Curve 7

Another busy preparation day today, with 90 concrete sleepers dropped out along curve 7.

Tomorrow will be removing fastenings, anchors and preparing to install the concrete. Meeting Maldon 8am or on site from 8.30am.

More concrete sleepers

Today was very successful, with a further 86 sleepers fully installed and clipped up into curve 7, taking us to the Pyrenees Hwy Bridge. (we forgot to get any pictures though!)

It was also Rolf’s birthday, which we celebrated in style with a cake to mark the occassion. His dogs were just as excited as he was!

Next week there will be workdays Tuesday through to Friday, we’ll be working on more sleepers in curve 7 and if we get time we’ll replace a few point timbers in Castlemaine Yard.

Castlemaine yard

On what was probably the first properly frosty morning of the year, Castlemaine yard was a buzz with activity.

The deep sewer works required some heavy duty equipment, these works are now almost complete.

The shed extension area had a bobcat and truck running around levelling the site and adding some rock to the muddy bits to harden it up ready to build the shed.

But more importantly we were on site finishing off our track work. Lots of jacking and tamping works, getting a nice uniform level and top to the trackwork.

The gang hard at work, all maintaining excellent social distance.

The finished result does look amazingly snazzy… Just a pity all our hard work will end up buried! But it should last for a very very long time, which was the whole objective.

After lunch we’d completed our portion of the required works in Castlemaine, so we all ventured back out to our current work site on tangent 7-8, where we installed a further 60 concrete sleepers, completing this tangent. All but the last 10 or so have been clipped up.

Tomorrow will be back here, working on into curve 7 towards the Pyrenees Hwy Bridge. Meeting Maldon 8am or near the Brown St. Pedestrian Crossing from 8.30am.

Castlemaine continued

After the rather ominous wet start to the day, things improved greatly, the sun shone and we managed to make great progress.

The whole site for the shed extension is now completely clear, ready for earthworks tomorrow to allow for construction to begin next week. It looks like we’ve regressed to how it was 5 years ago, but we promise it will be bigger and better in no time.

We’ve made excellent head way on the turntable road also, with all the sleepers now installed and ballast distributed.

Tomorrow will be about getting a good top on this section and giving it a thorough tamp to allow it to be filled for roadway access.

Meeting Maldon 7.45am or Castlemaine from 8.15am.

Castlemaine

Well we made more of a mess today, but it was also very productive.

We inserted 110 concrete sleepers into the turntable track.

As we used full profile concrete sleepers, we needed to lift the track to insert the sleepers. Initially we ran through and pulled all the spikes and changed the fishplates. Following that every 3rd sleeper was swapped for a concrete one while the track was jacked ahead of the work enough to slide the thick sleeper under.

We got very efficient at this, thankfully as the lugs on the concrete sleeper prevent the track going too far over gauge we could run the digger along without needing to clip anything up.

Before everything was clipped up, we lined the straight, looking pretty snazzy now.

A few vertical issues to sort out now but that should be fairly easy.

We still need to bring an additional 20 sleepers to site (because it turns out Will can’t count!) but they won’t hold up the urgent works starting very shortly.

We’ve still got a lot to do here and any extra hands would be very very welcome tomorrow, meeting at Castlemaine from around 8.15am.

Castlemaine Track work

Well to complement all the excellent construction and improvement work we’ve been doing lately, it’s time for our quota of destruction.

And destruction it was! All 3 tracks in front of the carriage shed have been lifted, to allow for the construction of the carriage shed extension starting very very shortly.

It’s hard to see the full extent of our destruction here, but all 3 tracks no longer exist, the bulk of the sleepers have been collected and piled well clear, some the jewellery is still to be picked up and we’ve dropped out 100ish concrete sleepers to re-lay the Turntable Track.

We’re under the pump a bit here as it needs to completed by Wednesday to allow shed works to start! So if you’re at a loose end, please come along and help out, any help would be greatly appreciated as we’ve still got a lot to do.

Meeting Maldon 7.45am or Castlemaine from 8.15am.

More Concrete

In what’s becoming a very well practised routine, we managed to insert a further 100 concrete sleepers into tangent 7-8, taking us almost to the brown street pedestrian crossing.

The day began near the pedestrian crossing, the tangent had been prepared earlier in the week, so the gang moved on to removing the fastenings from curve 7.

We even resurrected the gooseneck for the power packs to carry the spike puller. The word from the boys was simply… Why haven’t we been using it all along (the truth is we just forgot we made it).

A couple of fishplates were changed, to allow concrete sleepers to be installed.

Once curve 7 had had it’s fastenings removed, it was back to clipping up concrete.

The gang caught up to the digger inserting the sleepers, which obviously impressed Rolf!

Earlier in the week we dropped out the last of our stocks of these timber replacement concrete sleepers. Unfortunately we will be a few hundred short of getting all the way to Midland Hwy and it’s also why we haven’t used any up the Maldon end of the track.

We’re very hopeful that we can secure more of these sleepers to allow us to keep up the momentum on our current re-sleepering project.

However…. From tomorrow we’ve got a change of pace, the carriage shed extension has been brought forward so we need to get on in a hurry to get the necessary track work done. We’ll actually be starting out at Guildford around 8.45am tomorrow, before making our way into Castlemaine to begin the track work. Please feel free to join us.