Few more bolts

As promised today was more bolt tightening, this time on the straights near donkey farm track.

Smaller gang size today but we still managed a good 1.5kms, which is very impressive.

You’ll notice in the pic above that a local Wallaby was most intrigued by our noise. It was there watching for a good few minutes before deciding we were boring and hopping off.

More exciting bolt tightening!

Well just because we didn’t think we’d done enough of it lately, we did some more bolt tightening!

Incase I’ve not shown them before, these are the bolts, infact this pic shows all the different styles of 60lb bolts that can be found on the railway, so many different spanners and sockets are required.

This spanner is actually a rail turning bar, cleverly designed to fit the square nuts, not their main function but they certainly do an excellent job, often easier to use than the purpose built spanners!

Today even saw a new volunteer on the gang, Andrew. We’re hoping to see him again on the track, a very useful man with a spanner.

Clive hard at work tightening bolts while Rolf manages the back breaking job of trolley leaning. By the afternoon we’d gone up over the top of the hill and down the other side, this section is all 80lb which means all the nuts are the same, making the job much easier. We even decided very quickly that using spanners was easier than battling with the noisy rattle guns.

A sly shot of Clive taking a quick rest after doing a mountain of tightening right at the end of the day’s work, while Malcolm poses showing us just how much he enjoys his time on the gang.

Today’s pics are all compliments of Bruce. The gang set a new record for bolt tightening today, managing over 2km of tightening. Help from the prison workforce is always a great aide but the backbone of our operation is always our volunteers, who week after week do an amazing effort on even the most mundane of jobs. A big thankyou to all of them.

We’ll be out again tomorrow playing with bolts, this time near Donkey Farm Track. If can spare some time, please feel free to help out our civil gang, any help is always greatly appreciated.

More bolts

Today was another odd jobs day, focusing mainly on bolt tightening around Castlemaine and Muckleford.

We did also fit in a bit of Anchoring near the old Maldon Junction Site.

At Muckleford our main focus was on 3 road, which when laid many years ago never received all the needed bolts, but it’s always better late than never.

Odd Jobs

Today saw lots of little odd jobs taken care of.

We started by trimming some self sown Gum Trees that were completely blocking the view at the Walmer Road Crossing. It really was becoming a major safety issue watching the traffic tear through the crossing unable to see oncoming trains.

These pics aren’t strictly of the works but they do show the glorious weather we had.

We managed to open up quite a wide window of visibilty here, previously it was completely blocked by foliage.

Rolf topping up the oil in one of our chainsaws.

The cleanup and trimming process of a felled tree.

We have placed the material beside the bike path, with the view to burning off before summer to really clean up the area.

After that episode some exciting time was spent bolt tightening near Bendigo Road, all part of the ongoing maintenance!

In the afternoon we headed back to Muckleford to tend to some missing, broken and loose bolts in the yard there.

This particular broken bolt proved very stubborn, but we got it!

Tomorrow we will be working around Castlemaine applying some rail anchors where required, so feel free to join us from 9am at the big red shed in Castlemaine.

Bolts in Castlemaine

Over the past months we’ve focused heavily on bolt tightening as well over 60% of our fish bolts were loose. That number is now much lower, at around 10% which is why we’ve turned our latest bolt tightening exercise to Castlemaine Yard.

Here Norm and Will tighten bolts in turnout number 43, once we really started looking we discovered that not only the plain track required tightening but so did the many turnout bolts.

And what’s a day without breaking something! He Rolf reassembles the pull cord on one of the rattle guns, having pulled out and not returned.

And here’s Will only minutes later having inflicted the other rattle gun with the exact same injury!

Thankfully the team is fairly savvy with these things and we were back in business in no time.

No matter how many working rattle guns you’ve got, sometimes a spanner is all you can use! (or watch being used as is more the case here)

While in the yard we made use of the tools to re-gauge some joints which had become loose and begun to widen. Malcolm demonstrates his brute strength driving home a few dog spikes, occasionally it’s nice to keep the old skills alive.

The point rodding to turnout no. 28 was slightly buried and unsupported causing unnecessary friction with the ground, so the gang re-installed the angle bracket which had been re-moved during works some years ago. They also dug out around the rodding, clearing weeds and dirt accumulated over the years.

Our new gate at the north of the yard decided to drop, making it impossible to open and close, some 5 minutes was spent adjusting the hinges tonight on our way out, works like a charm now.

Nothing too exciting is planned for tomorrow as forecasts aren’t predicting favourable weather, however if you are interested, Will will be at Maldon at 8 and depending on conditions we’ll find plenty to keep us busy.

Some sorting

Today’s rather cold, wet and rainy weather, although very pleasant and wintery, wasn’t particularly conducive to getting lots of work done.

However between showers some sorting of materials recently acquired from the old Steel Transfer Yard in West Melbourne (last week’s hive of activity and hence no posts) was achieved.

The three pallets in the centre show the 5 point levers and accompanying turnout bits that are part of the 5 turnouts that we dismantled and had transported back to the VGR (I’ll grab a pic of them later this week). Some very nice 94lb small radius, hardly worn turnouts as replacements for some of our aging turnouts in Castlemaine and hopefully in Maldon if we can get the geometry to work.

We were also lucky enough to retrieve some steel sleepers from the yard, only around 25, but still a bonus.

The gang will be back into it tomorrow, this time at Castlemaine attending to some very loose fishbolts. Feel free to pop down and join us.