Progress Report 55: Rolling Stock Storage Shed Completed

The Short Version!

Image 2019.2297: It is Wednesday, 18th September, and I have taken possession of the completed structure. Until the final electrical works are undertaken, a temporary power supply cable has been extended from the back verandah of the house, turned on as required to operate the electrics within the shed.

Image 2019.2297: It is Wednesday, 18th September, and I have taken possession of the completed structure. Until the final electrical works are undertaken, a temporary power supply cable has been extended from the back verandah of the house, turned on as required to operate the electrics within the shed.
 

Pete’s Hobby Railway now has its own engine and storage shed, 10 metres wide and 14 metres long, complete with two internal rail tracks, one of which includes a lengthy inspection pit.

Yes, there is still much to be done before it can be fully commissioned -– a permanent electricity supply installed and connecting rail tracks laid in via the to-be-constructed turntable.

The Long Version of this Report fills in on the boring details.

The L-ooooo-n-g Version

The story continues from the previous Progress Report (No. 53) which saw the completion of the site preparation, including the extensive earthworks so as to form a level base.

As a part of the Development Application for the Storage Shed, the local Junee Shire Council had requested detailed construction plans from a qualified Civil Engineer. This proved more difficult than anticipated and when a suitable party (in nearby Wagga Wagga) was approached, I ended up with engineering plans providing for the proposed inspection pit to be able to support the S.S. Titanic or even heavier! I had recollected the in-the-open above-ground pit servicing the former 2-ft gauge railway in the Megalong Valley (Blue Mountains, NSW) which consisted of 107-lb (53kg) rail supported by a couple of cut-up ex-electricity power poles. If only things could be so simple in this modern era!

I was getting beyond my depth (and worries!), and so when Phil proposed that he take on the position of Project Manager for the Shed construction and associated track works, I was not slow to accept the offer!

Phil’s first task was to liaise with the Civil Engineer to come up with a more acceptable design (and a lower construction cost!), although this did result in a second set of engineering plans – at an additional charge which Phil was able to negotiate downwards.

Engineering Plan -- Pit Details.

Engineering Plan — Pit Details.
 

Since the concept of Pete’s Hobby Railway (including a storage shed) had already been approved by Council, it was “only” necessary to have the Building Plan for the Shed approved. The Application, along with the updated engineering plans, was duly lodged with Council and approved. Various stages of the building construction have to be supervised by a qualified Building Inspector … under State legislation, this can be done by a private Inspector or Council’s own Inspector. For better or worse, I chose the latter. These days, the inspections are a chargeable item, but because my original DA was approved before the charges were introduced, PHR has not had to pay a cent – obviously for once I made the correct decision!

There were not a lot a specialist concreters in the Junee/Wagga area who would undertake this work; one was recommended, he provided a quote which I accepted. Quote from two agents for the Shed were sought, one was local and the other came from Griffith (about 150 kms or so away), so I went with the local guy as it was my desire to keep the money within Junee if at all possible.
With the contracts awarded and deposits paid, it became a waiting game until the concreter was in a position to commence. In the meantime, Phil and Josh surveyed the shed site, marking out the perimeters of the building and the location of the internal inspection pit.

Image 2019.0223: The builder prepares the first holes for the building supports.

Image 2019.0223: The builder prepares the first holes for the building supports.
 

Finally, on Friday 8th February, the concreter was able to commence preliminary boring of support holes, excavating the inspection pit, boxing the shed and pit perimeters, laying in a road-base formation, and finally, the re-enforced meshing. This was not done in one day, not even one month, two or three! The pit itself had to be constructed first, with its strenthened floor able to bear the uprights to carry the 60-lb (30-kg) rails over the opening. The walls of the pit were made up of concrete bricks. Once this had cured and the pit stands installed, it was time for the rail tracks to be put into place, supported so that the concrete floor when laid would flow under the rails. The track gauge was maintained by welding the track to small steel sleepers. With this part completed, it was necessary for a further Council inspection before concreting etc. could be commenced.

Image 2019.412: A heavy duty excavator commences digging out the future inspection pit.

Image 2019.412: A heavy duty excavator commences digging out the future inspection pit.
 

The next stage was the excavation for the swimming pool… sorry, inspection pit, which commenced on Monday, 18th March. The following day saw the formal signing of the contract for the supply and erection of the Storage Shed itself. During the following months, until the shed was completed, the pit was to be the recipient of precipitation, both directly and by run-off, at times up to several thousand litres. Although muddy, I had asked if a springboard could be provided!

