Castlemaine Re-sleepering

Hot! That’s the only way to describe today. Unfortunately we’ve only got worse coming…

Around 170 sleepers were unfastened today, with about 30 of those now replaced, around 50 more scarified and still around 50 to be removed with the rest just needing scarifying, not at all a bad days effort.

We’ve got help from some of volunteers of the Pichi Richi Railway, which has been a massive boost, as they’re more used to this heat than us.

Work will kick off at 7 tomorrow morning from the big red shed if anyone’s available and we understand if only half a day suits given the weather.

Tangent 15-16

It’s done! After another stunning day’s work, we felt very proud. We’ve now got 80lb rail from Muckleford yard, all the way to the end of curve 20 with no bits of 60lb at all! Only the long straight to go in this half of the line.

We got into an excellent swing early this morning and despite it warming up a bit, we managed to keep up an excellent pace, with all 12 rails completely installed before 2pm.

We had to cut a shortish closure rail to join up with the crossing, but had a left over odd length perfect for the job.

We got into a great system today, for some reason it seemed even better than usual, but we did actually have a few extra hands.

Some final lifting to remove the dip off the crossing (built in on purpose when the crossing was rebuilt and joined to the 60lb) was the only major task for the afternoon. It looks excellent now, a really impressive piece of track.

We even found the time to sort all the old jewellery from this straight into drums or onto pallets, which means final cleanup will be a breeze.

Tomorrow is a get ready day for the big big week next week, 8am at Maldon.

We’re replacing almost 200 sleepers between Rowe St and Castlemaine Station all of next week, so any extra hands would be greatly appreciated. From 7am till we decide its too hot each day.

A very hot day…

With a top of 42 degrees predicted, we were out and about even before the sun was this morning, a quick pic of the sunrise grabbed on the way to site.

This is what faced our small team of 3 this morning, ballast scraping and tamping.

And in time we ended up with this! Thankfully the digger does 99% of the work, which in the heat is pretty much a necessity. We were going so well that my 9am we’d scraped up rock for tamping, tamped the whole section and removed any dips and twists, regulated the ballast to a nice finish and even dropped out the left over concrete sleepers to the next part of the job!

We’re back into re-railing next week, with much better weather predicted!

Concrete Sleepers

After a well deserved summer break the civil gang is back. We had planned on re-railing this week but with the ridiculously hot weather we chose a much more appropriate task.

Another 41 concrete sleepers were installed into curve 10. It was all done in the usual fashion, with one exception. A tamp of the sleepers was undertaken prior to clipping up, which greatly improved things. Normally with large gangs we’re actually looking for jobs for people, so a few extras on bars in helpful, but for today’s crew of 6 the tamping up was a life saver.

It couldn’t be said we were really in the shade today, but it wasn’t as bad as being in the full sun.

We’ve got the operation quite slick now, with all 41 sleepers installed by around 3pm, very good going for a hot day.

The small gang clinging to any shade available, we even had Wes, a visitor all the way from Queensland!

With tomorrow’s extreme weather warning for heat and fire danger, we won’t be doing any new works. We’ll be on site from 6.30am for ballast regulating and tamping, hopefully off site by morning tea. You’re welcome to join but please don’t make the trip if travelling a long way.