Muckleford

It was a Muckleford day today. With some wagons unloaded and others loaded with more concrete sleepers.

Lots of tidying up jobs, all the things we’ve been going to get back.

Even a nice bonfire to clean up a termite infested pile of timber!

Tomorrow will be another sleeper train, running more concrete out to curve 11, you’re welcome to join us, departing Maldon around 8.30am.

Rails

First off we tied up the 5 sleepers removed yesterday, before deciding to also replaced a further 2. A nice simple job that now leaves our ‘needs attention very soon’ list very very short indeed, a nice feeling.

So the afternoon’s attentions were turned to breaking up the old 60lb rail into drag-able lengths for stockpiling. This kept our small gang and prison helpers nicely busy.

We only focused on Curves 18 & 19 as these were where the 60lb was closest to the track and doing a great job of blocking the side drains. We’ve stockpiled it in various logical locations for future breaking up.

Next week is looking potentially wet, however we’ll believe that when we see it. Early next week will see more concrete sleepers distributed and if all goes to plan we’ll make a start on putting those into Curve 11. The re-railing likely to now occur the week after.

Preparation

Today’s slightly wet weather didn’t slow the gang too much, we did however decide not to begin in re-railing today.

The day was spent distributing jewellery (fishplates, bolts and dog spikes) and bolting up rails into strings of 4.

Each joint is well lubricated prior to installing the bolts by hand ready for mechanical tightening. This helps ensure we can cater for expansion and contraction of the rails during varying weather conditions, with the joints taking up the length differences.

We’ve even found that our wonderful little battery rattle gun is perfectly sufficient to tighten all these bolts, which is a massive saving on back breaking work lugging around the petrol guns.

By the days end we’re ready to go headlong into this re-railing job as time permits.

Now it did rain very heavily last night and such we felt it our responsibility to test the depth to which the moisture had soaked in…. The answer is far enough to bog a truck! Thankfully we have other trucks which can help extract immobile vehicles such as in this situation.

A job that we’d had on the books for a while was a couple of groups of bad sleepers in curves 17 & 18. Nothing too serious but they never improve on their own, so given we completed today’s aim ahead of schedule we thought we attend to them.

As it was only a few we removed all the spikes in the old fashion way, by hammer. Sleeper plates also.

We didn’t quite extend that manual labour to the sleeper removal however.

We even corrected a couple of small spacing issues while we were on site.

Although we’ve removed the few sleepers, we won’t be installing until the morning (when we actually being them out to site).

Meeting Maldon 8am or by curve 18 from 8.30am.