The final section of the Borders Railway is all new construction being on a different alignment to the old Waverley line. It leaves the old trackbed just south of Sherrifhall roundabout, then runs parallel to Millerhill road before cutting across the site of the old Monktonhall colliery. The area used to be a major coal producing zone with the associated huge marshalling yards at Millerhill. It is now all cleared land that has been designated as the site for a major housing and light industry development, which will be served by the new Shawfair station. Some of the Millerhill site is still in use but just a small part of what was a huge freight marshalling complex. The Borders Railway joins the Edinburgh sub line just south of Newcraighall station. This is an area that will soon be unrecognisable when compared with the landscape before the railway arrived. All the roads in the area are being re-aligned and what will be a massive housing development will transform a former derelict industrial landscape into modern commuter belt. This area is where the Borders Railway has completely transformed the surrounding area. It will be interesting to see if this happens at other areas along the route as time goes by.
A weekend of sunshine and showers saw a number of jobs advanced on site.
The paintwork on the Fowler continues to advance with work done inside the cab and on the panels. There was also some work done on the covers until a shower brought a halt to proceedings. The engine is coming back together and hopefully should see quite a bit of progress over the next couple of weeks.
The pw team continues to work on the point-work and completing the rodding runs for the point and locking arrangements.
A few visitors over both days saw the unit make some trips up and down the line.
Next Friday we are again hiring some plant in for a number of days so if anyone wants to pop up to lend a hand please come along. Hopefully we should be able to do a number of groundwork tasks that will allow several jobs to progress over the coming months.
The section of railway from Eskbank to Sherrifhall has a very rural feel with some pleasant scenery, particularly around Glenesk. The main structure in the section is Glenesk viaduct which as a listed structure and is being restored for use in liaison with Historic Scotland. The section ends at what was probably the most complex engineering challenge in the re-build of the railway. This involved building a road over-bridge carrying the A720 Edinburgh city by-pass over the railway. To achieve this the structure had to be built whilst maintaining the traffic flow along the by-pass. This involved constructing a new embankment to temporarily carry the road whilst the bridge was built. The temporary embankment is now being removed upon completion of the new over-bridge. All this has been achieved without any major road problems, surely a massive achievement for BAM the company re-building the railway.
A good turnout today saw a number of jobs undertaken and the good weather also brought out a reasonable number of visitors.
The boys from the 77021 group were up and took all the redundant electrical gear off the ground-frame. A much better day today than yesterday, when an afternoon was spent in the pouring rain working on the point rodding runs.
The damaged fish-plate at the north end of the platform was replaced, then some of the stock was shunted around to move the Northumbria Rail Mk1 into the compound so it will be accessible to work on.
Ian was doing a number of small tasks on the exhibition coach, whilst Bill and Alan were working on the exhibits on the platform.
Thanks to all the user of this blog, the site has just passed half a million views in what is its 5th year.
The section of railway from Newtongrange to Eskbank includes two of the lines iconic structures. The first being Newbattle viaduct a structure which has been incorporated into the logo for the new Borders Railway. The Victorian viaduct is the most imposing structure along the whole of the line and it will be great to see trains running across it once more. The second structure is the new viaduct which carries the railway across Hardengreen roundabout, not as ecstatically pleasing as the old viaduct in my view but still an impressive piece of civil engineering. The railway runs through what is now a suburban landscape exemplified by two new stations in fairly close proximity to each other.
The main job today was to complete the re-instatement of the running line. Some work by a small pw team and the unexpectedly available plant saw the rails replaced and one side clipped up, earlier in the week. This left today’s team to complete gauging, screwing down and clipping up the last rail. Once this had been packed and aligned the Ruston was run back up to the stock siding. The running line is now available again for passengers.
The two coaches in the bay platform were electrically connected up to the generator, allowing light and power through both coaches. In the buffet coach Ian continued work on fitting the recently received kitchen components. Alan was on site manning the exhibition and Mk2 buffet, now spread over two platforms!
Finally Joe was up for the weekend tending to the flower beds on the platform and the numerous other ground-works jobs on his list.
Monday again saw a good team up the hill, with a number of jobs to get done.
The first priority was to complete the shunt and have the Ruston, buffet coach and exhibition coach below where the track was to be slewed to give access to the bay. With the issue that halted the shunted on Sunday evening resolved the stock was successfully moved without any more problems.
Work now focused on starting to move the rails at the slew. This is a large task which involves disconnecting the rails on the running line slewing them across to connect them to the track into the bay. The rest of Monday was taken up starting this operation.
Tuesday, with the weather holding up fine, work on the slew continued. With a reasonable number of bodies up, some worked on the slew, whilst others ballasted and packed the track into the bay. There was even time for Baz to use the digger and bumper to move some of the spare hard-core from the car park to fill the depression in bridge 200.
The slew was completed by late afternoon. The Ruston was fired up and when everyone was ready the coaches were pushed back up the hill. They negotiated the slew without any problems and slowly edged into the bay platform. The coaches entered the bay platform first time without any issues around catching the platform wall, a really pleasing result. It was then time for a quick celebration with a splash of whiskey and a cup-cake for those present. After a quick clean up around the site it was a tired but very happy group that made for home.
Having the stock in the bay platform is a great achievement for the society and a great indication of what as a group we are capable of attaining. It is with the dedication and hard work of all the volunteers past and present that we have reached this point. Feel proud about what you have helped to achieve, you all deserve it.
Part of the photographs showing the move will go up on this blog with the rest being put up tomorrow.
A busy day up the hill saw progress on a number of fronts.
The track-work for the bay advanced further, will all the rail now in place, although there is still some ballasting, gauging, bolting, screwing, drilling and cutting to be done before they are all ready for use. A great effort by a small team which has advanced the works really well.
A big shunt operation was also carried out, with the aim of getting the two maroon coaches in a position where they are ready for pushing into the bay. The shunt was mostly completed, with just a couple more moves to be done tomorrow.
Thanks to everyone on site today for sticking with it on what turned out to be a fairly late finish.
The good weather continues as does the progress on the bay.
Friday saw the final section of the approach to the bay tidied up and levelled. With membrane and type 1 laid. On Saturday the rail went in and this was gauged and bolted up. By the end of the day the sleepers where set out for the section of rail which will go in tomorrow.
Elsewhere on site the Fowler continues to progress with all the side doors now in undercoat. Tom worked away in the cab preparing one of the tool cupboard for painting.
There is lots of activity around the exhibition coach and the buffet coach to get loads of jobs completed before it goes into the bay platform.
On Friday Iain Davies was up and did a good job strimming around the site. Saturday saw Joe take over the gardening duties with more grass cutting.
Good progress made across the site, thanks to all those involved.