Rail Prep, Sleepers and more!

A busy one today.

Preparing and loading 80lb rails for tangent 14-15 used up most of the morning.

Rolf, deep in the zone, drilling bolt holes.

Malcolm in action docking old welds from the rail ends.

The team is well practised in preparing rails, having prepared over 10 linear km of rail in this manner so far.

The afternoon was quite varied, replacing a few sleepers around Muckleford yard, cross boreing / re-gaugeing a section of the curve on the UP side of Muckleford and installing some tie rods in two curves towards Castlemaine that are being to show signs of loose fastenings.

These works are just part of the maintenance required to keep our railway operating safely.

Well be out preparing for tangent 14 – 15 tomorrow, with the weather forecast for the same as today, it’ll be another perfect day in paradise.

Newport Part 2

We’ve been back at Newport again this week, more turnout timbers and lots of sleepers.

We had a bit of a nice surprise today with not one but two steam locos being lit up!

We’re even holding out hopes we might be big movie stars! You can just make out a camera man at left and behind the gang were many more!

Not entirely sure why so many film crews thought our civil gang was news quality but we’re pretty chuffed! (we think maybe they were there to film the engines along with some sort of press release – we’ll have to watch the news to find out)

Re-sleepering inside the loco servicing area was interesting, you can see how much material had to be moved to remove the old sleepers and install the new.

The afternoon was spent dodging trains and cleaning up the old sleeper material, kept the gang very busy!

We’re back for one last day tomorrow, to tidy up loose ends and install the last few sleepers, if you’re around and looking for some excitement please join us!!

More Sleepers and Tamping

Today we put in the rest of the sleepers, again a mix of steel and timber.

You can pick the new timbers by their red colour. The short straight above was one of our roughest sections of track, however after an hour of jacking and tamping it now rides very smoothly.

Unfortunately there is a number of ‘crippled’ joints, the rails are bent vertically near the joint, which prevents us getting the track dead flat, but it’s much better… Only all the way to Castlemaine to tamp up now!

Sleeper Replacements

After finally managing to get our hands on some sleepers, some nice new red gum, we’ve got back into sleeper replacements.

Our worksite today was near the Maldon tip, replacing life expired and broken sleepers.

This is the first time our new grab has had a real go at sleepers, it’s fantastic and we definitely won’t go back to the old grabs!

We had a few steel sleepers on hand and these were installed also. The pic above shows the finished job, timber sleeper just under the excavator rail wheels and a steel sleeper a bit further up.

We haven’t fastened them down yet, but we will once we re-rail with the 80lb, as fastening now will only weaken the sleepers later on.

We’ve got some more tomorrow, so feel free to have a day in the bush seeing how it’s done!

Newport Workshops

Among the VGR’s trackwork skills is helping out other organisations with their trackwork.

In the week just gone we assisted Steamrail with some trackwork at their home in the old West Block of the Newport Railway Workshops.

The work largely involved replacing life expired turnout timbers and correcting areas of wide gauge in the plain track.

We mustered our usual kit of trucks, excavator and tools to tackle the job, with the job 90% complete, only not completed due to appallingly weather on the last day.

The works, although for Steamrail, did also include some trackwork for 707 operations and DERMPAV (other groups based at the workshop), which should now see them able to use the yard for several more years without hassle.

Below is a collection of pics from the week:

The team gauging and spiking a turnout after new timbers were installed.

The usual morning tea and lunch rituals are still followed even when working away!

There was generally only a few timbers required in each turnout, however the state of the timbers removed is clear by seeing how easily Malcolm was able to carry them around!

The trusty fleet.

Overall the works went very well, however due to weather we will we back to finish off an urgent job this coming Tuesday and then again in a fortnight’s time.

If you’re a Melbourne resident and would like to come and check out how we do things please feel free to come along, as always the more hands the easier the job.

Tangent 14-15

Well we set another record today, by 11.15am we had the whole 27 lengths spiked in, without help from our prison workforce!!

These pics show the last few lengths being spiked in.

A few of the completed job, featuring our trusty gang truck.

After lunch we clipped up the steel sleepers, collected the old jewellery and sorted it accordingly. Here Trevor and Tony were placing the old jewellery into the bucket for sorting.

Our sights were then directed to preparing for re-railing the other leg.

Using the bucket as a blade allows ballast close to the track to be scrapped away from the work zone and provide an even surface to place the 80lb in before installation.

The next few pics are just to show off our hard work!

It was an enormous two days work, but the result is fantastic, the ride is already billiard table smooth by comparison!

Thanks again to everyone who was able to help out, and watch this space for details of our next re-railing job.

Tangent 14-15

Today saw an incredible achievement, with 27 x 80lb rails installed, spiked 1 in 3, in the down leg of tangent 14-15 (near Muckleford Creek Bridge).

The start of works, showing unbolting of the first rail and power pack for spike pulling.

Here Bruce is pulling spikes with Clive further ahead removing screws.

Unfortunately there were are no completed pics as it seemed the rain was about to start (still hasn’t arrived!) and we made a dash for home, but tomorrow we will have the job completed and lots of pics to show off our hard work.

A lot of mid week preparation occurred to help with this achievement, bolting 2 out of 3 rails together, material distribution and steel sleeper inbolting, however it has really paid off!

We’ve even tamped all the sleepers to make tomorrow’s drilling job easier and quicker.

We’ll be out on site from around 8.30 tomorrow, so please join us as there’s still lots to do and the more hands the easier the job.