Part of the cyclic track maintenance is the maintenance on turnout operation – the actually lubrication and operation of the blades (switches). Castlemaine is a little unique on our railway, in that all the regularly used turnouts are operated from the signalbox, as such there are a lot of moving pieces that need regular lubrication.
The little orange dots in the distance are the crew working on turnout 56 which has for years been problematic off and on, the main cause was hopefully remedied today.
The lubricant (a spray graphite) is a medium which really only degrades under very heavy weights or high temperatures… Of which our trains are neither. Generally a cleaning of this lubricant (polish with a brush) is all that is needed to ensure good operation.
The shiny section on the foot of the stockrail proved to be the main issue, years of buildup of this spray, probably mixed with some oil and general grime had formed such a ridge for the blade to climb over it was making it almost impossible to move. Simply scraping all that away solved the issue.
It shows how good the graphite is to have remained in place for what could be 20 years or more.
All the while Rolf, in the box, was receiving instructions from the ground crew to move the blades as required to ensure complete cleaning and polishing could occur.
Lunch was grabbed while shade still existed beside the carriage shed.
All the other turnouts received a similar treatment, with all now operation as would be expected following a service.
Even the depths of the signal box and the rodding were inspected closely for any possible issues.
Back at Maldon, Len and Bazz are making excellent progress on the turntable re-decking, with it already being greatly safer.
Tomorrow’s gang will meet at Maldon at 8am to load up and head to Walmer Rd Bridge to continue with the Pandrol Adaptor installation (meeting there from 8.30-8.45am ish). It may be an early finish given the likely warm afternoon.