Turnout Preparations

We’ve begun the preliminary works for the renewal of the 2/3 road turnout at Maldon. The old one is well and truly life expired. With thanks to a grant from VicTrack, we’ve been able to purchase two full sets of turnout timbers.

We did begin today with a big pack up of all the bridge repair gear, tidying up both trucks and storing our tools away safely in their respective homes.

The main task of the day way sorting the two sets of points timbers, from a random mix of packaged timber, to two distinct sets. This takes far longer than you’d expect, taking the bulk of today to achieve.

Unfortunately we were troubled by a slight hydraulic leak, however it was quickly remedied with a replacement hose.

The timbers not required for this turnout were bound up, this helps prevent warping and twisting of the timber, and allows for much more logical stacking and storage.

The precise location of the replacement turnout was determined, and a ground plan was drawn up for its nearby construction, this will allow us to work on this as time permits over the next few weeks and once complete we’ll slew it into the track. We’ll cover all the details of the new turnout as the project progresses.

It looks quite impressive with the timbers all dropped out in their rough locations.

The plan for tomorrow is to continue getting materials up to the turnout location here in Maldon preparing for construction to begin next week. Meeting at Maldon from 8.00am

Another Pile

The last pile for this year’s bridge program was replaced today. Unfortunately the removal proved to be the trickiest part, with the old bolts taking several hours to get out.

Once we’d taken the old pile out and renewed the sill, we were able to trim the prepared pile to the correct length.

We drafted in the big digger with it’s grabs to make the job a little easier.

And easy it was, from picking the pile up to the final tweaks was less than 10 minutes, much easier than Tuesday’s method of slinging it with a chain.

Once the props were out, a little gentle weight from above to settle everything is always wise before backfilling.

And backfilled! If the bolts had chosen to behave themselves and come out easily this morning, we would have had enough time to bolt up the new pile, however at least it’ll keep tomorrow’s crew busy.

Tomorrow’s gang will head out from Maldon at 8am and be on site from 8.30am onwards.

Muckleford Creek

A real pile of a day today. Infact it’s been 2 days of piling.

Yesterday saw us excavate two pile, both being changed due to being undersized, however otherwise perfectly sound timber. The pile pictured here will be replaced on Thursday, however the other, was completed today.

Today’s pile required a whole new sill to be prepared, which was promptly done.

The usual fine artistry of cutting a tongue to fit between the crossheads was done, taking slightly longer than usual due to an extremely hard and knotty piece of timber, it’ll last a long time, but it was incredibly tough.

And by day’s end, it was in, bolted up with braces refitted and ready for trains tomorrow! It looks funny with a hole there. However, the dirt offers no structural benefit to the bridge, rather it just aids in stabilising the piles over the years and during flood, so it’s quite safe for trains tomorrow.

Today’s pile was installed slightly higher (on purpose) than the previous one, removing what was quite a noticeable dip in the track above.

Thursday’s gang will meet at Maldon at 7.45am or on site from 8.15am to replace the next pile.

Muckleford Creek

Today was an action packed day of welding.

We’ve now welded up and bolted (almost all) the angles back on, at the piers where we’ve installed the steel crossheads. We’ve still got two bolts to install, and that’s only due to us not having two bolts of the correct length available, however we’ve installed temporary short bolts to hold the cotton reels in place and allow tightening of the other bolts.

Time will be the tell now as to the success of this method, however we’re quietly confident this will work.

Next week will see the two new piles installed, Tuesday’s crew meeting at Maldon from 8am or on site from 8.45am.