Rerailing Curve 11

A nice chilly start to the day, with a bit of ice gracing the head of the rail

We set about re-railing the high leg of Curve 11 and achieved excellent progress.

Pure excitement was the feeling that seemed to overcome the gang this morning! We’re really getting into our stride with the rerailing now and it seems to run like clockwork.

We’d prepared on Tuesday by removing all screws and anchors, which took about half a day, which as we learnt today is really more effort and time than the actual re-railing.

We did trim one or two rails to correct the joint locations at the sleepers, but generally joints fell very appropriately between sleepers.

The clipping up gang was able to keep hot on the heels of the digger and its crew slewing in the new rails and bolting the next length on.

We reached our intended end point ahead of lunch time, having completed 393m of rerailing.

So as soon as lunch was over, we set about getting underway on the low leg, we had only removed the anchors here, so a bit of time was spent removing screws.

Again one cut was required to correct a joint, but otherwise all was good, luckily it was at the only spot we could get the truck close.

We managed to install and clip up 180m of rail in the low leg, which is almost half the curve. In this pic the digger is sitting right at the end of the completed work.

As yet we haven’t joined this afternoon’s work into the old rail as depending on numbers tomorrow, we might be in a position to tackle at least a few more lengths.

Tomorrow’s crew will be meeting on site at Curve 11 (near the gas pipeline) from 8.15am.

Rerailing Stuff

No further new work today, but a significant number of the sleeper plates installed yesterday were drilled and screwed up.

We then spent several hours stacking sleeper plates from the stockpile at Muckleford onto pallets and taking them out to site, ready for distribution next week.

Following on from all that, our little gang decided enough was enough so we had a bit of an early finish, but still achieved a considerable amount.

Next Tuesday we’ll be continuing this work. Meeting at Maldon at 8am or out on site from 8.15am.


Only a little bit more rerailing today, just 2 more lengths, one in each leg to complement one more installed on Tuesday. The main purpose was to get the rail junctions to more suitable locations to allow us to leave them in the track for a few weeks now while we go back and fasten up the timber.

We’re getting quite efficient at installing closure rails now, with all this only taking a few hours.

Then it was right back down to the start of the straight, dropping out and installing sleeper plates. We’ve completed the installation of about half of one leg on the straight, roughly 450m.

We had both diggers in use, one for the plate insertion and one hot on its heels tamping up.

Then it was onto drilling and screwing. We’ve decided to use screws instead of dogs, for a few reasons, they’re already lying on the ground from when we unfastened the 60lb and they can be driven with battery tools and that’s much easier than all the spiking gear. And we’re hoping it’ll be quicker and less labour intensive. We’ve only done a few lengths so far but we think it is a little easier and quicker than spiking (certainly a lot quieter!).

We’ve still got a lot of plates to drop out, holes to drill and screws to drive, however, hopefully by the end of next week, it’s all done along here.

The beauty of working in the country is the company! For afternoon tea we were joined by this mob!

Tomorrow’s crew will continue with the drilling and screwing, meeting on site (near Farmers Bridge) from around 8.15am.

More rerailing

Another very successful day of rerailing, with a further 5 lengths installed.

To avoid the issue of joints falling directly over concrete sleepers, a few rails needed cropping and drilling.

The slowest part of the job is almost always unfastening the old rail, an unfortunately fiddly task that often requires cutting of a screw or spike near a joint.

The ability of the concrete sleepers to maintain gauge adequately to operate the digger over safely before the clipping up gang has been through, saves a lot of time, but does give a weird illusion when the old rail is partly out and the new still to be lifted in.

The clipping up, not the most glorious or exciting job, but a rather easy and rewarding one compared with drilling and spiking.

The gang even discovered a little leverage boosting trick to move a stubborn rail over those few extra mm’s that is sometimes needed to get the biscuit in. The trick is to place a biscuit between the Web and the pansetter tool, it prevents the sleeper being lifted, but usually if that’s an issue getting biscuits in isn’t.

After this week’s big effort, only one 94lb rail is needed to complete the tangent. This should comfortably be achieved on Tuesday. Meeting Maldon 8am or on site from 8.30am.