Back to Castlemaine Loco Shed

Thursday (7th April) and Friday (8th April) saw us back at Castlemaine working towards getting track into A and B Roads in the new Loco Shed. The last time we worked here was two weeks ago and our plan was to get both tracks into the shed and useable.

Two weeks ago we joined the rails up for A Road but didn’t finish clipping them to the concrete sleepers. So that was the first task.

Thursday (thanks to Bruce for today’s photos)

Clive and Mal lay out clips and spacers (‘biscuits’) ready for clipping the rails to the sleepers while dog Jack supervises with John and Rolf’s help.

Once that was finished, it was time to lay out sleepers over the heritage pit in B Road. This pit will eventually have timber coping around the top and the rails fastened direct to it. The concrete sleepers are a short term expedient.

John lays out the sleepers over the pit in B Road while Clive, Henry and Mal stand ready for any fine adjustment needed.

Back outside, more of the team prepares to join the previously laid turnout to B Road.

Rolf on the theodolite and Artie on the staff, re-survey the centreline for B Road, while Henry finishes off clipping up A Road and Graham prepares fishplates for the track-laying.
Another view of Rolf, Graham, Henry and Artie hard at it.

In the meantime a new acquisition in the form of rail tractor RT 31 has been delivered and is now patiently awaiting the completion of the track work to find its way into the loco shed.

RT 31 looks almost ready for work.

Back in the loco shed, the sleepers have all been laid out over the pit and preparations are under way to lay rails on them.

John in the excavator is about to lift the right hand rail into place. Will and Henry rest a little on the well wagon on the left while Mal, Clive, Ian, Norm and Graham are ready to assist. Artie and Rolf Discuss the next moves in the foreground.

With the right hand rail now in place, the rail is adjusted to give the correct gap for the joint.

Here Clive uses a sleeper plate to give the correct gap as John in the excavator slides the rail towards him.

And finally, the new rail is fish-plated to the existing one and clipped to the sleepers.

Henry, John, Graham and Mal, clip the rail to the sleepers; while Norm, Steve and Ian watch carefully.


On Friday there was further action. With a team of eight really progresses the job a good way so that there’s only a couple of days work to make the the roads into the shed useable.

The first task was to lift the second rail onto the sleepers over the pit, join it up and clip it down and that was completed ready for use. However there was still a 9m gap outside the shed between the new turnout and the track into the shed. To close it we needed to lay 9m of sleepers and rails and join it all up.

B Road into the shed had previously been laid and connected direct to the turntable, but to connect up C Road meant installing a turnout and now the track had to be re-aligned. The existing track had been buried to provide road access in front of the shed, so shifting it was no small task and way beyond the capability of our little Takeuchi excavator. So in came the ‘big gun’, our 14T Hyundai excavator which had been at Muckleford for last week’s re-railing.

The ‘Big Gun’ on the job.
Ian directing John while aligning B Road to new centre line pegs.
B Road after slewing to line up with the turnout.

By the end of the day, the track was re-aligned, sleepers laid out in the gap and rails made ready for laying on them.

Next Week

We will be working on Tuesday and Thursday next week – next Friday is Good Friday and we won’t be working that day. If you can spare some time on either Tuesday and/or Thursday please call John Shaw on 0427 352 416 and let him know.

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