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Scottish Sunday Rail and Bridge Blogging

by ChrisCook Tue Aug 31st, 2010 at 08:59:01 AM EST

STV Video News Item

It just about sums up the poverty of ambition in the UK that 24km of new (reinstated, actually) line is the biggest development in 100 years.

Airdrie and Bathgate line prepares for December opening | Rail-News.com

Network Rail completed track laying on the new 24km stretch of railway between Airdrie and Bathgate today (Friday 27 August), making it the longest domestic passenger railway with new stations to be built in Britain for a century. 

A 200-tonne mobile track laying machine ran through the site of the relocated Drumgelloch station over the course of  two hours, completing a modern, soon-to-be electrified rail link between West Lothian and North Lanarkshire. By December 2010, the line will carry four trains an hour in each direction, opening up travel options between Scotland's two biggest cities.


Promoted by DoDo


But it's coming in on time and in budget, I think, and it's a damn sight better than nothing.....

Borders Rail

The £295m Borders Rail project to reopen the Waverley Line into the Borders from Edinburgh to Galashiels is more ambitious.

BBC News - Borders to Edinburgh rail link bidders selected

Three organisations have been selected to submit tenders for the multi-million pound rail link project between Edinburgh and the Borders.

The BAM, IMCD and New Borders Railway bids include a wide range of financial and construction companies.

Finance Secretary John Swinney said he was encouraged by the "strong UK and European interest" in the project.

The current target for completing the line between Edinburgh and Tweedbank in the Borders is 2014.

It is technically funded and some preparatory work has already been done, but with current budget restrictions I can see long delays at best, and a complete axe at worst.

The massive Lothianbridge viaduct will be put back to use.

The Waverley line used to run through to Carlisle via Hawick and is outstandingly beautiful.

The Shankend viaduct South of Hawick is magnificent.

Peebles and the Tweed Valley

There's another dismantled line from Edinburgh running South to Peebles and the possibility of then reopening the line to Galashiels down the Tweed Valley to form a loop.

This would be as beautiful a route as you will find anywhere in the world.

But it all needs a little work......

This bridge over the Tweed is at Innerleithen.

This tunnel was the Caledonian Railway Tunnel, Peebles - Site of the first ever cosmic ray experiment

Wilson's first experiments on controlled expansion of moist air revealed that a few ions per cubic cm are produced each second, in normal air at sea level. It follows immediately that air is a weak conductor of electricity, and he and others demonstrated this to be the case in 1900. What natural agent continually produces these ions?

Wilson's 1901 suggestion was boldly imaginative: "...radiation from outside our atmosphere, possibly radiation like Roentgen rays or like cathode rays, but of enormously greater penetrating power." To test this idea he took a portable form of electroscope into the tunnel of the Caledonian Railway near Peebles (shown here). Wisely he did this "at night, after the traffic had ceased." His thinking was that the thickness of earth above the tunnel would absorb this cosmic radiation, so that fewer ions would be produced and the air there would be a poorer conductor of electricity.

Finally, no Scottish rail blog is complete without a picture of IMHO the most beautiful viaduct anywhere. This was on the Berwickshire railway and crosses the Tweed at Leaderfoot where the river Leader joins it.

....and the last train over it in 1965.

Nostalgia isn't what it used to be!

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Gradually, now we realise we need them, we are recovering some railways from Beeching. But sadly some of the most useful railways can't be rebuilt.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Aug 29th, 2010 at 10:35:44 AM EST
Some nitpicks:

The £295m Borders Rail project to reopen the Waverley Line into the Borders from Edinburgh to Galashiels is more ambitious.

The Borders Railway was and will be a single-track branchline, however, the Airdrie-Bathgate line is rebuilt as double-track electrified railway (with electrification of the rest of the line too) -- so it is not less ambitious. In fact, the price tag is slightly larger:

Frequently Asked Questions - Airdrie Bathgate Rail Link project

The capital cost for the project is £312 million at 2006 Q1 prices.

...vs.

Delivery & Funding | Transport Scotland

As stated by the Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change in Parliament in March 2008, exact construction costs cannot be disclosed as this would prejudice future financial discussions, however an overall cost estimate of £235M - £295M at 2012 prices was announced.

