Spiking up

In what was a rather simple day of spiking up the 142 sleepers inserted yesterday, we still had a few challenges to make the day interesting.

First was the alternator (just out of view here) decided to give up the ghost on Tuesday afternoon. Unfortunately the brittle hoses the connect to the vacuum pump also gave up during the changeover which meant no truck for a few hours today. But no to worry, a quick transhipping of tools to the yellow truck and we were in business.

Then was the frost issue (both trucks took some time to defrost, unfortunately it turned out it was not really required on this truck).

Then was the glorious job of setting up all the gear in the freezing cold! 1 degree at this point.

But what a stunning day it became! 10/10 for a glorious winters day.

The only real change in our usual process has been the addition of some drill extensions with quick change adapters on the end, much easier on the back and much simpler to change bits.

The mighty spike driver, hasn’t run for some time but sprung straight to life like it was used yesterday!

The gauger was used on about 1/2 the sleepers replaced, although whereas we were once adjusting 10-15mm we’re now only tweaking a few mm to achieve perfect gauge.

The afternoon saw the gang break into two, working from opposing ends gauging and drilling, it helps to prevent everyone getting too close and improves productivity greatly.

The gang on the run back down the other leg. This is a good example of how social distancing is almost automatic on our gangs, at no point does anyone need to invade another social bubble.

Today actually marks the end of our timber sleeper cycle from Muckleford to Maldon, obviously we still need to tamp and tidy up, but hopefully next time the gang’s back here replacing timbers it’ll be with concrete!

Tomorrow will be at Maldon, with point timbers in our sights for the morning at least, there’s several starting to show their age. Meeting Maldon station from 8am.

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