Tangent 15-16

Well after today all the spiking on the rails installed yesterday is completed, as well as managing to install and complete an extra 5 lengths. Leaving only 10 to go in this straight.

Unfortunately we forgot to take any photos! But with a bit of imagination you can guess what it looks like.

We also found time to collect all the old jewellery, a big time saver for later on.

Next week will be lineside mowing early in the week, with concrete sleeper replacements Thursday and Friday.

UP leg Tangent 15-16

Another successful day on the re-railing gang, with 27 80lb rails in place and partly spiked.

We started off with very nice mild and overcast weather, perfect for trackwork, it turned to a fairly sunny day but still comfortable. Here the gang unloads all the gear off the trucks.

In no time the unfastening was well under way, a slightly cantankerous rattle gun gave the screw removers a little trouble but they pushed through and got there.

We even got to try out our new gizmo today, it’s a sleeper drill (which featured briefly months ago) which was missing a nose cone to direct the drill into the sleeper plate hole. Bazz finally managed to find time, in between all the other hundreds of jobs we lump him with, to manufacture one! It works very well, much quicker and easier, but a few small tweaks will no doubt occur over time.

You can see the whole gang was eager to check it out!

This section is abundant with steel sleepers and we’ve discovered it’s much easier to fasten them before the timber as it not only sets gauge but it allows more flexibility with installing the lugs, as Will is doing here.

Rolf’s primary task today, closely supervised here by Bruce and Clive, was marking the hole locations for the dogspikes. An important job as there is often up to two previous sets of holes in most sleepers so it’s important to ensure the new spikes go into solid wood.

By close of play all 27 rails we installed, spiked 1 in 3 and tamped. Tomorrow’s crew should easily knock over all the spiking and will most likely try to get in at least 3 more rails, this will reduce the workload for the last section.

Any extra hands always welcome, the more hands the more we can achieve, so please join us at Maldon at 8am or site from 8.30am.


This week is all about re-railing. Today was spent cleaning up the remaining jewellery from last week and dropping out the new jewellery.

Here the ballast has been scraped aside to allow for the rail to moved into position.

Sleeper plates, fish plates, bolts and steel sleeper fastening were dropped out. Here John’s placing one sleeper plate at the end of every sleeper.

A view of all the rail in place ready for tomorrow’s crew to bolt up.

Tangent 15-16

The remaining section of re-railing on the Down leg of tangent 15-16 was tackled today and successfully completed!

Things didn’t start well… Some fairly localised rain decided to start just as we got to the site and continued right through till about 9am, so naturally we spent quite some time admiring the interior of which ever vehicle we managed to scramble into.

But before long and lots of eyes over the weather radar we decided to brave the rain and hope for a clearing. As we’d already removed some of the fastenings previously, the job of removing the old rail only took about an hour.

The first few 80lb rails in place.

By lunch we had all the new rail in place, all 15 lengths of 80lb and were well into dogging. Strangely we seemed to make very similar progress to days with the larger gangs despite only having 6 of us. Read into that what you will…. But we decided it must’ve been down to all the preparation on Tuesday.

The final rail being cut to size. We chose to make use of two smaller rails for our closure here rather than cropping a long one.

Mick and Clive working back up the hill finishing off the drilling and spiking.

By days end we’d managed to complete all spiking, clipping and tamping of the new rails. An effort we were all proud of. All that’s left is to collect all the old jewellery.

We’ll be out again tomorrow, this time preparing rails for the other leg at Muckleford. Any extra hands are very welcome as numbers are a little low at the moment. Meeting Maldon 8am or Muckleford from 8.30am.

Dogging Down

Following on from yesterday’s extremely successful efforts, our small gang of 5 was tasked with the job of completing the remaining drilling & spiking of the 33 rails installed.

We were very fortunate with the weather, starting off around 4 degrees C making the morning the ideal time to knock over all the drilling and spiking. As we were still setup from the day before, we were well under way with the spiking by 8.30am. As we’d had time the day before to pack (tamp) all the sleepers, the drilling process was very rapid, not having to worry about lifting sleepers.

John and Trevor are well into it here. drilling holes and standing dog spikes ready for the spike driver to begin it’s job.

Neville and Trevor hard at work on the spiking hammer, nearing the end of the job, somewhat unplanned was that we ended up having to work up hill for the last few lenghts – this reminded us why we normally make such a point of aways starting at the top!

With spiking complete, attention was turned to the collection of all the removed jewellery, 33 lengths of 80 lb (almost 500m) is quite a length to walk, especially as the hot sun was now teaming down, but thankfully far from the hardest job on the gang.

A quick scrape of the rock to help fill in the tamping voids and preapre the sleepers to take the rails for the other leg saw the job completed! We’ll likely need some more ballast on this section as time goes by, however we’ll wait until all the 80lb rails and in and then assess it, it’s also much easier to do the work without mountains of rock getting in the way.

Next week, weather depending (looking like some well needed rain may fall early in the week), will see lots of the lineside mowing taking place around Castlemaine. Tuesday will be a mix of mowing and preparing the remaining rails in tangent 15-16 for Thursday when we hope to complete this leg down to Donkey Farm Track. Friday will hopefully be a catch up day, finishing off and cutting more lineside grass.

Tangent 15-16

Today saw massive leap forward for tangent 15-16. The plan 33 80lb rails are now in place, spiked 1 in 3 and well on track to be completed comfortably tomorrow.

It was all undertaken in the usual methods, with no new or exciting tricks, however a few more hands were around making the work a bit easier. Here the gang is busy removing the last of the dog screws to allow the 60lb to be removed.

The bolting up crew was well able to keep up with the progress today, only having to do every third joint, the mid week bolting really speeds up the job.

Here Will and Clive are setting the gauge and preparing the drilling and spiking gear after afternoon tea. Most of the progress always seems to happen late in the afternoon, mainly because the fiddly jobs are all finished and the team can focus on the major task.

We even had enough hands to free up the excavator for tamping, saving a lot of time tomorrow.

Last job was the cutting of the closure rail at the end of the job. Angled like this to direct the cutting sparks away from the dry bush land. While the gang looks on as Mick does the honours.

This section is quite abundant with steel sleepers, all these were clipped this afternoon, with Norm, Bruce and Mal having it down to a fine art.

Right toward to days end we broke into two teams, drilling the 1 in 3 pattern, again accelerating progress.

While Clive had the job of trying to keep the spiking up to the two crews!

By day’s end we were all exhausted, dusty and wondering if it’s was all worth it, but upon standing back to admire our hard work, everyone seemed very proud of their efforts and rightly so.

It looks brilliant and by all accounts knocks off another big chunk of the re-railing program.

We’ll be out again tomorrow and any extra hands would be extremely welcome. Maldon from 8am or site from 8.45am.


With another big re-railing effort planned for later this week, today saw lots of material distributed and rails bolted together in preparation.

The day began with the dropping out of more sleeper plates, another pallet load to complement Friday’s drop out turned out to be about the perfect amount to achieve the 33 80lb rails were hoping to get in this week.

As previously the rails were bolted into strings of 3. Overall a fairly easy job but one that felt a bit like hard work as the day warmed up.

At the end of bolting up the strings Clive admires the last of the handiwork. We’ve achieved 11 strings to make the 33 rails, which should make for fairly quick going later in the week.

In addition to the plates and bolting up, dogspikes were distributed and the steel sleepers had their fastenings removed in readiness.

We’re hoping to have enough bodies to get a bit more done tomorrow to really speed things up. But any additional help on Thursday and Friday would be greatly appreciated.

Meeting Maldon 8am or on site from 8.30am.