Bridge Approaches

Today we tackled the long running wiggles and dips either side of farmers bridge.

Until fairly recently ballast had been falling from the ends of the bridge to beneath, due to insufficient solid material to retain the rock, however that was rectified some months ago by inserting some old 60lb rail to fill the voids permanently.

At the time we didn’t have any ballast on hand, but now that we do (still not much unfortunately!) we thought it was well overdue for a top up and a good lift and line.

The pics below show the newly ballasted and lined track. All nicely regulated and looking quite smart!

The line is still not dead straight, but that will be rectified when it comes to re-railing this section, however for the VGR’s needs this is perfect.

We put a lot of effort into building what we could of a ballast shoulder, to prevent track movement, a contributing cause to the previous movement.

While we were out we also lifted a bit of settled track on the UP side of Walmer Rd bridge as well topping up the ballast at the ends of Muckleford Creek Bridge followed by a quick tamp.

We’ll be back on deck after a well earned Easter break, with the rest of Curve 16 in our sights for the first week in April.

Yesterday’s efforts

A bit late on posting this, however yesterday did see the 26 rails fastened down and mostly tamped – until the excavator blew a hydraulic hose!

Trevor and Neville drilling a sleeper while the gauger holds it in place.

A pic from the truck mid morning showing the works completed, behind the truck the gang are drilling and spiking.

Here can be seen spikes awaiting driving in, the truck visible in the distance carries a spike driver for this purpose.

A view from the excavator showing a section of the work that was tamped, the rest to follow hopefully Monday or Tuesday after a replacement hose is fitted.

We expect one more week will see this curve completely re-railed, with this in the pipeline for not long after Easter.

Curve 16

The gentle Autumn Weather is certainly making the re-railing gang very productive. Even despite being down the excavator while in for repairs.

Starting out the day with a glorious sunrise, our fleet of trucks seen here awaiting departure from Maldon for the worksite.

Around midday we’d unspiked all the 60lb rail required and were very well under way with getting the 80 in!

Running a bit quicker than usual, thanks to a few extra hands and a lot of practise.

But also because of these sensational machines, our modified hydraulic gauger, now with hammer holder and quicker movement as well as the tuned up spike driver and power pack.

Volunteer numbers were quite high today, as can be seen by the lunch crowd.

By the afternoon all the 80lb was in place, all 26 lengths, around half was spiked 1 in 3 to hold gauge, with all sleeper plates, fishplates and bolts installed.

At the end of another hard but very rewarding day the gang very rightly admires their hard work.

Tomorrow is lots of drilling and spiking and were looking a bit light for volunteers so please if you’re free join us.

High leg of curve 16 done!

We said we’d get it finished today and we certainly did.

You can see from pic the large radius of the curve, requiring around 50 14.5m lengths of 80lb rail to complete.

All spiking and a first tamp to support all the sleepers was finished by this afternoon, so we can now set our sights on the low leg, with first half planned for next week and the rest after Easter.

Here you can see the tamper squeezing ballast under a sleeper near the end of the job, the ballast here is still very much VR gravel and loco ash, holding up amazing well but starting to show signs of clumping and holding water… A bit of a hint a mud hole could appear here before too many years.

You can also see how little material we have left to lift and tamp the sleepers with, once our re-railing is complete, a sizeable amount of ballast will be needed on most of the line to keep it in good order for years to come.

Curve 16

Well today saw the remaining rails for the high leg of curve 16 laid out, bolted together, joined in and all sleeper plates in place.

We’ve dogged down around 8 of the 25 lengths, with the remainder being the work of tomorrow’s crew.

We were much luckier with the weather today, reaching a comfortable top of around 23C.

We’ll be back into it tomorrow, ready for trains this weekend.