Crossing Renewal

We decided we needed to practise our level crossing renewal technique, so we got stuck into Boundary Track Crossing.

It’s a very quiet road crossing, we’ve only seen 1 car cross it in the past two weeks!

We simply excavated the crossing, removed the old timber, jacked the track to take the concrete sleepers and slid them under.

We’ve gone for 100% concrete so apart from changing rail, it should be many many years before we need to expose it again.

As we’ve lifted the track either side by 50mm we needed to achieved a similar lift through the crossing. We achieved this the old fashioned way with jacks, by eye and with a level.

Thankfully when the crossing was laid it was put down on a bed of crushed rock and as we didn’t disturb the roadbed at all it should remain a very stable and solid piece of track.

The finished roadway, it is actually 99% the old ballast and crushed rock with a skim of gravel (stockpiled nearby from the original relay some 18 years ago) over the top to offer a smooth path for all the cyclists and pedestrians who use the crossing regularly. We had John run the gang truck back and fourth to compact the surface which seems to have given a solid result, first rains will tell though.

Believe it or not, all that only took the morning!

Earlier this week all the sleepers down the hill to curve 8 were inserted (98 sleepers), pads installed to about 2/3rds of the way down the hill (until we ran out, more due to arrive on Friday).

This afternoon was spent clipping up all those sleepers that had pads, leaving only about 50 to go to complete the tangent. Not a bad effort for a gang of 3.

Tomorrow will be onto the next tangent, removing fastenings and hopefully lifting the track ready for the beginning of insertion on Friday. Meeting Maldon 8am or Rifle Range Bridge from 8.30am.

Castlemaine project progress

The new depot at Castlemaine continues to take shape.

The shed contractor has all but finished the loco shed erection works. The main builder will now complete the other minor works to get formal occupancy – storm water connection and installation of emergency lighting.


While the loco shed may now be finished from a contractual build perspective it will now be up to the VGR to undertake the internal fit out . This will happen over the coming months.


The other activity has been to clean up the various stored items on site – recent work included cleaning up around the shunters cabin with the loading of all the Ballarat water tower structure into GY’s for safe storage.

Opportunity was also take to dismantle and store the Castlemaine weighbridge components in another GY until a suitable display site is available to display it.

At the same time the small water tank from Woodend was relocated nearer the outside inspection pit where we are hoping to erect it for use.


The cleanup coincided with the transfer of rolling stock from Maldon for storage in the existing carriage shed during the COVID-19 shutdown of services.  There was quite a shunt required to gain access to the GY’s stored behind the carriage shed.

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The portable site hut has not been left out either. It has been tidied up by Andrew Key and Andrew Reynolds with external cladding repaired and work started on preparing the inside for use by our volunteers. If you have some free time and would like to assist with basic handyman work to make this habitable, please get in touch via site project manager Graeme Alford at





More concrete

Another very successful day’s work, with all 170 on the down side of Boundary Track clipped up by lunch time.

After lunch we made a start on inserting sleepers on the UP side of the crossing, with a very respectable 60 inserted and fully clipped up.

There’s only about another 100 concretes sleepers to go into this straight until we begin on the next.

Hopefully early next week they’ll all be under the track down to curve 8, with boundary trk crossing itself due to be resleepered around midweek.

We’ve run out of pads for the sleepers but hopefully the delivery will arrive this coming week, otherwise we’ll simply forge ahead removing fastenings in tangent 7-8 in preparation.

We’re certainly making excellent use of no train running to maximise on preparing for the upcoming re-railing and generally catching up on maintenance.

Concrete Sleepers

Today saw us with a total of 170 sleepers installed this week, all their jewellery dropped out, ready for clipping up tomorrow.

Installing a few sleepers was really a side line to today’s work. The main task was removing the fastenings for the remainder of Tangent 8-9, about 200 sleepers were unfastened, all the jewellery collected.

We even managed to do the 50mm lift for the full length, ready for sleeper changes next week.

We’ll be out on site again tomorrow, from around 8.45am clipping up the 170 sleepers already inserted.