It’s been a busy couple of days. With yesterday seeing the loading of wagons with sleepers, rail and jewellery. Even making use of the old QN ballast wagons as sleeper movers.

While today was the big drop out. First off Concrete sleepers to tangents 12-13 and 11-12, 128 were dropped out in total today.

The last few to come off the train.

All nicely stacked to make running them out along the track with the digger a very simple task.

Then all the way to tangent 20-21 for dropping off a wagon load of palletised sleeper plates. This stack should hopefully see this straight out.

Then onto the rail drop out, with 28 80lb rails dropped out for the UP leg. (the extra wagons were dropped off just over the next hill during this exercise)

Finally some of the jewellery was dropped out. Enough fish and sleeper plates to install these 28 rails were dropped out, along with a few bolts. Another full day of preparation here and this will be ready for re-railing.

From tomorrow until Friday the digger and gangs will be in at Castlemaine, starting preliminary works for the big redevelopment works.

Finishing off

Well by 9am we’d finished clipping the remaining 49 concrete sleepers. We’ve certainly got the process well worked out now.

We even decided to do an extra one! The old sleeper was really non existent and as we had all the gear handy, we installed another concrete, taking us to 102 for this week. It means we’ve now got our first care of 2 in a row concrete under 60lb (we did clip that one up with outer biscuits to ensure we maintain gauge.

With a bit of a ballast scrape it started to look like a mainline.

The whole length received another tamp, followed by a some lifting of dips and twists. Giving a very nice end result.

Some final tidy up scraping and a bit of drain clearing brought this section of the job to a close.

So the gang finished off the afternoon by de-bending a few 80lb rails (damaged during transport from Bandiana) at Muckleford ready for loading and dropping out in the near future.

Next week will see a works train on Tuesday, dropping out more concrete sleepers and 80lb rails while the latter part of the week will be in at Castlemaine preparing for some of the upcoming big projects.

Tangent 12-13

Now that all the curves have been strengthened, it’s into the straights. We’re starting from Muckleford and heading towards Castlemaine.

Scraping rock away from the fastenings.

With marks on the sleeper ends and the ballast scrapped away from the fastenings were we ready to start pulling screws and spikes.

This whole straight only needs about 230 concrete, of which 177 are already on site.

The big blower clears the rocks away brilliantly ready for pulling fastenings.

Before long all the spikes were pulled and the first 50 concrete were under the track. With Rolf running along with the blower clearing any dirt away before tamping up.

Tamping the sleepers up before clipping.

Of course interrupted by the critical lunchtime tea drinking ceremony.

All the kit, ready to do the next sleeper.

As we didn’t have a lot to do for the crew while the digger and scarifier were busy, they moved down to breaking up more 60lb rail, this time the rail removed from curve 13.

By days end we’d inserted 101 concrete sleepers, all tamped up and 52 clipped up. We’ve clipped them up using the inner lugs only through here as we plan to rerail this very soon and as we’re on a straight, gauge holding is well within the ability of the remaining timber sleepers. If we find it a problem we’ll install outer biscuits and clips.

So despite showers predicted, we’ll still be out again tomorrow, clipping up the final 49 sleepers and preparing the next lot of sleepers.

Rails and Ballast

Today’s work was trimming and drilling 80lb rail at Muckleford.

50 rails had been laid out last week, ready for attention.

The rail clamp for the saw.

However the saw works much better once it’s fitted up with a new cutting disc.

Giving us lots of little bits of rail! Good for doorstops but unfortunately not much else.

The rail drill does a marvelous job.

However likewise it works best with a sharp bit. It’s a little more specialised, so Bazz got drafted in to do the sharpening.

These rails will soon be out at Tangent 20-21.

Meanwhile our digger was still over at Bullarto, completing the ballast spreading and final tamping.

We ended up with a very tidy and smart looking job and in typical Daylesford weather… All in the rain.

While over there, we helped them clear out a few blocked drains, quite a job in their heavily forrested areas.

Our few days over at Daylesford has helped them to return trains to Bullarto this Sunday. It’s nice to help out another railway, but it’ll be nice to get the digger back into action on our railway next week.

Tomorrow will be part 2 of our six monthly track inspection, Maldon to Muckleford. Meeting Maldon at 8am.