Civil Saturday’s

This coming Saturday’s gang will be working again on the signalling in Castlemaine yard.

It’ll be lubrication of the vital innards of the signal box itself, a sight not often seen, so if you’ve even wondered how the signal box really works, Saturday’s for you.

Meeting at the Signal box from 8.30, access may be limited from Walker street so parking in the station carpark is recommended.

Trenching

We’re finally up to the un-trenching phase in Castlemaine.

For convenience and just because we could we’ve started at the south end and we’re working north.

It’s a case of installing sand over the services, dirt over that to 300mm below ground level, rolling out the danger tape for the electricity, followed by the final cover of dirt with a few compaction runs of the digger.

Here project manager Graeme is taking a well earned break after the section behind him has just had it’s tape installed, to be filled first thing tomorrow morning, were about 1/3 of the way there after today’s efforts.

We should have it all backfilled by end of play tomorrow, with final tidy up to occur on Wednesday.

Muckleford Creek Bridge

The wiggly track over Muckleford Creek was tackled today. It’s a two part process. To start with the track is lifted a reasonable height (about 30mm) to remove all dips and to loosen it up for sliding/aligning.

The second part is to align the track, we didn’t get time to do that part today, but we did get the whole bridge lifted and what a difference it made.

Part of lifting is to ensure the deck below isn’t losing ballast, which in places it was. This was remedied in two of the worse locations, but it’s a very labour and time intensive job so we’ve still got more to do.

The gang even took the opportunity to realign a few skewed sleepers and replace a failing set of fish plates.

Here John’s re-drilling a sleeper which was moved away while the hole in the decking below was plated. We use any old sleeper plates which have no use to us in the track.

To ferry the plates and reduce handling, the yellow truck brought them close enough to the bridge to allow passing up, with Clive and Rolf having a breather between plate handling, while Mick digs out the next hole.

The whole bridge was jacked to a very nice uniform height before a tamping pass.

The amount of lifting was very evident after the tamp, with the bridge now needing more ballast. However that won’t go on until after the holes are plated and track is straightened.

It’s a bit hard to see, but the track is now a uniform height right across the bridge, something we just haven’t been able to get around to until now.

After next weeks re-railing and the following week at Korumburra, we’ll be back here to finish the job, after which we expect it to look like 60mph track!

In other news, one of our well wagons is going through the workshops next week (general maintenance) and Riley has taken the opportunity to finish the painting, thanks again Riley and keep up the good work.

Just a reminder, due to the public holiday there’s no workday tomorrow. But we will be back into it next week, Mon to Wed in Castlemaine & Thurs/Friday re-railing.

Services

Another big day at Castlemaine. The water meter and fire service/ booster point are now installed.

The power is getting closer also, with most of the conduit now in place and all their trenches dug.

There’s a bit to go yet, but Wednesday next week the site should look much more normal.

Due some boundary complications, the power actually runs through next door’s property, The Mill, who we’re very thankful for their fantastic cooperation.

We’ve even back filled the first section to satisfy the ending of a permit for works near some live optic fibres.

There will be a little more work here in the morning, but more so Monday / Tuesday will see lots of the trenche filled.

The gang will be out tomorrow at Muckleford Creek Bridge lining and lifting the track. Meet Maldon 8am or sit’s from 8.30am

Castlemaine

Well it’s all happening at Castlemaine, some slight delays in service tappings etc.. have held up the trench back filling, but that should be well underway by later this week.

Today saw the last of the north end trenching, to the location of the power and water meters. John’s busy in the hole spreading bedding sand.

While Bruce got the exciting job of untangling the orange bunting! To help secure the open trenches.

Water; both fire service and domestic supply, electricity and nbn conduits are now largely laid, with only the final lengths to go in tomorrow.

This is a big step forward in the Castlemaine upgrade works, with it’s benifits and future proofing setting us up very well for the future. Watch this space as lots of exciting things will be starting over the coming months.

It has meant our road access to and from the yard has been temporarily disabled, so it’s rail both ways. We even treated ourselves to a turn on the turntable, just for something different.

While back at Maldon the ballast wagon is complete, with all it’s stenciling now applied, it looks a treat.

Too good not to share

Riley from for Young Volunteers Group has spent the last few days hard at work painting one of our ballast wagons, thanks Riley and YVG.

It’s looking stunning, far too good to use. It arrived covered in graffiti and looking quite unloved. But no longer!

This wagon is the first of our wagons to return to the VGR after many years away, having been hired out after our last major project (rebuild to Castlemaine). The others will return to us over the coming months.

And how could we not show off our gang, ready and eager to get into it on Thursday Morning.

Back – John, Mick, Clive & Bruce T, Front – Malcolm & Bruce D. This isn’t our whole gang but it’s most of our regular Thursday Crew.

It’s not often we can get the crew to stop work long enough to grab a pic like this (unless it’s smoko), so thanks to Bruce T for organising it.

This Thursday will be a little different, with the gang off to Muckleford Creek Bridge, to correct some of the wiggly track. Meet Maldon 8am or site from 8.30am

Preparations

Another very successful day! 26 rails (plus the one left over from the UP) were brought up from Muckleford and dropped out along the very last part of Tangent 20-21.

We ended up having two lengths of 80lb too many, how’s that for cutting it fine over the whole 8Km between Maldon and Muckleford, only 2 rails left over! (lots of short fairly useless stuff left over too but it’ll likely be used in sidings)

Once dropped out the shuffling began, getting the lengths into their approximate final positions.

This was followed closely by the joint cleaning and lubricating crew, which in turn was followed by the bolting up crew. The 25 rails required are now bolted into strings of 4.

To round out the afternoon we broke up the very last of the 60lb still in strings and removed about half of the dog screws in preparation.

As next week is a short week, we wont attempt it then, however in a fornight and the big day will arrive and we’ll finally have this section complete.

Don’t forget tomorrow’s civil Saturday at Muckleford from 8.30am