Rowe Street

Another 37 concrete sleepers were installed today around Rowe St.

Except for the sleepers under the insulated joints, which we’ll do when the lights are disabled in case we damage the wires, we’ve achieved 1 in 2 concrete sleepers over the length we’ve been working on.

It’s been a few years since we’ve replaced many sleepers here, so this process is ensuring we’re catching any failing timber in time, while giving us a long lasting secure section of track.

This makes a good before shot, prior to the crossing rebuild. The road surface is starting to break up badly, a sign things below are probably going the same way.

The following are some general pics showing the works.

These works, although not tamped and tidied as yet, do now take us to having concrete sleepers at least 1 in 3 (generally better) all the way from Castlemaine Yard to just past Rowe St, a significant portion of track.

Tomorrow we’ll be back here finishing off so that trains can run on Saturday, depending on numbers we may even install a few more concretes to get us up to 1 in 1 near the crossing, otherwise we’ll head around the corner and use the big digger to line some of the ugly sections further into the curve.

Meeting Rowe St. crossing from 8.30am.

Rowe Street

Today was spent dropping out material and preparing for resleepering around Rowe St.

By days end we’d dropped out a couple of hundred sleepers and begun the task of inserting them, only about 10 so far however, but we’ll do more later this week.

Thursday morning meeting Maldon 8am or Rowe St. from 8.30am.

A week of sleepers

The week began by installing a few more concrete sleepers at what will become the approach blocks for Bendigo Rd. Some joint shifting was undertaken too to prevent conflicts with the flashing light circuits.

While technically not essential, it’ll make the next part of the work far easier, quicker and will overall be less work.

Today’s task was a bit of a trial, a very successful one too.

Curve 21 (the curve between Bendigo Rd and Woodlock’s Ln) is the only section of the track not to have received attention in the past 5 years.

The sleepers spacings in the curve are all over the place, which makes standard replacements a nightmare. So we decided we’d trial re-sleepering 100% with full profile concrete.

We went through and unfastened every 2nd timber sleeper (more if the spacings were wrong), followed by jacking the track to a suitable height (now nice and light due to few sleepers) and inserting ever second Concrete Sleepers without having to dig down and disturb the roadbed too much. Once done and clipped up, the rest of the old timber was replaced with concrete.

The method worked a treat and as the initial jacking was kept relatively uniform, only minor jacking was required once all the sleepers had been installed to achieve a good top.

By not completely releasing the track, the line of the curve wasn’t lost and very very little effort was required to gauge the rails for clipping up in the concretes (as the timber was still holding it).

It’s received a good tamp and a sprinkle of ballast. We’ll run a few train loads of rock out once we’ve done a bit more.

It’s come up a treat, although only 47 sleepers today, out of about 500 in the curve, have been installed, it was a very good test day and was comfortable without being rushed. If we had two clear days, we could easily expect to triple that number no worries.

Next week, Tuesday will see a start made at Rowe St. Crossing. We’ll be running a train load of sleepers out there ready for the rebuild and will hopefully begin installing a few. Meeting Maldon 8am or Rowe St. Crossing from around 9.30am.

Maldon Yard

Today was largely dedicated to removing some serious settlement of track around Maldon Yard. 1, 2 and the turntable road all received a lot of attention, with almost every joint lifted and a significant amount of plain track brought back up to correct height also.

Maldon yard is almost exclusively made up of fouled ballast these days, so it holds water and inevitably settles every winter, hopefully our very thorough effort this time will buy us a few years, when we can look at seriously fixing the situation.

Anyone familiar with the loco road at Maldon would know it’s always been uneven and quite rough, well it’s still both of those things, but now only slightly so. Some sections were lifted up to two inches (50mm), which has made a significant difference.

We found ourselves with a bit of spare time at the end of the day, so set about installing concrete sleepers under the outer insulated joint location for the upcoming Bendigo Road Flashing Lights.

As prefabricated 7ish metre modern glued insulated joints will be cut in and welded in place here, it’ll save a lot of effort if all that needs to occur is the current rail be unclipped and the new clipped back up, better than wasting time drilling more holes into these now fairly old timber sleepers.

We’ve only installed 7 so far, another couple to go and a few steel sleepers need to come out, so that’ll be Tuesday’s job, we also need to juggle some rail here to enable the welding in of the insulated joints, so hopefully that’ll get done Tuesday too.

Meeting Tuesday 8am at Maldon or on the up side of Bendigo Rd from 8.15am.