Construction has commenced of the turntable pit for the installation of the previously built turntable which will provide railed access into the new Storage Shed.
The Longer Version
The previous Progress Report 55 detailed the construction of the 14m long by 10m wide rolling stock storage shed, complete with two internal rail tracks, one of which included a lengthy inspection pit.
However, at the moment these tracks are not connected to the rest of Pete’s Hobby Railway and so cannot be used for their intended purpose of providing under-cover storage and servicing facility for locomotives and rolling stock. While the turntable had been constructed mid-last year (see Progress Report No. 54 of 1/3/2019), it has yet to be installed. Plan 3 in Progress Report No. 54 details the proposed track access via the turntable to the Shed.
Pete’s Hobby Railway now has access to a “Dingo” which is very useful multi-purpose mini-digger, hole borer and grader. The Dingo is more than satisfactory for trenching for electrical cables, spreading ballast etc., but excavating a 5-metre wide turntable pit to a depth of 600mm is too much for it, especially through the “Junee cement”! We needed something larger and more rugged.
In a small rural town such as Junee, specialist contractors are few and far between, and those who are good at their job are naturally in great demand. Especially when the owner/operator is also leader of the local Retained (or part-time, as required) Fire & Rescue Brigade and is thus “on-call” for any local incidents such as fires, accident rescues, etc… Luckily, not too common around here. This is the guy we use, he is a specialist with his bob-cat and works at such speed (and expertise!) he would get booked for speeding on the highway! Thus, things don’t always occur as quickly as one would like as he is in great demand for his services.
We were finally able to corral him for Monday morning, 3rd February, 2020 and true to his word, he was trundling up my drive-way in his bob-cat just after 0700 hours. Blimey, at my age, I’m not out of bed at that hour!
Phil and Josh (the turntable access is their pet project) were on site shortly beforehand and for the umpteenth time, located the centre of the proposed turntable pit, marking the circumference with white spray paint, as well as the slightly deeper centre pit for the turntable base.
Josh was agile enough to climb on top of his parked bus (another project of his, conversion to a mobile home) for a number of photos looking down on to the diggings. Despite the “concrete”, the pit to its two depths was dug out in around five hours, with all the soil, gravel and rock removed.
Of course, PHR adheres to operating protocols and despite the fact that no trains were operating on the day and a total possession had been granted, a “Protection Officer” was still required. Luckily, I qualified as such whilst I was still working for the larger Operator. It was a very strenuous job, requiring my full attention, as evidenced in this photo which Phil snapped with my camera!
Part of the extension of the power supply from the Storage Shed to my Archives Shed will pass under the future balloon loop rail track. While Josh’s Dingo was able to excavate most of the 600mm deep electrical trench, the heavier bob-cat was required to break up some rather obstinate Junee rock.
Within six hours, the whole excavation job was completed; the bobcat was loaded on to its trailer and the contractor was on to his next job. It was left to Phil and Josh, with the aid of their smaller Dingo, to load much of the excavated spoil on to their tip truck for conveyance to elsewhere on the PHR system where it is to be used to provide an improved batter to a small track embankment. PHR’s policy is now to hire in specialised equipment and expertise which is only occasionally required.
Hopefully, by the middle of the year, the turntable will be installed. A temporary connection of the main line will allow railed access to the Storage Shed and its facilities. Meanwhile, hopefully mid-February will see a permanent electrical supply installed to the Storage Shed, extending also to my adjacent Archives Storage Facility.