Curve 21

The reminder of the stockpile at Woodlocks Ln was loaded into the wagons first thing today.

Then we got onto completing the discharge around Curve 21.

Looked a million dollars with a nice uniform ballast profile.

Of course after a ballast comes a tamp, which pretty much became the day’s task after that.

We did a running tamp the full length of the low leg, achieving a minor lift, with any dips jacked out to form a really very good finish.

When it came to the high leg, we installed a uniform 30mm of cant (super elevation), as although at 40km/h cant is really not essential, should the high leg start to settle, you can quickly develop negative cant, which is extremely undesirable, especially with rigid vehicles such as 4 wheelers – of which we run a few. 30mm cant allows for significant settlement before anything problematic arises.

This cant was installed by using a cant gauge (track gauge and level with a measuring stick stuck on one end) and the tamping head. Not a single jack required, which was nice. We generally achieved about a 2 inch lift in that leg, which we’re very happy about, with excellent results.

It really did come up a treat.

A bit of ballast regulation (and a works train to drops the wagons home at Muckleford), left the job looking marvellous.

We’ve got a very slight kink, which we induced during the resleepeeing, to still correct next week, but 20 mins with big digger and it’ll be some of the best track we’ve got!

Before summer really hits we’ll increase the high leg shoulder in a few places, as this has historically been a place of buckling potential, although we suspect the 100% big concretes has probably fixed that. The only downside of the ballast train is it tends to favour discharging to the low side of a curve, but that’s just gravity really. So a good few bucket loads of ballast from the digger will be the best way to fix this.

Given that all this was done with just bare hands, hand tools and diggers, the line, top and appearance of the curve are pretty amazing. The next level would be to have a production tamper through, which would take it to mainline standard, that day will come and the more track we get up to this standard first, the better that will last.

So this curve, which is only approximately 350m long has taken around 7 workdays to complete (not including all the preparation time). 466 concrete sleepers have been installed, close to 250t of ballast and a very good amount of human effort. But that effort should see the curve last for a very long time, with minimal maintenance. Once we’ve re-railed more of the Muckleford- Castlemaine section, we’ll be getting into refurbishing more of this section in this manner, which will quite quickly reduce the ongoing maintenance of our running line.

Next week will be a little all over the place due to a number of commitments, so please check back Monday night for details of Tuesday.

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