In the never ending task of renewing point timbers and sleepers around Castlemaine Yard, a few more goals have been kicked this week.
A few of the more awkward point timbers have been renewed. Unfortunately, given their location the only way in is by removing a sleeper from the adjoining track and removing / inserting the timbers via there.
It’s unfortunately awkward and very time consuming, however it needs to be done, so we just set aside more time than usual for these tasks.
Next week’s task will be renewing around 25 sleepers in 4 road.
It’s been a week of odd jobs and a bit of left field stuff that has kept us busy in various ways.
Today’s and Tuesday’s gangs took on thr rather unglorious, but still very essential, task of turnout cleaning and lubricating. Tuesday saw all of Castlemaine, including the bits below the signal box, lubricated and checked. While today’s crew tackled Maldon and Muckleford.
It’s not a lot of fun, however it does make an enormous difference to the ease and reliability with which the turnouts work.
Of course while in the area, any loose bolts are tightened.
The gang also found time to tidying up some fallen branches that came down in a recent storm.
While all this has been happening on our Railway, our little excavator went for a quick holiday down to the Yarra Valley to stack just under 600 concrete sleepers that were recently released during a rail upgrade project around Melbourne. The sleepers had been tipped out of trucks and required neat stacking before they could be truck up here. We’d like to thank the Yarra Valley Railway for their help in this project and for the use of their site for a few days while we stacked them up. We only need another 15,000 or so now to be able to replace all our timber with concrete!
Given tomorrow’s hot weather and various other requirements, there won’t be a workday, so stay home by the air-conditioning!
The gang will be back in action on Tuesday, replacing turnout timbers in Castlemaine Yard from 8.30am, there’s a few to do and they’re in very awkward locations so this will likely take up Thursday and Friday also.
We changed another 16 sleepers today (yesterday’s count was in fact 32). However today’s were all concrete and 1 point timber.
We’ve also tamped everything from yesterday and had a thorough tidy up, including a rough scrape of the ballast/dirt through the platform. It still needs a bit of a blow to tidy it up, but today’s wind and hot sun made us feel like we could probably hang off until next week for that.
We’ve installed 8 concrete sleepers between the catch points and the mainline turnout in 4 Road and a further 7 down in 3 siding. We’ve also replaced the timber under the heel block of the catch points in 4 road.
We’re making quite good progress around the Yard here, with only another 35 odd sleepers and 5 point timbers to go to complete this year’s program there.
We’ll be back at Castlemaine on Tuesday, with the plan being to do a few more sleepers in 4 road. Meeting there from 8.30am.
Something a little different today, actually something we haven’t done for quite a few months, replacing timber sleepers with timber sleepers! We began by loading all the required gear onto the excavator trolley and headed out into the yard.
Today’s victim was the North end of 3 Road, we’ve replaced all truely failed sleepers between the double compound and the signalbox, there’s always many more that could be done, however this cycle will remove anything that won’t survive another 12 months.
We’ve only used 2nd hand timber, which should comfortably see another 4-5 years, at which point we’ll hopefully have found sufficient money to completely dig out all of the sleepers and ballast (basically just ash) and renew it all and install some drainage, as it really doesn’t have any, just pretty good free draining soil below.
You do forget how tedious timber sleepers are compared with concrete, first remove spikes and sleepers, then change the sleeper, return the plates, drill/spike one side, gauge it and then drill/spike the other, quite a lot of stuffing about really, particularly tedious in confined locations such as this.
We did get back into a good swing after a few sleepers, with today’s total being around 25.
We’ll, progressively over the next few weeks, move around the yard and ensure all failed timber is removed, for now we’re keeping anything visible from the platform timber, but once we’re any distance away, we’ll be changing to concrete.
We even had to drag out the gauger for the job, doesn’t get a lot of use these days, but a really useful tool when it is needed.
Tomorrow’s crew will be continuing with more of the same. We’ll be meeting at the loco depot at 8.15am, where we’ll then take the gear out into the yard and begin.