An extremelly successful day today, with a further 20 80lb rails installed into tangent 20-21.

Unloading the spiking hammer from the truck in the wonderful morning sun.

And what a glorious morning it was, not cold, sun shining and the feeling of early spring in the air. Unfortunately the wind picked up a bit later on, but it was still very pleasant.

Once all the gear was loaded onto its appropriate trolley and we’d managed to marshall the trolleys and excavator in the right order, we were into it.

We even cheated a little more this time, the digger remained on the track all day, carefully ensuring the rail was placed into the correct location before moving along to slew in the next length in. This actually sped things up a little as all 20 rails were in and bolted up by morning tea.

With Rolf handling the mighty rail saw in style, the closure too was cut and bolted up before morning tea, a very good achievement.

All the sleeper plates were inserted first today, often we do them in batches with the gauging and drilling, but this actually seemed to work well for the gang today.

The clipping of the steel sleepers followed this process, being much like concrete sleepers in the way gauge is fairly absolute, so it’s much easier to set them, rather than need to tweak things once the timber’s all spiked up.

Bruce hard at it on the spiking hammer, with the tamper hot on his heels.

By afternoon smoko, almost all holes were drilled, spikes stood with only driving left to go. Even Will jumped down from the digger to lend a hand (only right near the end though…).

An excellent days work.

We only have a very short supply of 80lb rail left now. We’ll use this up within the next month.

However it won’t quite be enough to see us out of this straight (the whole section between Maldon and Muckleford in fact) which is a little frustrating as the section it needs to join up to will be very much within sight! We have lots of very short rails, which we may be forced to used, which isn’t desirable.

However, we are still hopeful that VicTrack will come good with their offer of rail from the now closed Castlemaine – Maryborough line (a lot of which is 80lb). We hope it coincides nicely with us using up all our current Rail ex Bandiana.

Tomorrow will be a big tidy up from today, breaking up more 60lb rail to recover bolts and hopefully distributing concrete sleepers if time allows.

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