Re-railing

Well we did slightly better than expected today, we’ve re-railed along the remainder of the UP leg of T12-13 and right around the UP leg of Curve 12 also. A total of 371m of rail was swapped over, not bad going at all.

Logically, we started where we finished last time, but that did include unclipping the first 27m of rail that we’d installed as a temporary length to help square up the junction back to the 60lb, easy with the concrete sleepers however.

Unfortunately, almost without fail, the dog screws fell underneath the bolts at the joints, the easiest method being to just cut the head off the screw. We’d be stuffed without a cordless grinder.

The slow bit is unfastening the 60lb, despite all the work on Tuesday, the remaining bits still took far more time than installing and clipping up the new rail did.

We were doing so well, that we realised it was well within our abilities to get around the curve also, unfortunately we hadn’t done any preparation there on Tuesday so that did slow us down a little.

Even up to the start of the curve wasn’t an unimpressive amount.

We had a bit of fun trying to reach the rails ahead at times, we’d dropped them out unevenly to avoid the old occupation crossing, which made a couple of them a challenge, but not an impossible one we proved.

We’re getting pretty good at cutting in closures now, with this one only requiring one cut and 2 holes to give an ideal closure back the 60lb.

By day’s end the UP leg was not only once again bolted into the track, back we’d clipped up all concrete sleepers, which is slightly better than 1 in 3.

In a few pics from way back in the rebuilding to Castlemaine day’s, we can see just how much things have changed since these scenes from February 2002 were captured by Alan Williams.

We’ve upgraded to a nice lightweight trolley, got a whole range of rattle guns, made the move from timber to concrete and started using rock ballast – and added a whole raft of diggers and trucks to make work much easier. These pics were taken in the general area of today’s works.

This pic, also from the same collection but several months later in July 2002. The first train on the rebuilt track is discharging ballast, the front of the train is roughly where we started work re-railing today. It’s not unrecognisable today, but the changes are significant; 1 in 3 sleepers are concrete, the rail is now long lengths of 94lb with a quite impressive ballast shoulder to match.

Back to the present and Tomorrow’s goal, is to complete as much of the Down leg as possible, it’s unlikely we’ll go past the end of the tangent tomorrow, as well need to leave sufficient time to do some jacking and tamping to correct the ramps down to the 60lb.

Meeting on site from 8.15am (which is just up the bike track from Muckleford, parking up near the old occupation crossing). The more hands the better, as this jobs can be very easily sped up and more rail changed with larger gangs.

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