Rail Recovery

Well after many years of searching for more 80lb rail to complete the re-railing of our track, we’ve finally been allocated a section of unused track.

It is a mixture of 80 and 94lb rail, which is fine for us. The rail is generally in excellent condition.

Best of all it’s very close to home! It’s a section of the disused Maryborough to Castlemaine Railway. We’ve been allocated (through VicTrack) the section from Guildford to Maldon Junction.

The main advantage being we don’t need to do any trucking of the rail, therefore no need to cut it into short lengths.

If we’re honest, we’re a little sad to see this line going. But it is in extremely poor condition and certainly far below any standard should the line be re-opened, so the material is much better in use improving our track.

Today was day one of the recovery effort. It started out in a thick hazy of Bushfire smoke, thankfully not from anywhere nearby.

All our beasts (the machinery that is) have been called in for this big job.

The day started with the removal of anchors, with this point here being the start of our takings, just over the Midland Hwy Bridge.

The digger was used to scrape away the extremely built up ballast shoulders. This section here was re-laid about 20 years ago, when the new bridge was installed.

We managed to complete around 650m of de-anchoring today, an excellent effort for the horrid heat we were working in.

All anchors were collected into drums as we went, to remove the need to come back and sort. Plates and spikes will be collect via an electromagnet and trucked to our railway for later sorting as time allows.

This is a good representation of the general track condition, very poor.

Lunch today was a very welcome break, however shade is very hard to come by around the old Guildford Station. Poor Mal was the man on the blower, a very dirty job.

After lunch we tackled the first unspiking! It was hard work, as this section still has good sleepers (the only ones!), with the spikes still firmly held. We know it’ll get a lot easier from here.

A few stubborn bolts, but so far they’ve all undone.

Once unspiked across the bridge, the rails showed just how much they can move in the heat!

The first section of rail towed… It was long and probably the longest we’ll tow, around 85m.

We will be dragging these, in stages, all the way back to Maldon Junction to load onto a train for dropping on site.

So far we’ve only dragged the rails a few hundred metres, but tomorrow should see them dragged up to the first road crossing.

We’ll be out here for the rest of this week and all of next week, we hope to achieve a huge amount in this time, but we will need lots of help. Please feel free to join us any day. Contact ganger@vgr.com.au for details.

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