Platform Coping

To complement our recent bridge works. Some platform repairs of the timber coping at Muckleford kept us busy today.

A lot of the coping dates from around 1995/96 so it’s done very well, but we had a few showing their age, with large cracks showing.

So we’ve renewed any failed timber with 2nd hand point timbers. The replacement timbers won’t last anywhere near as well as new wood, but we should still see a good 5-10 years from them. At which time everything will need replacing then anyway.

Believe it or not, with all our fancy wood working gear, all we really needed for this job was a cordless drill (which will happily drill 21mm holes without batting an eyelid), a few spanners, battery rattle gun, hammer and chisel, plus a chainsaw just to speed things up a little. And it took a fraction of the time we expected it to!

All the bolts have been set into the top of the coping to remove the tripping risk and we’ve even tidied up some of the rougher bits, giving a very smart looking edge.

We’ll be down a truck next week while it’s in at the doctors so we’ll be starting at Maldon on Tuesday at 8am, with the exact task yet to be decided (the predicted rain may mean we start work on the pits in the loco shed at Castlemaine).

Muckleford Creek Bridge

Bridge beams was the flavour of today.

Muckleford Creek had a failing inner bridge beam, much like the recent Winters Flat Bridge beam job.

However instead of just changing the inner beam, we installed a temporary steel beam to support the decking, while both beams were removed to ease replace the failed inner one.

This method proved far superior, taking much less time and effort than we’d usually require.

The beauty of this method was it allowed the remaining good beam to become a template for the replacement.

It also allowed us to drill the holes exactly in a convenient location for once and check out the beam as required to match it’s neighbour.

Using the digger to re-install the beams was a breeze. Only very minor tweaking was required to get all the holes to align and bolts installed.

With the exception of needing to make a few new bolts to account for the slightly thicker new beam, it all went together like a big kit.

And of course a bit of a settling load from the digger confirmed all was well, before the steel beam was maneuvered out of the bridge and placed into storage ready for next time.

Seeing this method has saved us about a day and we’re all geared up to do woodwork, tomorrow we’ll be tackling the failing platform coping at Muckleford Station. Meeting Maldon 8am or on site from 8.30am.

Pedestrian Crossings

Today saw us resurface the three pedestrian crossings in Castlemaine. They were all getting quite uneven and lacking material.

The two pedestrian crossings near Maldon Junction received a lot of attention, with complete renewal of the timber sleepers underneath with concrete. We then used left-over road base material from Rowe Street, thoroughly moistened and whacked down to give a nice compact foot way.

The crossing at Brown Street received a similar treament, although the sleepers underneath were not renewed, we’ll do that when we re-rail through here.

One day we might win tattslotto and be able to afford to asphalt these pedestrian crossings.

We’ve also tidied up our loose materials around Rowe St. Crossing and moved some gear around ready for Thursday and Friday, when we replace the life expired beam in Muckleford Creek Bridge. Meeting Maldon 8am or Muckleford Creek Bridge from 8.30am.

Rowe Street

Another very long day, but it’s done.

We began today by installing 6 concrete sleepers, removing the last timber sleepers under the insulated joints, we’d held off doing this until the track leads (part of the flashing light circuitry) were pulled out of the way.

Then the rock went on while the closure rails were cut, drilled and installed.

And this is why we cut closure rails, to move this horizontal step in head wear away from the insulated joints.

Now that step couldn’t be left in the track as it was, so we finally put to use our rail grinder, and what a great job it does!

The final lift and very thorough tamp.

A final dressing of rock and a good whack saw a sensationally hard surface ready for the hotmix. The whacker, hotmix and traffic control are all courtesy of our local shire, Mount Alexander, without their generous support it would be many many years before we could afford to do this, thanks a million!

By 1pm, the allotted time, the hotmix hit the ground. Spread initially with our digger, which saved a power of time and effort.

The finish achieved is really very stunning, the asphalting crew certainly knew all about railway crossings, so hopefully we’ll be able to call on them again.

V/Line also made use of the opportunity to renew all the very old track leads and rail connections, which apparently has resulted in a significant improvement in circuitry. They were fully recommissioned and tested without any trouble.

Once again, a massive thank you to everyone that has helped us out with this project. But a big shout out to Mount Alexander Shire Council, V/Line and our sensational track gang for achieving such a marvellous job.

Next week is a little up in the air, however Tuesday will certainly be a tidy up at Rowe Street Day, meeting Maldon 8am or on site from 8.30am.