It’s done!!

After a massive week, the re-sleepering job is now done! And it looks (almost) as good as V/Line’s track.

Today started with the whole crew, playing pick up sticks. All the smaller bits of old sleeper were loaded onto the wagons, which with all these hands was quite a quick job. The works train was then dispatched and the main gang moved onto re-railing prep near Bendigo Road.

Next was lots and lots and lots of ballast moving. The digger can do 99% of it, but we also had a small crew working along where the digger can’t reach.

The rock moving took until lunch, after which all the concrete sleepers were tamped, which took a while.

Followed by a final scraping of the ballast and filling in the tamping holes.

A lot of effort was also spent scraping away the overly thick ballast shoulder on the right, hopefully making next time much easier (as we had to dig out by hand just to find the dog spikes).

Overall, we ended up with a very very nice looking piece of railway. Clive had the unforgiving task of filling in holes with a ballast fork. (caught here mid drink after finishing the last one, once again the weather was hot and horrible).

Malcolm had the job of blower operator, we recently purchased a big back pack blower. It works incredibly well and shoots dust everywhere, poor Mal had a layer of dirt over ever inch of him by the time he was done!!

It’s now job done and onto the next!

We would like to thank V/Line for all their help, organising permits etc… and providing their staff to assist us in being able to foul their track while we undertook these critical works.

A massive thankyou to everyone who helped, a big thank you to the gang from the Pichi Richi Railway who gave up their holidays to drive all the way over and help! We couldn’t have done it without them or any of our hard working volunteers. We really can’t thank our track gang volunteers enough!! We think you’re the real Hero’s of this railway.

Tomorrow and Saturday are now re-railing days, as we felt we haven’t tortured ourselves enough this week!! Meet Maldon from 7am or Bendigo Road Crossing from about 7.15am.

And more

By lunchtime today, the last concrete sleeper had been clipped up! Which takes us to around 165 replaced this week.

We thought the last two days were hot, but today was just something else, searing hot sun teaming down with no breeze. But despite all that and discovering we can as a group go through about 50l of drinking water, we got an enormous amount done.

This afternoon saw all the larger lumps of old sleepers removed and either loaded onto wagons or piled up out the way.

Tomorrow should just about see the job done with only a few bolts to tighten, the small wood scraps to pick up, ballast scraping and regulating and tamping. It’ll take all day but should be achieved, especially seeing the weather will be much cooler (only 38!).

An absolutely stunning effort and a massive thank you to all who helped. It really has been above and beyond the call the past few days.

For anyone joining us tomorrow, please meet at Castlemaine carriage shed from 7.00 am rather than going to Maldon.

More sleepers

Another scorcher, but an extremely successful day! We’ve now installed the majority of the concrete sleepers, with less than 50 to go tomorrow.

It’s all happening as per the usual methods, which normally would seem quite easy if it wasn’t so hot!

We didn’t have the luxury of having the sleepers distributed before the works, so that just fits around and between removing the old, scarifying and clipping up.

It’s all on track to be done and dusted by Thursday, which will be fantastic.

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.