Thursday 11 May 2023

May Report for the S&T

 S&T Works Delivery and Faulting sagas.

By Robert Law

11th May 2023

One of the unusual movements during the Gala weekend.

This blog begins before the mixed gala event. For the Gala, there was a late request to make changes to the way that the Ground Frame at the north end of Aviemore station operates. Before the changes were made, the Ground Frame was released by either, the section key or the Shunt key. The Shunt key is retained in the frame at Aviemore Speyside cabin. For the smooth operation of the Gala, it was requested that the mechanical Shunt key, to be replaced with an electrical release from Speyside Cabin. Taking away the restrictiveness of needing to remove and return the shunt Key before a returning train from Boat of Garten, as the home signal can not be pulled if the Shunt key is removed from the frame.

Aviemore Speyside, with it freshly painted location cases. Finishing off the refurbishment work.

To achieve this, a lot of work was required. Designs needed to be drawn up and checked; a “new” location case needed to be re-serviced; 400 meters of cable needed to be repurposed and terminated;. two reconditioned relays to be wired up; a remote power supply to be created at the GF and lever locks needed  to be installed on the GF and plungers fitted. Just a small job! All this after finishing Dalfaber LC and only 6 weeks until the Gala. Happily, all was completed on time and this new equipment worked very well, allowing Operations more flexibility with the events intensive timetabling.

The “new” location case at Aviemore north GF
New plunger, for the electrical release of the GF

The new annett’s electrical release for the GF, released by the Shunt Key. So no alterations was required to the interlocking..

More information on the Aviemore GF project can be found in the previous blog post.

With this being the first time that the railway has been used to its full potential since pre-covid, naturally a few issues presented themselves. The largest problem being that 3 of, the remote power supply’s for the railway’s internal phone system had failed over the winter. Thus needing modified working to be put in place. After extensive investigation it was found that yes, 3 remote power supplies hade failed and that 300 meters of 50 year old telecoms cable had come of age and required replacement. This was identified by the large amount of “noise” on the line after the power supply’s had been replaced.

New temporary housing of the remote power supply at Boat South. This will get worked on and improved as time is found. For now it is working!

This work has now been completed new cables installed. These cables had been stored in the sand pit at Boat of Garten, so could be 10 years old already, but tests well. The internal phones are now working between Aviemore platform 3, Aviemore Speyside, Boat South and Boat North cabins. Work will continue to add extra phone locations onto the network at a later point.

Boat North looking a lot tidier with the old remote power supply removed and the new, now down below. Still a job in progress though.

Boat South phones and KT looking tidy after the Gala.

Now our attention is returning to Boat Of Garten with the next project. This project being, making the Up loop bi-directional, so passenger trains can be signaled North to Broomhill through the Up loop. With this project we are installing two new mechanical FPLs, up-grading a sub signal to a main arm and installing a new signal onto the up platform, with all mechanical detection at two ends of points as required. With this work, the interlocking of Boat of Garten South cabin will require to be changed significantly. Not a small job for our small department. 

The p-way have been at work and have built a retaining wall to stop the bank slipping down on to the rodding run.

We are planning a work week from the 10th of June through to the 17th of June if anyone is interested in coming along to help. Work will be varying, from small lighter jobs, to the digging and installing of new equipment tables. Don’t worry, Boat of Garten sits on fine sand formations and digging is really quite easy. Working hours will be between 10am and 4pm. If interested please contact us by email; if interested. I believe the p-way may be doing something this week too.