Well, all those weeks of preparation really paid off today, we’re leaps and bounds ahead of where we were at Bendigo Rd at the same time.
We cut the asphalt yesterday, to get ahead of the game.
As the track was already in the correct location, datum marks were placed well clear of the trench, by driving nails into the asphalt, the section which gets removed tomorrow.
Once the crossing had been excavated to sleeper level, the big digger lifted the track, while the backhoe knocked off the old sleepers, a pretty enormous time and back saver!
The old rails were dragged well clear, loose jewellery collected before the sleepers were loaded straight into a tipper for removal.
Then onto careful excavation, although a very thorough pre-check of all service locations was undertaken, there were potentially a couple of wildcards, however everything was exactly where we predicted it would be.
Lots of height checking, and location checking for the railway signalling cable saw us with a very tidy trench. We chose to not go any lower as it was becoming obvious we weren’t that far off getting to bottom of the compacted gravel layer, with our local plastic clay no doubt sitting just below. This does mean we sacrifice a thicker layer of ballast, however it’s still going to perfectly adequate for our trains and the road traffic.
Geofab and drainage installed, with a layer of ballast to only about 50-75mm of final height was rolled in before sleepers were dropped out.
Some precision rail cutting and drilling, as we really wanted to correct the fact that the old rails were really too short, having massive joint gaps, which was a disaster for the health of the insulated joint end posts.
A good amount of time was spent trying to locate the sleepers as accurately as possible, using the offset marks made earlier and an off cut of rail.
Once happy with the sleepers the big digger was called in to drag up the new rails, which we’ll note on record were the perfect length! Immediately it looked a stunning curve.
After some very minor tweaking, we managed to convince our rather large gang to hang around an hour longer than usual, which saw us clip up everything assosiated with these island rails. A few minutes of final lining in the morning and it’ll be a really nice curve once again.
We had a sensational gang today, 17 people, a massive thank you to everyone! These lights still fall under V/Line control, so a massive thankyou to them for disabling them this morning and assisting in making the job so much easier.
All that said, we’re still not quite ready to call in the asphalters, we need to ballast, lift and fully tamp the track. Cut in new closure rails either end of the new track section and get the lights re-comissioned.
We’ll be meeting on site from 7.30am tomorrow and hopefully it’ll all go as well as it did today and we might even get an early(ish) knock off!