Finishing touches

As promised, today saw lots of drilling and spiking but we knocked that over quite quickly so we spent the afternoon lifting and tamping our latest efforts. The call for help yesterday was answered and an excellent gang was on hand.

We set off this morning to test our new drill, but very quickly decided it’s still missing a bit…. The bit that helps centre the drill in the hole of the sleeper plate. So we abandoned mission very quickly so as not to damage too many drill bits.

We were hampered somewhat by showers during the morning, but only giving up during the worst of it however. Here the spiker is about to be fired up. All the holes down to near the trucks have been drilled with spikes started.

A bit of a jump in time and the drilling was finished with the spiking well under way. Here Trevor hangs onto the hammer nearing the end of the job.

The hammer in action, although it vibrates quite a bit it is actually quite easy to use. Lunch time was called at 12.02pm just as the last dog spike was driven in.

After lunch a quick emu parade to collect all the jewellery was undertaken. This job takes about 5 minutes with a crew of this size and about half a day with only two!

Tamping was next on the agenda, to remove the excessive cant that had come about from settling and tamping during the previous works. Through this process the dips were also removed. Here the jacks are installed at appropriate intervals to lift the rail evenly, we started by lifting the dips from the outside or high leg followed by raising the low leg to the correct level.

It’s a bit hard to appreciate the vast improvement just from the picture but before the lift this scene was much more reminiscent of a roller coaster.

A profile pic of the jacking, showing some of the dips we were aiming to remove.

The finish product is actually very impressive, Pete certainly thinks so!

No jobs finished without some tidying up. Largely aesthetic here but it certainly makes these curves look to be a very high standard for a tourist railway.

By the afternoon the sun was shining, the rain long gone and the temperature very comfortable, excellent conditions to end yet another outstanding week’s work.

Timing is everything, just as the gates were locked after putting away the vehicles, the rains returned rather spectacularly, back lit by the fading sun.

Not only is a day out on the track always a great achievement, it’s often a very enjoyable experience all around.

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