Friday, 7th October 2016
This Progress Report is a much-delayed continuation of the construction works carried out on Pete’s Hobby Railway over the weekend of 27th-28th August last.
Progress (what there has been!) will be a little simpler to follow if you refer to the site plan included with Progress Report No. 7.
With the eastwards extension of Pete’s Hobby Railway across my main driveway and the completion of construction of the requisite level crossing early on the afternoon of Sunday 28/8, our attention was diverted to extension of the Railway westwards towards the boundary fence with Ron, my neighbour. This track would be in the form of a quarter circle, to be followed by a second quarter to bring the rail line back to pass immediately in front of my dwelling. A right hand regauged former standard-gauge point would be inserted here, as the first stage of the main line proceeding towards the rear boundary fence.
Earlier, in Progress Report No. 15, I had made mention of Ben and myself staking out the above western extensions, to come no closer than six metres to the side boundary fence rather than five metres has had been originally proposed. Taking advantage of a day or so of unusually sunny weather, this future right-of-way was hand-sprayed so as to kill the grass (and weeds). Because of the cooler weather conditions, the spray would several weeks to do its business.
However, before commencing these works, it was necessary to dismantle the pigsty which had been built to accept my overhauled locos etc from Goulburn on 1/7 last – but in the end had not been used owing to the atrocious wet weather conditions of the time. These were to continue almost unabated for the next three months… Mario’s mobile crane was used to lift the western end track, thus allowing the pigsty and approaches to be dismantled, the recovered (half standard gauge) sleepers being stacked for future possible use.
Image 2016.2433: With the rare occasion of some sun, we spent a little time operating the Ruston and cars over about 50 metres of available track (of which the train took up almost half!). The still-covered steam loco was pushed a few metres to the end-of-track, thus maximising our running distance – about three train lengths. Ben is at the controls of the Ruston while Rob tries out the guard’s compartment with its handbrake.
Image 2016.2435: No time to play trains, there was work to be done! Mario in his crane has lifted the end-of-track clear of the previously prepared road-bed, Road-base has been brought down and spread over the westwards extension. Ben can be seen in the background, expressing some concern about the high water table levels.
Image 2016.2436: Mario and Rob spread and level the roadbase, while Ben in the background is climbing on to the road roller and then sets about compacting same (Image 2016.2437). The existing track (which when on the ground extended beyond the previously prepared base) continues to be supported to one side by the crane. The ‘dozer is then used to dump ballast (Image 2016.3439). The ballast was spread as required and raked level.
Image 2016.3441: Rob guides Mario as the crane returns the set-track to its original location. The next length of pre-curved set-track was then placed into position.
Image 2016.3444: The shadows are getting longer… As Ben places the fishplate into position and inserts the bolts, Mario and Rob bring down one of the spare sleepers to replace one which has dropped out of the “set-track”.
Image 2016.3445: It is almost sunset… by this time, it is becoming obvious that the road-base, ballast and set track have not been curved sufficiently as Ben and I had previously marked out. If we were to continue with track laying, the line would be passing through Ron’s boundary fence. It was too late to commence remedial works so the track was temporarily returned to the ballasted formation and a couple of sleepers placed across the end to mark the temporary “end of track”.
September became the wettest on record, with Junee Shire registering 185mm (over 7 inches!), compared with only 18mm (about 3/4-inch) twelve months previously. At least that amount fell on my property; much of it did not run away, but soaked into the ground until no more could be absorbed. This I will cover in the next Progress Report.
Pete’s Hobby Railway