Rail Preparation

With two full gangs (Thurs and Fri) predicted for later this week and good weather we’ll be re-railing a section of Tangent 15-16.

So we spent today busily preparing for it. Sleeper plates and dog spikes were distributed, where needed and brought up from Muckleford.

The main part of today was preparing enough rails to do the work, of which we managed to prepare more than needed.

It should be a great couple of days out on the track gang!

Tamping and Regulating

After a solid days work with our crew of 5, we’ve tamped all the sleepers and regulated the ballast between Midland Hwy and Maclise St.

The day began with a collection of jewellery left over from yesterday.

Followed by lots of ballast regulating (scraping) to provide sufficient rock to tamp and fill in the voids.

After morning tea, began the tamping, with every sleeper requiring a tamp through here as well as some sections of dips being jacked.

The result is a brilliant looking curve! One we hope will now be strong for many years to come.

Some final boxing up with the digger gave us a very tidy result, looks like a mainline!

We would expect this section to comfortably survive in its current condition for at least 2 years, after which another round of sleepers will be likely.

The gang will be out again on Tuesday, preparing the 80lb rails at Muckleford that we didn’t get time to get to today. Please come along if your free, any extra hands make a big difference.

Concrete Sleepers

Well as promised we successfully installed 80 concrete sleepers between Midland Hwy and Maclise St.

It was a reasonably hard days work, mainly as the temperature was above freezing and we’ve all acclimatised to the cold!

The day began at Midland Hwy, after the usual parade of equipment was taken to site.

The marked sleepers were unfastened (real mix of screws and dogs through here) and removed from the track.

The above pics show the general quality of the sleepers removed.

The sacarifier followed behind, cleaning the way for the next sleepers. Without this piece of equipment the job would be very time consuming and labour intensive.

Once a nice clean channel was available for the concrete, they were promptly installed.

The excavator did all the heavy lifting, ensuring the sleepers were as close as possible to their final position.

Installing the correct biscuits (spacers) and clipping up followed closely behind. We did find our gauge was in places slightly wide (still within tolerance but concrete sleepers require exact gauge and have little to no tolerance) so our gauging tools were needed. Here the clipping crew adjusts gauge to get the clips on.

The gauger (old style manual one) and a clipped up concrete sleeper.

By the afternoon the novelty of the manual gauger had worn thin and the hydraulic gauger was employed. This section was generally not a big issue but the gauger just made it so much easier.

Here the gang, after inserting all the sleepers, is clipping up the last of the days efforts.

We even had a new volunteer join the gang today, Bruce. We’d like to say a big thank you to Bruce for joing us and we look forward to having him back next week.

A closeup of a clip being installed while the gauger hold everything in place.

And finished! Well for today anyhow. It was a big learning curve installing these with the full gang for the first time. We’ve learnt a lot for next time, but overall we’re very happy with the progress.

A massive thanks to everyone in the gang for giving it their all today. There will be a lot more of this happening over the coming months, so please if you’re available come and along and see what’s really involved.

We’ll be out here again tomorrow to finish off, with the tamping and ballast regulating yet to be completed.

Concrete Sleepers

80 concrete sleepers were distributed today in preparation for re-sleepering near Midland Hwy on Thursday.

The sleepers were placed, 4 at a time, onto the running line (can be just seen at the left) before being run across the crossing and out to the required locations.

The pink marks in the centre indicate sleepers that are to be replaced on Thursday, we’ll be working on this curve and the short straight towards MacLise St.

It should be a very interesting day, undertaking the concrete sleeper renewals with the full gang for the first time – no doubt lots will be learnt. Hopefully we find that our 80 is well within a days work!

Please feel free to come along and help out, we’ll be on site from 8.45 on Thursday.