Bendigo done and dusted

Well no so much dusted as it was still quite wet from recent rain, but certainly done!

It’s looking very spiffy after a tidy up.

We’d like to thank BRW for having us, it’s certainly always interesting and a nice change to work on someone else’s railway.

Bendigo – a success!

Well a big ceremony was held by the VGR and the BRW teams today when the first locomotive ran successfully over the new track!

T369 did the honours, running back forth several times to help bed in the new track. To our delight there was almost no settling, meaning a re-tamp was not required.

The excavator about to squeeze the last sleepers before the first loco.

A view through the shed towards to concrete slab. We did test run right through the shed to check the integrity of the existing track but haven’t gone onto the new concrete yet. Another week of hardening will not hurt.

The tamped but as yet un-boxed turnout.

The T doing the honours. It was completely uneventful, exactly as it should be!

After the T had passed we decided we would remove a very small dip before boxing up, it’s nice to get a job just right.

The finished job. Doesn’t it look fantastic! Unfortunately it shows up some of the old track nearby, you can notice a big dip in a pic above, that’s actually in the old siding and despite trying to give it a slight lift we decided it was best to leave the old sleepers alone rather than do any damage.

We’ll be back Tuesday to level of the remaining fill and finish off the cleanup, then back the VGR!

An enormous thankyou goes to all of our gang, they have put in a fantastic effort over the past few weeks, really going above and beyond. Our volunteers are the lifeblood of the civil branch and without them we’d be stuffed!


Today was massive landmark in the project, with all the trackwork complete!

By afternoon tea we had finished all of the track work and even tested it by a run through with the excavator.

The ceremonious last spikes and the group celebrating with a cheer!

There had been much pushing and pulling and tweaking to lead up this point in the day, so the group was more than relieved to drive in the last spike.

And it looks fantastic! Just a pit this isn’t on our railway really.

With the forecast of heavy rain and storms tomorrow morning, we decided we’d stay back a bit later and begin the job of back filling / ballasting before things got too wet.

The whole yard is laid in old loco ash and gravel, which over the years will have no doubt been contaminated with oils and such things, it’s safest environmentally to use the removed material as the ballast, thus containing any issues to the existing location. It is actually remarkably clean, with quite good aggregate size, no clay contamination and very little organic matter. With a good tamp and some rain it’ll compact up very nicely, just as it was before.

In a site like this with very minimal drainage, we also run the risk of ending up with a large swimming pool if we’d chosen to use rock ballast, as getting the required fall across the site to drain our excavations would be a massive job.

The excavator does around 90% of the spreading and levelling, with only a bit of shovelling needed around the turnout.

This pic shows off just how well the curve and turnout came out, we are extremely proud.

With the exception of tamping and a bit of a clean up, the job is essentially completed on time! We expect to run a test locomotive over the works tomorrow to help bed in the new turnout and settle any soft spots, allowing time for a final tamp if required before we leave the site.

Getting closer

Today’s efforts have us a big step closer to the end of this job.

We now have the straight track connected and completed.

The curved track is now located and positioned where it comes out of the turnout. It actually looks really good, the pictures don’t do it justice.

It’s staring to look very smart! You can see the track in the background that we’ve yet to build, but by comparison that will be quite straight forward.

We’ve even got the point lever fixed in and working! They’re now a real set of points.

The concreters are finished and the concrete is now sitting while it hardens. Hopefully we can wait till early next week to do a test run over it, to allow maximum hardening. The job’s really starting to look quite finished!

We’ll have a gang on both Thursday and Friday this week to finish off the track building and tamping.