Well we did it! The turnout is now connected and usable, so long as trains only wish to head towards the turntable.

Once the last of the closure rails had been installed and fastened down, any missing ballast was applied.

The majority of the afternoon was spent removing the spreader bars and turnout rodding to enable ballasting and tamping, once complete all that was re-instated and tested.

Unfortunately, a nearby turnout, whose rodding also had to be removed for the exercise, didn’t behave itself when re-assembled, so a good amount of adjustment and testing was required but it’s all fixed and fully usable.

The whole turnout has had a good tamp, but at this stage only a minimal lift to get it serviceable. Once 5 siding is connected, we’ll be able to apply a little more rock and get it to a perfect top and level.

With the piles of ballast and dirt now cleared, the turnout can be clearly seen from the carriage shed, it’s just that little bit between to go now and it’ll be usable.

We had hoped to get a bit more done on 5 siding, but as with any work in a yard, things never go quite to plan or happen as easily as they would out on the track, but we’re still very proud of our efforts.

We’ll be back here on Tuesday next week, hopefully to get the concrete sleepers laid out, rails bolted together on top and a get a start made on clipping up. Meeting Maldon 8am or Castlemaine from 8.30am.


Making the new turnout part of the track, rather than just a fancy standalone feature, was the focus of today.

Joining the new build up to the existing, required a good amount of pre-work discussion, but in no time the action plan was formed and we were into it.

First up some ballast preventing the job was moved, followed by laying out sleepers and rail.

We’ve been able to make use of a few 80 to 94lb junction rails that we’ve had lying around, a very nice way of joining different rail types.

Given the timber sleepers we re-used were in relatively good condition, but had been spiked in a few locations previously, we installed the rail using the recently featured pandrol adaptor’s.

The day might come when rails magically fit into a gap without cutting… But we’re not holding our breath.

Once the rails were cut to length, everything just fell into place and straight away it looked like it was meant to be.

Thankfully we had enough people to have two tasks on the go, one lot fastening up while the other started lifting and tamping the turnout.

It’s amazing just how much more finished the turnout looks with some rock on it. The background view here is the slewing of the existing turnout track to line up with the turnout, which it did very nicely. A little bit of tweaking required, but it’s pretty good.

By day’s end the closures had been cut and roughly installed to join the turntable road up once more.

Tomorrow’s crew should comfortably complete the join up and final tamp of the turnout, ready for traffic.

Meeting at Castlemaine from 8.30am.

Ready to roll

Today saw the last of the materials dropped off at Castlemaine to allow the turnout completion and track building. With a bit of luck, by the end of tomorrow, we’ll have the turnout connected back into the turntable road and largely ballasted.

Meeting Maldon 8am or Castlemaine from 8.30am.

5 siding

Well we’ve made a good start on building 5 siding, starting at the carriage shed and working towards the turnout.

This point marked us running out of concrete sleepers on site (plenty more at Muckleford though).

The rail used here was the last of the 80lb still lying around the yard at Castlemaine, it’s not a bad spot to use up all the odd short lengths.

The main focus of today was to complete the projection out from the shed, and re-instate a crossing for fire access and our hi-rail access while the turntable road is out of action.

Once the gravel was spread, it was looking pretty snazzy. We did also tamp and lift as required (not much of a lift though as we put a lot of effort into getting the formation height right first)

It’s amazing how much more finished it now looks.

Next week we’ll be a bit all over the place. Monday is an odd jobs day, with no formal workday. Tuesday there won’t be a workday at all. However Wednesday will be a works train, moving the remainder of the required Materials into Castlemaine to complete the current works. Thursday and Friday should see the new turnout connected up and available for use (to the turntable at least).