Last two days

The past two days have been very odd jobsy days.

Yesterday started out by cleaning up all our piled up jewellery beside the line. This is all from our recent re-railing efforts.

The items were sorted into drums, making re-use, storage or disposal much easier.

With all hands on deck, the team raced through the piles in the bush. Overall looking a much tidier line-side.

Some scrap and various items around Muckleford were also picked up, to help clean up for Mucklefest, which is this weekend so why not check it out. Details on the VGR website.

The dreaded job of dog spike sorting took us up to lunch. It’s hard work fishing the spikes out of piles like this, but we have filled two drums, which will well and truly cover our next re-railing effort.

The typical lunch ritual took place in Castlemaine, finding any shade available. The sun’s certainly starting to show its strength with hats and sunscreen now an essential.

Our trip into Castlemaine wasn’t just for lunch, it was to complete the cleaning up along the platform that we hadn’t quite finished Monday.

Lots of exciting shovel work here from the gang, but the end result certainly looks very presentable.

The digger was aiding where possible, however it unfortunately isn’t the neest close to the rail as damage to the fastenings and sleepers is possible, hence the shovel work in those areas.

The last 80 years of built up debris along the platform edge was starting to get a bit overwhelming. So delicately scooping it out with the bucket has brough the levels back to where they should. Unfortunately no one ever sees down there, except for us.

Today’s efforts were all focused around distributing more concrete sleepers at curves 8 and 9. This took up the majority of the day, with about 175 sleepers dropped out.

This view is from the Y along the train on the way to the drop out.

Next week will be back into re-sleepering with concrete. Hopefully completing curve 9. Tuesday will be a workday in preparation for this, as we learn from last time a lot could be done to speed up the process. Meeting Maldon 8am

Castlemaine… Exciting news

It was a big day today…. We have been successful in our efforts to secure $500,000 from the state government for the redevelopment of the Castlemaine locomotive and carriage shed precinct!! A massive bonus for the railway. – Check out the Press Release

All the details will come out in due course so keep an eye on the VGR website for the details.

A special train was run from Castlemaine Station down to the turntable for the announcment. During all the excitement of the announcement, the gang ceased their duties of boxing up to enjoy a cuppa. Here John and Ian enjoy the shade while the special train simmers in the background.

Although very exciting, the gang didn’t let the news prevent works occurring. The day began with some boxing up and removal of excess fill from against the platform edge. It still needs a tidy up with some shovels but it’s starting to look much better.

We had our prison workforce hard at work again today, on the brush cutters. The yard is looking absolutely stunning now! Which is a great thing considering how much work will be going on here over the coming months.

We managed to tie in a small ballast drop towards the end of today. After we lifted and tamped curve 5 (just on the down side of Winters Flat Bridge) we found we’d used up most of the available ballast, however mainly in just one spot.

The bigger issue was the ballast shoulder was insufficient to prevent the track from moving in this particular spot, it had in fact pulled into a slight flat.

With summer approaching the last thing we want is to deal with a heat buckle, so after lining, a good dose of rock was added and spread to hold the track firmly in place.

It’s been a busy few months on the track gang and as such we haven’t managed to completely tidy up after every job. But this Thursday and Friday will see all that taken care of. So please join us at Maldon station at 8am and we’ll get back on top of our mess before we get into our next big job!

More sleepering

More sleeper works around Castlemaine yard yesterday.

We only actually installed about 8 more sleepers, but lots of other odd jobs were tended to.

The high legs (outside leg) of these curves were starting to show signs of working. The timber is still in quite good condition, so we installed sleeper plates under all outside rails to strengthen the curves.

Plates under but drilling and spiking still to be done.

Using the gauger to ensure we achieved correct gauge right through the curve.

Installing the few sleepers we did change. This was using the same method as the previous day.

Spiking up the last of the replaced timber.

That amount of work certainly called for a well earned lunch break.

Rubbish collection was amongst the jobs undertaken. Unfortunately Castlemaine Station area is not always well treated by the public, meaning our tireless volunteers have to step up to mark to keep the railway looking respectable.

The afternoon consisted of cleaning up all the old sleepers. As we already had a loco and train at Castlemaine we thought we’d make use of it to speed up the process.

By lifting the bigger bits onto the wagon using the excavator on the parallel track, the gang raced through the cleanup as only the small bits needed man handling.

A quick scrape with the bucket tidied up the mess made during the process. Looking quite presentable.

We had our prison workers on the task of grass cutting. With the results looking amazing. The railway is extremely lucky to have access to the community prison workforce, otherwise tasks like this detract from the track gang’s regular activities very heavily.

There’s still a little more to go but mowing the grass completely changes the appearance of the place!

As we’d organised a gang for Monday anyhow, we’ll still be running the gang, completing more works in Castlemaine yard. We’ll be meeting Maldon at 8am or Castlemaine from 8.45am.

Sleepers in Castlemaine Yard

But first a quick notice about a change of plans.

We’d previously planned to replace sleepers between Castlemaine and Rowe Street this coming Friday, Saturday and Monday. This has had to be cancelled due to some unforeseen circumstances.

We will still be holding workdays on Friday and Monday (NOT Saturday), but they will be in Castlemaine yard instead, doing various jobs around the yard.

Anyhow, today was quite successful with around 30 sleepers replaced in 3 and 4 roads Castlemaine.

Here the scarifier is seen cleaning out the trenches in 3 road.

Installing sleeper plates before tamping up the timber to speed up the drilling and spiking.

Today’s activites were restricted to the platform, tomorrow will be a few more along the platform and out along the turntable road.

Tony and Rolf installing the last of the sleeper plates.

We also made use of a few extra hands to unfasten some of steel sleepers used in 5 siding, we’ll make better use of these under the running line over the next few weeks.

You’ll notice we have two loaded wagons of concrete sleepers ready for the now postponed works. But not to worry we’ll deploy these at an alternative site over the coming weeks.