The final rail train

The final rail train for 2020 was combined with a nice simple Christmas Breakup.

But as always on the civil gang, you never get a free lunch….

The day began with the everyone standing around the entire fleet of trucks allocating jobs.

The jobs were either track inspecting or heading out along the Guildford track picking up the odds and sods.

Bruce chose a third option, whipper snipping around all the level crossing, he’s now done this three times this season at some crossings! They do look significantly better for it too.

The track walkers started in Maldon, checking everything as they went.

The rolling track gauger was put to very good use, with readings such as shown here (1mm) now very much more the norm, a very pleasing thing given all the re-sleepering we’ve done this year!

Morning tea in some of the little available shade, unfortunately from now through till March we do need to plan works around having some shade.

A significant dip just out of Muckleford that was detected in Yesterday’s inspection was jacked and packed with a kango hammer, not a fun job but thankfully not too large a task given it was localised to just the joint.

The other half of the gang was busily out collecting bolts, drums of anchors, steel sleepers and anything else we still had trackside out to Guildford.

And come lunch time it was back to Maldon to have a feed, jump on the train and check out all the work we’d done this year.

All the short lengths of rail were loaded up, while the gang offered quality supervision.

Or just ate food.

We got both diggers in on the action, side loading different wagons (the rails had sort of been placed to allow this to work and it saved a lot of time). – unfortunately the video hasn’t transfered through in great quality but it shows the action.

Then it was off to Castlemaine to run around and allow a few of the gang to meet a train home.

A nice little train, but with a purpose.

The train ready to head home.

And home we went inspecting all the rail dropped out along the way.

The rail wagons were quickly dropped off in Muckleford Yard to allow for unloading and stacking over the coming days.

It’s not quite the end of the year’s work, but it is more or less the end of gangs for 2020.

We’re planning to collect and transport all the fastenings on Monday and Tuesday, pack up the gear and return everything home on Wednesday and Thursday.

However there will be a small gang on next Thursday for anyone who is really organised with their Christmas Shopping and looking for a day out in the bush, details tbc.

We’d like to say a massive thank you to everyone for their help this year. Despite Covid, it’s been an enormous year, easily the busiest we’ve had in a couple of decades with several major projects on the go, thanks to everyone for helping us kick so many goals! It’s worth a quick look back over the last year’s blog posts to see just how much we have achieved.

Rail Drop out

A really bad photo but if you squint hard enough you can just see that we now have rails both sides of Sawmill Rd, closing the gap.

We’ve managed to get all the way from Muckleford to (and including) Sawmill Rd with 94lb, with 80lb from there to near Midland Hwy. It’s a lot of rail and except for the last few hundred metres near Muckleford it’s all dropped out ready to go in (it’s nearby in Muckleford Yard).

We’ve even ended up with a reasonable stock of 80lb in 40m lengths, we’ll have roughly 25 to stockpile for future projects such as Muckleford Creek Bridge, Castlemaine Platform Road and new works at Castlemaine.

Tomorrow is all set to be a good day. We’ll all meet at Maldon at 8am, where we’ll break off into two groups, one doing a detailed track inspection from Maldon to Muckleford, the other heading to the junction to load up the last of the small stuff, drums of anchors, bolts etc etc… We’ll then all meet at Maldon at 1pm for the last official rail train (we’ll put a carriage on of course!).

If you would like to head straight to Maldon Junction, feel free, we’ll be meeting there from 8.30am (ish).


We’ve been busy, very busy.

Most of sleepers have now been plucked from the roadbed, only a couple of hundred metres to go.

We’ve moved a mountain of rail, two train loads were moved today, one consisting of short 94lb lengths and all the junction rails – which we’ve stored lineside near Muckleford. Another train has been loaded, almost all the remaining 80lb and the last of the 94lb in reasonable lengths.

Tomorrow we’ll mix things up a bit by beginning our 6 monthly track inspection, starting at Castlemaine and heading out towards Muckleford – meeting Maldon 8am. Hopefully we’ll also get a train load of rail discharged in the afternoon.

Thursday will be a special day as we Invite all our hard working Civil Gang to join in helping to celebrate all the work achieved this year.

We’ll use Thursday morning to hopefully complete the track inspection, tidy up some items that need transporting back to Maldon.

We’ll head back to Maldon at 1pm to run a special rail train out to show off just how impressive all this dropped out rail really looks! If you’ve spent time on the gang this year them we hope you can join us. All welcome from 8am at Maldon (we’ll keep toy busy) and if you can’t make that you’re of course most welcome from 1pm to join the celebration.

Rail Trains

Two very full rail trains were run today, each 94lb, essentially clearing the stockpiles of long 94lb at the junction. The end result is that if you stand at the end of the 94lb dropped out you can see the end of the 80lb dropped out! With Sawmill Rd about in the middle.

There’s still about 400m of rail to drop out next week to complete this, then it’ll be onto running rail trains to clear the excess rail stockpiled at the junction, mainly shorter lengths of 94lb.

There’s a lot of rail and we’re glad this part of the project has happened in the blink of an eye in comparison to dragging everything through from Guildford.

The gang made good use of the time today, getting a head start on the next phase of the project, drilling the cut ends of the rail ready for fishplates when it’s time to install the rail.

A lot more sleepers have been lifted also, with only a lot to go!

Next week we’ll have another two (hopefully) rail trains on Monday which should see the discharge complete, then we’ll stockpile the remainder, which won’t be all that much in reality. Meeting at Maldon Junction from 8am on Monday.