Castlemaine Yard

Excellent progress made today on the 2nd turntable approach track today, to the point of it being sort of usable.

We quickly set about clipping up everything not got to on Tuesday, which didn’t take very long.

We even bit the bullet and tested a few fastclip style concrete sleepers. These have a side application clip, rather than the parallel style of e clips. We’ve got several hundred of these in stock so it was time to work out how to use them.

We butchered a few 94lb biscuits to prove the concept, and they worked a treat. A special tool to apply and a separate removal tool is used on these clips, as shown off by Norm. They will also clip up with a gentle squeeze from the grabs, which is a nice bonus!

Before any rock was dropped a good bit of lining was undertaken, amazing just how flexible track really is, even fully clipped up it still moves well.

We’d previously manually added ballast to get the track usable, enabling our ballast train to venture out for the drop. Again Daylesford’s plough was the first real rail vehicle to pass onto the new rails!

A good drop, the two full wagons worth, was needed to get the track up to the right height and ensure we can maintain sufficient drainage of what is now a massive, largely undrained site.

Lots of everyone’s favourite, jacking and packing, was most of the day’s task!

But we did get to dropping out the rest of the sleepers and sitting the rails on top ready for tomorrow’s crew to clip up.

While all this was happening, we sent the Y class to Muckleford with the now empty ballast wagons to free up some more space in the yard. You can see from this view we’ve still got some lifting to do, however the area through the gates and near the fire hydrant is complete. This siding will become mainly storage for the next few months, so this standard is far in excess of what’s needed for that.

Tomorrow, despite the lockdown, will be going ahead as planned. We’ll be meeting at Castlemaine around 8.15am. Any questions, please contact John or Will.


Excellent progress was made today on the 2nd turntable track.

We’ve bolted together all the rails as far as we had sleepers out and clipped up a significant portion.

Tomorrow we’ll move the gravel and other items preventing us going further, with Thursday hopefully getting us up to the pit, with this end of the job jacked and tamped up to the final height. Thursday – Meeting Maldon 7.30am or Castlemaine from 8.15am.

Odd jobs

As with all things, some jobs get put on the back burner while major projects like Castlemaine and Bendigo Rd Lights are on the boil.

However today saw the odd job list reduced a little.

First adjustment of the down end turnout at Muckleford, it wasn’t quite throwing correctly and the locking was all out of adjustment, meaning was locking fine, but wouldn’t always unlock correctly.

Anyhow, an hour or and lots of blokes watching one bloke work and it was all fixed!

While the big digger was on hand, we had a crack at lining the dock road turnout at Muckleford. Since about 1996 it’s looked a bit like this, at an odd angle.

So we set about pushing and shoving until we’d achieved something more desirable.

Still a million and one wiggles that we could remove, but on the whole, it looks much more appropriate now. This work is beyond the little digger but this one just take it in its stride.

We then did a very through track patrol over the 60lb, to make sure our watch points from last inspection hadn’t degraded, with one exception, which is only a very minor issue, nothing has got significantly worse. However the timber sleepers are really starting to age during this wet year. This was also a planning exercise for the re-railing we’re hoping to start in a few weeks.

Last job of the day was to reinstate this speed sign, which we’d completely overlooked re-installing after the rail recovery effort.

Tuesday will likely be a works train, delivering more material to Castlemaine for the next little bit of work later in the week. Meeting Maldon 7.30am or Castlemaine from 8.15am (head straight to Castlemaine unless you need a lift from Maldon).