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Track Features

Level Crossing

The level crossing sign came from Mount Keira Tramline (I believe) and was installed here many years ago. Installation included wiring from the house so the sign can be illuminated at night.

The galvanised water main to the house ran under the track here and failed many years ago and was replaced by a plastic pipe. Unfortunately the plumber wrecked some of the track here and we had to do an initial repair in 2016 to make the track usable.

A later track repair left the sleepers bare and made it difficult to drag anything heavy across the track. So a hard surface was installed and this sloped upwards to meet the ground on the high side. Unfortunately some rolling stock fouled on this sloped surface so the latest change was to reduce this slope and lower the path leading away from the track.


Long Bridge

This three span bridge apparently came from a water board installation that was upgraded. The piers are cement tubes filled with concrete all on large concrete bases.

Driveway Bridge

This bridge has a central RSJ surrounded by two large timber beams. The trusses and side beams are not structural. This is lucky because critical parts of the side structures have rotted. Clearance under this bridge is 1830mm.

Notice that the embankment to the left has collapsed badly. This is a bit precarious. When I started clearing the track the portion at the very left of the picture was floating in mid-air so I dumped many wheelbarrows of dirt here and built up the embankment. So far it is all staying in place. If we get around to rebuilding this bridge and embankment I'll lift the bridge about 150mm so there is more clearance and less rise to the next bridge.

In May 2018 I noticed that the embankment wall had moved slightly so I supported the end of the bridge and repacked the collpased part of the embankment with tree trunks and rocks and the dirt. It's still an ugly mess but hopefully will last for a while longer.

The ends of the bridge wooden beams have rotted and the concrete support pads have dropped. The short-term solution is to support the bridge on trestles. I fitted cross beams at each end and built trestles to support both ends. These should hold the bridge up if the embankment collapses or when it is dug out for a proper repair.

Coal Screen

Years ago I was offered some coal that was apparently surplus from testing for power stations. It was unsuitable for real steam locos because it was more than 50% dust and all the chunks were too small. However, these small nuts are perfect for 5" locos and although the coal creates lots of ash it doesn't form any clinker.

I brought the coal to Sydney in bags and buckets and use this screen to separate all the dust. Transporting was pretty inefficient because I ended up throwing more than half (the dust) away. Luckily I'm building an earth wall at the property boundary and can dump the dust there.

Roundhouse

The five-bay roundhouse was a fine effort when built many years ago. Over time much of the wooden frame has rotted and the metal roof has rusted badly. Recently we covered the rear portion with Malthoid and have coated the entire roof with bituminous paint. Now the roof is sealed the roundhouse stays dry inside and it is safe to store rolling stock there.

Turntable

The turntable pit has cracked and sunk unevenly over the years and the turntable was not level and would frequently bind. Initial tests showed the centre pin had dropped 26mm and the ring rail near the fence had dropped about 80mm. The road to roundhouse road 1 (closest to the fence) had dropped about 20mm.

The first repair was to replace the centre bearing in the turntable. I found an old bollard with a big square base and trimmed it so the turntable is 26mm higher.

Initial attempts to raise the ring rail to the correct height failed and I had to remove the entire rail and build up the concrete base as required and fit new wooden pads for the rail. The ring rail has now been refitted. Most of it is the correct height and the portion near roundhouse road 1 is low to allow the turntable to drop to the rail height for this road.

Another improvement was to fit latches to each end of the turntable to lock its position when aligned with any road. Previously it could move and cause derailments.

Loco Exit Road

All the tracks in the loco area are steel and badly rusted. The loco exit road was almost impassable so I cut the concrete to expose the sleepers and used the gas axe to free the remnants of the rails. The brass track up to the main was also in bad condition even though I tried to fix it in the early days of restoration of the railway. So I lifted this brass track and re-levelled the road bed. This was much easier than lifting the steel rail in the concrete.

Luckily Galston Valley Railway gave me a 6m length of 20x10 steel bar and let me borrow their rail bender. I cut and curved the bar and welded it to the old sleepers in the concrete. For the track after the concrete I re- aligned the brass rail and fitted new sleepers.

The loco exit road still has a steep gradient (1 in 20) and sharp curves. It's now smooth and combined with the recent turntable repairs it's safe and easy to exit and enter the loco area.

Last modified 2018-06-19

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