Progress Report No. 19 – Construction Works Recommence – But First…!

It seems that the winter rains have come to an end in the Riverina. During the past week or so (early November), the sun has been able to dry out the land, meaning that construction works on Pete’s Hobby Railway are finally able to recommence. Coupled with this, Mario (my principal contractor) has been able to spend the best part of a week on site.

It may be desirable to follow this Report by having a look at the track diagram included in Progress Report No. 7.

Until this time, I had fully intended that this construction would extend westwards in a semi-circle, including a junction point – the right arm of which would become the main line heading towards the back of my property, while the left arm (or the “straight” of the point) would be the first stage of the reversing loop to pass in front of my residence, then swing around in a full semi-circle to the future engine shed, to be located at the back of the house. I also wanted the existing track extended one track length eastwards as a first stage so that the locomotives and carriages could be pushed clear to permit construction of Loftus platform to proceed.

Before any of these works could be undertaken, it was considered desirable that a certain amount of relocation works were necessary. But first, a little background history!

The first delivery of rail track and rolling stock in August last year did not go quite as planned, when Mario’s heavily laden vehicle became bogged at the “tradesman’s entrance” opening in the front fence where easy access was available for “high” vehicles.

There had been steady light rain in the days before Mario’s arrival. Erroneously as it transpired, I thought the ground would support the prime mover and trailer laden with set-track (previously lifted rails already laid and spiked on sleepers), along with my four 4-wheel passenger carriages. The proposal had been that Mario would drive right into the depths of my property away from preying eyes, and there unload using a mobile crane already on site. He arrived late in the evening of 17th August (2015), but hardly got the front of the vehicle past my dismantled front fence alignment before the wheels sunk and he was well and truly “struck”, with the rear on the loaded trailer slightly foul on the road. Luckily, my street is little used, as there was nothing that could be done until the following day. To say the least, Mario was not amused.

2015.2043 – Bogged!   18th August 2015.

2015.2043 – Bogged! 18th August 2015.

Junee has its own resident Franner crane, but this also had become bogged on another project! Thus it was not until the following afternoon that a crane became available – and its first job was to extract Mario’s truck out of its predicament and back on to the terra-firma of a bitumen road.

2015.2047 – With a little assistance from the Franner road crane, the load was pulled out of the bog. 18th August 2015.

2015.2047 – With a little assistance from the Franner road crane, the load was pulled out of the bog. 18th August 2015.

The vehicle still had to be unloaded, however its contents could only be placed where the crane could reach from the road. The four carriages were unceremoniously dumped just inside my front fence, while the set track was placed adjacent to the “tradesman’s entrance”.

2015.2073 – Having first unloaded the four passenger carriages “over the fence”, the first lengths of “set-track” rails are unloaded. Ben guides them into a temporary storage location. 18th August 2015.

2015.2073 – Having first unloaded the four passenger carriages “over the fence”, the first lengths of “set-track” rails are unloaded. Ben guides them into a temporary storage location. 18th August 2015.

Advance twelve months to October 2016.

This track now had to be relocated before vehicle access was blocked by the construction towards the western boundary of Pete’s Hobby Railway. Again the ground was a little damp, but not boggy on this occasion. Mario’s crane had a few difficulties in the various movements with wheel-spin until the sun dried off the damp grass.

Image 2016.4452 – Ben guides as Mario lifts the rail from the front of my property to be placed towards the rear, clear of the forthcoming extension of the track in the foreground.   Sunday, 30/10/2016.

Image 2016.4452 – Ben guides as Mario lifts the rail from the front of my property to be placed towards the rear, clear of the forthcoming extension of the track in the foreground. Sunday, 30/10/2016.

Further use was made of Mario’s crane to relocate a pile of 30-lb/yard rail (from my former Loftus line), along with a stripped down motorised inspection vehicle to a site clear of the proposed western line extension of Pete’s Hobby Railway.

More interesting was the need to move the static displayed Perry and Fowler steam locomotives about three metres forward, so as to be clear of the proposed reversing loop (see the track diagram to understand the movement!)

Image 2016.4464 – There are a considerable number of on lookers as Mario (in the crane) places a short length of track in front of the Perry loco. Ben (in the purple-topped sweater) is actually assisting Mario, while (from the left) Nick, Rhys, Lenny and Gordon supervise.    Sounds about right!

Image 2016.4464 – There are a considerable number of on lookers as Mario (in the crane) places a short length of track in front of the Perry loco. Ben (in the purple-topped sweater) is actually assisting Mario, while (from the left) Nick, Rhys, Lenny and Gordon supervise. Sounds about right!

Image 2016.4465 – Rhys seems to be distracted, but Lenny is down low to check the movement as the Perry is slowly dragged forward using the bulldozer. Lenny’s dad, Gordon, a retired Ganger, looks on. Both images taken on Monday, 31/10/2016.

Image 2016.4465 – Rhys seems to be distracted, but Lenny is down low to check the movement as the Perry is slowly dragged forward using the bulldozer. Lenny’s dad, Gordon, a retired Ganger, looks on. Both images taken on Monday, 31/10/2016.

Finally, a “non-railway” photo… There have been some concerns as to whether the noise of the railway could disturb horses in adjacent paddocks. No problems here, as Ben explains to this curious mare what is going on. We had been using the bulldozer to excavate a shallow cutting not far from the rear boundary fence… and the mare showed considerable interest in our activities – at one stage lying down on the grass, with its head facing towards what we were doing, just keeping an eye on us!

Image 2016.4460 – Ben explains to the curious mare exactly what is going on with Pete’s Hobby Railway.   Sunday, 30/10/2016.

Image 2016.4460 – Ben explains to the curious mare exactly what is going on with Pete’s Hobby Railway. Sunday, 30/10/2016.

Okay… that’s your lot for this Progress Report. I have about three more to write up as soon as I can find the time!

Enjoy!
If you have any inquiries about Pete’s Hobby Railway, by all-means, drop me a line using our Contact Form.

Cheers,
Pete.

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