“A good exhibition that had books which showed map sections and satellite images of the complete route. There were a number of these for people to look at as well as extra copies of the more immediate area around Galashiels and Tweedbank. There was also a projection of an aerial view taken from a fairly low flying helicopter, I would presume of the complete route, from the Millerhill through to Tweedbank. In discussion with a member of the Network Rail team present he said that they had 85 visitors at the exhibition held at Stow, but that the meeting at Galashiels had been much busier with well over a hundred people through in the first hour of the four that the exhibition was open for. He also said that the vast majority, well over 80% were positive and those who had concerns were mainly about how the railway would impact on people personally, for example how high embankments that need to be re-instated will be. Overall he seemed really pleased with how positive the response of the visitors were. He went on to say that Network Rail should be establishing construction compounds about February time, so from then on there should be a much more visible construction presence along the line.
The last major work weekend of the year has been and gone, and what a great year it was! The weekend’s weather was relatively kind to us: sunshine and showers on Saturday and mist and cold on Sunday. With the painters’ scaffolding having been removed, work concentrated on the stock siding, which is now substantially complete. The final rails were placed into position in the six foot leg, all available sleepers installed and the whole job roughly lined with pinch-bars and good old muscle power. A further load of fifty sleepers will need to be inserted into the siding and headshunt in the spring, following which we’ll undertake some lifting and packing. The laying of concrete sleepered track through the level crossing on the Up line is also pencilled in for the February/ March period, after which we’ll be able to start shuffling our rolling stock into the order we need it.
Drainage installation is now complete on Phase 2a of the running line, with the new cess catchpit in place just north of the platform. This links with the cross drain and six foot catchpit installed way back in 2008, and collects water from the cess on the uphill side of the station as well as the ditches either side of the link path to the car park. The former unsightly “hole” in the banking behind the new catchpit has been backfilled with soil and dressed- off courtesy of Joe, our human JCB.
As usual, work now ramps down as we head into the winter, but things are still happening on site as the weather permits. If you’re planning a trip up to Whitrope, drop us a line on email@example.com and we’ll let you know what’s likely to be happening. The site usually shuts down from mid- December through to the beginning of February though.
Once again we offer our sincere thanks to all our volunteers, helpers, supporters and friends who’ve stuck with the project throughout 2012.
On running line Phase 2b, Scottish Borders Council have completed the topographical survey of bridge ETC/200 which we commissioned from them earlier in the month, and we now have the completed drawings in our possession. The dimension which really catches your attention is the depth of old ballast: despite having previously removed a decent layer of spoil from the bridge for platform infill, there’s still well over a metre of the stuff before you get to the crown of the arch. The next step is to engage the services of a bridge engineer to analyse the survey data in conjunction with a physical inspection on site, followed we hope with some positive findings going to our landlord, the Forestry Commission.