Maclise St. Done!

A long day, but it’s done and boy has it come up a treat.

A nice mild morning set a good pace.

Job one was cutting the rails to the correct length, now a keen eye will note that these cuts seem to give a big gap, which they did, however this was the mark we placed when the rail was at its warmest temperature yesterday, which must have been right as it grew back to that size this afternoon.

Before long everything was roughly bolted up and clipping well underway.

Plenty of ballast.

Only a very minor lift was needed to get to final height, we’re certainly getting much better at this, as this seemed very easy and nowhere near the amount of work as the previous crossings.

Some tidying up and installing the final bolts in the up side IRJs once they’d grow to the right length.

The gap closed up around 30mm by the afternoon.

Just after lunch the asphalt went down and how great it very quickly looked.

A few last bolt tightens to ensure the IRJs were appropriately tight.

Thankfully there was a bit of extra asphalt, so the approaches to the pedestrian crossing were sealed also.

The whole job has come up an absolute treat, with many locals already commenting how happy they are about it. We even reinstated the lights with all new track leads and everything worked first go! The before shot below shows just how different it now looks.

A marvellous job. A big credit to all the gang for putting in the extra effort, it really is appreciated and you should all be extremely proud of your efforts.

We’d also like to thank Mount Alexander Shire Council for their contribution to cover the Asphalt and Traffic Management. We can just about manage the cost of the track part, but without their support, these jobs just couldn’t happen.

Another big job off the list! Check back Monday for details of workdays next week.

Maclise St Rebuild

One last look at the old crossing.

By 7.30 this morning we were into the destruction phase, removing the last of the sleepers, digging out the road and unbolting the joints.

It was a hive of activity, with everything running like clockwork.

Once we’d removed all the old material, it was onto a bit of future proofing. We’ve installed a 100mm conduit for potential future use, while a relatively easy task, the ground was very rocky so it did slow down the progress a little.

By early afternoon it was roadbase, geofab and drains in, layer of rock spread and sleepers laid out with rails being towed into place. Thankfully we’ve got all the gear for this these days, as it’d be a hell of a job without it!

It wasn’t too long before we were into clip up mode, after the insulated joints at the down end were bolted up.

We spent quite a bit of time lining the curve and the approach, which now resembles something much nicer than we had before.

At close of play, we’d clipped up both legs to the UP side of the roadway. Tomorrow morning we’ll cut in the far end joints and complete the bolting up. Then onto ballasting, lifting and tamping.

We’re pretty much on schedule, however there is still a bit to go tomorrow, so any extra hands would be greatly appreciated. Meeting Maclise St from 7.30am.

Maclise St

Following on from yesterday’s efforts, today saw some additional drainage works, focusing on the up side of the crossing.

The patch of sleepers that needed ballast, had that applied, jacked and tamped to height. Around the same time we discovered the drains through the crossing were block at the ends, so a few feet were removed and they started flowing very impressively, hopefully this allows the crossing to be much dryer for next week’s works.

Once the ballast had been regulated and tamped, it all came up looking pretty snazzy. A keen eye will notice we’ve removed the ballast shoulder on the left hand side, this is to allow caught water under the sleepers to drain. We’ll renew the shoulder with fresh ballast next week once it’s had a good chance to drain.

We also took the opportunity to remove a number of small geometry defects, particularly lifting the Down Side approach to Rowe Street Crossing, we always intended to come back here once the ballast settled, today was the day.

These relatively small jobs make an enormous difference to the overall appearance and ride comfort. As we move to having a more stable track (big rails, good sleepers and ballast) we’ll be able to dedicate more time to these jobs.

Next week’s looking busy, with workdays everyday in readiness for the Crossing Rebuild on Thursday and Friday. Monday we’ll be meeting at Maclise St at 8.30am to disable the lights and remove the track leads.

Maclise St

Following on from the drainage works on Tuesday, we’ve made a start on re-sleepering the approaches to Maclise St.

On the up side of the crossing, 16 concrete sleepers have been installed.

On the Down side 33 were installed, coming quite some distance from crossing to effectively give us a long stretch of 1 in 2 concretes. This section here still had a high number of sleepers from when it was still part of the Maryborough line, so the opportunity was taken to replace the majority of those.

We raced through the standard sleeper insertions, so we spent the afternoon digging out the fouled ballast beside the roadway.

Thankfully once we removed the top layer of fouled material, very clean, firm ballast and road-based was discovered. We’ve taken the opportunity to complete remove the shoulder ballast, which just here was largely sand and silt.

Once dug out, 100% replacement of the sleepers was undertaken. We’re yet to apply the fresh ballast and tamp everything up, but we had to leave something for tomorrow. Next week once we can have the track leads removed, we’ll continue this treatment through the insulated joints to where the 1 in 2 concrete sleepers start.

We’ve still got a bit to do on site tomorrow, meeting at Maclise St. From 8.30am.