Job Done

A very successful day, with the rest of the drilling and spiking completed, 32 concrete sleepers installed and a couple of significant dips removed.

Hours of fun was had drilling and spiking, however the few extra bodies and better weather meant the job was completed before morning tea.

This length of track is looking quite smart now.

The well practised art of clipping up concrete sleepers was put to good use. With the crew hot on the tail of the digger.

After tamping up the new sleepers, removing some significant dips and giving the ballast a push around with the bucket, it certainly looks like a very nice, solid length of railway. The ride along this section in the digger is excellent, which although not a train, is indicative that trains should ride well.

Next week we’ll be having a change of pace, Tuesday we’ll be back at Maclise St. Finishing off some of work there, not a lot still outstanding but we’ve still got a bit of tidy up to go. Meeting there from 8.30am.

More spiking

Another exciting day, drilling holes and driving spikes. Unfortunately today’s weather was just horrendous for working in. Hot scorching sun, high humidity and no breeze. But we achieved a lot despite it.

We even had a little visitor today, a quite large long necked turtle. It’s not uncommon to see these around and we give them a helping hand over the track, as this can be quite a challenge for them. Once pointed towards the next dam, it was off.

In the end the weather just beat our small gang of 3, but not before we completed the spiking up of the up leg and a hundred metres or so of holes drilled on the Down leg.

We’ve still got a fair amount to do tomorrow so any extra hands would be appreciated. The weather is forecast to be much better than today. Meeting on site from 8.15am.

Sleeper plates and dogspikes

We were back out at the recent re-railing site today, installing sleeper plates and dogging up. Just under 3 pallets of sleeper plates were required.

Any failed sleepers have been identified, these will be changed once all the good timber is dogged up.

One of the 60/80lb junction plates we installed last week was starting to show signs of cracking, it would probably have survived another 30 years, but to be safe, we’ve exchanged it for a non-cracked model.

We even got to test our new tool, a Milwaukee 1inch drive rattle gun. It is an absolute ripper and would appear to have more power than the petrol guns, less than half the weight and much quieter. This is a very kind donation from one of the gang, and we’re extremely grateful as it’ll certainly save us a lot of back breaking work.

The rattle gun was also used to break up a few lengths of 60lb rail, partly to test and partly to improve access by the old occupation crossing.

Lots of drilling and spiking followed, with around half of one leg complete.

As part of the process, every sleeper was tamped, unfortunately this did result in a slight loss of lateral stability, especially in the section that was yet to spiked up. As such we did a quick run through lining the track then dragged up more rock to form a thicker shoulder.

We managed to get it a lot straighter than it was previously. Once we can complete the spiking on Thursday, this will become nice and stable once again, until then we’ve placed a 10mph speed limit over the length.

We’ll be out here again on Thursday, meeting Maldon 7.45am or on site from 8.15am.

Re-railing

Well… we didn’t expect to do as well as we did!

Once we got onto it and into a rhythm, it became very obvious we were going to finish the straight well before lunch. So we promptly got into pulling apart the low leg of the curve.

Before too long the new rail was in and bolted up, with the clipping up not too far behind. Today saw us install another 340m of 94lb, taking this week’s total to around 700m. If we could keep up this pace we’d knock the re-railing over in no time.

If you can believe it, we even managed to fluke the junctions back to the 60lb being almost exactly square, only about 1 inch different, which is more than acceptable. Normally one of the new rails needs cutting or tweaking to achieve this, but using a slightly different combination of closures we achieved this without any unnecessary cutting.

We even found the time to collect the jewellery and install some speed signs to keep the train speeds down until we can get back and give a few bits that need it a good jack and tamp.

We’ll be back here on Tuesday, to begin installing sleeper plates and dogspikes. Meeting Maldon 8am or out on site from 8.30am.