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Final 2014 Bulletin
TOWIEMORE WASHOUT 8TH OCTOBER 2014
On the night of Tuesday the 7th October 2014 and into the morning of Wednesday 8th October 2014 the area was deluged with torrential rain. An inspection revealed that the trackbed had been washed out near Towiemore at the same site where we had suffered an earlier washout in September 2009. 1st photo above shows that at least 5 sleepers were suspended in mid-air, while 2nd photo shows the drain pipe inserted after the 2009 washout clear of the ballast. 3rd photo shows, at bottom right, the edge of the culvert which is supposed to channel the burn below our line and into the river Isla.
It was decided that more drainage was required at this location to deal with the volume of water coming down the burn under flood conditions. Accordingly a works train was organised on Saturday 11th October 2014 with the UDV shunter and the loaded dogfish ballast wagon with extra drainage pipes aboard. Right photo shows the work train halted at Drummuir while a red banner and light are placed to prevent any rail vehicle entering the section of line under works possession.
On arrival at the work site the Permanent Way team assess, discuss and prepare to repair the damage.
The road rail digger was soon in action tidying up and excavating the break in the embankment to the required depth to take the new drainage pipes.
A small team turned their attention to the channel where the burn enters the river Isla. The channel had silted up with ballast washed from the embankment and other debris washed down by the river. The team set to and dug out the channel so the burn could flow freely into the Isla.
Up on the embankment the rest of the team were cutting pipes to the required length and positioning them below the rails. The depth of the excavation is nicely shown by one of our volunteers crouched alongside the pipe below the rails in the right photo.
Work continues to get the pipes in place.
With the pipes in position the team begin to backfill the ballast over and around the pipes.
The work is virtually complete. The 1st photo shows the cleared channel for the burn. Mid photo shows three of the pipes poking out of the ballast on the river Isla side. 3rd photo shows all four pipes embedded in the ballast on the burn side. It is worth noting that one of the earlier photos shows the burn water lapping at the copping stones above the culvert in this 3rd photo.
The work was completed in time to run a charter the following Saturday.
THE GHOST TRAIN
WARNING: The following report is not for those of a nervous disposition as it contains extremely graphic photographs. If this is you then please scroll rapidly down the page to the next section.
On Friday 31st October 2014 and Saturday 1st November 2014 The Ghost Train departed from Dufftown at 18:00 with no one on board sure when or if they might return! All 80 seats on both trains were fully booked more than a month in advance of the departure date. According to reports filtering through the ether they had a lovely frightful time.
The following 2 sets of photos show some of the sights that met them at Dufftown Station.
The next 3 sets of photos show some of the characters encountered on the train.
The train paused at Drummuir and the following 2 sets of photos give a glimpse of the scary spectacle that met the passengers there.
Finally 4 photos of passengers entering into the spirit of the occasion
In 2015 the railway will be looking for another bunch of intrepid adventurers to ride the Ghost Train departing from Dufftown, details on the Events page. It’s sure to be a FRIGHTFUL night!!
The railway ran Santa Specials on 6th / 7th, 13th / 14th & 20th / 21st December 2014. All trains were fully booked well before the first train ran. Following are some photos of the trains, if you were on our Santa Specials you may be able to find a photo of yourself.
These first photos show waiting room at Dufftown station and the Chief Elf with some of her helpers.
Here we have a loaded train with Santa and helpers waiting to depart from Dufftown. One of our younger passengers.
Some of the passengers on the Santa Specials.
Following photos were taken at The North Pole where there were plenty of photo opportunities.
Following photos show some of the passengers on the return from the North Pole.
A final farewell, for 2014, from Santa on the Keith and Dufftown Railway.
After the close of scheduled services in 2014 work restarted on the run round loop and extra track into the engine shed at Dufftown. The point to lead into the loop was laid in February 2011 and then locked out of use until such time as the loop was laid. Having in the meantime acquired rail and points the loop begins to take shape.
In addition to the loop we are laying a siding at the Keith end of the loop for some of our rolling stock. First photo above shows the new points being craned into position by the RRV on already laid sleepers. Final adjustment is done by hand in the next photo. Final photo, taken from RRV shows points in position and sleepers in place ready for rail to be laid and connected to the loop entry point.
First photo shows the points being fixed in position. Middle photo: Taken from the loop entry point laid in 2011 shows the mainline into Dufftown platform on the left, in the middle track going into the loop and onto the siding point. The stub of track to the right is the beginning of the siding. Final photo shows sixty feet of the loop track laid, with sleepers being positioned for the next sixty feet of the loop. No more than this 120 feet of loop will be laid at present to allow access for road vehicles, along the loop trackbed, to the shed to lay the concrete floor.
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. These 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:-
For details of the above use Appeals link to the left or click this link: Appeals
From 2015 the Buffer Stop will become 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. The buffer stop will open on Tuesday the 24th March under the new franchise operators. 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.
VOLUNTEER EVENT:- 11:00am ON SATURDAY 21ST MARCH
Come along, talk to our volunteers, see what our volunteers do, find out if you have any special skills that would be of use to the railway. An opportunity to see at first hand our volunteers and their work. If you think that you would like to join us you can be sure of a warm welcome.
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!