Detailed Track Inspection

Well on the back of all the work undertaken over the past few months, we were slightly overdue for a detailed track inspection.

One of the tasks is pushing the rolling track gauge to ensure the gauge is checked everywhere.

And hopefully gives a nice reading like it has here!

Any odd jobs are tended to along the way, in this case installing a missing clip on a steel sleeper that was recently relocated.

As well as checking all bolts to ensure anything loose is marked, ready to be tightened.

The track inspection will conclude tomorrow, meeting Maldon at 8am.

Charging Ahead

The past few days have been extremely successful. V/Line completed their works a day or so early, giving us a clear run to get stuck into ours.

Yesterday saw 19 timbers replaced and fully installed in turnout No. 56 (near the platform) and all the timber sleepers nearby to be replaced extracted.

Today saw us tackle turnout No. 17 (the V/Line connection), it only required a simple 9 so easy by comparison.

All timbers (where possible) have been installed using lug or pandrol flat plates, which gives excellent gauge holding and much longer timber life.

The last few remaining fishplates were changed and all the sleepers to be replaced between the turnouts have been (and fully clipped up).

With a few hours spare, we then set our sights to the ‘if we get time job’. This was removing the set of catch points near the V/Line connection which have spent their entire life spiked and clipped out of use, however fully interlocked should they be needed.

Well after almost 16 years, the need has never arisen and is not likely too… So to save on high maintenance costs we have elected to remove this turnout all together.

And gone it is!

We were given a few shortish lengths of 94lb which are perfect to fill the void, just requiring a fresh end to be cut first.

We have actually clipped up what you can see here and just need to install the small closure section tomorrow, finish changing and timber for concrete and then we can turn our attention to tamping, ballast scraping and tidying up.

We’re on track to finish by Saturday Afternoon, so if you’re free tomorrow or Saturday please join us. Meeting Castlemaine station 8am.

V/Line Shutdown

Well after two days going top speed on the re-sleepering job next to the V/Line track, we’ve managed to install and clip up 178 concrete sleepers.

We’ve made excellent progress, with this picture featuring Clive showing off the fact that this effort now means we have at least 1 in 2 sleepers in this section now concrete, in fact coupled with our previous efforts here we actually have quite a few more than 1 in 2 as concrete now, but the entire length should be at least 1 in 2 once we finish.

It’s been a mammoth effort and it’s far from over but we’re making amazing progress.

We started the job at a safe clearance from the mainline near Rowe Street Crossing and we’ve managed to get right down to (and including) Forest St. Bridge. However over Forest St bridge, we’ve replaced all sleepers with concrete, a job which we expected might have taken a whole day only took a few hours!

Will, from the Yarra Valley Railway came to lend a hand and he can be seen here clipping up a sleeper.

It should be noted that whenever we do this, the excavator is completely immobilized using the safely cutout feature so there is no risk to the individual during this operation.

At close of play today the bridge was looking very smart, having gone from okay but poor timber to fully concrete!

To greatly quicken the tamping process and because we had far too many people to do the bridge job, a team set about boxing up the completed sleepers, a terrible job to do but it will save us a lot of work and effort tomorrow.

We’ll be back into it tomorrow through till Sunday with lots to go yet, meeting 8am at Rowe Street Crossing.

V/Line shutdown preparations

Today was spent preparing for the upcoming V/Line shutdown. We’ve moved in most of the materials and begun undertaking whatever preliminary tasks we could to help speed up next week.

All the materials have been stored at Castlemaine, so a few shuttle runs out to Rowe street saw things placed ready for next week.

We’ve lifted any screws and spikes that we could, that didn’t involve us getting in the danger zone of the operating V/Line trains, anything will be a massive time saving for next week.

We’ve even changed a few fishplates from angle plates to bar plates, as angle plates can’t be used in conjunction with concrete sleepers.

The program for next week will involve workdays from Monday 29th June through to and including Sunday 5th July. We’ll be working from Rowe Street Monday through till Wednesday, starting around 8am at Rowe Street crossing. We expect from Thursday till Sunday we’ll be down nearer Castlemaine Station. Any help would be greatly appreciated, if you are available and would like to help out, please let Will know via ganger@vgr.com.au so we can fill you in on what you’ll need to bring along.

Tomorrow’s workday will start at the big red shed in Castlemaine around 8am.