Railway Square Points 2012

The Railway Square points project is both an ‘infill’ between the existing concrete slab track and depot junction concrete encased points and a new left hand turnout to the western track. This will form the southern end of the museum’s double track railway.

This new junction point has been fabricated beside the track over the last year or so – basically being fabricated from scratch using original Sydney drawings.

Jump Index

April 2012 – Point pit concreting

Railway Square crossover site

A small concrete truck arrives. The pit itself had been been dug some time earlier. Beside the pit lies the prefabricated points that will cover the pit.
Concreting the base of the pit.
Concrete being poured into the pit.

One the 5th of May – the sides for the pit were poured.

Point pit sides
Photo by Danny Adamopoulos


The Wednesday crew moved the prefabricated points over the pit. Much of the ‘workshop’ crew abandoned their normal indoor activities to get this job done.

New points being positioned over the pit
Photo by Martin Pinches.

The track crew then worked up hill over the next few weeks placing and welding rails to connect these new points to the main line stub at Depot Junction.

June 2012 – preparation of the rest of the subgrade


By Saturday the 2nd rails were in position between the new points and depot junction. In the middle of this section a track drain is still to be constructed – it will join a drain already under the Depot line.

Rails between depot junction and railway square points
Photo by Martin Pinches.


Our usual excavations contractor was hired to excavate the rest of the construction site. It rained all day and it got very muddy. But Cannini’s machines kept going.


Two Franna cranes had been hired to clear the ‘South Shed’ site. While the cranes were on site a previously constructed track panel lifted into position for the eastern track. This day was supposed to be the day when we welded all the rails into position in preparation for lining and levelling only 4 loads of surplus concrete showed up and labour was diverted to TAFE crossover to use this concrete.

The prefabricated track panel was welded to the ends of the rails at the Railway Square end.


A Friday work day was organized and the ‘usual’ suspects plus some extras who took a day off work to help. All the rails were cut to the required length and the western rail welded, but the light faded before the eastern one could be done.


Final rail weld in progress

Photo by Martin Pinches – this weld is significant in that it’s last weld of the last section of rail to go in. From this point on we have two rails end to end through the work site and the work shifts from basic construction to gauging, lining and levelling.

At the completion of the day it was hoped to have the site concrete ready. Unfortunately due to the distraction of TAFE crossover, while we have welded and gauged rail end to end, it’s not lined and levelled by the end of the day.


July 2012


Work has continued on this section with the track being lined and levelled over the last few weeks and the track drain between the new points and depot junction being constructed. On Wednesday the 11th the first bit of concrete was placed in this section when our local suppliers turned up with a small amount of surplus concrete. At this time the concrete is only being placed to foot of rail height to ‘lock’ the track into position. (The ‘sleepers’ under the rail will be buried in concrete and hold every thing secure). Later another concrete pour will fill it to rail height and the surface properly finished.

Photo by Martin Pinches


Another small amount of surplus from our friendly local concrete supplier. Every little bit helps.

Some more concrete
Photo by Martin Pinches

20th – Largest continuous pour ever attempted by the trackwork team

On Friday the 20th of July, with O1111’s centenary event fast approaching, a special weekday work-a-thon was organized to get the ‘main line’ in condition to be used for this up coming event. Several regular members of the trackwork team took time off their ‘day jobs’ to take part – one even flying in from Singapore especially for it!

Unlike some previous big pours the weather for this one was perfect. Sunny, but not too hot, and no rain on the day or the previous few. (Depot Junction was probably the hottest on record, Depot Main the wettest!)

Two concrete trucks on the pig pour

  • 20 cubic metres of concrete poured.
  • 4 separate truck loads (6 + 6 + 4 + 4)
  • 57m linear metres of track concreted


Another 2m of concrete was ordered to ‘top off’ the last 10m of track.

Time lapse video of the 2 days work to concrete the eastern track

The completion of this concrete pour means that the ‘mainline’ will be available for the 28th of July ‘trams after dark’ event, and for O1111’s centenary party on the 29th.

Now that a track is available to traffic again (from next weekend), the pace will back off some what. Current proposed plans are to work on Railway Square on Wednesdays, fabricating the the curve from the points to the western track and concrete that as much as possible with free surplus concrete from the local concrete plant. Saturdays will mostly dedicated to rehabilitating the Sutherland line past TAFE crossing. Of course all this could change at a moments notice.

28th July

Commissioning the new track.

