 

You can see the space between the rodding, this is the space that the new rodding is going to fit into. I do believe S&T of past have left this space on purpose, for the reason of what it is going to be used.  Thank you! 

On top of all this work! It’s time to start the maintenance of all the S&T equipment before the start of the season. If you have time, can drive a grease gun and oil can. A spanner too is useful! Then please get in touch through the railways website. We are always looking for extra help.