On Thursday and Friday we worked on finishing the access tracks into A and B bays of the new loco shed at Castlemaine. Back in February we made a good start by building most of the turnout needed to connect the turntable to the two right hand bays in the shed and then had to do bridge work and squeeze in a week of track work at Newport.
We now have another member of the Civil team who is filling in part-time for Will while he is on leave. John McCorkelle started a week or so ago and this week was his “baptism of fire” with the Takeuchi excavator while he shifted materials about and ballasted the track.
The weather started out a bit bleak, but that didn’t trouble Clive and Malcolm who bravely drilled and screwed rails to point timbers.
There was quite a dip in the turnout, so it was time to start getting ballast under the timbers. The site was very muddy because of the rain in the morning, so we confined the excavator to delivering rock from a nearby pile to the turnout by rail. This involved filling the bucket, running the excavator onto the turntable, turning it to line up with the new track, then running the excavator onto the new turnout to drop off a bucket of ballast. Lots of times! A slow and tedious process.
While the ballast was being delivered we roughly packed it under the point timbers to support the turnout under the excavator and to keep ourselves warm during the process. As the day wore on, the need to keep warm by shovelling went away and we had to resort to storytelling to distract us from the hot and sweaty work.
(Photos – Bruce)