Rail Recovery

It was a big day of rail towing today, with around 20 rails now up to the next crossing.

The gang kept themselves busy re-installing some temporary rails into this very quiet dirt track as that will be by far the easiest way to continue the dragging and the least disruption for all involved.

Job done and tested with a few cars, very snazzy. We’ve got one more dirt track to do in the same way tomorrow, which will allow us to do an enormous amout more rail towing, and of course recovery.

We’ll be back on site tomorrow, meeting at Goudges Ln around 8.15am – 8.30am.

Rail Recovery


Another big day of rail moving, with 6 lengths towed up to the next crossing and several more towed to about half way.


The morning saw us effecting some temporary repairs to a few sections of wide gauge. We simply pinched some reasonable sleepers from the already dismantled sections to replace the failed ones.


We even have this mighty heat buckle to contend with! We’ve installed 4 sleepers throughout it to ensure it holds gauge. While the diggers are still happy to negotiate it (which they both do quite well), we don’t think it’s worth the effort to fix.

We’ll be taking Monday off (Public Holiday), back into it on Tuesday and Wednesday though, however Thursday will be back at Castlemaine installing the handrail on the wall and breaking up old 60lb rail (weather permitting). Friday next week will be a day off due to a few people being away.

Tuesday’s crew will leaving Maldon around 8am or meet on site (Yapeen) at 8.30am.



Rail Recovery

The first crossing, over which we dragged around 2.9km of rail today.

This is the Yapeen – Vaughan Springs Rd, very near to the Midland Hwy.

With all the rail past this point free and ready to come across the crossing, we enlisted some traffic management and set to it!

The big digger proved it’s worth almost instantly, being the weapon of choice.

(even a little video to show off)

Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) the rail through the crossings was removed a few years ago. The down side was every rail dragged required getting off and on as the crossing was too wide to just reach over.

We began the day with our fancy rollers to protect the road… Then by accident discovered that a sleeper either side of the roadway was far easier.

All the rail and the sled have been moved across the crossing. There was actually only about 40 lengths of rail, but when they’re 80m long each it soon adds up to a lot of rail.

We also had the little digger dragging rail away from the crossing up the next hill, but the wet weather and lower grunt made it a little less practical.

Tomorrow will be another rail towing day, up towards the next crossing, another 1.5kms ish. It’ll require a bit of track work to ensure gauge will hold. Meeting Maldon at 7.45am or site from 8.15am (Yapeen Crossing).

Rail Recovery

Well we’ve started pulling up track in a serious way!

We’ve managed to borrow a rail sled, which has trippled the speed of lifting the rail, with the trade off that the roadbed isn’t left quite as smooth, but still drive-able.

We’ve draughted in the big Hyundai Excavator for extra grunt and boy has that made a difference.

With only a gang of 3, we’ve lifted around 800m of rail and dragged about 5 times that down to the first crossing, ready for dragging across tomorrow.

This is what’s left behind after sledding, the odd sleeper lifts, but we’ve found if we leave a couple of rails in the 5 foot, that issues reduces.

Lots of jewellery still to collect, but we’ll get there, great job for cooler weather.

The takeuchi was even treated to 4 new tyres! The old ones were well past their use by date.

Tomorrow will be a big day, with two diggers in use dragging rail across Yapeen – Vaughan Springs Rd. We hope to do it in half a day, but who can really tell without trying it.

Any extra hands will be put to use, helping prepare rails for towing, guiding with bars, working ahead loosening anchors and bolts etc…

Meeting Maldon 7.30 or Yapeen (look for the big stockpile of rail) around 8am.

Rail Recovery

Another successful day, with another 300m of track unspiked and dragged up to the first crossing.

The day began with anchor removal, which was much easier in the cooler weather.

We’re starting to get the hang of it now, getting 2 X 80m rails unspiked in around 30mins (versus the hour when we started).

Were now into full lengths of rail without joints, which also speeds things up considerably (also easier to drag).

It’s been a very successful week, which hopefully we can replicate next week! It’ll be all systems go from Tuesday. Please join us if you can.

Don’t forget tomorrow’s Civil Saturday at Castlemaine, the weather is looking good so join Trevor and the crew from 8.30am at the big red shed.

Rail Recovery

Another big day today, with about 1km of rail unspiked and dragged (only a very short way) towards Castlemaine.

We began from just off the Midland Hwy Bridge.

With the crew soon having that length ready for dragging.

Thankfully the digger does the heavy lifting here, giving the spike pullers a bit of a break.

Now that were into the poorer quality sleepers, spike pulling is much easier, with most pulled by hand and the lifters only getting the stubborn ones.

Our little digger is up to the job of towing the rail, but it’s not fast. Next week we’ll be calling in our bigger Hyundai digger to speed things up and reduce the workload.

About half of the rail removed has been towed to the first crossing, with a the rest to make that journey tomorrow.

It looks very different without rails!

We’ve now got a very good system, which will be greatly improved with added towing power.

By close of play we’d made it into the next curve, a massive effort. The much cooler conditions helped significantly.

Hopefully we can maintain a similar pace to this. We’ve still got a long way to go and lots of tidying up to do following rail removal, so please if you can spare a day, join us!

Tomorrow will be anchor removal, ready for more unspiking next week. Meeting near Vaughan Springs Rd. Yapeen around 8.15am (or leaving Maldon around 7am.

Rail Recovery

Well after many years of searching for more 80lb rail to complete the re-railing of our track, we’ve finally been allocated a section of unused track.

It is a mixture of 80 and 94lb rail, which is fine for us. The rail is generally in excellent condition.

Best of all it’s very close to home! It’s a section of the disused Maryborough to Castlemaine Railway. We’ve been allocated (through VicTrack) the section from Guildford to Maldon Junction.

The main advantage being we don’t need to do any trucking of the rail, therefore no need to cut it into short lengths.

If we’re honest, we’re a little sad to see this line going. But it is in extremely poor condition and certainly far below any standard should the line be re-opened, so the material is much better in use improving our track.

Today was day one of the recovery effort. It started out in a thick hazy of Bushfire smoke, thankfully not from anywhere nearby.

All our beasts (the machinery that is) have been called in for this big job.

The day started with the removal of anchors, with this point here being the start of our takings, just over the Midland Hwy Bridge.

The digger was used to scrape away the extremely built up ballast shoulders. This section here was re-laid about 20 years ago, when the new bridge was installed.

We managed to complete around 650m of de-anchoring today, an excellent effort for the horrid heat we were working in.

All anchors were collected into drums as we went, to remove the need to come back and sort. Plates and spikes will be collect via an electromagnet and trucked to our railway for later sorting as time allows.

This is a good representation of the general track condition, very poor.

Lunch today was a very welcome break, however shade is very hard to come by around the old Guildford Station. Poor Mal was the man on the blower, a very dirty job.

After lunch we tackled the first unspiking! It was hard work, as this section still has good sleepers (the only ones!), with the spikes still firmly held. We know it’ll get a lot easier from here.

A few stubborn bolts, but so far they’ve all undone.

Once unspiked across the bridge, the rails showed just how much they can move in the heat!

The first section of rail towed… It was long and probably the longest we’ll tow, around 85m.

We will be dragging these, in stages, all the way back to Maldon Junction to load onto a train for dropping on site.

So far we’ve only dragged the rails a few hundred metres, but tomorrow should see them dragged up to the first road crossing.

We’ll be out here for the rest of this week and all of next week, we hope to achieve a huge amount in this time, but we will need lots of help. Please feel free to join us any day. Contact ganger@vgr.com.au for details.