Saturday 27th – Sunday 28th August 2016
Having been frustrated by the continuing wet and unpleasant cold winter conditions of the last couple of months, when Mario advised that he would be available for a couple of days, I decided that we would proceed with a short extension of Pete’s Hobby Railway eastwards through my driveway. This meant a major excavation to open up the driveway so that the track could be laid at road level. The soaked condition of the driveway would in this case greatly assist with the excavation since, when the access driveway is dry (in mid-summer), the compacted road-base is like concrete. My temporary “tradesman’s entry” where part of the front fence had previously been taken down, was reactivated, meaning that any vehicular access from the public road to the house would need to be by this means from the time the level crossing work was constructed, until it was completed.
However, there was a problem! Somewhere under the driveway is located the main water supply line from my meter to the house, but exactly where was it and how deep was it laid? Inquiries with the local Council had failed to disclose any plan of same, so several of us at various times commenced to dig a narrow opening across the driveway, past a point where I reckoned the pipe should be. The opening was dug to a depth of a little over twelve inches (300mm), being the height from the bottom of the sleeper to the top of the rail – the approaching track had been constructed into a very shallow cutting so as the top of the rails would be level with the driveway when extended. Other advice was that at the time the water main was installed, it should have been laid at a depth of two feet (610mm), but was it?! I had filled the bath with an emergency supply of water, just in case!
Because the location of the future level crossing is under the heavy shade of two very large Kurrajong trees, photos of the construction works were somewhat difficult to take. However, hopefully the attached will provide some idea of the works undertaken.
2016-3394: Mario arrived during the early afternoon of Saturday (27/8) and after firing up the bulldozer, he carefully started scraping back the driveway surface.
2016-3399: As is typical, Mario works while Rhys, Nick and Ben (partially hidden) supervise.
That’s about as far as we got on the Saturday afternoon before sunset resulted in a cessation of work until next morning.
2016-3404: Mario has a “new” ballast truck, better suited for the job when compared with the original small dumpster we had used previously. A dead battery had meant the available good batteries had to be swapped around to meet the operating requirements!
2016-3410: Having managed not to break the water pipe, the formation was rolled, then ballast laid and again rolled.
2016-3416: Dropping the “set-track” into position. Ben is guiding one end of the track to line up with the existing track.
2016-3023: The decision was made to back-fill everything with road-base (which was already rather damp (!) and then compact it even further with the road roller. Rhys and Nick were not with us on the Sunday (they had gone to Goulburn to ride behind Beyer-Garratt loco DC6029!), however, we were joined during the afternoon by Rob, a narrow gauge modeller and enthusiast. Here, Rob, Ben and Mario are seen spreading the roadbase.
2016-3426: The roadroller is put to good use to ensure the compacted roadbase is to the exact height of the rails.
2016-3428: Level track, at least on one side of the crossing!
2016-3432: The Ruston had been unwrapped from its protective blue covering, fired up and then Ben slowly but surely shunted the train under the arched bough of the Kurrajong tree and over the level crossing.
2016-3449: This is the completed crossing. Now for the level crossing signage!!!
That’s all for this Progress Report. I’ll cover the remainder of the work in the next Report.
Pete’s Hobby Railway