Would make a good set for the next …

Comment posted Quarrying at Glensanda: aggregating aggregates by Robert Wakeham.

Would make a good set for the next James Bond movie, but ideally the baddies would disappear into the mincing machine and that would be best achieved as the ship is unloaded and the cargo sinks into the hoppers at the base of the hold.

Robert Wakeham also commented

  • Surely the difference with the wind industry is that it’s creeping over the surface of the country – and the surrounding seas – like some contagion that risks getting out of control, whereas Glensanda is an admittedly very large scale operation but in a carefully chosen area of a landscape big enough to contain it. Yes, it can be surprisingly visible – for example from the road through Glen Nant, 20 miles away – but it’s surely not the ‘total destruction of a huge swathe of countryside’, and it does have a certain grandeur in its sheer scale.

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    Jamie, I’m not sure of the location of the Kilcreggan Steps – but surely a pontoon would best be sited at the station platform head, to give direct access to all the platforms.
    Otherwise it’d be another bit of uncoordinated ‘investment’ of public money in something not fit for purpose.
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    Jamie, you’re absolutely right in that there can be more than one train in the station at a time (and the frequency of this is due to increase with the new timetable) so the issue, to my mind, is that the platform nearest the ferry should be the default option.
    If, as zak & db’s comments suggest, this is still not the case, why on earth not? And surely the heaviest used morning and evening trains should be programmed to use the platform nearest the ferry.
    Of course, the ideal would be a ferry landing point at the platform head, not way down beyond the station, and this would greatly ease the transfer between ferry and train.
    The eye-watering sums being spent on the Coruisk could surely be better spent in providing such a landing.
  • Coruisk deployment: McGrigor probes prove major embarrassment to DFM
    zak & db’s comments, that ‘connecting’ trains use the platform furthest from the ferry, are very, very surprising – because when I saw this third-world example of public sector disfunctionality way back in 2001 it turned out to be due to worn-out point blades.
    New components had been procured, but diverted to a higher priority location (it was the time of ‘gauge corner cracking’, when Railtrack mismanagement had brought chaos to the rail system)
    Neither Railtrack nor Scotrail had bothered to inform SPT (to whom at that time the Gourock station operators were answerable).
    SPT were arguably useless anyway; the problem seems to have recurred in 2006, by then under the auspices of Network Rail, and it now looks as if it’s still a problem.
    The rail operators are now (I think) answerable to Transport Scotland; I wonder if they are proving as useless as SPT – and we have the juxtaposition of an ineptly run ferry service and an ineptly managed train service, courtesy of a government that has shown itself perfectly capable of addressing long-standing transport problems elsewhere.
    What is it about Gourock, that it seems to be a ‘black hole’ in terms of competent management of coordinated public transport?

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8 Responses to Would make a good set for the next …

  1. My understanding is that the ship’s conveyor boom is only used when discharging. At that time, the cargo is dropped through the hopper doors in the bottom of the holds, onto longitudinal conveyors which take the cargo to the foot of the vertical conveyor (in the un-lovely tower attached to the front of the superstructure). The vertical conveyor then dumps the cargo onto the start of the ship’s discharge conveyor belt, carried in the boom which is swung from the ship above the quay at Amsterdam, or Hamburg, or wherever.

    My understanding is that, when loading, the quarry’s own conveyer boom carries the stone chips right above the top of the hold, so that gravity does all of the rest (until the destination port), and the ship’s conveyor boom is simply swung out of the way.

    If the ship’s conveyor belt carried the new cargo on-board, you would then need some horizontal conveyors at deck level to get the cargo from the inboard end of that conveyor to the tops of the holds. That would seem to be a bigger change than has been implemented in this rebuild.

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  2. The ship loader is actually on the jetty. It is a very interesting piece of equipment, more elaborate than I had imagined. From what I could see and from what I gleaned from the quarry staff I will try and explain how it works, but I did not get to see how the conveyor collects the stone or how the belt deals with it’s outward travel.

    If you look at the two pictures in this article you will see that it’s base is a massive bridge structure that sits on a turntable/pivot at one end and travels in an arc on rails set into the jetty at the outer end, where you can see a driver’s cab is attached. The conveyor to the ship is set in a boom that travels outwards on top of this bridge. It looks like the back end is held down by rollers that will be below the bridge. The boom conveyor can reach the furthest away corner of any of the ships holds.

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  3. Would make a good set for the next James Bond movie, but ideally the baddies would disappear into the mincing machine and that would be best achieved as the ship is unloaded and the cargo sinks into the hoppers at the base of the hold.

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  4. I have no objection to the Glensanda operation whatsoever but . . .

    let no one tell you that heavy industry does not do cute

    compellingly beautiful symmetrical heap of silver crushed stone

    the very specific beauty that is part of industry

    Am I the only one who finds this eulogy to the industrialisation and total destruction of a huge swathe of countryside a bit odd after the vitriol recently poured on the wind industry?
    .

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    • Surely the difference with the wind industry is that it’s creeping over the surface of the country – and the surrounding seas – like some contagion that risks getting out of control, whereas Glensanda is an admittedly very large scale operation but in a carefully chosen area of a landscape big enough to contain it. Yes, it can be surprisingly visible – for example from the road through Glen Nant, 20 miles away – but it’s surely not the ‘total destruction of a huge swathe of countryside’, and it does have a certain grandeur in its sheer scale.

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      • Digging a mountain away in an operation like that is pretty close to total destruction, is it not?

        It may be necessary, it may be in the most appropriate place and it may be very clever technically, but Glensanda is not ‘beautiful’ by any stretch of the imagination.

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        • I suppose it depends on the imagination being stretched. Some only see natural beauty while others see beauty in man’s industrial efforts to improve his lifestyle.

          To live the lives we desire we sometimes need to move mountains, cut down trees and extract energy. It’s what we do to make good the impact and generate re-growth that is important.

          The owners and the staff at Glensanda seem to consider the environmental impact of their every action and look to have it in mind at every stage. Vegetation is evident on the “benches” left from the earlier works.

          Fifty years ago when there was a lot of road building, there were small quarries dotted along the roadsides. Today most of these are hardly noticable due to government spending on tidying up schemes, modern machinery and the healing efforts of Mother Nature.

          We can look at the ground around Glensanda and see evidence of the toil of the people who lived there before the Clearances. In the future other generations will see evidence of the toil of today’s people.

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