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Spring 2015 Bulletin
TOWIEMORE HALT REINSTATED
In November 2014 a grant was received from REAP to undertake the reinstatement of the platform at Towiemore. One of our volunteers, Russell Stewart, offered to carry out the work and in March 2015 the work was started and completed in one continuous period of ten days. The following photographs show the work in various stages.
The above photos show the initial stages of the work. Left photo shows a mini digger clearing the ground for the platform retaining wall. Middle photo, the foundations for the retaining wall, right photo the blockwork of the retaining wall begins to rise.
Left photo shows the blockwork virtually complete. Middle photo shows the infill behind the retaining wall. Right photo shows the work on the platform from the track side.
Left photo shows Rod Furr KDRA Chairman, on left, and Russell Stewart discussing the platform edging. Next two photos show the service DMU approaching the platform on gauging trials. Checking that the platform edging will not obstruct the passage of rail vehicles.
The service DMU safely alongside the platform the crew and Russell discuss the work so far and agree the position of the platform edging. Note the platform is only long enough for one coach so if leaving the train at Towiemore, passengers will need to be in the appropriate coach.
Left photo shows some of the platform edging in place from the rail side. Middle photo Russell makes adjustments to one of the edging slabs. Right photo the completed edging from the platform.
Left photo shows all the platform edging in place from the rail side. Middle photo shows the completed edging from the platform. Right photo the platform has been surfaced with stone chippings.
These three photos show the completed platform from either end and from the rail side.
The platform is now complete and ready for the opening of the railway on Friday 3rd April. A very big thank you to Russell for a tremendous effort in the single handed completion of the work in just 10 days. The shelter will need to be re roofed and smartened up for any passengers who use Towiemore Halt but that is another job. The halt will not see regular stops by the trains but will be a request stop. If joining the train from the halt please signal to the driver by extending your arm at right angles to your body. If alighting from the train speak to the guard who will notify the driver to stop at Towiemore. Fares to Towiemore from Keith or Dufftown will be the same as those to Drummuir. Hopefully by the next update of this news page we will have photos of the first passengers joining the train and alighting at Towiemore.
As reported in the previous update of the News page a new point and two panels of track (120 feet) have been laid at the start of the new Dufftown platform loop and second track into the engine shed. The new point will also lead into a siding at the Keith end of the platform loop which will give us more storage and operating space for our rolling stock. The new track in the platform loop went over the site of the lever frame and the routing of the point rodding which were used to control entry to the main line and goods yard loop so these were removed prior to track laying. A new lever frame was installed with sufficient levers to control the points mentioned above and the points giving entry to main line, platform loop and siding at the Keith end. The main line entry and goods yard loop points needed to be operated by the new lever frame in time for our service trains to start running on 3rd April. The following photos show the installation and connecting of the levers, point rodding and facing point lock.
Left photo shows a group of volunteers installing and attaching the point rodding to cranks which are in turn linked to the lever frame. Middle photo shows one of our volunteers attaching point rodding to the facing point lock on the main line. The start of the new platform loop is to the left of him and the goods yard loop to the right. Right photo shows the run of point rodding alongside the new loop to the main line entry point and facing lock.
Left photo shows the new lever frame and the rodding from it to the cranks. Next photo shows the rodding reaching the cranks and then the rodding running from the cranks alongside the new loop to the main line entry point and facing lock. Right photo shows The Wee Mac being run into the new loop.
First photo shows a volunteer operating the levers that control the facing point lock and main line / goods yard loop points. Next photo shows the UDV shunter being coupled up to our dogfish ballast wagon ready to move the ballast into the new loop to ballast the track there. Last photo shows The Wee Mac pulling the dogfish wagon along the loop as the ballast is dropped from it onto the track.
First two photos show the entry point to the new loop being moved manually then clamped and locked in position so that rail vehicles can be moved over it safely. Last photo shows a works trolley being hand propelled on the new loop. The works trolley is invaluable for carrying track components and tools for the permanent way gang.
