Turntable part 2

Another day at Newport (well half day, thanks to the torrential rain!)

One end is almost ready to be inserted, with the arc cut, checking out completed and only bolting up to go.

We’ll be back there in force tomorrow, hopefully to get the job 99% done. Time will tell but if we can get enough helpers, we might just be able to clear the job site tomorrow afternoon. Starting at Newport from around 8am.


We’re down playing Turntables at Newport. A job we’ve not done a lot of, but it’s essentially bridge work which is a task we can handle with great ease.

The end timbers, where the locking mechanism sits are less than ideal, so we’re replacing them.

After a very late start and some minor truck trouble, we have done all the unbolting and even removed one timber. We’ll use this as the guide for preparing the new timber tomorrow and hopefully (if the rain holds off) get one if not both installed.

Meeting Newport from 8.15am.

The big wet!

What started out as a very productive day of dogging up sleepers, turned very wild and wooly, fast.

Before the storm however, we did manage to fasten up the majority of the sleepers up the straight, with only about 40 sleepers on one leg to go next week.

Unfortunately we ran into some trouble with the tamper, but while trackside assistance remedied the issue, the grabs deputised for lifting ready for drilling and boxing up duties.

It was very wet though, with one nearby property reporting 37mm of rain in an hour! A nice change to the hot dry of summer.

The storm was obviously very localised as the section near Pipeline Crossing has had the drains scoured, thankfully with no damage to the track.

There will be some drain cleaning required over the next few weeks to ensure we can handle a similar event should it occur.

Monday & Tuesday next week (possibly Wed if needed) will be at Newport Workshops, working on the Turntable. Start time for Monday will be a lesurly midday at the workshops, where as Tuesday will be normal time at the workshops.

Thursday and Friday we’ll be back out working on more sleepers.


After a few days of replacing sleepers, we’ve inserted 150 from Muckleford to the start of curve 15.

So far only around half have been spiked up, but they’ll get a good tamp tomorrow and there’s nothing that will prevent any trains running this weekend.

It started out as a very mild and incredibly pleasant morning… It did get very muggy by afternoon tea so we decide we’d done enough hard graft.

Bruce again showing us the advantages in being tall and strong when it comes to using the spike puller.

Malcolm has become the expert on inserting sleeper plates and marking up the new sleepers for drilling.

He’s also become very good at using our new plate hooks to remove sleeper plates while the digger lifts the rail. This method saves a lot of time and work.

The digger and very versatile new grabs made the changes very effortless. They’re great for removing plates, the old timber, cleaning out and re-inserting. Not to mention being able to squeeze up to allow for drilling and spiking.

They’ve proved a big winner, all we need now is to win the lotto so we can have a dedicated set on either digger (rather than swapping them over now as we do).

Tomorrow will be back here, tamping up the 150 installed and spiking up what we can before the rain (due early afternoon). Meeting Maldon 8am or site 8.15am.

Sleeper Replacements


We’re back on our own railway for a few weeks. After a big truck and excavator shuffle yesterday, today saw the start of work.

We’re working our way through a sleeper cycle from Muckleford to Maldon, replacing anything that is life expired. We’re using the best of the timber released from the Castlemaine section as part of the concrete sleepering program.

We started out fairly slowly today, changing the grabs over onto the Takeuchi and only having a very small group, however we still achieved a lot. We’re replaced 5 sleepers in tangent 13-14, another 7 in Curve 14a and we’re most of the way through 45 in curves 14b&c (the wiggles on the down side of Muckleford Creek Bridge). None have been spiked up yet, but we’ve got to leave something for Thursday’s Gang.

We’ll be out in force again tomorrow, with a later start time of around midday on site (we’ve got a few commitments first up) then again Thursday and Friday at the usual time.

Rail Recovery

Another big day of rail towing. We’ve got about half of the loose rail over Goudges Ln towards Donkey Gully Road.

It’s been a big months worth of work, a big thank you to everyone that’s been involved. We’re having a break from this job for 3 weeks to get back onto some others.

Next week we’ll be back on our Railway, replacing sleepers in the Maldon to Muckleford section.

Rail Recovery

A big day, with an enormous amount achieved.

We completed the lifting and dragging of rail up to Godfrey Lane (about 550m).

While the Hyundai was out of action, we tested the takeuchi at sled dragging, with it doing about 480m of the 550m. An excellent effort but it certainly is much better in the hands of the more powerful machine.

We mixed up the method a little, with some pre-removal of 3 out of 4 bolts which helped speed things up.

By Lunch Bazz had worked his magic on the Hyundai and it was alive and kicking once again (it was a cooked solenoid!), thanks Bazz!

We used the big digger to pull the last few lengths of rail up. The gang is really getting the pattern of works down pat and with incredible efficiency. A true credit to their dedication.

They even played lollipop men… For the whole 1 car all day.

We had so many people today that we even started sorting the jewellery into rough piles for collection.

A quick video showing some more dragging, not really exciting but it shows how much friction a rail has when being dragged.

Dragging the 2nd last rail of the day over the sled.

Thankfully the sled helps guide the rail very well, however we do always stop before dragging the free end over, clearing everyone and everything out of it’s reach before sliding it across.

It’s incredible how much flick a rail can have when wandering free like this.

The end spot for today’s lifting. We’re certainly making excellent progress.

The late afternoon was spent up by the next crossing, towing rail through to Donkey Gully Road. This will be the bulk of tomorrow’s work too. It’s quite tedious and very time consuming, but it’s the only way to get it all to Castlemaine, so we’ll just keep plodding.

Tomorrow’s meeting place is Goudges Ln around 8.15am. (or leaving Maldon around 7.30ish).