Responses to the pre application consultations have now all been received and reviewed. We are confident that most if not all concerns raised by consultees can be addressed by the provision of further data – including additional plans and cross sections already being prepared at the behest of the Scottish Government’s TAWS Unit. Disappointingly, some natural heritage resurveys cannot be postponed and will have to be done before the formal TAWS Order application can be submitted. These resurveys can only be done in the Spring, meaning that there is likely to be a delay of 6+ months before the application goes in. Meantime we can only thank our supporters for their forbearance…. and their continuing financial support.
As part of our “flags in the ground” project – where we want to show by work on the ground that we mean to get to Grantown – we commissioned replacement of boundary fencing between Craggan and Gaich. Existing fencing was either in very poor condition (west side of the line) or had disappeared altogether (east side). The work was carried out by Dores-based fencing contractor Mike Gibson and is of a superb standard. It demonstrates not only our commitment to getting to Grantown but our aim to be good neighbours with the farming community..
That fencing was long planned; we had originally contacted Mike a year ago. More opportunistically, Scottish Woodlands, who use the railway’s facilities for the staff training and equipment certification needed to let them do work for Network Rail, agreed to fell a couple of trees at Glenbeg as a quid pro quo (Latin for “no charge”, we believe….) and undertook the work on 6th and 7th November. One of these trees was a threat to the structural integrity of the Glenbeg bridge and was beyond the capabilities of our chainsaw-trained volunteers, so many thanks to all at Scottish Woodlands for this contribution to the extension.
Images of both operations on the right and on the homepage.
Two community “drop in” consultation sessions are to be held at the end of August in the old library room of Grantown’s YMCA Community Centre, as part of the TAWS Order pre application process. Plans and other information about the extension will be on display, Trustees will be on hand to answer questions, and members of the public attending will be encouraged to complete feedback forms in which they can make any comments on or raise any concerns about the railway’s plans. Dates/times are Friday 30th August 3pm – 8 pm and Saturday 31sr August 2pm – 5 pm.
We welcome Tim Keats to the Trust Board following the AGM held on 25th May. Tim is a former BT employee who started his career working on overhead lines and rose to become a project manager in charge of delivering many significant communications network projects across the UK. He now lives in Dulnain Bridge where he is a member of the Community Council. Tim’s project management skills and local community links will be of great value in the delivery of the project.
The start button has been pushed on the process of getting Government approval for the extension to Grantown. Before the formal application for a Transport and Works (Scotland) Order is submitted, a pre application consultation process with the Scottish Government and various bodies such as SNH and the National Park has to be undertaken and this is now under way. A community consultation event is to be held later in the year as part of this pre application process.
Further clearance and burning of vegetation between Gaich and Grantown was undertaken on two days in March by a number of the railway’s volunteers. Thanks to – Ben Tyrell, Neil MacQueen, Jim Clark, Angus MacPhail, Ian Masson, Iain Wood, Mike Tough, Roddy MacPhee, Ian Stanworth and John Wood for their help.
Keeping vegetation under control and disposing of the results is a never ending task…. as what we affectionately (?) refer to as the “big railway” (the national network) has belatedly realised! In the top image, volunteers Bill Mitchell and Roger Masters from Grantown are pictured feeding a bonfire of broom cleared from the cutting sides just south of the town.