Rowe Street

After a good few weeks of preparations we’re now ready and eager to rebuild Rowe St. Crossing on Thursday and Friday.

We’ll have a small crew meeting at Maldon station at 7am on Thursday, with the rest of the gang meeting us at Rowe St. from 7.30am – parking is likely to be a slight problem, so please park well out the way down on Adam Street.

We can always use extra hands, so please feel free to join us either day.

Curve 21

191 full depth concrete sleepers have been dropped out around Curve 21, with around that again need to complete the curve.

Any long fishplates preventing us using concrete have also been changed.

We spent the afternoon tidying up what had become a rather ridiculous mess on the well wagons, 5 pallets of stuff was collected off the wagons and removed to the storage yard!

Next week we’ll be rebuilding Rowe Street Level Crossing. The final preparations will take place on Tuesday and it’ll be all systems go from 7am on Thursday Morning at Maldon or on site at Rowe St. from 7.30am.

Rowe Street

Today saw us install the remaining concrete sleepers either side of Rowe St. to achieve 100% concrete, short of bringing in the final materials (fabrics and drainage etc…), we couldn’t be more ready for next week’s rebuild.

And it looks pretty snazzy too.

We started by lifting the low leg of the curve to match about the required height following the rebuild, mainly to save time on the day but also to make the final sleeper changes easier.

It’s a very well practised routine now, with the 32 concretes installed in no time.

While it might seem logical to just go through and replace all the sleepers at once, where there is lots of ballast like here, you end up just burying yourself and getting no where, this method doesn’t require a single shovel to be picked up at any stage of the game!

Although the gang still like to tidy things up manually in the quiet times.

It also means it can all be done under traffic, so if we get a failure on a digger, trains can still run.

A combination of the bucket and a lump of old sleeper, seem to get the ballast profile back into good shape.

We’ve bundled up all the timber sleepers we’re keeping (to be used in the Yards) and stacked them ready for taking away.

We’ve come a long way from the old days of manually stacking the sleepers ready for strapping, now the digger and the grabs do everything, exact apply the strap, which as you can see above always takes a few minutes to re-learn, but strangely satisfying when it works.

Once everything received a final tamp and a bit of ballast tidy up, it all came up looking very smart and should make next week’s rebuild job just that much easier and quicker. Next Thursday and Friday are our planned re-build days, essentially a copy of the recent work at Bendigo Rd.

Tomorrow however, a change of scene, we’ll be dropping out concrete sleepers along curve 21 (near Bendigo Rd – Maldon) and preparing for the next round of sleeper replacements along there. Meeting Maldon 8am or on site from 8.30am.

Rowe Street

Another 37 concrete sleepers were installed today around Rowe St.

Except for the sleepers under the insulated joints, which we’ll do when the lights are disabled in case we damage the wires, we’ve achieved 1 in 2 concrete sleepers over the length we’ve been working on.

It’s been a few years since we’ve replaced many sleepers here, so this process is ensuring we’re catching any failing timber in time, while giving us a long lasting secure section of track.

This makes a good before shot, prior to the crossing rebuild. The road surface is starting to break up badly, a sign things below are probably going the same way.

The following are some general pics showing the works.

These works, although not tamped and tidied as yet, do now take us to having concrete sleepers at least 1 in 3 (generally better) all the way from Castlemaine Yard to just past Rowe St, a significant portion of track.

Tomorrow we’ll be back here finishing off so that trains can run on Saturday, depending on numbers we may even install a few more concretes to get us up to 1 in 1 near the crossing, otherwise we’ll head around the corner and use the big digger to line some of the ugly sections further into the curve.

Meeting Rowe St. crossing from 8.30am.