Re-railing Tangent 15-16

A good start was made on Tangent 15-16 today, with the down leg from Curve 15 to Donkey Farm Track completed.

It was a relatively small job, only 8 x 80lb rails required today, but we have had minimal opportunity to prepare.

A wagon of rails was deposited on site late Wednesday afternoon by the last train. So first task this morning was laying out the rails needed for the Down Leg (right rail in pic above).

This took only a short time and as soon as they were out, the crew was into unfastening the 60lb.

Here John and Will discuss tactics, before the first spikes are pulled.

In no time the 60 was out and the 80 was going in. By morning tea we’d manage to remove all the 60lb and bolt together most the 80lb.

After a cuppa, we began the spiking, first gauging and drilling, followed by the spiking hammer. Here Bruce hangs onto the drill. We seemed to race through this, although only 1 in 3 at this stage, it still seemed to be achieved with time to spare!

Proceedings halted a little when it came to cutting in the closure rail before the level crossing. Unfortunately this process is always fiddly and takes some time to get right.

The gang in their various activities involved with the closure rail, bolting up junction plates, installing sleeper plates and all the associated bits and pieces.

But by lunch this was done. And for a good reason!

A K class steam engine had turned up. Hence a need to ensure we could run over our works!

It was no accident, or indeed for any other purpose than to simply return our rail wagon to Muckleford. We are currently without a Y class diesel, owing to some repairs being undertaken, so when we asked for a locomotive to move a wagon, we were delighted when we were offered the K.

The eagle eyed will note the K in the background, we had in fact ordered the engine to arrive about 10 minutes too early, not bad timing considering the 4 hours light up required to get it there! But we did have to distribute the rails required for the other leg. So the K had to wait until this was done.

A few views of the excavator doing all the hard work here. The power of those grabs is very evident on the pic above, able to lift a 45 foot rail off a wagon without any hesitation.

Once all rails were out, the K was brought gently through the worksite to dispose of the wagon.

Will about to head in between to connect the hose bags for the run down to Muckleford.

It’s been a long time since we’ve had a steam engine out on a works train! It was a very pleasant experience.

The wagon was promptly dropped at Muckleford before the K ventured home.

Again the K had to wait to pass over the worksite, as those who hadn’t gone for the joyride got stuck into tamping the new works.

But before long the steam engine was waved goodbye and works resumed.

After a quick afternoon tea the drilling and spiking resumed, with ever sleeper fastened up.

Giving us a very nice result. This section was in fact very rough riding. Due largely to very crippled rail ends, hence why both legs are being tackled over the short distance.

Tomorrow will see the other side completed, unfortunately without a visit from a steam engine, but never the less it should be another great day out in the bush.

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