Concrete Sleepers

We’ll today was nothing short of amazing!

Easily a record breaker in almost every way.

We began by unloading all the kit, ready to begin clipping up the sleepers inserted earlier in the week.

We quickly decided the hydraulic power pack applicator, although good, wasn’t any quicker for this job than by hand. We had plenty of hands today so we packed it away.

We began by clipping up the UP leg, using the pan setter (blue thing) to make sure the sleeper was hard over. Normally when clipping up with all the biscuits, the outer biscuits stop the problem of the sleeper wanting to slide sideways, but as we’re only clipping the inners this method seems to work.

This was followed closely behind with the crew clipping up the down leg. Using the gauger as required to assist.

The last clip on and all the gear loaded up into the bucket for the trip back up the hill.

We were running so far ahead of schedule with the clipping (more or less completed by lunch time) we needed to keep the troops busy! So we set to work bundling all the timber sleepers removed. A mammoth effort, about 260 all stacked by hand and strapped. Plus another 40 or so more left over from curve 12.

The digger was hot on the heels of the clippers, moving timber sleepers to stackable locations and moving the ballast around, ready for tamping.

We even found time to complete some drain clearing!

And if all that wasn’t enough… We spent the rest of the afternoon replacing old loose bolts, at least 100 and probably more like 150 were replaced! A big job, as each old bolt is either broken by a well placed sledge hammer blow or unbolted by hand spanner (as the rattle gun was busy tightening up the replacements). The digger was busy chasing the bolters down the hill tamping up the job.

At packup time, we ran out of truck space, with bits hanging off anywhere we could find room for the trip back to the other truck.

We were fortunate with having a large gang, a good number of prisoner helpers and excellent weather.

In total we have clipped up 180 concrete sleepers, stacked and strapped 300 + timber sleepers, replaced about 100 bolts and completed all the ballast and tamping of the new sleepers! A massive massive effort. If only we could have this gang 5 days a week… We’d have a mainline standard railway in no time.

Tomorrow will be a slight change of pace, as we run a concrete sleeper and turnout material train. Sleepers to the next tangent and turnouts to Castlemaine ready for the new works down there! Meeting Maldon 8am or Muckleford at 8.30am.

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