New turnout

Well today was the day. The new turnout went in.

First up was pulling up the old track and scraping away ballast ready for the move.

A lot of fine movements and measuring were required to locate the turnout and the approach roads exactly.

The turnout has even been clipped to the correct location, as it will be some time before the straight leg comes into use. It looks very smart.

With the trusty truck being the first beast over the new turnout.

After getting the turnout exactly right, we moved our attention to slewing the existing track.

It took quite a bit of running back and forward to achieve the amount of movement required.

Part way through the track looked terrible! Thankfully it’s all very flexible.

The track has actually been slewed completely off it’s old road bed onto the prepared ground.

With a nice set of reverse curves installed to allow access onto the turntable.

The job’s not finished yet, with the final rails still to be bolted up, ballast to be applied and lots and lots of lifting and tamping to do, we’ll be busy tomorrow, any extra hands very welcome.

This marks a big step forward in the Castlemaine project as it now allows all trenching to be finished and shed construction is now unimpeded by obstacles.

This weeks Civil Saturday will again be at Castlemaine, meeting A box from 8.30am.

Ballast plough

Although not today’s activity (a very quiet day with only odd jobs tended to between showers) we have now taken delivery of a ballast plough.

Wednesday saw a local tilt tray collect the 4 wheeled ballast plough from Daylesford for it’s short journey to Maldon.

The wagon was used on the VGR back during the Castlemaine extension project many years ago, with us now borrowing it again to spread ballast the full length of our line as part of the track upgrade.

We’re greatly thankful to our friends at the Daylesford Spa Country Railway for loaning us the wagon, it’ll make our life much easier!

It’s going to receive a bit of an overhaul before we put it to use.

Next week is shaping up to be a big week, with the installation of our new turnout planned, plus slewing the turntable track into it’s required location.

Muckleford Creek Bridge

It’s been a few days worth of work, but today saw that culminate in a very straight and very level track over the notoriously wiggly Muckleford Creek Bridge.

Some sections were straightened with brute force (the digger) while others were cross bored to correct slight gauge defects.

A lot of lifting and tamping across the bridge was also undertaken, removing the last of the dips due to decking holes that have now been plated.

Once we’d decided we had achieved an excellent job over the bridge, we turned our attention to the rough curve at the UP end of the bridge.

Lots of tweaking, with parts of the curve moved up to a 300mm to make it aline nicely with the bridge.

We even ran out enough ballast to fill all the voids over the bridge and re-establish a ballast shoulder where the curve was moved. The end result is a very nice looking piece of track.

Tomorrow will be a few odd jobs around the railway depending on the rain, meeting Maldon at 8am.

Civil Saturday

A very successful Civil Saturday on the 2nd November, with a record number of attendees!

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While the rain teemed down outside, attention was turned to the very overdue task of lubricating the interlocking (the bit that actually does the magic and ensures non-conflicting operations) in the Signalbox. Here Ian methodically lubricates the entire interlocking thoroughly.

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The interlocking (series of troughs, bars and locks) runs the full length of the levers and although we don’t use all the levers, there are components of the interlocking that still run the full length. Therefore it is important to ensure everything gets lubricated.

The troughs are all covered by plates, which are accessed from the mezzanine level, seldom used except for this task. The plates were taken off to allow the lubrication and returned promptly to prevent foreign matter gumming up the works.

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The all important lunch ceremony (not just restricted to the weekday gangs!). Norm (with his back to the camera), Julie, Stuart (hidden behind a lever), Rolf, Graeme, Trevor, Ian (just his had this time) and Steve (picture taker) joined in the team for Saturday’s efforts.

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After lunch and after the worst of the rain had passed, the gang moved to cleaning up the old compound up the north end of the yard.

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The fence was taken down to improve access to the various hidden treasures (or rubbish) within the overgrowth. This compound now serves no purpose, with it just getting in the way as we progress with construction works.

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The chain mesh was even nicely rolled into bundles! The various items hidden within the grass included; fish plates, junction plates, point levers, steel sleepers and lots of scrap! Its nice to be able to finally attend to some of these eyesores around the railway. The items are now sorted into their types ready for transport to more appropriate homes.

Rolf even found the time somehow to repair the landing timbers on one of the signal masts – an important job to ensure safe access when lubricating the signal arms.

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Sunday saw a small crew grab the fire fighting unit and burn a stockpile of scrap timber that had built up in the compound over the years. A big improvement!

Check back soon for details of the next Civil Saturday!

 

Castlemaine

Well today saw trench back filling and the completion of the new turnout in Castlemaine.

Plenty more trench filling required once all the services are in, which will be over the next few weeks.

The new turnout is planned to go in in a fortnight, once the site is levelled and cleared ready for track slewing.

Next week will be the final tweaking of the track over Muckleford Creek Bridge.

We’ll tend to these very minor discrepancies and correct the slight under gauge issue (that’s been there for 30 years!)

Bridge straightening

Three things were tended to today.

The first was patching holes in the decking of Muckleford Creek Bridge. It’s a terrible job, lots of manual digging of ballast and the like but unfortunately essential to maintain a good track.

We aquired lots dual gauge sleeper plates from Bandiana, we have no use for them, except for patching holes in bridge decks.

All thrown up onto the bridge ready for installing.

The second task was the straightening, track rather than bridge as it’s much easier to move. This was focused on the UP end to complement the work done previously on the DOWN end. Even using a stringline just to ensure perfection!

As the rail heads are well worn, the spike holes in the sleeper plates are often a better guide for this work.

And by days end it was looking very snazzy! With the crew taking one last look over their hard work.

A bit more to finish off next week and then we can tick this job off the list.

The other job for today was mowing the long trackside grass around Castlemaine, before the mower decided it had had enough for the day, simple fix but this should all be done by Monday.

Tomorrow will be in at Castlemaine, doing lots of odd jobs. Meeting Maldon 8am or site from 8.30am

Trenching Castlemaine

The past few days we’ve been back into trenching at Castlemaine.

About 3/4 of the way down the carriage shed is as far as we could go for now, without moving the track. Eventually it’ll go another 100m-ish along the full carriage shed (once built).

Conduits for electricity and NBN are now in, with the plumbing going in tomorrow, ready for backfilling before the heavy rails predicted this weekend.

Tomorrow the gang will be at Muckleford Creek Bridge tending to more lining and decking repairs.

Meet Maldon 8am or site from 8.30am.