Concrete Sleepers

As promised, it was a day of loading concrete sleepers. 388 in total were loaded onto all our suitable wagons, including the latest addition to the fleet QB2 currently on loan to us from Steamrail.

This number allows us to complete tangent 8-9 with about 40 left over for the next tangent.

Next week will include dropping these out and hopefully starting to get them under the track.

Even more sleepers

Well apart from being wet… Which wasn’t really forecast until this morning, we had a very successful day.

55 timber sleepers have been replaced between Bendigo Road and Curve 21. This very short section of track had the poorest sleeper condition of anywhere on the line but not anymore.

Despite the rain and our small group of 3, all 55 sleepers are fully spiked, only requiring a tamp sometime soon. I pretty big effort really, considering there was no preparation.

Tomorrow is a workday, but it will largely consist of loading concrete sleepers onto wagons. You’re welcome to join us, however the weather forecast is for wet again, so probably an excellent day to practise some more social distancing.

More sleepers

Well this week has been a slow and steady wins the race type of week.

It’s only Wednesday and we’ve managed to insert 154 sleepers, taking us all the way to Bendigo Road.

Not only have we inserted, we’ve also completely spiked up 164 sleepers, today alone (there was 10 left over from last week). Not bad for a small gang of 3! (that’s a total of 656 holes drilled and spikes driven… Spread over the best part of 1km of track)

All that’s left here is to tamp, collect the old jewellery and regulate the ballast and then only Bendigo Road to Maldon to go!

We’ve been able to get clarification regarding our volunteer workers being classed as employees for all intents and purposes. This means we’re not bound (currently) by the gathering restrictions, this may change, so please contact ganger@vgr.com.au if you’re planning on attending a workday, just so we can communicate any changes and urgent updates.

We have gone to great lengths to get our social distancing far beyond any recommendations currently being provided, so at this stage we can still offer a workplace with extremely low risk, which is essential for our volunteers and the community as a whole.

Tomorrow will be a usual Thursday workday, with the short bit of straight been Bendigo Road and Curve 21 set in our sights, after a tiny bit of tidy up over today’s job. Friday is looking wet (maybe) but we will be using it as a sleeper loading day ready for distribution next week.

Please feel free to join us from Maldon at 8am, but do contact Will on ganger@vgr.com.au to be briefed on the current arrangements.

More Sleepers

Over this week we’ve managed to insert a further 116 sleepers into curve 20 and tangent 20 – 21. An excellent effort considering the situation.

It’s been a bit different to the usual style, as we’ve taken the social distancing very seriously, our gangs are more a lot of one man bands working through their individual jobs.

Unfortunately as we were all so absorbed in making sure we maintained safe distances while getting the job done, we forgot to grab any pictures!

We will be out again tomorrow, pulling spikes ready for the next round of insertions along tangent 20-21 (once we can get more sleepers on site).

We’ll be meeting at Maldon from 8am or on site from around 8.15am.

Even more sleepers

Today’s gang of 4 managed to gauge and finish spiking 43 sleepers from yesterday as well as install a rather impressive 44 additional sleepers.

Yesterday’s rough count proved to be extremely rough, with the true number actually 84 inserted rather than the 60 odd reported. An excellent effort for our reduced workforce.

All of this week’s sleepers have been tamped but the boxing up and ballast regulation will have to wait until Monday.

We’ve now only got about 1.5 miles left to go to get to Maldon, sounds easy when you say it fast!

It’s a timely reminder that even with smaller efforts we can still achieve great things. With that in mind, the railway if likely to experience some very hard times during the current virus crisis.

We can only appeal to everyone’s continued support to help ensure we can survive a potentially long period of little income. Please contact us if you feel you may be able to offer some support during this grim time.

On a positive note, Civil Saturday’s are back, starting again tomorrow Morning from 8.30am at Castlemaine, where various track preparations for the upcoming works and point rodding adjustments will be the main focus.

More Sleepers

Another excellent day’s work, with around 65 sleepers inserted and the majority of those fully spiked up.

We were short on hands today, and will be for some time now that our assistants from the local prison are in lockdown amid the current health concerns.

However we took a very systematic approach to the work based on gang size and in this case, slow and steady has really won the race. The unspiking team worked through the job with digger behind removing the sleepers.

We then moved back to the start of the job, working together to install the new sleepers, sleeper plates, drilling one end and stand the spikes.

It was a very good system which proved very efficient, it’s not very different to usual but we did find it better to work as a group, prevented a lot of walking back for stray tools.

We all discussed the current corona virus issues, measured out our seating arrangenents to maintain at least 1.5m between us. The gang has unanimously decided it is willing to continue in it’s current style as we all feel it is a low risk environment.

Tomorrow will be more of the same, with hopefully another 30ish sleepers installed. Meeting Maldon 8am or curve 20 from 8.15am.

Sleepers

Friday ended up being a very successful day, with an additional 42 sleepers inserted as well as giving all 90 installed Thurs/Fri a tamp up.

These grabs have sped the process up greatly and the manual labour is reduced to really just drilling and driving the spike hammer.

The 70 marked on the sleeper is exactly number replaced in curve 19. Often we find extras along the way to do, but this time it was bang on!

We even found some time Friday to start the boxing up.

But given the amount to be done, it was better to tackle the job for a few hours this morning without the gang hanging around looking for jobs.

The track looks really quite snazzy with a bit of a scrape up. There was little to no shoulder of ballast along here, so we’re now making use of what little rock is out there.

The little ledges created during these scrapes will also help hold future ballast, which we’ll start dropping out as soon as this re-sleepering cycle gets through to Maldon.

A lot of work was also put into the drainage through this cutting, it was somewhere between blocked and non-existent! But it should flow very freely now. With the drain now lower than sleeper level we shouldn’t experience issues with mud holes (not that we did here really).

Just a quick word about carona-virus and the gangs, at this stage we still be running the usual gangs for those that wish to attend.

However we do understand completely that you may wish to isolate during this time and encourage anyone wishing to do so.

Depending on future annoucments re-corona-virus this may change, so please check back here before each planned workday.

Tomorrow’s workday (Tuesday 17th) will not be running, due to other commitments, however we’ll be back Thursday as per usual with more sleepers to go in.