Rerailing

Today saw excellent progress made with 385m of 94lb rail installed.

The day started off extremely picturesquely, only just above freezing temperature but still very pleasant.

Before long we’d flicked out the 60lb that had been unfastened yesterday and dropped in the 94lb.

Given it was looking like we were in for a very early finish, we decided we could successful achieve another 3 x 55m lengths of 94lb (making a total of 7 lengths over the two days), which given our relatively small crews on both days is an excellent effort.

There’s only 5 more lengths of 94lb to install in the UP leg and we’ll be at the curve, then we’ll jump over to the Down leg and head for the curve again.

If numbers are good on Tuesday, there’s no reason we won’t complete the 5 lengths in the UP leg. Meeting Maldon 8am or out on site from 8.30am.

Rerailing

With a good number of other projects now out of the way, we’re head long back into rerailing.

Given the very systematic nature of the task, we spent the morning preparing as much as we could up to the straight, with our aim being to get this completed over the coming weeks. We began by removing fishplates and lubricating the joints.

We then set about correcting a slight rail joint location anomaly, where all the joints were going to fall on top of a concrete sleeper, a sort length of the existing rail was removed and to keep the digger able to pass over, the holes were drilled first to save time.

We’ve distributed clips and equipment as required along the job to reduce the instances of double handling etc.

After lunch we were ready to begin unfastening the 60lb and getting the 94lb in.

As yet we’ve only bolted up the first 55m length of 94lb and slewed it into position, ready for tomorrow’s crew to clip up while the next lengths are installed.

And just because we could, we decided to back the truck into an old pile of fencing wire so we could spend several moments thoroughly enthralled in a detangling effort! No damage done however.

Tomorrow’s crew will be meeting on site near Farmers Bridge from 8.15am. Where hopefully we’ll get a good few lengths of rail installed.

Ballarat Tramways

Occasionally we still do a little external contracting, if it fits in with the works program.

The past two days we’ve had the little digger and Will over at Ballarat Tramways doing some fiddly jobs, mainly in relation to get the last two bays of the old shed into a condition where a slab could be poured to replace the gravel floor.

It was a fairly fiddly job, pulling up the last of the old track and digging out all the gravel, 1 bucket at a time, to the correct depth. The little digger turned out to be the perfect size for the job.

Once everything was cleaned out, the new rail was manoeuvred in and the joining up work began.

While there, the digger was used to do an enormous amount of site clean up following the huge works that have been happening around the depot – check out the Tramways website and Facebook for the full run down.

The digger’s going to hang on there for a few more days to be available to load material onto trucks and the like, while they prepare the new track enough to stable this tram back in the shed.

Back on the VGR, unfortunately no pictures from today’s works, but we’ll be into rerailing again from Thursday, meeting Maldon 8am or near Farmers Bridge from 8.30am.

Maldon

We started out by replacing two failed sleepers out by the Maldon home signal with concretes, a nice easy job while we waited to see what the weather did.

Thankfully it seemed to turn into a nice day, so we set about jacking and packing 1 road at Maldon, to get the height of the platform track back up something more like the other platforms.

It was a considerable lift, the track was lowered many years ago to reduce the step out of the doors, however it’s settled to such a point that some doors won’t open and the diggers could no longer slew to undertake works on 1 road without risk of hitting the coping.

The amount of lift undertaken called for a ballast drop and luckily the ballast train was ready for deployment.

Following a drop and a final tamp, it came up a treat! It’ll likely settle quite a bit over the coming wet months given how much lift we’ve given it, but we can return later in the year to touch it up if needed.

We brought it back to where it should be, which makes it now level with 2 road, so there’s no longer a big height different their either. This brings Maldon back in line with Muckleford and Castlemaine platforms, meaning uniformity across the railway.

No sooner was all that done, than the digger was loaded onto a truck and sent off to Ballarat Tramways, where it’ll spend a few days doing some work for them.

Next Tuesday the gang will meet at Maldon at 8am, heading out to break up some 60lb rail into their lengths.