The Short Version!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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!