SAK Rebuilt - Progress Report 49
Last Minute Surprise!
In my last progress report, featuring pictures from the 23rd February 2008, I showed the considerable progress I had found on two of the three major level-crossings on the western SAK, and also that many of the signals west of Alloa were now lit up.
While all that was a pleasing surprise, it was dwarfed by the news I got within a week via email about the new Alloa station. Not for the first time, I had to wait until the following weekend to go filming again by which time I turned out to have just about missed out on good pictures of what had happened! However more on that later as I first went to visit the rebuilt Waterside (or Ladysneuk Road) level-crossing in Causwayhead.
1. This first picture shows clearly that the level-crossing is not yet
finished, as it only has two of the four barriers fitted.
2. This next picture shows the level-crossing as viewed from the other
side. It doesn't show much more, but is a much nicer picture as the
sunshine was not shining into the camera lens. One thing that wasn't
easy to see in the previous picture but which is more obvious here is
the far from level road surface, caused by the high degree of 'cant'
of the Causewayhead curve. It's not that great for road traffic, but
the line speed through here is now higher that has ever been the case
3. Now for a close up view of the 'Stirling' side of the level-crossing
showing a set of its lights, the two barrier mechanisms, and a stored
set of temporary traffic lights for good measure! Obviously some form of
traffic contol is needed to allow plant access to work on the new
4. Swinging the camera round shows the 'Alloa' side of the crossing, which
is now more or less complete.
5. Finally, for completeness, I took pictures from the middle of the crossing
looking west towards Stirling...
6. ...and east towards Alloa.
7. I next stopped off at Blackgrange level-crossing, and although the
level-crossing is clearly not completely ready, it looks much the same
as it did a week ago.
8. I didn't have a lot of time that morning, but on my way back to my car
I took a quick picture of the Blackgrange worksite, which after once
being a crowded and busy worksite, is now looking rather empty, albit
for all the right reasons!
9. Onward to Cambus, and this level-crossing is also little changed from
the previous week.
10. Looking towards Stirling at first didn't show anything new either...
11. ...but there was a machine working in the far distance which set
of towards me while I was watching and with the help of the modest
zoom of my digital camera I took a distant picture of it...
12. ...a closer picture of it...
13. ... and then a picture with no zoom once the machine had drawn up
at the Cambus worksite and started work there.
14. Now for the real purpose of my filming trip - Alloa station. Looking
down onto the track to the west of the Waggonway bridge doesn't show
what had happened in the previous couple of days...
15. ... but on the other side the track is no longer fully ballasted and
for all the world looks freshly laid. And this is because it is! The email
I had recieved a couple of days before had been to say the track in the new
station platform had been completely lifted due to it not being in the
right position relative to the platform, and a couple of fellow enthusiasts
had even managed to get pictures to prove it!
16. Even although I had missed out on the sight of the platform track having
been lifted (!) I wasn't doing too badly as one thing I didn't remember
having seen in the original tracklaying was this steel sleeper. My only
guess as to why it is there is that it might be to ensure good track
17. Looking right down the platform shows that it has all been re-laid
except for the buffers, which is fairly fast work if it had all been
lifted only two days previously.
18. In the last picture it is clear that the station building is still
being worked on as well, and I moved a little down the Waggonway
trackbed to get a picture of it from a different angle. without zoom
there isn't much detail...
19. ...so I zoomed in and got a better picture. From this angle the
building looks a bit more finished, but at eight and a half months
into the construction, it's taking a loooonnng time!
20. With work still in progress on the new station building it comes
as no surprise that the new car park is still doubling as a worksite
- they'll wear out all the white & yellow lines on the surface of
the car park before the station even opens at this rate!
21. My last find on this trip wasn't inside the Alloa station site -
a sign with the traditional 'double arrow' had now been put up
adjacent to the new 'Station' roundabout to show the location of the
station to all and sundry. However since the station isn't open yet,
it has a bag over it! Looking from the direction of the station access
road it can't be seen to clearly due to the sun reflecting off it...
22. ...but it is clearly visible through the bag from the other side.
Either someone chose to use a nearly transparent bag to publicise the
SAK project, or someone somewhere knew I'd be dropping by with a
Level-crossings nearing completion - good! A new sign (transparent bag notwithstanding!) showing everyone who passes through Alloa where the new station is - wonderful! Track re-laid on the SAK at Alloa station - Weird! I thought the SAK reconstruction had no more surprises left - Wrong!!!
That's all for this progress report, since I was running late by this time, but I had seen what I set out to see and more. My next trip out was nearly two weeks later, when I had a day off and set out to check up right along the length of the SAK, with the resulting images forming my 50th (!) Progress Report!
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