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 fitted yet.


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 replaced!


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 the crossing!


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 lit...


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...


Click Here To Go To 'SAK Progress Report 49'


Click Here To Return To Jeff's SAK Pages - SAK Rebuilt!


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