Castlemaine Yard

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.

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