Saturday morning, before our ‘Trams after Dark’ event the new track was ‘commissioned into service’, the first tram in the section being ballast motor 42s (Bob). Bob was driven by one of the track work stalwarts who had personally welded much of the point work and track panels. After Bob, Brisbane 548 did a pass – mostly to check the clearances and that the Depot Junction overhead frog was still in the right place for ‘mainline’ movements – as for months it had only seen ‘Depot Main’ traffic. 548’s pole tracked fine. Then scrubber car 134s had it’s scrubber blocks lowered and it ran back and forth 3 times rubbing the rust and cement from the rail head.

The line was declared fit for traffic and that afternoon carried many eager tram passengers on some trips to the National Park on some rarely used rolling stock.

Several videos have been uploaded

August 2012

11th of August

The project continues

Photo by Martin Pinches

Rails for the curve to the western track being placed. A device called a ‘Jim Crow’ will be used to bend these rails into a gentle curve to meet the western track. The curve is being laid out so that the long wheel base J car can use this curve with ease.

Photo by Martin Pinches

A load of surplus concrete was received on the 8th which was used to concrete part of the ‘V’ formed between depot junction, the ‘depot main’ and the mainline. The area past the drain and the witch’s hat will be smoothed and grass planted.

18th of August

The gentle curve out of the points being constructed. The inner rail is done first and accurately measured and bent into the desired shape with the ‘jim crow’ and then secured by welding tie bars to the the other now finished track. Once the inner rail is in position, the outer rail is welded to tie bars after checking with a gauging tool.

Photo by Martin Pinches

September 2012

9th of September

Check rails being installed on the curve

12th of September

Finishing the welding of the check rails

Photo by Martin Pinches

14th of September

The ‘four foot’ of the curve is concreted

Photo by Danny

Photo by Martin Pinches

19th of September

The ‘six foot’ is concreted. This effectively completes the ground portion of this project. The outer edging needs to be done, but this portion of track, once this concrete cures is available for both road and railed vehicles. However at this stage there is still no overhead wire above the curve.

Some of the track team pose with their work

Both photos by Martin Pinches.

22rd of September

Over several Saturdays the western wire is moved to from being tied off over the depot main, to being tied off just past the new points on the mainline. The wire is first roughly put into position and then progressively ‘fine tuned’ into correct position. However by the 23rd the wire was ‘close enough’ to allow some tests to be carried out using various passenger trams to test the clearances. R1 2001 became the first passenger tram to try the new track. The key item missing is the ‘pan’ over the points that allows the trolley pole to end up over the correct track.

Photo by Martin Pinches

Mr Rawlings, our overhead expert, loosening off a support bracket. In order to get the track into operation quickly instead of moving the Sydney fitting sideways, which involves a lot of messing about with the span wires, a Melbourne bracket has been attached to the span. This will support the trolley wire for the time being. At some point in the future when the final location of the trolley wire has been determined for sure, the span wires will be altered and the Sydney fitting bought back into use. (The Melbourne brackets are FAR easier to adjust!).

Photo by Matthew Geier

99U providing the height needed to work on the overhead. Here two pull-offs are being installed. The span wire for the pull-offs had been installed the previous week.

Photo by Martin Pinches

September 29

Practical Completion!. The overhead team installed the ‘frog’ above the junction and additional span wires to hold it in place.

Sydney R1979 was used to test the newly installed frog

Photos by Matthew Geier.

By ‘end of work’ on this day, the new curve was cleared for ‘standard’ cars. Other types of cars are still to be tested and cleared for operation. This effectively brings this project to a close. Minor adjustments will still be needed to the overhead as it ‘beds in’ and the track still needs it’s ‘cess’ concreted, but for operational purposes it’s now complete.


2013 – Finishing touches

July 13

After a long period when little has been done in this area (The track has been in regular operation for nearly a year now). A gap in other jobs has seen the curve revisited when some surplus concrete was used to nearly complete the western side ‘cess’ edging of the track. Only a small gap is left now. The eastern side along the ‘mainline’ needs the same treatment, although the pipe trench has been filled for some time now.

Martin Pinches



After another long gap when concrete has gone to the eastern track past the Pitt Street crossover, attention has returned to the cess on the eastern side. This involved some conduits work and the building of a couple of underground services access pits. One of the CSO brickies who have been doing sterling work on the YMCA building used his skills to build several services access pits.

Martin Pinches

If a photo isn’t credited, it’s probably by Matthew Geier.