Rig beams donated to rail project

The beams have been delivered to the Royal Deeside Railway at Milton of Crathes.
The beams have been delivered to the Royal Deeside Railway at Milton of Crathes.

The decommissioning of a North Sea platform has provided an unexpected benefit for railway enthusiasts and ramblers on Deeside.

Several large steel beams have been donated to the Royal Deeside Railway for the construction of two new bridges in the area - one for the railway and the other a footbridge for pedestrians and cyclists.

The donation of the beams is a major contribution to extending the railway

Richard Hamlet Royal Deeside Railway

It followed a request from Royal Deeside Railway Preservation Society volunteer Richard Hamlet, who is lead technical safety engineer for the Wood Group on Shell’s decommissioning services contract.

The beams were originally used to aid the installation of giant lift points on the oil company’s Brent Delta platform ahead of removing the installation’s topside in one lift.

Richard, who is the railway group’s treasurer, said: “I noticed that the steel beams had been earmarked for melting down following completion of the underdeck work on the Brent Delta platform.

“It occurred to me that they would be perfect for constructing the bridges we need as part of our extension work.

“The railway is a 100% voluntary organisation. While income from ticket sales and special events covers operational costs of the locomotives and rolling stock, we rely on donations and grants for our expansion work.

“The donation of the beams from Shell’s Brent decommissioning project is a major contribution to extending the railway.”

Richard and his fellow volunteers are restoring the former Deeside line along part of its original trackbed.

The line once stretched from Aberdeen to Ballater, but its tracks have since been removed and the path opened as a well-used public walking and cycling track.

Alistair Hope, project director for Brent Decommissioning, said: “We’re delighted to be able to donate the runway beams from the Brent Delta underdeck work and give them a new lease of life.

“Ultimately Shell’s aim is to recycle 97% of the Brent Delta topside so it’s great to start as we mean to go on.”

Subject to planning approval, the beams from the Brent platform will be used to build two bridges - a 17-metre footbridge and a railway bridge.

The footbridge will be for users of the Deeside Way and will cross the Burn O’Bennie in Banchory, running parallel to the existing railway bridge.