Concrete Sleepers

Today was all about distributing the concrete sleepers that we’d dropped out lineside previously.

Every sleeper required checking for pad condition and installation if missing, before being placed at suitable intervals along the running line.

With a follow along run to drop them out lineside next to their new home.

It looks very impressive with all 272 dropped out awaiting insertion. We require only 11 more to complete this straight (Bridge Excluded).

The next straight towards Castlemaine was also marked up in the 1 in 3 pattern ready for fastening removal and re-sleepering, with only 223 required there.

Another successful day

After today, all holes were drilled, all spikes were driven and everything is fit for traffic.

A quick tamp through the whole length started off proceedings. It was very evident just how dropped a lot of the old 60lb joints were just by how much gap was present between the sleeper and the new rails, so in doing this we’ve immediately removed a lot of rough track.

At exactly 12 o’clock the last spike was driven and the job was essentially complete!

The afternoon saw more productivity with all the jewellery collected and sorted, a few little tidy up jobs completed as well but amazingly we managed to break up all but 5 lengths of the removed 60lb! A big effort just in itself.

This week’s efforts leave us with only (approx) 75 x 80lb rails left to install in this straight and infact in this whole section (Maldon to Muck). Comfortably 3 weeks work once all the rails are prepared and on site.


The weather, although cold, has finally been kind enough to allow some re-railing. Today saw another 28 lengths installed into tangent 20-21.

We were well underway by 8.15, with John greasing up the final fish plate.

We we a little down on numbers today, as such we didn’t quite finish all the tasks in record speed, however everything was still very nicely under control.

Our trusty gang truck is back on deck after receiving it’s new water pump. We also got to test out the new sleeper drill, which proved to be excellent. It took a little while for the gang to master it, however it certainly reduces the back breaking bending of using the petrol drills. We’ll take lots of pictures of it in action tomorrow.

By days end the gang were all thoroughly exhausted but very proud of our efforts. We’ve clipped up all steel sleepers (quite a lot in this section), spiked the whole straight 1 in 3 as well as having cut and fitted the closure rail to join up with the old 60lb.

Tomorrow should be a comparatively easy day, with a quick run through with the tamper required first up, before a pass with the drill and spiking hammer to finish off the job. Hopefully we’ll get around to breaking up some of the 60lb removed today also. Meeting Maldon 8am or site from 8.15am.

Breaking Bolts

(sorry this has been sitting sneakily in the drafts area since Thursday! Details of works on Thursday 19th July)

Not entirely true, lots of unbolting and cutting too.

Our trusty(?) gang truck has let us down with a failed water pump and the spare won’t be in till Tuesday. So the re-railing was put off a week and we found jobs that didn’t require the truck.

We tackled breaking apart the 60lb in strings from our most recent re-railing effort. We really did this to retrieve the reusable bolts for use in the Castlemaine section as we used up our entire supply on Tuesday.

We didn’t count the exact number that we broke up but it would have to be 200+, a pretty good effort really!

We’ve even tidied up all the fishplates and scrap bolts.

As well, the gang installed a few missing 80lb anchors on the most recent re-railing as well as removing more 60lb anchors in the next section to be done.

Tomorrow will be a bit more breaking up rail, before we head out and change a few sleepers and finish off with some more bolt tightening. Meeting at Maldon 8am.