SAK Rebuilt - Progress Report 16

Track In Clackmannan

This progress report, featuring pictures from 11/11/06. is from yet another visit to the eastern section of the SAK, namely my third in 8 days! However anyone who has seen my last two progress reports (14 & 15) will know that I had good reason to visit the Clackmannan area as I wanted to find out if the tracklaying machine shown in the last two project reports had worked right through Clackmannan to Helensfield (where a missing bridge would prevent it continuing). There was every chance that it had done so, but I just had to know!

At this point I had better admit a slight subterfuge in the layout of this page - normally I work through my captured camcorder pictures in roughly the order of the original filming, but I have more or less reversed the order this time so that I can start (approximately) where the tracklayer stopped work for the day in the last report, and work west. Not that it matters much since the whole lot was filmed in under 20 minutes...

1. This first picture shows the straight section east of Clackmannan, complete with nearly straight track! On the day covered in my last progress report, the tracklayer had laid track perhaps half the distance from the curve toward this bridge, and thus would have crawled under the bridge sometime on Thursday 9/11/06.


2. Zooming in reveals more clearly that there is a section of unused welded rail still sitting at the side of the trackbed. Of course this isn't a lot of rail compared to the amounts used up in the last week, but it's hard to see what use can be made of it until the missing bridge is replaced at Helensfield since it is much too long to be moved by road to the rest of the SAK.


3. Looking the other way shows track all the way out of sight in Clackmannan, just as I had expected when I set out.


4. A closer view of the track inside Clackmannan. The left of the trackbed is where the platform of Clackmannan station once was, but there hasn't been a sheduled passenger train through here since 1930, and as this section of the SAK is intended for freight traffic only, it still won't see one anytime soon! Someday, perhaps...


5. This picture shows the view looking back over the same part of the trackbed from the other direction, showing how straight this part of the SAK is.


6. In the other direction, I noticed that I had discovered a rare sight on the eastern SAK - a track joint! Admittedly it's just temporary fishplates, and might be welded up later, but at least I filmed it!


7. Looking west, the track curves one way out of clackmannan, but it is just possible to see that it curves back toward Alloa in the distance.


8. Zooming in a bit shows that there is track right out onto the embankment at Helensfield, and although the end of it can't be seen here, it doesn't go much farther as the gap due to the missing bridge is just out of sight. For the tracklaying east of Helensfield. it's job done!!!


Of course much work remained to be done on the track just laid, as it had to be fully ballasted & tamped, not to mention laying the troughs for the signalling cables and wiring up the signalling (although I wasn't sure at this stage just how much signalling would be required on this section!).

I have mentioned more than once in recent progress reports that the bridge at Helensfield had not yet been replaced by a new one. Part of the delay on that was, as seen in a previous progress report. that a new bridge abutment was under construction, and although I had omitted to film the progress on this for some time, I knew it would soon be finished as I had driven past it from time to time (usually in bad weather or darkness of course!). The question was, when would the new bridge be put in? I couldn't tell, and there wasn't much chance of getting 'inside information', so I could easily miss the event and find myself driving under it unexpectedly without having had the chance to film it going in...


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These pages are owned and maintained by Jeffray Wotherspoon. The storage space for these pages is provided by the University Of Stirling, but it is in no way responsible for the contents of these pages. Please email me at if you have any questions, comments, problems etc.