Civil Saturday

This weeks Civil Saturday will be at Castlemaine signal box, tending to more maintenance as well venturing out into the yard to tidy up a few loose ends before the next round of track work there in a few weeks.

It’s forcast to be a bit chilly with possibly the odd shower so bring a jacket.

Meeting A box from 8.30am.

Turnout part 2

After another long day and lots of hard work, we’ve almost completed the turnout.

After dropping out all the jewellery it was into drilling and screwing.

Which before long saw us with two very straight rails, ideal for the straight leg of the turnout!

And in no time at all we’d dropped in the curved closure rails.

Carefully aligned to as per the turnout offset diagram (to within 1/2mm!).

Once the curved lead was fixed, the curved stock rails were moved into position with great precision thanks to the new grabs.

It would be no word of a lie to say these saved us in excess of 2 hours work over this project, just because of their incredible versatility and amazing controlability.

The final bolts of the day being done up. It’s fairly heavy work in turnouts, everything’s big, the equipment required is heavy and the heights are always awkward.

But when that’s the end result, it makes it all worth while.

It’s not quite finished, but there’s very little to go. Only the curved stock rail to fix down and point lever assembly/ spreader bars to install.

Next Monday to Thursday will be at Korumburra, helping out our friends at Coal Creek. As such there won’t be a workday on Thursday, but if all goes well we’ll be at Castlemaine on Friday to finish off this turnout.

Don’t forget Civil Saturdays is on tomorrow, at Castlemaine signal box. From 8.30am.

Turnout construction

Today saw the start of construction of the first new turnouts in Castlemaine.

As the site hasn’t been surveyed, we used various methods to arrive at the location for the V crossing nose and simply worked off that. Lots of string lines, double checks and debating goes into these tasks (because we do so few we need to try and remember everything again!)

This turnout will split the loco road in two, one over the old ash pit and the other the re-aligned existing track.

The track seen here will be moved over to align with the centre of the right hand gate, running parallel to the ash pit. It was working back from here that we managed to established the location for the turnout.

We couldn’t quite get the turnout built in it’s final location, due to the current track being in the way, but it will only need very slight tweaking (about 400mm) to locate it once we’re ready to cut it in. Here Graham and Mick align the point timbers to the carefully placed string line.

We cheated a little… And actually set down two strings of old 60lb rail upon which all the markings for the timber spacings were placed, it also made tweaking much easier.

Apart from being rained on regularly, once we’d found our location, it was pretty plain sailing.

We’ve bolted up both the straight legs and the sleeper plates are under ready for drilling and screwing/spiking tomorrow.

We’ll be back here tomorrow and should have it more or less completed, hopefully. Meeting Maldon 8am or site from 8.30am

Pads and to the side

All 430 (is he) sleepers from yesterday had their pads installed before being placed to the side of the track.

They look very smart all sitting neatly beside the track.

We even inserted 1 concrete sleeper, testing out our new grabs… Extremely fast and easily.

We’ll do a bit of a feature on these later this week… (once we’ve mastered them!)

Concrete Sleepers

To stand on Sawmill Rd and look either way, it’s just concrete sleepers as far as the eye can see.

Just 400 have been spaced out along the track, ready to have their pads installed first thing tomorrow, before being placed aside ready to go in.

This would have happen sooner, but it’s been difficult to get a train free Monday / Tuesday for some time, so we grabbed the opportunity.

If nothing else it looks impressive.

You’re welcome to join us tomorrow, Maldon 8am or site from 8.45am

Turning the first sod


Well today was a very big day for the VGR with the official “Turning of the first sod” for the Service Re-orientation Project. Unfortunately we didn’t have available a golden or silver shovel, by the trusty old Cyclone off the truck did the job perfectly!

(For more details of the project please see – )

It was officiated very enthusiastically by Hon. Jaclyn Symes Minister for Regional Development and our own local MP Maree Edwards. It is with much thanks to these two, their departments and the excellent crew at Regional Development Victoria that our exciting project is up and running.

The project is actually made up of two smaller projects, the details are in the link above but essentially it is broken up into Castlemaine Redevelopment and Track Upgrade. Both critical things to our long term aims, objectives and most importantly a sustainable future.


There was quite the crowd there for the ceremony and we even treated the party to a trip to Maldon to show them just what their support has enabled for our track gang – the feeling we got back was that it has been money well spent!


Not ones to miss an opportunity, we even showed off our rather stunning looking civil train, we’ve very proud of it. Freshly loaded with concrete sleepers looking very important and progressive.


But we weren’t content with just showing off our wagons and sleepers, we also proceeded to drop them out along tangent 8-9 ready for insertion in the following weeks. Today’s drop out of 208 sleepers, along with the 226 dropped out on this straight a few weeks ago takes us to about half way along this very long straight. – It’ll keep us busy for a while getting all these in.

Tidying Up & Bridge Straightening


The day started with heads down, bums up. Collecting all the jewellery left over from last weeks re-railing.

Another last – hopefully! Although we’ll be doing this once we get to the other section it will be different, hopefully with less double handling. However we’ve stacked all the jewellery from this into drums, onto pallets or into containers ready for storage, re-use or disposal. It really tidies up the site.



We also took the opportunity to break up the last of the 60lb rail from this straight, but not before dragging it up to a much easier location. All the plates and bolts have also been sorted. Our lifting and tamping works from last Friday have received great praise from our train crews – it’s good to know our works gets noticed.


We even took the opportunity to stack all the surplus materials neatly and orderly, ready for loading onto a train at some stage for transport to more appropriate homes.


The afternoon was spent correcting some bad track geometry at the down end of Muckleford Creek Bridge, under the expert eyes of Victorian Railways trained Mick and Rolf. We lifted some significant dips just off the bridge, as well as completely re-lining the approach curve and first few lengths of rail onto the bridge. The end result is very impressive! (Only the rest of the track to go now).

Tomorrow will be attending to some materials in Castlemaine Yard that require shifting for the upcoming works – exciting times! Meeting Maldon 7.30am or Castlemaine from 8.30am.

On a sadder note, many readers may have known track gang regular (not so much recently, but for many years) Rob Fletcher. Rob unfortunately passed away suddenly today – for further details please visit the Members Area of the VGR Website.