The northern terminus of the museum track is officially known as Waratah Loop as in the Grand Plan for the tramway this will be a passing loop halfway to the future terminus in Sutherland itself. However long before then the terminus will actually become a loop that will permit trams to ‘run around’ each other at the Northern Terminus.
The current works program hopes to create the loop, set in mass concrete and a shunting neck north of the loop towards the substation building that will also contain a right hand set of points into a ‘perway yard’. A concrete pad will also be placed to enable a stored historic waiting shelter to be rebuilt at this location.
Work recently restarted at Waratah Loop as most of the places we can use surplus concrete in the museum proper have been completed, so despite the fact the terminus is currently unreachable due to the condition of ‘Army Hill’ a start is being made on the loop as to make use of the supply of surplus concrete the museum is offered.
March 19 2014
With a lack of concrete places becoming ‘critical’ a working day was held up at Waratah. Canini excavated some trenches for track drains and cleared some soil with his machines. This will allow a track drain next to the current double track crossing slab to be constructed. The partially built southern points for the loop were completely dismantled and the rails removed. A Sydney style weighted set of points will be built and concreted in at this location.
April 3, 2014
Work, mostly by Mike Giddey, has seen a short length of track north of the existing driveway crossing laid out for concreting. Just before the existing crossing slab a track drain is being constructed. The rails on the right are the existing terminus track, which when the eastern track is concreted will be removed, excavated and the eastern track used as a level for it’s eventual concreting.
Since this photo was taken, the base of the track drain has been formed using concrete signal troughing sections.
The track drain is now ready for concrete and a panel of track has been made ready and welded into place. Further down hill near the gate to the Waratah Loop compound where the ground drops away, a rock wall is being extended using the No2 fork lift to place large rocks into position.
On Saturday the 10th of May several small loads of concrete were placed at Waratah loop, possibly making the first concrete placed there for many years. This concrete was used to ‘lock in’ the new eastern track by placing the concrete around the metal ties bars only.
With the work at the Pitt St gate area complete, attention returned to Waratah loop. Canini was again called in to clear the ground for work to start south of the existing concreted crossing.
More concrete and ground clearing. Soon the previously constructed points for the south entrance of Waratah Loop will able to be placed into position. The eastern track of the loop has been extended ready for concreting and is now closer to Sutherland than the old terminus track adjacent to it.
October 8th 2014
October 18th 2014
October 25th 2014
November 1st 2014
More concrete and rails placed at the loop. It was intended to weld the some rails on the south side of the driveway slab, but the temperature climbed into the high 30s and it was considered a fire risk to start welding.
November 8th 2014
More concrete and the rails heading south welded. The concrete is being placed on a new eastern track. The old western track has a tank waggon stored on it preventing work on that existing track currently. The 2nd photo shows newly welded rails on the western track heading south. Short sections of scrap trail are being used as tie bars. Approximately where the photographer is standing, the southern entrance points to the loop will be constructed.
November 19th 2014
More track south of the driveway crossing
December 6th 2014
Concrete now going in south of the access gate/crossing
After a break, some more activity to report – the old rails from ‘Army Hill’ have been dragged
up to the loop itself and welding has started to make this long continuous lengths.
At some point soon Army Hill will get regraded so that it’s a constant slope all the way
down, at the moment the slope has a ‘hump’ in it, and then reconstruction of the actual track will commence.
While a reopening is still a long way off, things are moving forward.
One the 20th of June, Canini graded Army Hill and then started excavation of a trench down the middle
At the member's day on the 2nd of December 2017, the new platform and waiting shelter were opened to 'traffic' operation. A few weeks later after sufficient staff had been requalified for 'Army Hill' regular operations commenced to the new waiting shelter.
Work will continue to turn the two sidings into a true loop, but this work is low priority and will be documented in a new post once work starts.
Jump to -
- July - Points completed
- November - closure rails to Army Hill welded into place
- December 2016 - new waiting shed.
- February 2017 - kerb and a new track in front of the new waiting shed.
- September 2017 - last section of 'four foot' at Waratah concreted.
- November 2017 - Driver training
The main focus of work for some time has been Army Hill itself, but the other end of the hill has been receiving some attention with the construction of the south points for Waratah Loop.
The points being installed are 'Melbourne Style' spring mechanism, the same type installed at the 'Pitt Street Crossover'. It was originally intended to install a Sydney style mechanism here, but right where the points were to go there is a high pressure gas main encased in concrete, so it was not possible to dig the pit required for a Sydney mechanism. The blade units are 2nd hand from Melbourne.
Over the past week some concrete has been placed at the Waratah loop entrance points fixing them into position.
Work has been continuing on the points through March and into April.
Adjacent to the current works is a rarely used 'back entrance' to the Army property. We are concreting up to their gate.
A good run due to donations enabling the purchasing of concrete have allowed this points to be concreted in quite quickly. Concrete is now between the new track and the Army's access gate. Much more work is needed before the Rawson Ave side can be concreted. A CSO welder has been working on the turn out rails.
'Mainline' now up to the gate. Work still proceeding on the turn out rails.
The eastern loop track at the Sutherland end was joined up, and the track drain was further extended ready for the next rail to be welded in place. This means both tracks of Waratah loop are 'connected' now.
The inside rail to the eastern track being placed into the correct position prior to cutting and welding.
A minor milestone has been achieved - We now have full track to both sides of 'Waratah Loop'. This will now be concreted into position as concrete is supplied, with all the fiddly welding required now completed.
