SAK Rebuilt - Progress Report 39
Fun In The Sun!
By July 2007, the SAK reconstruction work seemed to be reaching it's final stage over most of the route, with all the track laid and ballasted, most of the signals in place, and other major works like the new SAK link road east of Alloa and the new footbridge at Alloa West Junction completed. However work hadn't finished everywhere, with the new Alloa station uncompleted, it's new station building barely started, and the level-crossings that were to be retained still requiring much work, so I wasn't yet stuck for somewhere to go when I had the time, which I often didn't!
However despite being very busy during early July (in and out of work), I made a point of leaving work promptly at 5pm on Wednesday 11th July as the weather was sunny and it would make a perfect evening to go filming.
1. I chose, not for the first time, to start at Blackgrange, since there wasn't
liable to be much west of there worth filming, and this first picture shows
that work is still in progress at the level-crossing there, including roadworks
with temporary traffic lights.
2. Since my last visit on 1st June (see Progress Report 36), a building has appeared
on the new concrete base to the south of the line. Presumably this is a relay room
to connect in the nearby level-crossing, signals and track circuits...
3. ...except that another concrete base has been laid, and a structure that looks
very like a shipping container (and might simply be a modification of one) has been
put on it! However the roadworks seem to be to lay new thick power cables and since
this unit has several ventilation grilles it is likely to be a power switching room,
probably with it's own backup generator to keep the SAK running even in a power cut.
4. Looking westwards doesn't seem to show much other than how nice the evening was...
5. ...but zooming in on the lineside reveals a couple of small units of some sort. I
wish I could tell you what sort though! My best guess is that they are something to
do with track circuiting or train detection, which is obviously very important at a
6. Looking eastwards towards Cambus shows the two new structures at either side of the
picture, and that the concrete trough on the north side of the track has been extended
right up to the level-crossing. It doesn't yet have all that much in it though!
7. I moved round to Cambus, and found that another relay room (assuming that
I am right about that) has been lifted into place here.
8. Swinging the camera round westward wasn't an immediate success as the
camera adjusted for the increased light level, but I have included the
result as it shows a lot of materials stacked beside the line here...
9. ...in addition to the large amounts on the worksite behind the new relay
room. A lot of the concrete sections visible here are actually lid sections
for the concrete troughs used for the signal and control cables, and will
presumably be fitted on once the S&T engineers are satisfied that they have
run all the necessary cables and that they all work!
10. Zooming in reveals a surprisingly large number of signal cable trough
sections, given that I haven't see any long gaps of missing trough anywhere
on the SAK for some time.
11. I then turned my attention to the Cambus level-crossing itself, which
I haven't filmed for some time. Some work has been done on it already,
principally to put a straight new alignment through to replace the original
S&D rails, but it is far from finished and no evidence that any worK is
being done at present, especially since it looked much the same to me back
at the beginning of June!
12. Here is a closer look at the new track through the level-crossing,
complete with state of the art surrounding sections. And they are getting
put to the test on a regular basis, as even if the SAK isn't open for
business, the road certainly is!
13. Swinging the camera round reveals that a few of the stored trough sections
are likely to be getting used up right here, as the trough on the north side
of the line stops abruptly.
14. Looking eastwards up the line doesn't show anything new at first glance,
but if I zoom in...
15. ...there still isn't anything new either! OK, it's just an excuse to include
this end-on view of the Cambus loop, but it's a really nice picture!
16. I then moved round to the overbridge beyond the other end of the loop
and zoomed to see if the missing signal on the north loop track has been
installed yet - no sign of it yet.
17. For completeness here is a view eastwards from here, showing nothing new
but evening sunshine (and I mean that - 2007 is proving to be a fairly wet
summer and sunshine like this is a bit of a treat!)
18. I didn't expect to find anything much new at Alloa West Junction, but my
plan was to work systematically along the SAK and I wasn't about to skip one
of my favourite locations, even if the evening shadows mean this picture isn't
all that exciting!
19. looking into Alloa the cutting isn't completely in shadow, and in the
20. ... the overbridges are catching the sunshine nicely. I zoomed a bit more...
21. ...and noticed a distinct dip in the track just beyond the first overbridge.
It might just be a trick of what is a very foreshortened view, but if not then
it is possible that further tamping and levelling is still required here six
months on from the original tracklaying!
22. Looking back down the cutting from the Clairmont overbridge shows one place
where copious numbers of trough lids are still required, although not before
all the wiring up is done. That obviously isn't finished yet, as the little grid in
the fourfoot opposite the signal post isn't in place yet.
23. Looking the other way shows that railings have been fitted to the Ludgate
Bridge, although not exactly the same design as used for the Sation Bridge
and the Waggonway Bridge in the enter of Alloa.
24. Zooming out and panning up a bit shows that the Ludgate, Mar Place, and
Station Bridges are all visible at the from the Clairmont Bridge I am standing
on, which is the highest of all the overbridges in Alloa.
25. My next stop (mainly for ease of parking I admit!) was at the Station bridge
and here is a zoom view westwards from it showing the new fencing at that end,
complete with recessed accessway. The Mar Place bridge has also been fitted with
26. Pulling back the zoom reveals that there is a second access in the fence near to
the new signal. Apart from missing tough lids, this section looks complete now.
27. Looking the other way the fence is complete right along to the Waggonway Bridge,
and grass is showing through on the former worksite.
28. From the Waggonway Bridge the fence looks quite neat, but I included this picture
to show the profusion of S&T cabling that was lying next to the tracks.
29. One major new development since mid-June was this mass of shuttering that had been
constructed next to the platform starter signal, but it's too early to tell what the
resulting concrete structure will be used for.
30. Looking at the new car park shows the usual confusing mixture of temporary buildings
and parked plant, but zooming in...
31. ...shows a large amount of stacked materials in the background. Pieces of station
32. Swinging the camcorder round reveals more of the parked plant...
33. ...with even more to be seen when I swing round further still. As the car park
is more or less completed, this seems a lot just to finish the surface of the station
34. Lastly I zoomed in on the new station building, which is alas still just a frame.
Given the speed with which it was first put up, that is surprising, but doubtless
there is a good reason.
35. To close, here is a complete view of an incomplete station!
The length of the shadows reveals that my time was definitely up for this trip. The new relay rooms (and the other structure at Blackgrange whatever it is) are an interesting development, which makes up somewhat for the disappointing lack of apparent progres on the new station building. And the other new structure at Alloa station is a bit of a mystery!
A reasonably quick return to the new Alloa station seemed to be a good idea, but it was three weeks before I did so, when I saw what the new structure turned out to be - as you can in the next progress report!
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