SAK Rebuilt - Progress Report 9
An August Evening Out!
After having seen some progress toward tracklaying on the SAK on the evening of 26/7/06, I kept looking for progress in the succeeding weeks. However there was very little new to see at first, and the weather having turned wet in August after a good June & July meant that any time I went near the SAK it generally wasn't possible to get my camcorder out without soaking it!
However after about month of this I was able to get out and about on the evening on 23/8/06, and was favoured not just with dry weather, but some nice evening sunshine!
1. I started out at Helensfield near Clackmannan at the point where the
former Kincardine branch is supposed to go over the main road east out
of Alloa. However one of the early casualties of the SAK project was
the bridge over the road here being removed. While passing by in
mid-August (in a heavy shower of rain naturally!) I noticed that
one of the old bridge abutments was almost completely gone, and by
the evening of the 23rd they had finished removing it and had started
on laying the foundations of a replacement, as seen here.
2. Another angle on the new foundations shows the profusion of metal
rods that will help to strengthen the concrete abutment when it is
completed. And I'm sure that many more will be added as
the height of the abutment increases!
3. Swinging the camera right shows that some of the approach embankment on the
Alloa side has been removed. Not only was this necessary to allow
the demolition of the old abutment, but the new foundations were
noticeably further from the road than the old abutment had been,
thus adding to the removal work.
4. Looking the other way shows that the southern abutment was still
intact, and given the efficiency in removing the other one this
suggested that this will be retained and used for the new bridge.
Replacing the other one is therefore likely to be to allow road
widening, the road here being a bit narrow due to the spacing of
the original abutments.
5. Since the rail welding seemed to have all been done west of Cambus,
I then went looking to see if the welding machine had switched to the
east of the SAK (the bit between not being nearly ready for tracklaying
at this time). As it turned out I didn't have to go far as I found the
welder and associated plant in the outskirts of Clackmannan.
6. Zooming in a bit shows that rail welding many just have started here
- not only is there only one piece of welded rail visible on the trackbed,
but there is a lot of rail stacked waiting to be welded.
7. At first glance there would appear to be a piece of plant missing in the
previous two pictures, but zooming out I was able to get a clear view in the
evening sunshine of the digger used to haul the long lengths of welded rail
down the trackbed which was parked at the next worksite down the trackbed.
it's not obvious why it was there, but one possibility was that it has
already hauled a length of welded rail some distance down, since access
for the welder is much more difficult on this stretch of trackbed which
was built as a single-track branch line and doesn't have good road
access for long stretches.
8. Having found and filmed the welding machine I then backtracked to the
east of Alloa as I wanted to film the rapid progress on the new road
junction and bridge, which I had driven past without being able to stop
on the way out! The reason why I couldn't stop is very clear in this
picture - cones, cones, and more cones! In four weeks the new junction
roadworks have advanced so much that traffic re-routing over temporary
tarmac is now necessary to allow parts of the original road to be
covered by the new approach road for the raised junction.
9. Now for a closer view, showing more clearly than in the last picture
that the concrete support beams for the new road bridge have now been
lifted into place across the new abutments. No sign of the the crawler
crane (pictured in a previous progress report) here now, suggesting
that it wasn't needed after the beams were lifted in.
10. Now for a couple of pictures of the site of the new Alloa station,
which I visited next. Not much change from my last visit though.
11. A view of the future station car park shows minor changes, but
not as many as in the worksite for the new supermarket, which is
clearly nearing completion!
12. The sun was getting low in the sky by now which caused a bit of
a problem when I tried to film in the other direction from the
Waggonway bridge. However it is still possible to see in this
picture that the extensive drainage work at the old station site
is still underway.
13. I moved over to the Alloa station bridge and flmed in the other
direction, so here is the reverse view, although given the shadows
I'm not sure it is much clearer!
14. Another view affected by the low sun, but included here to show
that drainage work on the SAK trackbed here was also being carried
out near the west end of the old station site. And there must be
quite lot still to do if they plan to use up all those large pieces
of concrete pipe.
15. Zooming in go me a clearer view, but not too rewarding except to
reveal yet more concrete pipe sections!
16. Typically (for this outing anyway), I went all the way out to
Cambus next, before going back to visit Alloa West Junction LC!
Alas no new track, or even a bed of ballast to put it on, although
I did get a better picture of the trench the ballast would go in...
17. However looking back towards Alloa I was able to film a stack of
metal objects at the side of the trackbed. Don't ask me what they
18. A zoom view right down the trackbed in the Alloa direction reveals
what might be a trench dug down into what I presume is the ballast for
the old track, given that the new ballast heaps I have seen are all
pink and this is grey stone. The depth of ballast on the old line
would probably be deepest here as this section was relaid with concrete
sleepers and welded rail just before or just after it went out of use.
19. My last destination on the SAK on the night of 23/8/06 was Alloa
West Junction LC. Except that it wasn't a level-crossing any more! The
signs in this picture reveal that the road over the level-crossing was
closed permanently in August 2006.
20. However a pedestrian route had to be maintained over the level
-crossing until the new footbridge was put in, as the legislation
authorising the SAK reconstruction only authorised it's closure
for road traffic, and this allowed me a good look at the new
footbridge foundation works. These holes in the ground haven't
21. ...but a large new hole with concrete at the bottom has now
appeared in the middle of the approach road to the LC. I'll never
drive this road again, even if the signs were to be stolen!
As usual when I go out to look at the SAK on a weekday evening after work, I ran out of time when the light failed. However I had gone everywhere I wanted to this time, and was very happy with what I had found. Clearly I couldn't afford to leave things for another month before checking again! And I didn't...
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