The for me most interesting angle of this is Scottish Devolution. Scotland's autonomy includes the initiative on new infrastructure projects. And the Scottish government has a more ambitious programme of rail upgrades than England, and with less PPP madness. Other projects already completed include Larkhall-Milngavie: 6.3 km of new or rebuilt track (re-opened 9 December 2005); and Stirling-Alloa-Kincardine: another diesel branchline, 21 km (re-opened on 15 May 2008). There are further electrification plans.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Aug 31st, 2010 at 08:57:03 AM EST
DoDo:
The Borders Railway was and will be a single-track branchline,

In fact, the Waverley Line from Edinburgh through Galshiels to Carlisle was one of the major twin track routes South.

Here's Stow station, which is to be re-opened.



"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Tue Aug 31st, 2010 at 10:23:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My bad! I mixed up something... there's even this. Still, it won't be rebuilt as a mainline.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Aug 31st, 2010 at 06:46:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Any chance for restoring the St. Andrews line. I still have nostalgic memories of it...
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Aug 31st, 2010 at 10:35:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well some people want to Put St Andrews Back On The Rails

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Tue Aug 31st, 2010 at 05:08:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Might be hard to beat this one, though:

Photobucket

http://www.pontdugard.fr/index.php?langue=GB

fairleft

by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Thu Sep 2nd, 2010 at 02:10:35 PM EST
It is superb, but a little massive for my taste. I just find the combination of Leaderfoot's slim columns; lovely curves and red brick quite irresistible.

Here's a canal bridge I like at Great Haywood on the Trent & Mersey canal.....



"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Thu Sep 2nd, 2010 at 02:29:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Speaking of most beautiful, I am partial to the Forth Bridge...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Sep 2nd, 2010 at 05:07:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I know what you mean. I like the symmetry.

Apparently they should finally finish painting it this year with a new coating good for at least 25 years.

Forth Bridge's never-ending paint job nears completion | Edinburgh and East | STV News

It is known as the never-ending job. But, by Christmas, the Forth Bridge will be painted - and won't need another coat for up to 40 years.

A 10-year project to recoat the Scottish icon is due to end shortly, a year ahead of schedule, it was revealed on Sunday.

Restoration work on the bridge, which is used by up to 200 trains every day, has been ongoing since 2002.

Up to 200 painters have been working on the structure at a time.

The bridge is 120 years old, but has needed constant maintenance work, with painters reaching one end - then going back to start again from the other side of the Forth.

Bolton-based Leighs Paints said there was a 25-year warranty of no rust, but the paint job could last for up to 40 years.



"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Thu Sep 2nd, 2010 at 05:15:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Photobucket

Neath Canal Bridge, Cwmgwrach, Wales. By blueeyedebby; the color version is here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/blueeyeddebby/380718562/

fairleft

by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Fri Sep 3rd, 2010 at 10:50:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Good picture. Spooky even, my little possums.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Sep 3rd, 2010 at 10:55:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The colour version is... out of this world! HDR, probably. Stunning.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Sep 3rd, 2010 at 11:32:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's very beautiful, but out of this world a little too much? She says she used some kind of photo processing software I hadn't heard of.

fairleft
by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Fri Sep 3rd, 2010 at 11:37:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it's HDR processing, that I linked to inline. (I could be wrong).
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Sep 3rd, 2010 at 11:48:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks, I didn't notice that link. She wrote, "Had a little special help with photomatix . . ." which apparently is this, linked to from your link:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photomatix_Pro

fairleft

by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Fri Sep 3rd, 2010 at 12:44:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Good instructions on what HDR means and when to use it:

http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/high-dynamic-range.htm

fairleft

by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Fri Sep 3rd, 2010 at 12:49:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Good site, thanks. He says he didn't use HDR on any of his gallery photos. Some of them are pretty out-of-this-world spectacular too.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Sep 3rd, 2010 at 01:05:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not necessarily. The light is very special - and I saw this same effect yesterday with a very low sun. The B/W is eerie because the colour intensities were 'abnormal' - but it could be natural.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Sep 3rd, 2010 at 12:00:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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