Maclise St

No we haven’t gone back and dug up Maclise St, rather it’s a pic from back in October to offer a comparison. If you have a good look at the cross bucks, or diagonal Railway Crossing signs on the flashing light mast, you’ll notice they’re the right shape but quite devoid of any wording.

We had intended changing them as part of the crossing upgrade, but just never got around to it unfortunately.

But we did today and installed very legible cross bucks on both sides of the crossing. It’s not a particularly easy job, as the old mounting bolts had obviously not been off for decades, all were extremely rusted and stubborn. But it’s done now and does look much better.

The main focus of today’s activities however was installing this little box thing. It’s a track lead disconnection box, giving a convenient and secure location to join the cables the run under the roadway from the control box to the leads that connect to the track.

It ended up being quite a job too, with a big hole needing hand digging to expose the original conduits, then running new leads and conduit to make the extra distance. It all sounds simple enough but did take a while.

Once the gang had offered their services, they moved onto breaking up some more 60lb rail, this time just past Winters Flat Bridge. Using nothing but the new battery Rattle Gun and the battery grinder, with the consensus from the gang being that the petrol rattle guns should stay locked away at Maldon.

Check back tomorrow Afternoon for details of Thursday, but it’ll likely be an 8am start at Maldon.

Job Done

A very successful day, with the rest of the drilling and spiking completed, 32 concrete sleepers installed and a couple of significant dips removed.

Hours of fun was had drilling and spiking, however the few extra bodies and better weather meant the job was completed before morning tea.

This length of track is looking quite smart now.

The well practised art of clipping up concrete sleepers was put to good use. With the crew hot on the tail of the digger.

After tamping up the new sleepers, removing some significant dips and giving the ballast a push around with the bucket, it certainly looks like a very nice, solid length of railway. The ride along this section in the digger is excellent, which although not a train, is indicative that trains should ride well.

Next week we’ll be having a change of pace, Tuesday we’ll be back at Maclise St. Finishing off some of work there, not a lot still outstanding but we’ve still got a bit of tidy up to go. Meeting there from 8.30am.

More spiking

Another exciting day, drilling holes and driving spikes. Unfortunately today’s weather was just horrendous for working in. Hot scorching sun, high humidity and no breeze. But we achieved a lot despite it.

We even had a little visitor today, a quite large long necked turtle. It’s not uncommon to see these around and we give them a helping hand over the track, as this can be quite a challenge for them. Once pointed towards the next dam, it was off.

In the end the weather just beat our small gang of 3, but not before we completed the spiking up of the up leg and a hundred metres or so of holes drilled on the Down leg.

We’ve still got a fair amount to do tomorrow so any extra hands would be appreciated. The weather is forecast to be much better than today. Meeting on site from 8.15am.

Sleeper plates and dogspikes

We were back out at the recent re-railing site today, installing sleeper plates and dogging up. Just under 3 pallets of sleeper plates were required.

Any failed sleepers have been identified, these will be changed once all the good timber is dogged up.

One of the 60/80lb junction plates we installed last week was starting to show signs of cracking, it would probably have survived another 30 years, but to be safe, we’ve exchanged it for a non-cracked model.

We even got to test our new tool, a Milwaukee 1inch drive rattle gun. It is an absolute ripper and would appear to have more power than the petrol guns, less than half the weight and much quieter. This is a very kind donation from one of the gang, and we’re extremely grateful as it’ll certainly save us a lot of back breaking work.

The rattle gun was also used to break up a few lengths of 60lb rail, partly to test and partly to improve access by the old occupation crossing.

Lots of drilling and spiking followed, with around half of one leg complete.

As part of the process, every sleeper was tamped, unfortunately this did result in a slight loss of lateral stability, especially in the section that was yet to spiked up. As such we did a quick run through lining the track then dragged up more rock to form a thicker shoulder.

We managed to get it a lot straighter than it was previously. Once we can complete the spiking on Thursday, this will become nice and stable once again, until then we’ve placed a 10mph speed limit over the length.

We’ll be out here again on Thursday, meeting Maldon 7.45am or on site from 8.15am.