SAK Rebuilt - Progress Report 29
Part Completed Bridge!
By early March 2007 I had been concentrating for some time on the work being done on the SAK project in the centre and to the east of Alloa, since that was where most of the work was being done! I was well aware however that the work wasn't finished on the sections where the track had already been laid, and one place where this was definitely the case was at the former Alloa West Junction level-crossing.
Despite this being a location I know well, the last time this location was shown here was in Progress Report 18 from mid-January 2007, at which time the track through there had just been laid, although a later progress report (23) featured a tamper at work nearby. However in the week following the last progress report (28) I passed by there and discovered that the footbridge that had been promised for there was finally being assembled. However it was dark at the time, so I went a couple of days later on the morning of Saturday 10th March 2007 to have a look...
1. Since I was driving through town to get to Alloa West Junction, I stopped at
the nearest overbridge and naturally...pointed the camcorder the other way! To be
fair, I did want to film the new track here with a thick coating of ballast on
it, which I hadn't previously done.
2. Looking towards Alloa West Junction the thing that strikes me in this picture
is how bare the cutting looks - it probably hasn't had so little vegetation in
it since steam days! Since this is much the same time of year that the original
clearing of the bushes and vegetation was done right along the route of the SAK
and there is what looks like sawdust on the sides of the cutting I would guess
that there has been a further clearout in recent weeks. Concrete
troughing for the signal and track circuit wiring has been laid right down the
side, although it is empty at the moment.
3. Zooming right in shows the new footbridge in the distance, painted the same
crimson/maroon colour as all the other metal bridges on the SAK in Clackmannanshire.
However this still isn't all that good a view so it was time to get much closer!
4. I parked near to the north side of the footbridge (getting to the other side by
car involves a bit of a detour with the level-crossing closed!) so my first close
up shows the footbridge from that side. As you can see, the rise in the ground
level on this side means a simple ramp is all that is needed here.
5. The slope of the foorbridge ramp upwards and the ground downwards can be seen
much better in this side view...
6. ...and swinging the camera rouns reveals that it doesn't take long for there
to be a substantial height difference...
7. ...so that the actual bridge span over the track doesn't need much of an
arch at all! On the other side of the main span is the lengthy and thus reasonably
shallow ramp on that side which seems to be more or less finished, but on the left
of the picture is an open gap which is clearly for a set of steps. The reason for
such a large piece still being missing after the rest is assembled isn't clear,
although it might simply be that the pieces are being sent from the manufacturer
in the order they are needed and this one, being the last one, hasn't arrived yet.
8. Since the footbridge was't yet finished, the pedestrian route across the line was
still at ground level so I had no problem getting a better view of the ramp at
this side, with a support pillar for the missing steps in the foreground for good
measure. Of course this view won't be possible once the footbridge is finished
since the place I am standing will probably be 'inside the fence'!
9. Looking at the track itself shows that it is well-ballasted (of course!), but
that the concrete troughing has a gap in it at present. It probably won't be
practicable to complete it right through here until the footbridge is open
for business and the crossing I am standing on closed.
10. Looking the other way shows the concrete trough comes almost to where I am
standing from that direction as well. The tamper has clearly been all the way
past here as the curve seems to me to be much better than it was just after the
track was laid.
11. Since the foot crossing I had used, which was originally the pavement over
the edge of the old level-crossing, was due to be closed soon, I filmed it as well,
although the middle of the picture is the temporary crossing put back in after the
new track had been laid!
12. Despite the closing of the level-crossing, the removal of the road down to it,
the tracklaying and the work to install the footbridge there was still one piece
left of the former level-crossing - one of the posts that had had the warning
lights on it was still standing, and had aquired a road-cone over it for good
measure! (They get everywhere, don't they!)
Despite it not being finished, I was very happy to see a footbridge being installed at Alloa West Junction as that was one of the places in Alloa that I used to see trains at in the early 1970s, albeit not very often as the train frequency wasn't all that high even then. This time round, I will be able to see many more trains, and from above as well, something that used to be the exclusive preserve of the signalman there!
Obviously I would need to re-visit the footbridge once it was finished, but for various reasons my next visit was more than three weeks later. However it is a matter of opinion whether I delayed too long or went back too soon! See what I mean by that in the next progress report.
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