Maldon Yard

Due to the predicted rain for today we chose to stay close to shelter in Maldon yard. Luck we did because we had quite a bit more rain fall than was predicted.The target work was sleepers in 1 and 2 roads, meaning we had to keep moving the rolling stock around the yard to get access.9 sleepers today we’re replaced in the platform. Generally the condition, although not new, is actually reasonable, but we had a couple of broken sticks which always just look terrible, especially at a station.We’ve not replace any timber in 1 road since before we pulled 2 road across last year, and it’s amazing how much easier it was this time with those few extra inches of clearance.We even dared to look under areas of 2 road that haven’t seen daylight for many years, pleasingly not as bad as we had expected.And without fail, we managed to park the loco on top of a sleeper to be replaced! We did quite a few moves today until we found a good spot to hide the train away.The mess we created is quite impressive! Thankfully that’s what tomorrow’s for. We managed to fasten up everything we put in today, which totalled around 34 (it was too wet to do a precise count so we’ll do that tomorrow).We got to test out our new hydraulic sleeper drill, and what a ripper it is! It attaches onto the same power packs used by the spiking hammer and pandrol clipper, making our kit very versatile. This drill has both forward and reverse, a very important feature. This will no doubt speed up re-railing greatly.Tomorrow we’ll be back at Maldon, still needing to ballast and tamp all of today’s work, as well as clean up all the mess, hopefully the weather is a little kinder. Meeting Maldon Yard from 8am

Big train of Concrete

This is officially the biggest train of concrete sleepers we’ve run out to date. 272 sleepers in total, spread over 5 wagons.

It looked very impressive glimmering in the early morning dew.

The drop out points were up the hill from Farmers Bridge. Around 300 are needed here to complete this straight, so once we’ve got this lot distributed we’ll know exactly how many more are required. Needless to say unloading all of these took quite a few hours.

The afternoon was spent preparing for re-railing next week. Lots of fish plate lubrication and bolting up into stings as well as removing the last few anchors.

We’ll have gangs running Tuesday, Thursday and Friday next week for anyone interested in joining.

More Concrete

98 concrete sleepers were clipped up today, the 74 inserted Tuesday and 24 more from today.

We made use of our new petrol clipper, which the gang is getting very quick with now.

The last 24 sleepers were in just as the clipping up gang caught up. The perfect time to declare morning tea.

Our recent progress is an excellent indication that our aim of having 2000 concrete sleepers in our track by year’s end is quite realistic.

After clipping up the task was to bundle up and strap the reusable removed timber.

Some ballast scraping, a final tamp and some dip removal has left this section looking very smart.

Tomorrow will see 272 concrete sleepers dropped out for the next section. The train will leave Maldon around 8 and we’ll be out by Farmer’s Bridge from 8.30.

Preparations

A big day of preparation, with 74 concrete sleepers inserted into tangent 11-12, tamped up and ready for clipping on Thursday.

Despite a bit of a slow start, we had inserted all 74 by lunch, with the tamping completed shortly after.

We had hoped to run a sleeper train this afternoon, but a Y class undergoing repairs made it a little difficult.

However as we only needed 24 more sleepers to complete up to Farmer’s Bridge, the digger did a few runs back and forth to Muckleford bringing out the required number.

The reason for the slow start was the delivery of our point timbers! A very full B double load needed unloading first thing.

Half of these are for Castlemaine Yard, as part of the big works, with the other half for Maldon to replace 2 very tired turnouts.

We’ll be out in force again on Thursday and Friday finishing off the concrete sleepers. Meeting at Maldon 8am.

Tidy up

The usual follow up of ballast scraping and tamping today. 129 is the exact number installed yesterday, meaning a total of 231 concretes have been installed in this straight this month.

A final scrape.

Leaving the job looking very smart. Unfortunately there are a couple of wiggles (not new by any means) which let down the otherwise polished look.

As our digger really needs track side access to remove a wiggle like that it’ll need to wait until the ground is much drier. (or for a production tamp…)

Today’s other major task was stacking and bundling 15 packs of 16 sleepers and 1 pack of 12 (total of 252). These were all from this tangent and curve 12. We’re still yet to collect curve 11’s removed timber sleepers and that will be a similar number.

Next week will be more of the same, just around towards Farmer’s Bridge. We’ll be doing the lifting, extracting, scarifying and insertions on Tuesday, so feel free to come along.

Concrete sleepers

Well, yet another record today, with around 130 concretes inserted and clipped up in tangent 12-13.

It started out chilly, but with a sense of excitement. As today we were able to try out our latest toy! A hydraulic clipper.

The procession of equipment just before we started work.

It was all done in the usual fashion, however only about half the sleepers have been tamped as we had more than enough people to bar up the sleepers.

It was a big learning curve… As can be seen by all the detailed looks and intrigue. It does work very well, however it’ll really comes into it’s own when doing both clips at the same time, however we were only doing one at a time today and the gang still thought it was an improvement.

We even setup a trolley with clips, biscuits and tools to streamline the operation.

The beast in action.

Unfortunately it doesn’t really work with the gauger, just too little space for everything, so we only used it on one side. However when it’s re-railing time this machine will be on the job flat chat.

Today’s effort saw the whole tangent completed, with only ballast scraping and tamping to go tomorrow. The next section (next week) will be this short stretch up to Farmers Bridge.

Tomorrow’s crews will also start bundling up the good timber removed, for storage and re-use elsewhere.

Castlemaine again

Nothing too exciting today, just more cleanup of old sleepers and timber and lots of digging.

Although we found the sewer line yesterday, we’ve been advised that we needed to uncover it closer to the creek, which we’ve attempted to do… But so far we’ve found lumps of pipe, lots of rubbish and a big lump of concrete. None of which really makes any sense so we’ve fenced off the area and we’ll be back at some stage to investigate further.

Next week we’ll be back to concrete sleepers at Tangent 12-13.