Today saw a very old section of poor track corrected. This very short section between Maclise Street Crossing and the pedestrian crossing has been on our watch list for some years, finally showing signs in December that it was due for renewal.
As the location was noting short of awkward, we decided it best to do a total sleeper replacement rather than individual sleepers.
As it was largely buried, we were presently surprised to find that several of the sleepers were still really quite good, but while in there it would have been foolish not to replace them.
Given the location of the conduits for the track circuits, we elected to do all the replacements from within the 5 foot, an easy task when the gap is large enough. We even cleaned out all the ballast to make the job easier.
We haven’t as yet ballasted or tamped this section, a job for tomorrow.
The sleepers near the crossing took all morning, but we did manage to insert a further 9 concrete sleepers and 14 timber sleepers into the nearby curves, just as spot replacements for life expired timber.
We used a mixture of timber and concrete sleepers, it’s a bit of a test to see how the concrete performs given the somewhat poor quality of the ballast here.
Similar tests have so far proved extremely successful, we’re fortunate that given our light axle loads, low speeds and relatively few trains, we can get by with installing concrete in lesser quality ballast with no issues. The timber is second hand, removed from near Muckleford where we’ve installed concrete, it’s of varying quality and we’re not likely to see more than 4-5 years of service, which is why we’re eager to see how the concrete will perform.
We’ve got another 20 sleepers to install tomorrow (we’ve already removed the old ones). All will need a tamp and the usual boxing up of the ballast etc…
It has been declared a day of total fire ban tomorrow (mainly due to wind), we will still be working however as we have no grinding, cutting or high fire risk tasks to undertake, we will look at finishing early if the weather turns out to be too bad.
Meeting at Maldon 7.45am or site from 8.30am.