Track Inspection

Today saw us begin our detailed 6 monthly track inspection.

We’ve walked from Maldon to Sawmill Road, having rectified most issues we found and finding only very minor faults, a great thing given the amount of work that’s gone in.

We got to check out the hive of activity at Bendigo, the civil contractors are busily installing everything below the ground for the flashing lights.

The mast bases and cabinet slab are in, so are all the conduits. Meaning the important electrical components can be installed shortly. The best part of this project is it’s managed by V/Line, so for once we can largely just stand back and watch!

We took it in turns to push the horrid rolling track gauge! But it is certainly a good machine to check gauge everywhere, with one small exception (a couple of failing timber sleepers) there was nothing found to cause any alarm, all going well this will be fixed before the next train anyhow.

We took the opportunity of the big gang to remidy any faults found, largely loose bolts and in a few locations past Muckleford, outer metal biscuits were installed as the nearby timber was starting to hint it wasn’t going to hold gauge for much longer.

Overall though, we’re happy with the initial findings and when the lockdown situation is under control we’ll get back and finish off to Castlemaine, although we’re not expecting to mind any surprises.

Given the latest Covid Lockdown, tomorrow’s workday will be cancelled, however check back next week to see if Tuesday is a goer or not.

Enjoy a safe and happy lockdown!

Pit timbers

We made use of today’s rather wet weather to complete the pit timbering on the western pit.

The smaller sections of timber were very manageable by hand, making progress quite fast.

We’ve even tidied up any unevenness in the joints, caused by the warped timber, making it look very smart.

We’ve learnt plenty of lessons for the next pit, which will probably only take a fraction of the time. However it’s almost time to start laying track over this pit and connect it up to the turntable, that’ll occur over the coming months.

Thursday and Friday we’ll be meeting at Maldon at 8am, ready to undertake the 6 monthly detailed track inspection.


We watched a big shed go up today. This is the last of for major structures to go up as part of the project, so an end is in sight.

We started the day off by cutting a nice straight 4.2m point timber into 2 2.1m pit timbers. These are for the end pieces, which we will install on Tuesday during the predicted rain.

In the afternoon we did a few odd jobs, one of which was extending the 2nd turntable road by another couple of rail lengths.

We also cleaned and lubricated several of the turnouts, tidied up our worksites and pulled the hi-rail gear off the back of the takeuchi, so it can receive some maintenance.

Tuesday next week we’ll be in the locoshed finishing the pit timbers, meeting there from 8am.

Thursday and Friday we’ll be undertaking our detailed track inspection, for which we’ll be meeting at Maldon at 8am.


Two sides down and just the ends to go now!

Here Mal helps showcase the scale of the new workshop under construction in the background.

After working out exactly what we needed to achieve, we set about lifting off the timbers and getting on with the grouting.

And in no time, we were into applying the grout. I’m not sure we’ll make brickies just yet, but we got the job done.

This side took no time compared to the other side, amazing what a bit of practise can do.

The lap joins were coach screwed down, while this probably isn’t necessary, it’ll help keep everything in alignment until the rails are fixed on top. Given the recessed nuts, having the joins over a bolt would have mean for a very thin section of timber to use to secure the timbers down, with way should prove stronger in the long term.

And it did come up looking very snazzy.

After morning tea, it was into getting some more of the 2nd turntable track in place.

Unfortunately these concrete sleepers are a much older style and while still perfectly good sleepers, the clips are hard to get on and things just don’t go as smoothly as with the new style sleepers. But it’s a perfect location to use them as they’ll need little to no attention for a very very long time.

The last few pandrol plates at the end of the turnout were also installed, completing the turnout.

We’ve added a bit of ballast and given it a very rough pack. It’s starting to come together and by tomorrow we hope to have this more or less completed to final height to allow for relocation of the gates to enlarge the secure area.

Tomorrow, we’ll be meeting at Castlemaine, by the loco shed from around 8.15am. However, we’re not sure what access will be like while the shed is being erected, so parking down at the station and walking up may be more appropriate.