Muckleford Creek

Back down at Muckleford Creek Bridge this week, with the final 2 steel crossheads now installed.

Earlier this week the old crossheads were removed and the steel replacements inserted.

The use of the telehandler and man basket has certainly improved things enormously!

By day’s end it was all fastened up, props out and looking very smart.

The appearance does change slightly with the steel, however it really does take more than a glance to notice them.

The other main job for today was the levelling and jacking of the track near the down end, by the pile we lifted out its settlement a few weeks back.

Unfortunately the digger broke, so it was loose shovel packing of the ballast today, incase we can’t get the digger ready for trains next Wednesday! We’ll be right, but this is a good extra layer of insurance.

Tomorrow gang will be ongoing at the Bridge, fixing a few holes in the decking and the like, getting it ready for the final push on Tuesday, ready for Wednesday’s Trains.


More crosshead replacement today, this time on pier 8.

It was all done in largely the same style as on Tuesday, however improved by the use of a spreader bar above the bridge, rather than just chains.

There’s very little to go, with just 4 bolts to drill and install tomorrow.

However, given tomorrow’s hot forecast, it’ll be very much a finished by lunch affair, if not sooner. Meeting at Maldon at 7.45am to collect up the tools for the job, then down to the bridge site around 8.15am.


Today was our first ever crack at installing a steel crosshead. And on the whole, it’s simpler than timber, with a lot less stuffing about required.

We had previously predrilled the steelwork and that made the task extremely simple.

As they were significantly bigger than the existing timber crossheads, new pile shoulders needed to be cut, that is a little fiddly, however a small inconvenience for something that then went together with no hassles.

We forgot to get a picture of the finished product all bolted up, however at a glance it doesn’t look overly different to the timber, and a closer look does make it look like a very impressive lump of bridge.

Although there are plenty of examples of this in use in other locations, it’s a first for us and as such this is a trial so we can evaluate the effectiveness, issues associated and ongoing maintenance obligations. We’ll be doing two other sets of crossheads in the same fashion this year, which will give us an excellent scope to determine the suitability of this method.

This, as with all things timber these days, is us exploring alternatives, given the extreme price and low availability of suitable timber, it’s only initiatives such as these that will see us in a position to maintain these bridges going forward, we’re quietly confident this will be a success.

On a side note, Will’s taking some time off for a minor surgery of a shoulder injury, so the communication may be a little hap-hazard for the next few weeks. Please bear with us!

However, the plan is still very much workdays at Muckleford Creek Bridge every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, meeting there from 8.30am. A few extra drivers might be needed to bring both trucks out from Maldon on Fridays however, any help there will be greatly appreciated.

Muckleford Creek Bridge Work

The past two days, we’ve been in bridge repair mode, with the failing wailers on pile 27L replaced yesterday, with lots of anti fungal treatment.

Today saw us re-install the bolts and pack pile 27R to remove a slight dip in the bridge. We’ve now got a spectacular hump in the track, which we’ll quite easily be able to rectify by lifting the track a distance either side (we’d purposely not lifted this too much previously to allow for this).

As the temperature rose and the sun began to scorch, we decided an easier job would be to prepare a set of steel crossheads, by whipping out the magnetic drill and predrilling the pile bolts holes. As yet it’s too hard to predict the location of the angle bolts (as we’ll reuse the old bolt holes), but we can do that in place comparitively easily. We’ve also marked up the pile shoulders for cutting to allow for the taller crossheads.

Tuesday should see us make a significant start on getting this set of steel crossheads installed. Meeting at Maldon at 7.45am or out on site around 8.15am.