SAK Rebuilt - Progress Report 28
Two Closed Roads.
By mid-February 2007, the date of my last progress report, the SAK reconstruction had reached the stage where many of the larger tasks like earthworks, drainage, bridge construction/overhaul/replacement, and tracklaying were either completed, or were about to be.
The second largest of these, already covered extensively in these progress reports, was the building of a new station in Alloa, but the largest uncompleted piece of work was the building of the new SAK link road to bypass Hilton Road in Alloa. This road was considered essential to the project as the drastic increase in road traffic over Hilton Road in the quarter century or so since trains last ran through it's level-crossing meant that SAK coal-trains at busy times of day could potentially cause traffic chaos if the queue backed up onto Clackmannan Road!
The new road, being the first part of the SAK reconstruction work to be tackled, had been under construction for a long time, but was finally nearing completion, and so when I was next able to do some filming of the SAK on the 3rd March 2007, I started there.
1. Well the new road isn't open yet, as cones are still guarding the
exit on the Whins Road roundabout that used to lead to Hilton Road...
2. ...but despite the unwelcome sunshine reflecting off the wet tarmac
it's clear that the new SAK link road is looking more or less completely
finished! Actually it looked like this for some weeks beforehand, perhaps due
to work of some sort being done in the middle where it wouldn't easily be
3. Zooming out a bit shows the sign for the new connection to Hilton Road,
with the link road sweeping out and round the adjacent bonded warehouses.
In fact this road is actually going through the warehouses, as it's route
required the compulsary purchase and demolition of some of them.
4. Swinging the camera round shows how Hilton Road connects to the new road,
with part of this end of the old Hilton Road surface still visible. I will
return to the subject of Hilton Road briefly later, but it suited me to head
into Alloa next...
5. ...to catch up with progress at and near the new Alloa station. I started
by looking east at the Station bridge, which gave a good view of month-old
trackwork which has almost been buries in ballast, and also of a waggonway
bridge which has now aquired scaffolding on the top.
6. A closer view shows that the scaffolding is arranged in such a way as to
allow work to be done on both sides of the sandstone parapet without the
line under being blocked. This is a sensible move, as although 'proper'
trains won't be running for a long time, the road-rail machines, the SAK
ballast train and tampers may well all need to pass through.
7. The next view is a quick shot of the work compound adjacent
to the point for the platform siding. The place where I am standing was
once part of the throat of the old Alloa Station, but is now public
footpaths surrounded by grass which anyone can walk on, although the
compound is a part of it that is temporarily inaccessible.
8. Looking down on the same scene from the end of the Waggonway bridge
shows some of the rough footpaths on what was at one time an extensive
railway junction and station throat. At least trains are now set to run
past here again!
9. Now for an end-on view of the scaffolding on the Waggonway bridge,
which gives good access to work on the upper half of this bridge.
10. Naturally I tried to film the work on the new station, but the
angle of the sun meant the results were barely worth capturing, as
can be seen here! I'll have to wait for a future progress report
to catch up with what is being done here.
11. Having seen as much as I considered practical (as usual I was
short of time on my way to Fife!) I returned to my car and visited
the other end of Hilton Road. I had noticed the previous night (in
darkness naturally!) that despite the new road not having been opened
that the Hilton road level-crossing had been closed - presumably
permanently. While this didn't seem like a good piece of planning,
it meant that I would at least have something new to film, as seen
here. However since work was ongoing here (a little surprising on
a Saturday) I didn't go too close so it is not clear what is being
done! Since the closure has only just happened perhaps they are still
at the stage of putting up road barriers here?
12. My final stop wasn't too far away from Hilton Road, as I stopped
briefly off in the vicinity of the new link road and the passing loop
under it. This first view shows both of these along with the adjacent
worksite which is clearly still in use.
13. Swinging the camera round reveals the collection of containers and
site offices here, although I suspect they won't be here for all that
much longer! The fence in the foreground and the landscaped earth this
side of it is indicative of what will probably happen on the other
side of the trackbed once the worksite is no longer required.
14. Swinging round again shows the general view eastwards from this point.
A long view like this is short on detail, but the way in which the SAK
curves round uphill onto the Helensfield bridge can just be seen. Easier
to see, alas, is that roadworks in the area have definitely not yet
finished! (A roundabout was being put in just this side of the Helensfield
bridge.) I had only stopped briefly (not a very good place to park) so I
didn't have time to zoom in on anything!
A less exciting report than some I have done recently, but it was good to be able to film the new link road before it was opened and the start of the work to remove the Hilton Road level-crossing.
Almost all my SAK progress reports for some time have been of works in the centre of Alloa and to the east of town, but I was well aware that I should keep track of what was being done elsewhere. Alas even in March that presented a few practical difficulties, as anything interesting I saw on a weekday evening required a further visit in daylight to film it. Typically, this happened less than a week later, and thus my next progress report is from the following Saturday morning! But to find out where I went, and what I saw, you will have to move onward to my next progress report!
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