These two photos show new loop in use to hold some of our rolling stock. First photo shows the Class 140 DMU being propelled into the new loop. Final photo shows, from left to right, Standby Class 108 DMU on the headshunt off the goods yard loop, Service Class 108 DMU on the main line, Class 140 DMU on the new loop and The Wee Mac also on the new loop.
Over the winter work has being progressing on turning the waiting room at Dufftown station into a museum and shop. The above photo shows some of the items on display.
Bob the painter
We owe a big thank you to one of our volunteers, Bob Balmer, who has been painter in chief for the rolling stock of the railway. He has been helped by numerous volunteers but has always led the painting projects. In fact he has earned two accolades on the railway, first the nickname “Bob the painter” and secondly the saying “if it’s not moving Bob’ll paint it”!!
The Board has agreed that the following are the priority projects:
Short Term – To complete the loco shed by laying the floor and installing a second track within the shed.
Medium Term – To provide or reinstate 4 railway halts. One of these halts, Towiemore is now operational, the remaining halts are still under discussion with all interested parties so no further details can be provided at this stage.
Long Term – To re-establish a rail connection at Keith Junction Station.
An appeal was launched in 2010 to move the modern shed then located at Drummuir to Dufftown. The shed was re-erected at Dufftown May 2012 and most of the work is now complete, indeed the shed has already proved its worth by enabling us to repaint and overhaul some stock. Installing the floor and laying a second track into the shed are now the priorities.
The Track Appeal was set up to raise funds for the second track into the engine shed. The appeal took the form of purchasing a sleeper, for £10, for the second track. The names of those purchasing a sleeper are recorded on a chart at Dufftown Station.
Shed Target:- £25,000
Shed Collected:- £25,556 as at 04/02/2015
Track Target:- £3850 (385 sleepers)
Track Collected:- £3850 as at 04/02/2015
A very large and heart felt thank you to all who have contributed to the appeals. The Shed Appeal and Track Appeal are now closed but any donations received will now be directed to the new Floor Appeal.
Having raised funds to dismantle, move, re-erect and improve (end doors, power and light) the shed and to purchase the necessary sleepers for the loop and shed track we now are launching an urgent appeal to raise funds for a concrete floor and service pit in the shed. We have secured a number of quotations for the work involved and estimates for the project are in the region of £25,000. We are launching an appeal for a concrete floor and service pit in the shed to be known as the Shed Floor Appeal.
Shed Floor Appeal Target:- £25,000
Shed Floor Appeal Collected:- £550 as at 21/3/15.
For details of the above use Appeals link to the left or click this link: Appeals
From 2015 the Buffer Stop became a franchise operation. The new operation will be open for 6 days of the week, Tuesday to Sunday from 9.00am to 7.30pm for traditional home fayre, teas, coffees, cold drinks, all day breakfasts, lunches, early evening suppers, home bakes and takeaways. These catering facilities will also be open on any Monday when the railway is operational. The buffer stop opened on Tuesday the 24th March under the new franchise operators, Angie Presly and Russell Stewart. See above for Russell’s work in reinstating Towiemore platform. Please note the Buffer Stop is not currently licenced to sell alcohol.
Although the Buffer Stop will be under new management from Tuesday the 24th March, the catering we do for our charters is being retained by KDRA and will be done in the Spirit of Dufftown under the name of KDRA Catering.
TUESDAY WORK PARTY
The Tuesday Work Party at Dufftown station has tended to concentrated on “light work” i.e. smaller tasks that tend to appear further down the list of priorities e.g. painting and keeping the environment tidy etc. However, of late they have been involved in more major work such as the refurbishment of our DMUs , the Brake Van, Permanent Way and a multitude of other tasks. We can find work suited to everyone’s ability.
Works trains and training runs on our DMU also take place. This is another reason why people should not trespass on the line at any time. We do not just run scheduled services as published in our timetable but works trains on any day of the week and at any time of the day. Many people assume that if there are no scheduled services on a day then there will be no trains but this is very wide of the mark. We can and do run works trains, training runs and line inspections on any day of the week and potentially at any time of the day. Please do not trespass on the line at any time.
Anyone interested in taking part in this group is asked to contact Alistair Coull on 01542 831295. There is always work for any pair of willing hands. Come along, learn something new or share your skills with others!