Part 2

Despite the high tech system of concrete sleeper installation we now employ, sometimes we just can’t help driving a dogspike by hand!

We were actually replacing any failed timber sleepers that weren’t part of the 1 in 3 replacements. Only 11 of these in this section, with the concrete cycle managing to elimate the majority of the life expired timber.

We did however also manage an additional 30 concretes today, which takes us just over the crest of this hill, a good effort in this awkward cutting (they’re all bad but this one always seems awkward to work in)

It started to again resemble a railway once we’d scraped up the ballast.

There was some pre-existing poor geometry towards the crossing, which was jacked and tamped as part of the works.

Despite needing a drop of ballast, the job came up looking quite smart.

Once this has all settled and we’ve managed to drop out some rock we’ll probably need to return to lift out a few drips and hopefully straighten a few wiggles.

It’s still a big improvement over before!

More Concrete Sleepers

Another 50ish (forgot to count) sleepers installed into tangent 8-9 today.

We even used the opportunity to start some ‘on track’ excavator training of one of our regulars, he started slow with the tamping head and by lunch time had a very good grasp of the beast.

The short section between Sawmill Rd and the bridge was tackled first.

Then working up the hill towards Castlemaine.

Screw and spike pulling kept the front gang busy, while the mechanical help got enough sleepers under to allow the gang to return and clip up.

Not a bad effort in the rather slow and awkward condtions of the cutting and around the roadway.

Tomorrow will see us out of the cutting, with tamping and some additional lifting required to correct some less than ideal geometry in the afternoon. Meeting Maldon 8am or site from 8.30am.

More concretes

Another 59 concrete sleepers installed today, along with a tamp and ballast scrape it’s looking very snazzy.

After the last sleeper was in, the ballast was scraped up ready for tamping.

It all went very well until the tamper blew a hose. But not to worry, the hydraulic supplies in Castlemaine sorted us out nice and quickly with a new one.

The job looks quite impressive.

Despite all this the gang also removed the dog spikes past sawmill road ready for next week, only the screws to go now.

Next week will be back here, aiming at around a similar number or possibly a few more weather depending.

Concrete Sleepers

Despite the heat and wind the gang achieved an extremely impressive 85 concrete sleepers installed into tangent 8-9.

It was done in the usual fashion, however testing out our new grabs!

They worked very well and it is likely they will speed up the operation greatly.

We still made use of the scarifier to speed things up even more so.

John, Clive and Mal hard at work clipping up.

We found in this section that pushing out the gauge was not required, which made the job a bit easier.

We gave up just after lunch once the wind came up and bush fire risk became too great (thankfully nothing we do during this particular job could cause a fire, but we carry large volumes of water and fire extinguishers just in case).

Another great effort from our hard working gang.

We’ll be back into it tomorrow, with another 80 odd ready to go in, this time in much more plesant weather.

Meeting Maldon 8am or site from 8.30.


A very long and hard day’s work, but we’ve got the turntable track back up and running.

Job one was tie up the last of the loose sleepers.

It took most of the morning but the old ballast was collected up and transferred over to the new track.

With some rock on, it was starting to look more impressive.

Even the point lever has been installed and it works!

A lot of lifting was required to achieve a smooth surface, still more lifting is needed, but that will require more ballast. As this is only a loco road, it’ll be quite adequate for years just like this.

The end result and a very exhausted gang proud of their efforts.

New turnout

Well today was the day. The new turnout went in.

First up was pulling up the old track and scraping away ballast ready for the move.

A lot of fine movements and measuring were required to locate the turnout and the approach roads exactly.

The turnout has even been clipped to the correct location, as it will be some time before the straight leg comes into use. It looks very smart.

With the trusty truck being the first beast over the new turnout.

After getting the turnout exactly right, we moved our attention to slewing the existing track.

It took quite a bit of running back and forward to achieve the amount of movement required.

Part way through the track looked terrible! Thankfully it’s all very flexible.

The track has actually been slewed completely off it’s old road bed onto the prepared ground.

With a nice set of reverse curves installed to allow access onto the turntable.

The job’s not finished yet, with the final rails still to be bolted up, ballast to be applied and lots and lots of lifting and tamping to do, we’ll be busy tomorrow, any extra hands very welcome.

This marks a big step forward in the Castlemaine project as it now allows all trenching to be finished and shed construction is now unimpeded by obstacles.

This weeks Civil Saturday will again be at Castlemaine, meeting A box from 8.30am.

Ballast plough

Although not today’s activity (a very quiet day with only odd jobs tended to between showers) we have now taken delivery of a ballast plough.

Wednesday saw a local tilt tray collect the 4 wheeled ballast plough from Daylesford for it’s short journey to Maldon.

The wagon was used on the VGR back during the Castlemaine extension project many years ago, with us now borrowing it again to spread ballast the full length of our line as part of the track upgrade.

We’re greatly thankful to our friends at the Daylesford Spa Country Railway for loaning us the wagon, it’ll make our life much easier!

It’s going to receive a bit of an overhaul before we put it to use.

Next week is shaping up to be a big week, with the installation of our new turnout planned, plus slewing the turntable track into it’s required location.