SAK Rebuilt - Progress Report 10
Welding In August Sunshine!
In my last progress report, featuring pictures from 23/8/06, I had discovered that the First Engineering mobile rail welder had been moved to the eastern part of the SAK, having already welded up much of the rail required at the west end of the project. However since I'm normally at work during the day, I hadn't had a chance to see it working.
It was clearly time for another afternoon off work, and I chose to sign up to take the afternoon of 31/8/06 off to try and catch up with this machine in action (on my way to somewhere else since I try to pack a lot into my time off!). And I nearly did...
1. Knowing where to go to find the welder and the other plant that
works with it was half the battle, and I was lucky enough, as can
be seen here in a view taken from the most easterly of the
overbridges in Clackmannan, to get bright sunshine at Clackmannan
when I got there.
2. A closer view shows everything more clearly - except the welder! Of
course these people are working and aren't obliged to make it easy for
the onlooker to see what is going on, so I just had to wait for the
Liebherr 900 to swing round or move! In the background, snaking along
the edge of the trackbed, are at least 7 long lengths of rail that have
been welded up in the 8 days since my last report.
3. I'm not sure why there was a delay, but after apparently doing
nothing for a few minutes the Liebherr machine picked up a fresh
section of rail and lifted it into position.
4. Once the rail was positioned, and the Liebherr had re-positioned
itself, I was able to zoom in for a much closer view of the welder.
Admittedly, it didn't seem to be doing any welding despite having
been supplied with a fresh rail.
5. A longer view now showing clearly where the rail was now sitting, and
that the Liebherr machine is now straddling it, perhaps to allow it to
pick up one end for more precise positioning.
6. Despite no welding apparently having been done, the Liebherr soon backed
up a bit and swung round...
7. ... to pick up another rail! In the background is someone doing
something to the welder - perhaps it needed maintenance or some
part of it needed minor repairs that day. With rails being lifted into
place for welding, there was obviously nothing seriously wrong with
it. Cue for another lull in activity...
8. Having concentrated solely on the activity round the welder up to this
point, I now took the chance to zoom in on the Komatsu digger attached to
the other end of the section of welded rail that was (hopefully)
being welded up that afternoon. Astoundingly, given that no welding was
actually being done at that time, there was a driver on duty in
the cab - hope he wasn't too bored waiting for something to happen!
Incidentally my estimate in an earlier caption of at least 7 long sections
of rail having been welded up so far is actually based on this picture
since they can be seen so clearly. In fact since the one on the right
seems to be sitting on top of the others, there might even be an 8th
rail under it.
9. After standing on the bridge at Clackmannan for a fair while with
only the Liebherr 900 machine having done any work, I was starting to
get a bit bored, and even it moving out of the way allowing me to see
more clearly the two rails it had previous lifted didn't help much.
I fimed it anyway though! And then decided to give up as it wasn't
clear if there would be any welding at all before they packed up for
I was a little bit disappointed not to have seen any actual welding at Clackmannan, but there was no doubt that it had been busy that week and that real progress toward actual tracklaying was now being done east of Alloa. Whatever next...
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