SAK Rebuilt - Progress Report 48
By early 2008, most aspects of the SAK reconstruction were completed or, in the case of the new Alloa Station building, nearly so (see Progress Reports 46 & 47) However one major exception to this was the three public road level-crossings on the western half of the line which were still uncompleted. However since I already knew that the plan was to connect the SAK signalling up over the Easter weekend, I was hopeful of seeing visible progress on these. However I don't go past these locations that often, so I needed to take the time to have a look.
So on the (unfortunately rather dull and rainy) morning of Saturday 23rd February 2008, I made a detour on my way to Fife to have a look at the two SAK level-crossings closest to my route at Blackgrange and Cambus, and stopped off briefly at a few other locations on my way through Alloa for good measure!
1. I started at Blackgrange, and this picture shows the level-crossing as seen
from where I parked my car, and at first glance it now looks complete.
2. Moving closer reveals only that this wotk is very recent, as there are still
road cones and temporary fencing about.
3. But going right up to the crossing I discovered that one of the lens
covers had a bag over it, presumably due to the lens not having been
4. I walked over the crossing, and found that the lens covers on one
of the sets of crossing lights on the other side all had bags!
5. Now for a general view of the Blackgrange level-crossing as seen from
the south side. It seems hardly any time at all since I took the very similar
view that appears at the start of my Progress Report 4, but it actually been
over 19 months, during which time all parts this level-crossing have been
6. Looking west from the level-crossing didn't reveal much...
7. ...and the eastwards view doesn't at first glance show anything new either...
8. ...but moving back towards my car reveals a signal at red just out of sight of
9. I then moved on to Cambus, and found that the crossing lights were partly
installed at the level-crossing there, with both sets on the north side erected...
10. ...the east one on the south side also in place...
11. ...but the fourth one still just a pole on the ground!
12. Looking next at the worksite adjacent to the Cambus level-crossing, it
is clearly still in use as a road-rail machine is parked here!
13. There wasn't much in the way of stacked materials in the last view, and
this different view of the site doesn't show any either. Presumably they
have now all been used up!
14. Since I had already seen a lit signal between Cambus and Blackgrange on
the trip, I wasn't too surprised that the first signal westward of Cambus was
15. ...but zooming in reveals what isn't too obvious in the last picture - it's
showing amber! Presumably the interlocking and track circuiting is at least partly
operational if this signal is indicating the section as clear to the next (red)
signal. Alas I don't expect to see a signal at green on the SAK for some time!
16. And I wasn't finished with signalling surprises - looking eastwards I was
not especially surprised to see red in the far distance at the far end of the
Cambus loop for the first time...
17. ...but zooming in revealed that in addition to the standard post mounted
signal on the stopping loop track there is a high level signal gantry reaching
over the through track to ensure that non-stop trains encounter a signal on
their left hand side. In the depths of winter I had managed to miss this being
put up, and this was genuinely my first sight of it! (But I'll take surprises
as nice as this anytime!)
18. For a reason I'll get to in a couple of pictures time, I then stopped off
at the next overbridge towards Alloa, and here is a picture of the loop
from the other end with the junction signal showing red.
19. Zooming in shows the junction signal more clearly, but also that the starter
signal on the stopping loop track is also at red. One unfortunate consequence
of the new signal gantry is that the signal at the far end of the loop on the
through line cannot be seen from this bridge, although I'm sure the S&T engineers
were more concerned with making sure train drivers would see the signals rather
than casual observers like me!
20. My real reason for stopping here was that the line of tall trees on the north side of the line between here and Alloa West Junction have now been felled, and as you can see, it makes quite a difference! I'm not sure offhand what kind of fence was down this side, but a new one is being put in now. And there's a red signal visible as well.
21. Zooming in a bit shows more clearly the line of tree stumps, with the lit signal
and the Alloa West Junction footbridge in the background.
22. Looking now from the Alloa West Junction footbridge shows
many of the tree stumps at this end of the tree felling. It's worth noting
that this is my first picture of the SAK from this angle as on previous
visits the felled trees would have blocked the view somewhat.
23. I moved along the footbridge a bit to get a picture that is useful for
comparison with similar ones I have taken in the past, but the poor light
conditions aren't helping!
24. However the camcorder coped a bit better when facing the other way, as you
can see in this picture. I suspect there has been a bit of vegetation clearance
here also, as the cutting sides are as bare as I have ever seen, and my memory
of the line here goes back over 35 years!
25. My last stop was (unsurprisingly) at the Alloa Waggonway Bridge, and this
first view shows nothing new looking westwards.
26. However looking at the new station the building looks from a distance to be
more complete than it did three weeks previously...
27. ...and zooming in confirms this, as the outer cladding has now been put on
the frame previously visible on this side.
A miserable day for weather in the 'Wee County', but it didn't dampen my spirits! At this late date in the reconstruction I hadn't expected to get any more major surprises, but as you have seen there were a couple this time, and made this trip well worth the effort.
However the surprises I saw on this trip were to be surpassed by news about Alloa Station I got less than a week later. However that is definitely another story...
These pages are owned and maintained by Jeffray Wotherspoon. The storage space for these pages is provided by the University Of Stirling, but it is in no way responsible for the contents of these pages. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions, comments, problems etc.