Tidy up

The usual follow up of ballast scraping and tamping today. 129 is the exact number installed yesterday, meaning a total of 231 concretes have been installed in this straight this month.

A final scrape.

Leaving the job looking very smart. Unfortunately there are a couple of wiggles (not new by any means) which let down the otherwise polished look.

As our digger really needs track side access to remove a wiggle like that it’ll need to wait until the ground is much drier. (or for a production tamp…)

Today’s other major task was stacking and bundling 15 packs of 16 sleepers and 1 pack of 12 (total of 252). These were all from this tangent and curve 12. We’re still yet to collect curve 11’s removed timber sleepers and that will be a similar number.

Next week will be more of the same, just around towards Farmer’s Bridge. We’ll be doing the lifting, extracting, scarifying and insertions on Tuesday, so feel free to come along.

Concrete sleepers

Well, yet another record today, with around 130 concretes inserted and clipped up in tangent 12-13.

It started out chilly, but with a sense of excitement. As today we were able to try out our latest toy! A hydraulic clipper.

The procession of equipment just before we started work.

It was all done in the usual fashion, however only about half the sleepers have been tamped as we had more than enough people to bar up the sleepers.

It was a big learning curve… As can be seen by all the detailed looks and intrigue. It does work very well, however it’ll really comes into it’s own when doing both clips at the same time, however we were only doing one at a time today and the gang still thought it was an improvement.

We even setup a trolley with clips, biscuits and tools to streamline the operation.

The beast in action.

Unfortunately it doesn’t really work with the gauger, just too little space for everything, so we only used it on one side. However when it’s re-railing time this machine will be on the job flat chat.

Today’s effort saw the whole tangent completed, with only ballast scraping and tamping to go tomorrow. The next section (next week) will be this short stretch up to Farmers Bridge.

Tomorrow’s crews will also start bundling up the good timber removed, for storage and re-use elsewhere.

Castlemaine again

Nothing too exciting today, just more cleanup of old sleepers and timber and lots of digging.

Although we found the sewer line yesterday, we’ve been advised that we needed to uncover it closer to the creek, which we’ve attempted to do… But so far we’ve found lumps of pipe, lots of rubbish and a big lump of concrete. None of which really makes any sense so we’ve fenced off the area and we’ll be back at some stage to investigate further.

Next week we’ll be back to concrete sleepers at Tangent 12-13.


Today was the real pits. Well only one pit actually.

We began the excavation of the old Ashpit, unused and filled since some time in the 1960’s.

It took the best part of the day to gentle dig out what we could with the digger, with the remaining all scrapped out by shovel.

The lower pit structure is in remarkably good condition, however the top courses which were obviously modified in the 50’s (or there abouts) were are a little worst for wear.

As this was an ashpit, instead of having longitudinal timbers running the length of the pit for rails to mount upon, it had a series of timber blocks, mounted between bricks and secured to heavy duty angle irons concreted in to hold gauge. (this was a later idea as the original would’ve have had longitudinal timbers)

Seen above in its various states of health. The east side was in very poor condition compared to the west which is probably a result of the bulldozer or loader that filled the pit in.

The timber blocks were sheeted over with metal, presumably to stop hot embers setting them alight!

This here actually shows the original top of the brick work and the old through bolts for holding down longitudinal timbers were (very rusted) still in place at a couple of locations. It’s only the above additions which are unserviceable and now we know the condition we can plan around the best way forward.

As we won’t be using this as an ash pit, we can consider other options. It will simply just be an inspection and running repairs pit.

We even cleaned out the silt trap… Which appears like the railways had never ever looked at, going by the compactness of the material in there.

Only really one other interesting thing was discovered, this little drain that lead into the pit, probably just the drain from a standard garden style tap used for hand washing or similar.

As it was cold and wet and we had a large amount of very dirty timber and general timber mess to clean up, a bon fire was most welcome.

An old sewer plan showed a connection from the shutters cabin under the creek to Gingell street, which if still good (will need lining most likely) may save us a lot of money and effort to connect into the sewer.

And sure enough we found it right at the back of the shed, much shallower than predicted, but none the less there and in good condition. However a camera will need to be sent down to check it out properly.

Bit more at Castlemaine again tomorrow, final tidy up around the pit and a bit more cleaning up along what will be the fenceline.