Ballast Trains

Today was all about ballast trains and there was a lot of them!

We began by dropping 3 wagons out on Curve 16.

This was followed by lots of loading before heading out to Sawmill Rd, where we made a light discharge, as required all the way from there to Curve 11, another 5 wagons worth.

Curve 11 itself saw another 5 wagons discharged, it was quite light on for ballast, as there’s probably a bit more settlement in that location due to an old bridge.

While back at Muckleford, we had the flail mower running around tidying up the yard, we also used the opportunity of a loco on site to pull everything out of 3 road to give it a good mow either side.

This is one of the only ballast trains we’ve run were we actually included some gang transport, generally we just all pile in the loco but that gets a bit squeezy. The ZD van set the train off nicely and towing it behind Daylesford’s plough did actually improve the ploughs performance some what, it seemed to have the effect of adding weight and prevented the plough lifting like it sometimes can.

It’s all looking very tidy after a good trim.

The final drop of the day, another 5 wagons, was out around Curve 18 through to the down end of Curve 20.

We’ve focused on areas, such as this, that had little to no real ballast, especially areas that need some rock available to tamp up and fix a few dips.

By day’s end, our enormous pile has been reduced to this, just enough to do Walmer Road Crossing and top up Walmer Road Bridge as needed. We’ve still got 2 wagons to discharge on Friday as well as trying to get some caught ballast out of all the wagons, hopefully with some mechanical aid we’ll get them clean.

Check back tomorrow for details of Thursday’s gang, we did much better today than expected, so the plans have changed a little.


Yesterday’s work needed to be tamped and the approaches to the crossing lifted considerably to match what will be the new track height. The crossing us currently 60mm below the road level so we’ll aim for a 75mm raise and that’ll allow 15mm for future asphalt re-topping.

This meant that the whole length of Walmer Road Bridge needed a lift also, of around the same amount, this was also needed as there was little to no ballast between the sleepers and decking, so there’s around 75mm of rock between them now.

It certainly looks much better, as we also fixed any issues in the track at the same time. We could still go more at the UP end, however we were starting to run out of ballast to do much more.

With a good run over with the bucket, it’s come up looking very clever! The concrete sleepers either side of the roadway will remain and any timber we’ll be digging out with the works and renewing the ballast below to ensure drainage.

Next week we’ll be running ballast trains and hopefully lots of them! Tuesday’s crew will meet at Maldon at 8am, when we’ll set off ready to start dropping out rock.

Walmer Road Preparations

Today began by replacing the failed point timber at Muckleford. It was nice simple swap out the old and in with the new.

It still needs a tamp, but otherwise it’s job done.

The bulk of the day was replacing 31 timber sleepers on the approach to Walmer Road Crossing.

A few other things such as mowing, general tidying and sorting in the area was also undertaken, to save time on rebuild day (15th December).

The yellow truck also got pushed into service to transport chairs to Castlemaine for Saturday’s members day.

It was a very successful day, with some nice weather for a change!

Tomorrow will include jacking and tamping today’s replacements, in preparation for getting the levels right for the crossing rebuild. Meeting at Muckleford from 8.15am.