Monday 24 October 2022

External renovation of the Speyside Signal Box at Aviemore over 5th to 10th October.

 External renovation of the Speyside Signal Box at Aviemore over 5th to 10th October.

With the autumn weather setting in, a great push was needed to finish our remaining tasks before the weather changed.   The biggest hold up this time would be the completion of the windows, both glazing and painting, so with 12 panes of glass to be fitted a start was made to remove the old putty (which was very stubborn) along with the damaged glass, and then fit the new glass.

There was still quite a considerable amount of painting to complete, with more gray and white undercoats to apply before the final top coats where painted.  So a shout out to our friends in the p’way team was made, and they stepped up to help, which was very much appreciated.

From the top level down the final gray undercoat was applied, which allowed the ‘brown’ top coat to be finished, and this was followed by the remaining top coat of ‘pollen’ to the walls.  

This just left the white undercoat on the window frames before, the top coat of ‘banana dream 6’ could be applied. Three members of the Ellon squad joined us for the weekend when the vestibule was also sanded down and repainted to match the remainder of the box.

The windows were completed and on the Monday when all had departed, Ray and I did any touch-ups that were needed, and the window glass was scraped down and cleaned.  

The original paint colour on the window frames was dark brown, so this cream colour brightens up the appearance of the building, and also matches the North Box at Boat of Garten.

Thanks to the team; Mike Tough, Neil MacQueen, David Getliffe, Bob Vincent, Simon Hinsley, Jim Hardy, Nick Courtier, Jim Pittendrigh, Ray Kenyon  and Colin Frost.

The final work to complete the renovation of this box is planned to take place in March 23, before the running season commences.  The replacement stair case, which is currently stored under cover, will be fitted along with the handrails and associated timber work. 


Finally scaffolding will be erected on the west side – which will temporarily block access to roads, 6 & 7 of the Roy Hamilton carriage shed, but this will give us access to the west side roof and wall to complete the painting. 

Saturday 8 October 2022

Autumn S&T Report.

Autumn S&T Report

By Robert Law

With the coming of Autumn and the successful running season coming to an end. It is time for the winter program of work to come out of planning and begin. This year we have two big jobs, that we are preparing for. Firstly the upgrading of Dalfaber level crossing, along with timber renews of the table opposite Boat of Garten South Box. But to start with we have been doing some interesting cable renewals between our pole route and our signal lighting location. At the Up section starter at Boat of Garten.

The pole in question with a faulty cable coming down and new cable sitting on the bottom cross member, still to be connected.

As you would imagine this is a simple job and would be, if not working 8 metres up. With a safety harness on, pockets full of tools that prefer to be down on the ground. But yes, after going up and down several times to pick up the tool that was dropped. The 110v supply between the pole route and the signal lighting location was restored with a new cable 70 metres of length.

Looking down the wires before the new cable was installed.

Once the cable was replaced and tested at the signal lighting location. It was time to go up the next signal pole to check that the correct voltage was at the signal lamp. Good views to be had! No need for drones in this department.

Top of the Up Section signal looking back at the signal box.

On to Dalfaber, our department have been working heavily in the office, designing the new crossing for our railway. I am happy to report that this has all been successful and has been approved by the ORR and Highland Council. Small jobs have now started, such as the bonding of the track joints for the implementation of the new track circuits through the crossing operating area.

Rail drilling in progress for the bond wires to be fitted.

The end result, one of lots of joints that are bonded up to insure the track circuits work correctly.

As of the 31st October, the S&T department will be taking a possession of the line between Boat of Garten and Aviemore. With the help of contractors and our own P-way department. The removal of all the old level crossing equipment plus road deck and track will begin. This will then be replaced with new track, a new road deck, warning lights, barrier pedestals, flood lights and driver indication units. Plus all the other equipment associated with the new level crossing.

An earlier plan with some of the detail that has gone into this project.

Sorry to our association members who will miss out on the pre-AGM jolly, we hope that you can forgive us. It was hoped to have Dalfaber commissioned, before the Christmas season trains began. Unfortunately with some equipment now not been scheduled to arrive with us until the new year, modified working will be required for the Christmas season. The hope is now to have the new crossing commissioned before the trains start running in February.

The old, current table that is to be replaced at Boat of Garten.

Back to Boat of Garten, unfortunately at the same time, some large works is to take place here as well. The table opposite the signal box, that was install around 1978. Is now life expired and requires replacement. Unfortunately November is the only time that no trains are running on the railway. So with hope that the weather will be kind and Dalfaber goes to plan. It is planed to do this work at the same time. Preparation work has now begun with the table been made up on site ready to be lifted in after the old rotten one is removed. Sounds easy when you write it on hear but it involves a lot of work. The table it’s self measures 12ft by 5ft on top and goes down under ground by 3ft. 

Under the signal box new replacement cranks have been looked out. Unfortunately they have sat so long that they have stiffened up. Oil has been applied to help free them up. Closer to the time of installation they will get cleaned down and greased up ready to be installed.

Oiled up. Still to be cleaned and greased for use. 

The bottom and middle timbers screwed together and flipped over ready for the top.

Mid way through the build, with a delivery being made for the railway.

The table completed, wagons off loaded. MK2 loaded and Scotsman arrived.

The banner in this last picture summarises it very well! Do you have time to volunteer? This November with so much planned. The railway as a whole WILL need your help. Please get in Contact through the railway’s website if you can.

All are always, very welcome.

Saturday 1 October 2022

External renovation of the Speyside Signal Box at Aviemore

 External renovation of the Speyside Signal Box at Aviemore 

21st to 25th September.

By Colin Frost 

Our first task this time was to complete the replacement of the remaining timber on the south wall and the large beam on the northwest corner of the roof line, so with much measuring and cutting on the saw bench this was completed.   To replace all the areas of rot we have used 21250mm x 220mm of planking, four 100 x 100mm by 2.4mtr posts (to support the veranda) as well as numerous other pieces of timber found around Aviemore shed.  A replacement staircase and handrails have been built in hardwood and this will be placed in position once the scaffolding has been removed.  

South wall timber been replaced.

The replacement beams under the veranda.

We were joined by a squad from p’ way  on Friday, who sanded down the remaining brown paintwork and fitting flashband on the edges of the roof line, and rubbed down and painted the east side roof metalwork (wriggly tin).  Their help was very much appreciated.

Not the easiest surface to work on.

The gable ends being sanded down.

Top coat on one side of the roof.

Over the weekend we were joined by another three members of the Ellon squad who finished sanding down the remaining brown paint and applied a gray undercoat to those areas.  Finally the top coat of ‘pollen’ was applied, on the west wall, as far up the as can be reached, and also to the wall under the veranda.

The South wall painted as high as we can reach.

Top coat painted under the veranda.

This signal box is in daily use when our trains are operating and is essential to the operation of our railway. With thanks to our operating staff that are being patient with us working above, below and around them. The signal box has been showing us that it has been in desperate need of reconstruction to conserve it for the future.  

Thanks to the team; Mike Tough, Neil MacQueen, Roddy McPhee, new volunteer from Kingussie, Simon Hinsley, Dan and Nick Courtier, Jim Pittendrigh, Ray Kenyon  and Colin Frost.

12 panes of glass that are needed were measured up and ordered from Inverness.

Next time; final painting and glazing.