Welding the outside rail
July 27 / July 30
Work continues on the turn out with the outer check rail being progressively welded into place.
Work today focused on the installation of the 'Melbourne style' point operating mechanism that was fabricated by Mike Giddy.
The rails from the advancing Army Hill reconstruction were welded to the new Waratah Loop points. Only 12m of concreting to be done and Waratah Loop is reconnected to the museum. A small amount of concrete that arrived on the day was used on the Waratah Loop diverging track.
See the Army Hill page for the 'closure' of the rails.
A concrete pad is being constructed near the loop for Cremorne tramway waiting shed the museum has in 'knocked down form' to be reassembled at this location.
Some extra concrete arrived. The 2 Wednesday workers working up at Waratah Loop had to call in a couple of Wednesday workshop regulars to lend a hand as the warm day was making the concrete 'go off' too fast.
The track next to the new waiting shed was removed and excavated. This track will be concreted and a new brick gutter in front of the waiting shed will be constructed. Sydney Trains have also started on a path over to their restored substation.
Danny Adamopolous - Martin Pinches
A small group were working near the new waiting shed cleaning rails to be re-installed when our concrete supplier called in with a significant quantity of surplus concrete.
While this small group were struggling to work this concrete, the scrubber car 134s arrived as part of a track cleaning run. 134s looked on as more people got to work on the wet and rapidly drying concrete.
January 7th, 2017
January 21st, 2017
Work continues to ready the track in front of the new waiting shed to be concreted.
January 25th, 2017
New track in front of the new waiting shed got some concrete. Now that this is ready and the first bit is in, we expect relatively rapid progress on concreting the rest.
January 28th, 2017
More concreting. The track beside the new waiting shelter gets nearer to completion. A batch of bull nose bricks has been purchased to build a small curb next to the new waiting shed. Now the track in front of the shelter has been concreted, the kerb can be built.
February 11th, 2017
The track is now complete south of the 'driveway' access to the waratah loop yard area.
A brick kerb for the waiting shed was started. This will be similar to the look in front of the Miranda waiting shed back at the museum gates.
February 15th, 2017
February 25th, 2017
March 11th, 2017
Concreting the '6ft' between the two tracks near the waiting shed.
April 1st, 2017
Danny Adamopoulos / Matthew Geier
April 8th, 2017
David Canini, our regular excavator contractor, was brought in to use his machines to excavate the last un-rebuilt section of Waratah Loop and prepare the track bed for rebuilding in concrete. The spoil was used to backfill the cess on Army Hill.
April 29th, 2017
Rails removed on April 8 (above) have been cleaned and are replaced. The section will be welded, packed and then concreted to complete the concreting of the loop area.
May 20th, 2017
Brick paving 'platform face' added to the new waiting shed.
June 17th, 2017
Track drains welded up and CSO workers extend the paving around the waiting shed.
July 15th, 2017
5m³ of concrete was purchased thanks to an 'anonymous doner'.
This got just over 1/3 of the way filling the missing link between the waiting shed and the rest of track leading back to the museum.
August 16th, 2017
After quite some time with no deliveries, a small amount of surplus arrived on this Wednesday.
August 23rd, 2017
Another Wednesday and another small amount of surplus.
August 26th, 2017
Concrete was purchased thanks to a donation to allow more track to be completed. A small gap remains. The joint here needs to be finally welded. If we weld it too soon, the expansion and contraction of the rails due to weather temperature changes will break the weld. It will be welded just before the last bit of concrete is poured.
September 13th, 2017
The Wednesday crew took delivery of a small amount of surplus concrete. This allowed the 'four foot' to be completed. We now have concrete track from Army Crossing to the new waiting shed at Waratah Loop.
The 'six foot' needs to be completed before passenger services can resume. Driver retraining for Army Hill will commence shortly as once this concrete cures, the track is able to be used.
September 20th, 2017
The Wednesday crew put in that extra effort again, with 3 trucks and 3.5m of concrete arriving.
September 30th, 2017
5 metres of surplus concrete in 3 trucks arrived Sat am. The 6’ was completed and a start was made on the west Cess area.
Of note is the fence installed by the Sydney Trains contractors working on the Sutherland Substation has now been moved to its correct location and the brick platform from the waiting shed extended.
October 7th, 2017
Very little concreting is left to do now at Waratah Loop. The bick curb 'platfom' needs to be extended, and that will happen shortly. The bull-nose bricks required are already on site.
October 21st, 2017
Most of the effort today went into extending the brick curb for the Waratah Loop platform.
November 4th, 2017
Finishing work continues. Driver (re)training now in progress. As the route has been closed to normal traffic operations for nearly 5 years now, all drivers have to be retested on their route knowledge. 'Army Hill' is quite steep, so it's important that all drivers know exactly how to handle their tram on the grade. The reassessment process ensures that all tram drivers are aware of the operating challenges of the hill and can operate their trams in a safe manner.
A driver training trip with P1497
November 11th, 2017
Earthworks past the end of the current track to put stormwater pipes in and preparing the ground for the start on assembling the northern points of Waratah Loop -making a true passing loop. This will be a very low profile project. For some time Waratah loop will be a double stub terminus.
November 19th, 2017
CSO workers continue working on the brick platform at the Waratah terminus. Work is expected to be complete here within 2 or 3 weeks.
Waratah loop is expected to be 'opened for passenger traffic' on the annual members day on December 2nd, 2017, however, regular services probably will be delayed several more weeks due to not all traffic volunteers having done their reassessment on driving on the new Army Hill track yet.