It’s a crossing again!

It took us the best part of two days but the crossing is now complete. And looking very snazzy. There will be more pics to follow too from ou most recent track recruit, Rodney.

Things kicked off this morning with the fastening down of the UP end closure rails.

We had to wait a while for things to warm up before we could bolt up the rail cut yesterday as things had shrunk a bit over the cool of last night.

We had a load of road gravel dropped off this morning and a load of our ballast from Muckleford was also brought up to site. Here we’re distributing that ballast over our new works to allow for lifting and tamping as required.

Before tamping, the ballast has been scratched away from the centre to allow visibility for the tamper.

Post tamping but before lifting. After an initial tamp just to help build a firm foundation we jacked the track, which is extremely hard work with heavy sleepers, to get the levels right. Here the gang is installing the jacks.

We, deliberately, ended up with a slight hump at the crossing, this is to allow for the eventual lifting of the track either side of crossing as re-railing and ballasting occurs. This way we won’t have to return to the track through the crossing for many years, hopefully decades.

After achieving the desired heights and appropriate ramps down to the existing track, it’s only a very slight ramp on the UP side to allow for future ballasting, but more of a ramp on the Down as this section is still 60lb.

The ramps are insignificant for our trains and will be quite acceptable if we never get around to lifting either side.

After a ballast regulate and general tidy up we set about gravelling the roadway. It was placed in several layers, with our modern road compaction devices (trucks!), running over the crossing many times each layer to achieve a solid roadway.

The finished product. After the predicted rain early next week we expect this to firm up beautifully and hopefully leave it maintenance free for a few years.

Thankfully last time the crossing had works done drainage pipes were installed below sleeper level, these have been left in as they were certainly keeping the roadbase nice and dry.

Next week’s the big week, with works underway on Friday, Saturday and Monday around Castlemaine while V/line have a shutdown. We’re going to need all hands on deck those days, so please consider your availability as even a few hours will be a big help. Thursday’s gang will be on as usual too, replacing sleepers in Castlemaine Yard.

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