SAK Rebuilt - Progress Report 35
In the last progress report, I visited the new footbridge at Alloa West Junction on a Friday might late in May 2007, but while the reconstruction there was (visually at any rate) more or less complete it was time to concentrate on other locations, so on the evening of Monday 28th May, a mere three days later, I set out to do so! One location that has featured in these pages quite frequently, but which I had not yet seen in anything like a finished state was the new loop east of Alloa, and I chose to head there.
1. Naturally my route took me over the new link road, and since (for once) it wasn't
raining I stopped to do a little filming. Seen here is a view of the road from near
the south end looking roughly north west towards Whins road.
2. Turning the camera round shows the link road as it goes up and over the SAK to the
'Parkmill Roundabout', presumably named after an local monument called the 'Parkmill
Stone Slab'. I had never heard of this object until I read about in in the Environmental
Statement for the SAK project (when it hadn't progressed beyond being a private bill
presented to the Scottish Parliament), and to this day I haven't seen it!
3. Of course I had gone to the trouble of parking my car at this end of the road so that
I could walk up to the new bridge to film the SAK, but while on the way I got this much
closer view of the bridge and the sign for the roundabout on the other side. (The name
'Parkmill' can just be read on the sign incidentally.)
4. Having made it up on to the bridge I started by pointing the camcorder east, where
the new loop (which if there is any justice ought to be called the 'Parkmill Loop',
but may of course not be called that in practice) stretches into the distance. Note
that the worksite that used to be on the left of this picture has been dismantled
and the area tidied up, including an access road to replace the occupation crossing
that used be here.
5. Zooming right out reveals that signals have been erected hare also, with the further
away signal facing westbound trains having a 'feather' to control a train entering the
duodirectional north loop, and the other controlling trains exiting from
the north loop. There is currently no signal to hold eastbound trains on the south loop,
and since this track is intended as the through line for trains that aren't stopping it
is possible that there won't be one there. The remains of the temporary access over the
new tracks at the site of the original occupation crossing have yet to be removed.
6. I crossed the road for a look westward and the loop in this direction presents the same
tidy appearance - almost! But zooming in...
7. ...shows what looks like a heap of signal parts! Obviously signalling is required at this
end of the loop, but it simply hasn't been finished yet!
8. I walked down the pavement of the road hading into Alloa to get a better viewe of the
west end of the loop, and got a good view of the fence in front of it for good measure.
A lot of work (more than is apparent from my progress reports) has one into fencing the
SAK off properly, which is a good thing as trespassing on a railway with many trains a
day is much more dangerous than on one that hasn't see trains for many years. (Not
that I recommend trespassing at any time - quite the reverse!)
9. Due to the distance, and also a stiff breeze which shook the camera, I had some
difficulty getting a zoom view from here of the former Hilton road level-crossing.
This captured still from that piece of the camcorder footage isn't very good, but
it is the best I got in eight attempts (!) and shows a gap, presumably where the
road and the old S&D level-crossing tracks have been dug out.
10. I wasn't sure I would get a good view of the works at the former Hilton Road
level-crossing if I went right up to it, so I chose to try and get a view of it
from the other side by going to the Bruce street footbridge. As you can see, the
trackbed here is equally neat. Zooming in a bit...
11. ...shows the gap in the track quite well, along with steel sleepers and
concrete troughing that will be installed to close this gap. The one thing I find
surprising is that there is not much heaped ballast visible, but that can of course
be brought in quite easily - the worksite is rail-served after all! There is no sign
of a signal here to control the loop, but erecting one here has probably been left
until the trackwork is finished as it might be in the way of the plant doing the
12. Finally, for completeness, here is a view in the other direction from the Bruce
Street footbridge. Not much to say about this one other than that despite the gap in
the trackbed seen in the last two pictures there are already wires in the concrete
More new signals, but a (necessary) gap in the track. Tidy trackbed, and signal wiring going in. The image of good progress is a compelling one, but it is a sobering thought that the original plan would have had trains running by now!
Having caught up with the reconstruction progress to the immediate east of Alloa, I thought it was high time I had a good look at the western part of the SAK, and later on the same week, I did...
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