Re-railing preparation

Today was spent not only enjoying the much cooler weather, but also preparing for our next re-railing exercise.

One of the main tasks being the unfastening of the steel sleepers, here Clive uses the rattle gun on its trolley to unfasten the nuts. In total only 2 of around 80 bolts needed to be cut, which is a better rate than usual.

After unscrewing the nut, a gentle tap with a hammer frees up the lugs / spacers and they’re removed. Followed by the excavator using the boom to push the bolts through the sleeper into the dirt below. We finish this process during the final re-railing as it’s much easier when the sleeper can be lifted a little. After which we can install the pandrol lugs.

The unbolting and removal of the last few anchors kept us busy till lunch. After lunch a slightly bent 80lb rail was straightened, using the buda (rail bender).

We then collected all the old jewellery and sorted it into drums for future re-use, disposal or storage.

Lastly we distributed 2 pallets of sleeper plates along the up leg in readiness for that side.

Tomorrow will be an odd jobs day, with some tidy up and sorting of bits and bobs at Maldon, more sleeper plate distribution and a quick run along the line to make sure the recent storms haven’t caused any issues. Meeting Maldon 8am


At lunch time on Saturday we had driven the last spike, packed up all the gear and had started heading for home.

The drilling and spiking proceeded at a fast rate.

We even found time to squeeze up a mud hole that’s been half way along this section for years (it gets squeezed regularly, however hopefully this year we’ll have the time to dig it out and replace with clean ballast).

Unfortunately (for us) it was the last day for our visitors from Pichi Richi. They also seem to have missed out on photo opportunities over the past week so this is one of the gang from Friday. We’d like to thank Richard, Dani, Spoon, Patrick and Phil for all their help over the last week. We hope they enjoyed their week on our track gang.

Next week will be very quiet, with most of the gang either on leave or unavailable, there will be no workdays.

From one massive job to another!

No rest for the wicked… Or maybe it’s just that we can’t help ourself.

Re-railing was today’s new task, the rail dropped out recently near Bendigo Road Crossing.

Things unfortunately were a bit slower and less organised than usual, as we normally set aside a few more days of preparation, but as we finished the Castlemaine job well ahead of schedule it was the logical next task.

The start of the 60lb coming out and the 80lb starting to go in.

The digger was brought in from Castlemaine this morning, which slowed down the morning a little, but overall we achieved an enormous amount.

Normally we run the digger along side to avoid the risks of punctures and prevent running over the removed jewellery etc… But with the cutting and heavy growth that wasn’t an option, so along the road base we went.

Often in the prep we remove joint spikes that the machines can’t get, but that happened as we went today. Rolf and Alf had that pleasure.

And I’m typical Victorian weather… We were sweltering one minute and absolutely soaked the next! But we all just look at each other and thought what a relief after the past few days.

By the close of play we’d installed 27 80lb rails spiked 1 in 3, steel sleepers clipped up and everything tamped, a pretty good effort once again.

It’s only a small part of this long straight but it’s a significant step towards our goal of having it completed this year.

We’ll be back tomorrow (yes Saturday) to complete the spiking and cut in the closure to the remaining 60lb. Meeting 7.30 at Maldon or 8 from site. Expected finish just after lunch.