This Progress Report covers the events of recent months leading up to the “Grand Opening” of Pete’s Hobby Railway on Monday 6th February.
Those regular readers of these Progress Reports are aware that major track construction only takes place when Mario is able to spend a couple of days or more on site – which is not too frequently!
Although I had intended that track construction works would initially be in a westerly direction from my driveway, I instead asked Mario to extend the track a length or two on the eastern side of the driveway level crossing. At this stage, the laid track was only about 20 metres or so, just sufficient to provide standing space for the Hunslet steam loco, the Ruston diesel and four passenger carriages, along with the ramp originally intended to be used for roll-off unloading.
This eastwards extension would allow the rolling stock to be moved clear of the site of the proposed platform construction project, subsequently covered in Progress Report no. 20. Eventually, it would also allow the locomotives and rolling stock to be moved away from the relative unsecure location adjacent to the front fence. Soil excavated from the construction of the driveway level crossing had been placed on the proposed route of the railway towards the eastern boundary.
With Mario available during the first week of November last, we had an intensive five days of track construction and other works. The first day (of tidying up, relocation of stored track, movement of static locomotives, etc.), was all covered in Progress Report No. 19. The subsequent activities are probably best covered in the following illustrations.
Image 2016.4499: As shown on the track diagram included with Progress Report No. 7, the original intention for the eastwards track was to continue straight for about 15 metre before making a 90-degrees right hand curve to parallel the eastern boundary fence. However, owing to the natural fall of the ground, the decision was made to “cut the corner” and install a larger radius curve. This image, taken on Sunday 30th October, shows the 300mm fill still required to take the track across this natural fall – including a drainage pipe for any excess water resulting from heavy downpours.
Image 2016.4507: Over the course of the next two days, the base was flattened and the sides battered with the aid of a roller. Note the drums so that Ben won’t roll the drainage pipe as well!
Image 2016.4509: Mario and Gordon evenly spread the road base before it too was rolled hard.
Image 2016.4512: After the metal ballast was dropped, spread and rolled, the first length of track was dropped into place. It seems that Mario (in the overalls) is giving his two cents worth while Nick (red shirt), Ben (blue shirt), Gordon and Lenny look on.
Image 2016.4529: By the end of day two, two lengths of track had been laid and joined. Note the blue chair for the benefit of the Supervisor (ie, me!).
Image 2016.4564: A shallow cutting passes the old stables/fodder shed to take the track around another 90 degrees curve to run parallel to the rear (southern) boundary. The soil from the cutting had been used to construct the low embankment shown in Image 2016.4499 above.
Image 2016.4569: Looking along the eastern boundary towards the street, the future track is carefully placed to pass between two young gum trees.
Image 2016.4584: Even I got involved in the trackwork construction. While Rhys levers a sleeper upwards, I’m packing ballast under it. In the background, Rob is drilling sleepers for dog-spiking.
Image 2016.4591: The shallow cutting towards the rear of my property is rolled hard preparatory for the road base and blue metal (when it arrives!). Friday, 4th November.
Image 2016:4598: I tend to operate on the “just in time” principle and here another load of metal ballast is delivered by Supermix Concrete & Quarries from a quarry at Ardlethan. A supply of roadbase is visible between the truck and the train.
Image 2016.4606: Curving track in one direction only causes a bit of a problem, so eventually one has to “shorten” the inside rail to fit.
Image 2016.4607: The last section of track in this week’s works programme is dropped into place.
Image 2016.4608: The Ruston diesel propels the first train over the new track extension.
Image 2016.4620: Finally, it is possible to remove the Hunslet from the street frontage and stow the train in a slightly safer location!
Five days’ construction and much progress with Pete’s Hobby Railway!
[To be continued in Progress Report No. 24, which will be published later this week… meanwhile you can skip to Progress Report No.25, which covers the Grand Opening of Pete’s Hobby Railway.]