Re-railing Preparation

Today, despite being very cold and a bit wet, was quite productive.

The rails dropped out last week were bolted into strings, of varying numbers, as we ended up rejecting one quite bent rail and that upset our nice system!

The lubrication at each joint was applied liberally, as the rails were wet, it doesn’t coat very well, hence lots in the hope that enough will end up in the right spots.

The bolting up crew was hot on the heals of the lubricators, with all this done and dusted by morning tea. It was a little quicker than usual with only 20 rails now dropped out.

Fish plates and dog spikes were distributed next, along with the jewellery needed for steel sleepers.

After lunch the task of collecting all the broken up 60lb rail jewellery was undertaken.

All the fish plates have been nicely stacked for easy moving on pallets, with all the old bolts placed (poured from the bucket) into a drum ready to go to scrap.

We then repeated this around the corner at curve 20, where the rail was broken up long ago, but we never quite got around to the jewellery.

This afternoon was spent breaking up the remaining strings of 60lb along curve 20, yet to be stacked, but that’s a good job for just the digger one day.

We’ve only got about 6 km of 60lb left to break up now!

We will be running a gang tomorrow for those who are interested, however the weather forecast is not looking favourable, so we’ll have to wait and see how much we can get done.

Meeting Maldon 8am with work depending on the weather.

Finishing off and rail drop

By morning tea the 103rd sleeper was clipped up. An excellent effort. The UP leg was clipped up before a run along with the gauger as required to install the biscuit and clip on the down leg.

A pass through with the bucket to move ballast to where it was needed before a tamp left the job looking quite a lot smarter.

After a tamp most of the twists and wiggles pulled themselves out. After a few trains and in connection with the rest of the straight, we’ll give this another tamp to lift out any settling.

While this was going on, the gang moved around to the next straight to collect all the jewellery removed but not collected yesterday.

These activities only took us through to lunch.

So this afternoon, 21 more 80lb rails were dropped out at tangent 20-21.

The whole gang decided a train ride seemed like a nice way to end the week, however it meant our comfy chairs were back at Maldon, luckily a well wagon doubles nicely as a bench.

Another very successful week. Next week will be busy, with Monday being a big load up point timbers day, Tuesday will be a special train to Castlemaine to drop them off in readiness for turnout building. Thursday and Friday will most likely be installing the 80lb rails dropped out today, however until the weather forecast firms up, that is still to be confirmed.

Concrete Sleepers

Another successful day, with 103 concrete sleepers inserted into tangent 11-12.

Unfortunately a burst hydraulic hose on the tamper slower down the process this morning, but a new hose by morning tea had us back into action.

As we’re now into the 1 in 40 gradient and it’s always easiest to work downhill, we started from the end of curve 11, working back towards curve 12.

It was all done in the usual process, lifting 50mm, remove the timber, scarify, insert concrete and tamp up.

Due to the setback with the hose, no clipping up occurred today but all the jewellery is out, with one side having it’s biscuit’s positioned and clips started ready for first thing tomorrow.

However all the sleeper changing only required two people, so the rest of the gang soldiered onwards to the next section, tangent 10-11.

All the sleepers with paint had their spikes or screws removed.

Unfortunately the pattern for re-sleepering did coincide badly with the anchoring, so a large number of anchors were moved. We’ll make sure we pick a more appropriate pattern on future works.

Despite the task, the gang managed to complete all 223 sleepers worth of fastening removal and a similar number of anchors were shuffled, all by afternoon tea, an excellent effort.

Tomorrow’s gang will be clipping up and finishing off the 103 concretes installed today. Leaving hopefully some time in the afternoon for other activities.

Concrete Sleepers

Today was all about distributing the concrete sleepers that we’d dropped out lineside previously.

Every sleeper required checking for pad condition and installation if missing, before being placed at suitable intervals along the running line.

With a follow along run to drop them out lineside next to their new home.

It looks very impressive with all 272 dropped out awaiting insertion. We require only 11 more to complete this straight (Bridge Excluded).

The next straight towards Castlemaine was also marked up in the 1 in 3 pattern ready for fastening removal and re-sleepering, with only 223 required there.

Another successful day

After today, all holes were drilled, all spikes were driven and everything is fit for traffic.

A quick tamp through the whole length started off proceedings. It was very evident just how dropped a lot of the old 60lb joints were just by how much gap was present between the sleeper and the new rails, so in doing this we’ve immediately removed a lot of rough track.

At exactly 12 o’clock the last spike was driven and the job was essentially complete!

The afternoon saw more productivity with all the jewellery collected and sorted, a few little tidy up jobs completed as well but amazingly we managed to break up all but 5 lengths of the removed 60lb! A big effort just in itself.

This week’s efforts leave us with only (approx) 75 x 80lb rails left to install in this straight and infact in this whole section (Maldon to Muck). Comfortably 3 weeks work once all the rails are prepared and on site.


The weather, although cold, has finally been kind enough to allow some re-railing. Today saw another 28 lengths installed into tangent 20-21.

We were well underway by 8.15, with John greasing up the final fish plate.

We we a little down on numbers today, as such we didn’t quite finish all the tasks in record speed, however everything was still very nicely under control.

Our trusty gang truck is back on deck after receiving it’s new water pump. We also got to test out the new sleeper drill, which proved to be excellent. It took a little while for the gang to master it, however it certainly reduces the back breaking bending of using the petrol drills. We’ll take lots of pictures of it in action tomorrow.

By days end the gang were all thoroughly exhausted but very proud of our efforts. We’ve clipped up all steel sleepers (quite a lot in this section), spiked the whole straight 1 in 3 as well as having cut and fitted the closure rail to join up with the old 60lb.

Tomorrow should be a comparatively easy day, with a quick run through with the tamper required first up, before a pass with the drill and spiking hammer to finish off the job. Hopefully we’ll get around to breaking up some of the 60lb removed today also. Meeting Maldon 8am or site from 8.15am.

Breaking Bolts

(sorry this has been sitting sneakily in the drafts area since Thursday! Details of works on Thursday 19th July)

Not entirely true, lots of unbolting and cutting too.

Our trusty(?) gang truck has let us down with a failed water pump and the spare won’t be in till Tuesday. So the re-railing was put off a week and we found jobs that didn’t require the truck.

We tackled breaking apart the 60lb in strings from our most recent re-railing effort. We really did this to retrieve the reusable bolts for use in the Castlemaine section as we used up our entire supply on Tuesday.

We didn’t count the exact number that we broke up but it would have to be 200+, a pretty good effort really!

We’ve even tidied up all the fishplates and scrap bolts.

As well, the gang installed a few missing 80lb anchors on the most recent re-railing as well as removing more 60lb anchors in the next section to be done.

Tomorrow will be a bit more breaking up rail, before we head out and change a few sleepers and finish off with some more bolt tightening. Meeting at Maldon 8am.