Castlemaine Yard

Laying out point timbers was today’s task.

It’s a job that always takes a while, as the accuracy of the timber spacings is directly related to the ease of construction and quality of the end result.

The digger does 99% of the heavy lifting, but a bit of crowbar work finishes the job nicely.

It’s all very quickly looking very smart.

Hopefully next week will see us very close to having the straight portion of the turnout completed, the curved bit might wait a few more weeks, getting the turntable reconnected is a slightly higher priority currently.

It almost seems a shame that we have to ballast it and hide all our good work.

Check back here Monday afternoon, but the plan is that we’ll be full swing into turnout building from 8am here on Tuesday, with more later in the week.

Castlemaine Yard

About the only time we saw the sun today was first up, quite welcome during the morning chill.

Today saw us start the rebuild of the Turntable road inside the compound gates. As per the rest of the road it’ll be fully concrete sleepered and filled to rail height to all for the roadway.

First job today was converting old 6 hole 80lb fish plates into 4 hole plates (as 6 holers are too long to work with concrete sleepers at joints).

Once we’d finished the ground work, it was onto laying track.

We’re using up the most awkward of the full profile concrete sleepers around the yard, saving the newer style sleepers for the mainline.

While the track was being assembled, Rolf was busily setting out the location of the new turnout. Hopefully we’ll make a start on that tomorrow. It might look like it’s all heading in strange directions, but trust us, it’ll work out eventually.

Tomorrow, we’ll be meeting here from 8.30am.

Works Train

It’s been a while since we’ve run a works train. Today’s train was transporting turnout components and concrete sleepers to Castlemaine for the upcoming works.

We had quite a train, the unloading of which proved to be a bit fiddly in the narrow space beside the carriage shed, but we managed it and just before the drizzle set in.

Thursday and Friday we’ll be in at Castlemaine, meeting there from 8.30am. The weather will be the decider as to the actual job, but it’ll be somewhere near the turntable either way.

Concrete Sleepers

We had a few concrete sleepers to install around Bendigo Road for the upcoming flashing light installation. While we had all the gear in the area, we tackled a bit more of re-sleepering Curve 21.

The plan has changed slightly for how the insulated joints will be installed, so we’ve installed a few more concrete sleepers to help make the process much quicker and easier.

While we were working on the UP side of the crossing we reached a very big milestone! The 4000th concrete sleeper has been installed as part of our Track Upgrade Project.

We set the target of 4000 concrete sleepers and 2000 timber / steel sleepers as part of the funding, we’ve now ticked off the 4000 concretes, with 200 timber / steel left to go to reach the 2000. Those last 200 will look very much like concrete sleepers however, as we’ve now got adequate stocks of concrete and we’d be mad to use timber when concrete is available.

After the insulated joint areas had been completed, it was into installing another 35 concrete sleepers into curve 21. The height we’ve jacked the track to allow the taller concrete sleepers under is quite evident!

They’re pretty big these particular sleepers, but this method proved to work very well. 1 in 3 timber sleepers were left spiked up to help keep the gauge and line of the curve, then the track jacked and old timber swapped for concrete.

With a good tamp and appropriate tamping of the existing track to match the new height, it looks pretty snazzy. We’re quite short on Ballast here now, but once we’ve completed more of the curve we’ll drop out a train load and get it looking very smart.

Next Tuesday we’ll be running a train through to Castlemaine to drop off materials for the next few jobs there. Meeting Maldon 8am.