Carriage shed Castlemaine

The day started fairly cold, but with a stunning sunrise over Maldon Town.

Today was all about transferring materials to Castlemaine for the carriage shed track and for the up coming re-sleepering during the V/line shutdown.

A quick stop at Muckleford to grab the rest of our train and we were all set to head into the big smoke of Castlemaine.

The blank canvas as it appeared this morning, a massive shed with a few carriages somewhere far in the distance!

The reason for the carriage was mainly as it needed turning to allow the painting to continue. Also made for a good travelling lounge.

However… We had everything on site ready to go when the excavator blew the smallest hydraulic hose, in the hitch head unfortunately making it completely inoperable. We lost about an hour to that but thankfully Bazz had a spare on hand.

Meanwhile the rails were marked for sleeper spacing, we went with a 700mm spacing nominally, really just as we do expect the heaviest possible axle loads to travel over these rails at some point in the future.

Once back on line we wasted no time in unloading material and beginning construction.

A little levelling to fill a hole was need, then we were into it. The pic gives a good perspective of shed size.

Rails were towed in (we were too lazy to open the correct doors, lucky rail is very flexible).

Sleepers were dropped out and pandrol adaptors installed.

At which point the rails were then lifted into their approximate place.

The Johns supervising the achievement of correct rail gap.

By knock off everything was more or less ready for clipping up, with 1 in 4 sleepers clipped up one end. With Clive looking proud of the days efforts.

Not a bad days work considering we didn’t really get into it until after lunch.

We even got to enjoy a very comfortable train ride back to Maldon, a very nice way to round out the day.

Tomorrow we’ll be staring at Castlemaine around 7.45am, we should get the track fully clipped up tomorrow and hopefully we can make a good start on the next.

Point timbers

Today saw us install a further 10 point into Maldon yard.

The three turnouts just past the down end of the platform were the recipients and quite rightly so seeing they see the most use.

With the mess all tidied up the job looks quite nice, it should mean we don’t need to do any emergency repairs in the yard any time soon (allowing us to keep focusing on other things).

We also replaced and tightened a few fishplates in the loco road, which were getting quite bad.

Next week we’ll be loading and shipping material off to Castlemaine ready to start work laying track in the carriage shed extension. Tuesday will be an odds jobs day at Maldon loading and sorting materials. Meeting 8am

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.

Timber Sleepers

The last couple of days has seen 142 timber sleepers renewed (almost) on the approach to Maldon.

We still need to actually fasten them up, tamp and tidy up etc… But this week’s work gangs should see this rather long running project come to an end.

We have also replaced 8 point timbers in the 2/3 road turnout at Maldon.

A mixture of new and second hand timber was used, just enough to ensure it’ll hold together for a few more years until we can consider an upgrade.

Still to tamp and tidy up but otherwise complete.

We even a very long lesson from John on how to secure the padlock on the container first time with ease… Unfortunately a little perform anxiety crept in with the gang watching, by chance the speed board you can see behind him pretty well aligned to the number of minutes he spent on the task.

We’ll be into it again tomorrow, meeting at Maldon 8am or near Woodlocks Ln crossing shortly after.