Rail Recovery

Another landmark day today, with Stephen St. crossing now behind us. All the loose rail was over by morning tea and by lunch the remaining track had been sledded and towed over also.

We even found a spare hour and a half to get 20 odd rails over Moscript St. We’re hopefully that by the end of tomorrow we’ll have everything over Moscript Street as well as having it sledded, but in reality it’ll probably take us until morning tea on Wednesday.

Either way though we’re making real progress and the end is certainly in sight. Meeting at Moscript St from 8.15am tomorrow.

Rail Trains

Another two rail trains were loaded today, one was discharged, the other transferred to Muckleford for discharging in the coming weeks.

This pic shows the train parked up where the rail drop ran out yesterday, well on the Down Side of Rifle Range Bridge.

Today’s load took the Down leg to approx 500m short of Boundary Track, while the up leg is not quite out of Curve 8. We’re dropping the rails out in such a way as to best utilise the least worn running edge (generally the opposite of how it was in the Maryborough line).

The gang made use of the discharge time to mark up the next rails to be cut and loaded, overall an extremely successful week.

Next week we’ve organised to get the traffic controllers back in to get everything south of Moscript St. over and that’ll see the end of our road crossings!

Monday we’ll be at Stephen St from 8am, Tuesday at Moscript St and Wednesday we’ll be sledding from Stephen to Moscript and towing over Moscript. There should be lots to do on Tuesday and Wednesday so please feel free to join us.

Rail Trains

Well after literally months of recovery works, we’ve finally got the rail train in full swing, with an enormous amount of rail loaded up and dropped on the track today.

We have perfected the loading method now, being able to load 32 rails in about an hour, which is a lot of rail. The train in theory takes 36, but the reality of stacking 36 perfectly just wasn’t worth the extra 4 rails.

The refined method consists of the big digger lifting a rail end high enough to clear the wagons.

The train is then moved back under the elevated rail. We have the little digger on hand on the track to help guide the rail if needed and to ensure the rail isn’t able to bounce around, it’s main purpose is to get the next rail ready for the big digger. The best bit here is the rail doesn’t move so the diggers can maintain absolute control of where it goes, while the train is just eased back at crawling speed should it need to be stopped for any reason.

The method worked extremely well and most importantly there isn’t anyone at any point required to get in any danger zone. All operators and lookouts are safely located in diggers and loco cabs, in constant radio contact. It was poetry in motion, the precision and ease with which we managed to load the train, something we were very proud of.

A few more pics of things in action, just cause we can.

But more importantly we managed to discharge around 1200m of rail on our track, amazing when compared with the 300m we were typically achieving with the shorter length rails in the Maldon – Muck section.

We began discharging on the UP side of Winters Flat Bridge (skipped the bridge itself, we’ll stack them nearby lineside until were ready to do that section), and after two trains and a group of very hot and sweaty gang members gave up for today about 300 on the down side of Rifle Range Bridge – a lot of rail!

The big digger is perfectly at home discharge these long rails from the wagon end, the machine has just that bit more power than the little one, enabling perfect placement of the rail straight off the train. Interestingly, discharging takes about the same time as loading, as the travelling and stopping and tweaking and repeating soon adds up, but still no time at all compared with the rest of the project!

It was a successful day and tomorrow we’ll do it all again. Meeting at Maldon Junction from 8.30am.

Rail Train

Well today was our first attempt at a rail train…. It’s not going to go down in history as our greatest success, but we’re confident we’ll have an efficient system very shortly, but fundamentally it did work and we’re going to be able to get all these rails to where they’re needed without too much hassle.

Using both diggers, the rails were placed beside the track ready for lifting up.

And the lifting on, using the diggers in tandem, it worked okay but a third digger would help even more for this method, we have another method in mind however, more on that next week.

A keen eye will note we’ve drafted in a 4 wheeled wagon (HZL wheel transport wagon) to help us move the 55m lengths, ideal length train for our needs.

It took us about 2 hours to load the 18 94lb rails, greatly slowed by the number of joints. We are hoping we can greatly speed up that process with the remaining rail, as we’re fairly joint free from here on in thankfully.

Beside loading a train, a lot more rail was cut and dragged up ready for loading, we’re making good headway now.

All this is now ready for loading and dropping out next week!

Our grass cutting contractors have also been busy and wow what a difference it makes! There’s still a bit to go, and a second cut in places is likely, but overall it’s now quite presentable.

Next Tuesday will be more rail cutting at Maldon Junction from 8.15am.