Works Train

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Well to round out our odd job week, we ran a very odd looking works train to Castlemaine. The purpose of which was to deliver prepared (cut to length) rails to construct a retaining wall required as part of the earthworks near the new engine shed.

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The opportunity was also taken to transfer a carriage to the shed at Castlemaine. The day did however require a fair amount of shunting at all three stations.

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Once at Castlemaine with our two wagons loaded with rail for the retaining wall safely secured past the turntable, our attention was turned to putting the carriage in the shed.

This involved pulling out the 3 Y classes that arrived on our railway last weekend – currently living in the shed. We suspect this is a first time in a few years 4 Y classes have been coupled together.

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Two of the Y classes are for long term storage, however one (Y157) is very close to being a usable loco (albeit requiring a bit of body work and a paint) and as such we made use of the occupation to transfer this loco to Maldon for the workshops to begin work on its re-activation.

This loco will help alleviate our total dependence on Y133 during the summer months, as well as offering greater flexibility when it comes time to running the hundreds of upcoming ballast, sleeper and rail trains.

Tuesday next week will be works in at Castlemaine, with the start of the retaining wall. It will be an interesting exercise, all welcome. Meet Maldon 8am or site from 8.30am

Odd Jobs

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It was a day of odd jobs along the railway, involving removing kinks and dips. The first was a significant kink in our otherwise very nice curve 16. The worst was between the two rocks sitting on the rail seen above.

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Under Mick’s careful eye the kink was removed, greatly improving the curve.

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Most of the day was correcting dips and odd track geometry at the most obvious locations along the line (based on ride quality). The hardest part of all this work is often working out when to stop…. we could easily spend the next 2 years doing nothing but jacking and packing! But that alone isn’t going to ensure we maintain a strong and safe track.

received_832494200502230 The hardest part of this job is lugging around the jacks, which seem to become very heavy by the end of the day.

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It’s the time of year where at smoko we are constantly on the search for good shade – it can be harder than it sounds at times. Today’s culinary delight for Mel included home-cooked pasty with chutney, eaten in tandem with a Banana. An interesting choice and one which certainly gave us something to discuss.

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Once lunch had finally run it’s course, the next job was installing a few metal biscuits on some of the concrete sleepers installed in tangent 12-13. We haven’t been installing outer biscuits on the straights generally, however a small patch (probably a poor batch when installed back in 2002-2003) of timber sleepers were starting to show a lack of gauge holding ability.

So to sturdy things up and ensure we maintain gauge until we can re-rail and re-sleeper this section, we have installed our trusty metal biscuits into the concrete sleepers, which are still proving to be a complete success.

received_2902539403143329 We rounded out the day with a bit more tamping, fixing issues around mud holes, rabbit warrens and settling near Winters Flat Bridge. It was a very successful day, tending to lots of little jobs.

Tomorrow will be an action packed day of works trains, with various things requiring moving around the railway for upcoming works. We’ll be leaving Maldon around 8.30 – 9am and you’re most welcome to join us, we hope to be back around early afternoon but it just depends how much fun we have!

Part 2

Despite the high tech system of concrete sleeper installation we now employ, sometimes we just can’t help driving a dogspike by hand!

We were actually replacing any failed timber sleepers that weren’t part of the 1 in 3 replacements. Only 11 of these in this section, with the concrete cycle managing to elimate the majority of the life expired timber.

We did however also manage an additional 30 concretes today, which takes us just over the crest of this hill, a good effort in this awkward cutting (they’re all bad but this one always seems awkward to work in)

It started to again resemble a railway once we’d scraped up the ballast.

There was some pre-existing poor geometry towards the crossing, which was jacked and tamped as part of the works.

Despite needing a drop of ballast, the job came up looking quite smart.

Once this has all settled and we’ve managed to drop out some rock we’ll probably need to return to lift out a few drips and hopefully straighten a few wiggles.

It’s still a big improvement over before!

More Concrete Sleepers

Another 50ish (forgot to count) sleepers installed into tangent 8-9 today.

We even used the opportunity to start some ‘on track’ excavator training of one of our regulars, he started slow with the tamping head and by lunch time had a very good grasp of the beast.

The short section between Sawmill Rd and the bridge was tackled first.

Then working up the hill towards Castlemaine.

Screw and spike pulling kept the front gang busy, while the mechanical help got enough sleepers under to allow the gang to return and clip up.

Not a bad effort in the rather slow and awkward condtions of the cutting and around the roadway.

Tomorrow will see us out of the cutting, with tamping and some additional lifting required to correct some less than ideal geometry in the afternoon. Meeting Maldon 8am or site from 8.30am.

More concretes

Another 59 concrete sleepers installed today, along with a tamp and ballast scrape it’s looking very snazzy.

After the last sleeper was in, the ballast was scraped up ready for tamping.

It all went very well until the tamper blew a hose. But not to worry, the hydraulic supplies in Castlemaine sorted us out nice and quickly with a new one.

The job looks quite impressive.

Despite all this the gang also removed the dog spikes past sawmill road ready for next week, only the screws to go now.

Next week will be back here, aiming at around a similar number or possibly a few more weather depending.

Concrete Sleepers

Despite the heat and wind the gang achieved an extremely impressive 85 concrete sleepers installed into tangent 8-9.

It was done in the usual fashion, however testing out our new grabs!

They worked very well and it is likely they will speed up the operation greatly.

We still made use of the scarifier to speed things up even more so.

John, Clive and Mal hard at work clipping up.

We found in this section that pushing out the gauge was not required, which made the job a bit easier.

We gave up just after lunch once the wind came up and bush fire risk became too great (thankfully nothing we do during this particular job could cause a fire, but we carry large volumes of water and fire extinguishers just in case).

Another great effort from our hard working gang.

We’ll be back into it tomorrow, with another 80 odd ready to go in, this time in much more plesant weather.

Meeting Maldon 8am or site from 8.30.

Ballasting

A very long and hard day’s work, but we’ve got the turntable track back up and running.

Job one was tie up the last of the loose sleepers.

It took most of the morning but the old ballast was collected up and transferred over to the new track.

With some rock on, it was starting to look more impressive.

Even the point lever has been installed and it works!

A lot of lifting was required to achieve a smooth surface, still more lifting is needed, but that will require more ballast. As this is only a loco road, it’ll be quite adequate for years just like this.

The end result and a very exhausted gang proud of their efforts.