SAK Rebuilt - Progress Report 46
The Scaffolding Comes Off
By the start of February 2008 the two (visually) uncompleted parts of the SAK reconstruction were the three level-crossings on the western half of the line, and of course the new Alloa station. While on the tour of the SAK on 18th December (see Progress Report 44) I had been told that the new building would be ready by early February at the latest. It wasn't finished when I took the pictures that form my previous progress report (45), but I obviously had a look whenever I was passing through Alloa and noticed on 31st January (in darkness as usual!) that the scaffolding seemed to heve been removed.
As it happens, I had a leave day booked for Friday 1st February 2008 to go to Glasgow, but as the round trip would only take a few hours I had plenty of time to spare to go to Alloa to film on the way, and I even stopped off at the Kincardine end of the line to have another go with my new digital camera.
1. I went as usual to the Waggonway Bridge, and firstly pointed the camera
westwards. Nothing much has changed in the six weeks or so since I last
filmed this scene...
2. ...and the view of the Station roundabout, petrol station, and Ring Road
is just the same as well! However...
3. ...the station building looks much better without the scaffolding. The toppled
temporary barriers, including one that has made it down onto the track, indicate
that it had been a wild stormy night, and in fact there was still a freezing wind
blowing which was rapidly numbing my hands!
4. Zooming in shows the building more clearly. It is probably still being worked
on, but it will soon be ready, well ahead of the first passengers.
5. To get a better angle to film the new building from, I walked a few yards down
the Waggonway trackbed (or footpath if you prefer!) and lifted my camcorder up
above the fence. This first shot is not only quite nice in itsef, but shows what
the previous ones don't show clearly - the lampposts have aquired station name signs!
6. Even zooming in the station name sign nearest the building isn't that easy to read...
7. ...but swinging the camcorder around to a closer lamppost it is possible
to read that this station really is 'Alloa'. (I'd never have guessed! :-)
My hands were so frozen by this time I didn't even think about taking any pictures with my digital stills camera, but instead headed back to my car, whose heater I then ran full blast. However after a few miles driving I was thawed out enough to consider more photography, and since I was headed towds Kincardine, I decided to stop and take some photographs of that end of the line, which I hadn't visited for quite some time.
8. I started again at the overbridge between Kilbagie and Kincardine, which gives this
nice view of the nearby cutting. Obviously the track is now tamped, leveled,
consolidated and whatever else needed to be done to it, and if I hadn't known
that trains weren't yet running, I would have found it difficult to tell.
9. Looking the other way it's much the same story. The lack of lineside
vegetation might be thought to be a bit of a giveaway that this line has
just been reconstructed, but on a chilly day in February that isn't so
obvious as it might be by the time the line re-opens, as the
vegetation will be doubtless be attempting a comeback by then!
10. Now for a view of the same stretch of track from the other end. Not
too much to say about this except that there is no longer any sign of
the temporary worksite that was on the right of the line here which
can be seen in my early progress reports.
11. I moved to the next bridge along and took this picture eastwards,
showing that apart from ballasting of the 'main line' and the
installation of concrete trunking beside it, this part of
the trackbed has hardly changed from the autumn of 2006.
12. I also took a picture of the Kincardine power station site, which shows little
of interest other that the gates for the rail entrance have been left standing
wide open. As I doubt very much if any trains are due I'd have thought they
could be closed!
13. My last stop on my way to Glasgow was at the site of the former Kincardine
station. This first view shows the line in the 'Alloa' direction...
14. ...while in the other direction the track curves round past the remains of the
old station platform. This piece of track is now in much better condition than
it was last time I filmed this, which is understandable as it was always planned
that it should be brought up to the same standard as the new track on the SAK.
After all, the same trains will run over it! The boxes on the left look new, but
that isn't surprising as the signalling of the SAK goes all the way from Stirling
Middle to Longannet signal-boxes.
Despite the cold (and I was again chilled right through by the time I left Kincardine), I had had quite a good time that morning, particularily at Alloa. Seeing a nearly finished building and the new station signs in a single visit was even more than I had hoped for, and well worth the pain of thawing out my hands with the car heater!
With the station now looking more or less complete, it didn't seem likely that there would be much need to film in Alloa for a while, but you may be surprised to hear that I rushed there the very next morning to take even more pictures, despite there being no visible progress on the reconstruction at all. All will be revealed in my next Progress Report!
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