Image 2019.1483: My new interim swimming pool. While the springboard had not been provided, I would be able to climb out of the pool using the step-ladder! Pity the water was both too cold and too murky. Hope there are no sharks!!!

Image 2019.1483: My new interim swimming pool. While the springboard had not been provided, I would be able to climb out of the pool using the step-ladder! Pity the water was both too cold and too murky. Hope there are no sharks!!!
 

Image 2019.1505: The pool has been pumped out and a concrete floor laid (including provision for a sump to collect any run-off), then on Thursday 20th June, a team of specialist brickies had all the concrete block walls laid in the one day.

Image 2019.1505: The pool has been pumped out and a concrete floor laid (including provision for a sump to collect any run-off), then on Thursday 20th June, a team of specialist brickies had all the concrete block walls laid in the one day.
 

From late June, works commenced in earnest, such that within a period of about two months, the floor base was prepared, rail track put into place (literally down to the last millemetre) and mass concreting laid and levelled. The Shed was erected to lock-up stage, including the installation of three power-operated roller doors and two normal access doors, in double-quick time, resulting in an informal handing over of the keys, on Wednesday 11th September. Following are (more-than-a) few images showing the works as they progressed.

Image 2019.1551: The builder and his apprentice setting up the form-work preparatory to the concrete pour. The black-sheeted area is where No. 1 Road rail track will be laid. Tuesday 25th June.

Image 2019.1551: The builder and his apprentice setting up the form-work preparatory to the concrete pour. The black-sheeted area is where No. 1 Road rail track will be laid. Tuesday 25th June.
 

Image 2019.1561: With re-enforcing mesh laid in, the base concrete is poured into the track area for No. 1 Road, then allowed to cure.

Image 2019.1561: With re-enforcing mesh laid in, the base concrete is poured into the track area for No. 1 Road, then allowed to cure.
 

Image 2019.1578: The first rail is moved into place, making use of genuine rail tongs. The steel re-enforcing rods will later be welded to the rail. Note that the formwork has been cut to accept the rail line – subsequently, it would be plugged for a second concrete pour. Monday 1st July.

Image 2019.1578: The first rail is moved into place, making use of genuine rail tongs. The steel re-enforcing rods will later be welded to the rail. Note that the formwork has been cut to accept the rail line – subsequently, it would be plugged for a second concrete pour. Monday 1st July.
 

Image 2019.1598: With both rails of No. 1 Road in place, the attention turned to the Inspection Pit Road. Again, the timber formwork and the galvanised iron top surround to the pit have been carefully cut to accept the rail track. Monday 1st July.

Image 2019.1598: With both rails of No. 1 Road in place, the attention turned to the Inspection Pit Road. Again, the timber formwork and the galvanised iron top surround to the pit have been carefully cut to accept the rail track. Monday 1st July.
 

Image 2019.1625: Josh has climbed on to the roof of my dwelling for this aerial view showing the placement of the first of the supports for the track through the inspection pit. Photo by Josh Burke, Monday 1st July.

Image 2019.1625: Josh has climbed on to the roof of my dwelling for this aerial view showing the placement of the first of the supports for the track through the inspection pit. Photo by Josh Burke, Monday 1st July.
 

Image 2019.1630: The builder and his apprentice are concentrating as they set up and level a support pier for the inspection pit. Monday 1st July.

Image 2019.1630: The builder and his apprentice are concentrating as they set up and level a support pier for the inspection pit. Monday 1st July.
 

Image 2019.1676: Reinforcing mesh has been laid and concreting has commenced. Thursday, 11th July.

Image 2019.1676: Reinforcing mesh has been laid and concreting has commenced. Thursday, 11th July.
 

Image 2019.1708: Of course, I did my best to assist, here helping to spread the newly poured concrete. I assume that Josh took this image using my camera. Thursday, 11th July.

Image 2019.1708: Of course, I did my best to assist, here helping to spread the newly poured concrete. I assume that Josh took this image using my camera. Thursday, 11th July.
 

Image 2019.1728: The concreting was all done in one day, then it was required to cure until the next stage of the project. Josh again clambered on to the roof of my humble residential abode to get this view of yours truly examining where the money has gone so far! Friday, 12th July.

Image 2019.1728: The concreting was all done in one day, then it was required to cure until the next stage of the project. Josh again clambered on to the roof of my humble residential abode to get this view of yours truly examining where the money has gone so far! Friday, 12th July.
 

Image 2019.1738: It only took four days from the previous photo for the first “vehicle” to test the tracks of the new facility! No, the trike did not stall, Phil and Josh were able to move off the pit, then manually relocate the trike to the other track. No derailments occurred, so the tracks were passed as “fit for service”! Tuesday, 16th July.

Image 2019.1738: It only took four days from the previous photo for the first “vehicle” to test the tracks of the new facility! No, the trike did not stall, Phil and Josh were able to move off the pit, then manually relocate the trike to the other track. No derailments occurred, so the tracks were passed as “fit for service”! Tuesday, 16th July.
 

Image 2019.1997: Approximately four weeks was allowed for the concrete to cure, then it was “all hands on deck” (on a Sunday!) to commence erection of the shed itself. Finally!!! Sunday, 14th August.

Image 2019.1997: Approximately four weeks was allowed for the concrete to cure, then it was “all hands on deck” (on a Sunday!) to commence erection of the shed itself. Finally!!! Sunday, 14th August.
 

Image 2019.2078: Then it was time to attach the wall sheeting. Friday, 30th August.

Image 2019.2078: Then it was time to attach the wall sheeting. Friday, 30th August.
 

Image 2019.2099: The building has been externally clad and now awaits roofing and roller doors. Saturday, 31st August.

Image 2019.2099: The building has been externally clad and now awaits roofing and roller doors. Saturday, 31st August.
 

Image 2019.2220: Roofing in progress. Tuesday, 10th September.

Image 2019.2220: Roofing in progress. Tuesday, 10th September.
 

Image 2019.2252: Construction of the structure has now been completed, with only the powered roller doors to be fitted. Wednesday, 11th September.

Image 2019.2252: Construction of the structure has now been completed, with only the powered roller doors to be fitted. Wednesday, 11th September.
 

Image 2019.2268: Fitting of the roller doors – three of them, and power operated! Monday, 16th September.

Image 2019.2268: Fitting of the roller doors – three of them, and power operated! Monday, 16th September.
 

Image 2019.2273: With the Shed almost completed, it was time for Josh to try out his new “Dingo” multi-purpose mini-digger excavating the trenching required to run electrical power from my house general meter box to the Storage Shed and on to my Archives Shed. Certainly beats trying to excavate using a mattock!!! Although the cement-like nature of the very dry terrain did beat the machine when it struck hard rock. Tuesday.17th September.

Image 2019.2273: With the Shed almost completed, it was time for Josh to try out his new “Dingo” multi-purpose mini-digger excavating the trenching required to run electrical power from my house general meter box to the Storage Shed and on to my Archives Shed. Certainly beats trying to excavate using a mattock!!! Although the cement-like nature of the very dry terrain did beat the machine when it struck hard rock. Tuesday.17th September.
 

Image 2019.2297: It is Wednesday, 18th September, and I have taken possession of the completed structure. Until the final electrical works are undertaken, a temporary power supply cable has been extended from the back verandah of the house, turned on as required to operate the electrics within the shed.

Image 2019.2297: It is Wednesday, 18th September, and I have taken possession of the completed structure. Until the final electrical works are undertaken, a temporary power supply cable has been extended from the back verandah of the house, turned on as required to operate the electrics within the shed.
 

Image 2019.2883: I am certainly in possession! Unfortunately, no recorded official hand-over... simply, at the commissioning of the roller doors late in the afternoon, a simple

Image 2019.2883: I am certainly in possession! Unfortunately, no recorded official hand-over… simply, at the commissioning of the roller doors late in the afternoon, a simple “here’s the keys. Any problems, get back to me!”
 

A temporary meal room with accessories has been set up in one corner, complete with fridge and microwave. All the creature comforts for PHR volunteers! It has been used on several occasions already, although the very hot summer conditions make it fairly warm inside. There is a small fuel kitchen stove in the corner, next to the fridge and microwave, but needs to be flued to external atmosphere before it can be used.

Metal shelving containing parts and tools have been erected on the eastern end of the shed, with other machine equipment to follow.

I’ve commandeered the opposite wall closer to the house for the storage of plastic tubs, full of my collectables, which had been otherwise cluttering all available space within the house. Already, I’m dreaming of how to install a mezzanine level for additional storage.

No. 1 Road (the one without the pit!) has become a de-facto secured garage for my car since if I leave it in my open car-port at the front of the house, a local black-bird has taken a particular delight to not only attacking the various windows, but defecating on them as well! Apart from fully enclosing the carport in front of my Office, I am open to suggestions as to how to encourage the bird to go elsewhere.

Hopefully the first half of the New Year will see the construction of the turntable pit, installation of the turntable and laying of the approach rail tracks -– thus allowing the Shed to be fully utilised for its intended purpose.

But all of that will be the subject of future Progress Reports!

Enjoy.
Pete
SM Loftus

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