TAFE cutting (Pitt Street) Crossover

In the ‘TAFE cutting’ a crossover is being installed to allow ‘crossover’ from the western track to the eastern one. The grand plan for site as a whole envisages this being a trailing crossover to be used by ‘ParkLink’ services – Sutherland services would use another set of points located at the TAFE crossing – the eventual extent of double the track.

However for the foreseeable future this crossover will mark the northern extent of double track running to the Railway Square crossover. South bound trams will always cross over to the eastern track here.

The points consist of a two pairs of Melbourne style sprung blade units set in mass concrete.

The western leg of this crossover was concreted into position over two years ago as the western track concrete progressed north. Now that operations have moved onto the western track, the eastern leg is being assembled. This will set the levels for the track to the museum gate. Work along here will proceed at a slow rate between other more urgent projects. Track panels will be installed, lined, levelled and form work installed and then left ready to take the next load of surplus concrete offered. As each concrete pour hardens, the next bit of rail will be installed, levelled, etc, till we run out of track.


Wednesday 20th June 2012

The local concrete plant was in full swing, no less than 4 loads of excess concrete arrived, one truck making a return visit. The eastern blade units are yet to be installed. They are currently up at Railway Square being assembled as time permits.

The day's concreting

This last pour is another minor milestone – the full width of the mass concrete double track has now been established.

Update: August 2012

This project is currently in ‘slow’ mode as most resources are directed to Railway Square. However to ensure that there is always some where for surplus concrete to go, a track panel north of the points have been placed, and largely concreted with other people’s surplus concrete. Work back towards the museum is waiting for the installation of the eastern blade units.

8th of September

A photo looking south back towards the museum. The area has been cleared for the installation of the blade unit and a track panel back towards the museum. The blade unit is still near Depot Junction. It won’t be moved until it can be welded into position. The last blade units prepared for this location were stolen.

Photo by Martin Pinches

19th of September

To ensure enough places are available for concrete that may be offered, a 2nd track panel to the north of the cross-over is placed into position.

And shortly after this panel was welded into position, more concrete arrived which was used in the ‘cess’ of the first panel.

Photos by Martin Pinches

3rd November

The blade unit is welded into position. Here the works tram 42s is ‘tending’ to welding effort.

Martin Pinches

And this is what the site looked like the following Wednesday:

Matthew Geier

11th of November

The following Sunday the new blade units are fully welded into position and some ‘new’ rail has been dragged up ready to weld onto it, starting construction back towards the museum. At this stage however, concrete can’t be poured as the capped pipe you see has to be connected to a ‘pit’ under the blade mechanism to ensure water drains out of it.

Matthew Geier

November 24

Two lengths of rail welded and gauged.

Martin Pinches

While the rails in this section are ‘speeding’ towards the Pitt St crossing the limiting factor for returning this section to traffic will be the concrete needed. This section is approximately 64m in length. To concrete just the 4 foot is estimated to cost in the order of $4700. The current relatively low level of building activity in the Sutherland Shire means that concreting this section with only surplus concrete could take many months, especially since building activity is typically low to non existent from Christmas and through January.

December 1

On this morning no less than 3 concrete trucks turned up at once, apparently from 3! separate jobs. This concrete was used north of the new cross over points as the track to the south isn’t ready to be concreted down yet.

December 5

Wedneday crew continued near Pitt St. Here the existing rails are to be kept. The rail has been lifted with jacks to enable the sleepers to be removed. The old ballast will also be removed and where possible reused else where. This track will have tie-bars welded to it and the rails raised level with the western track. These rails will be welded to the rails in the photos above that are heading towards the museum gate.

December 17

This was a ‘special work’ day when specialist pole contractors were engaged to install one new pole, and install 3 replacements. (See here). Since the steel pole was concreted in, the local concrete people knew we were working and two more trucks appeared with surplus concrete to dump.

This was put to use at the TAFE cutting crossover, the bottom of the drain put under the point being formed up.

Matthew Geier

December 22

Rails from the Pitt St crossing welded and gauged. Next to be done are some track train frames.

Martin Pinches

December 29

Track drain frames being fabricated. CSO workers are excavating along side the rails where the concrete cess will go.

Martin Pinches



This is a quiet time of year. Many people are on Holidays and the building industry takes the month off meaning little surplus concrete.

However our keen welder of track was at it doing the steel work for the eastern track drain at the Pitt Street crossing.

Danny Adamopoulos

February 27

A small load of concrete was purchased to ‘encase’ new track drains on the Eastern track at the Pitt St crossing next to the museum gate. This will make it a little safer for pedestrians in this area.

Here one of our keen gardening team is inspecting the new concrete – from the vantage point of the drain itself. Photo by Ian Saxon.

March 9

It’s stopped raining and the local building industry has restarted after the traditional summer slowdown. 3 loads of surplus concrete arrived. This was used on at both ends – some went to the crossover, and some into the ‘4ft’ near Pitt Street. At this point the main use of the concrete will be to ‘lock’ the rails into position by pouring into the ‘4ft’ and up the foot of the rail so that it’s supported.

Martin Pinches

March 13

A small amount of surplus, but it allowed the Pitt St track drain suround to be completed.

Matthew Geier

March 23

Some more free concrete allowed a couple more metres of ‘4ft’ to be concreted. Note the red coloured concrete from a previous pour. Often the surplus concrete is tinted for various reasons, we try to use such concrete were it will be later covered by ‘standard’ coloured concrete. Soon we will have enough track to park 42s on it out of the way of the main line.

Some eagle eyed people have noticed a gap in this section of track – this has been left so that the track doesn’t buckle with repeated heating and cooling cycles over the day. If the ends met, during the hot summer days the rail would expand and push the track out of line. By leaving a gap the rails can expand and contract lengthways and not mess up the alignment. Once concreting gets nears the gap (from both sides), rails will be welded into the gap and made secure.

Danny Adamopoulos

March 28

More surplus concrete. Wednesday’s are good for concrete, but volunteer time is at a premium on Wednesdays and with museum open, track works have to work in with the service trams to Sutherland. However both volunteer labour and concrete were available this particular Wednesday.

This photo’s shows a number of the tools and vehicles used in trackwork – the ‘Ballast Motor’ 42s which is used like a mobile tools and material platform, the yellow Daihatsu tipper truck and a Hyster forklift fitted with a lifting arm. Both the Daihatsu and the Hyster themselves are almost vintage vehicles in their own right. Scattered about are other important tools – like the concrete ‘vibrator’ and and electric hammer.

Then two views of what the day achieved. More concrete around the trailing crossover and the up track drain ‘locked’ down in concrete.

March 28 photos by Danny Adamopoulos

May 8th

Several concrete trucks turned up with small mounts of surplus. Every little bit helps. Two trucks turned up together, at 4pm, when many of the Wednesday workers were thinking about ‘home time’. This is the 2nd of the two trucks. 99u had been out to clear some low hanging tree branches further up line.

Martin Pinches

Update: A plea for assistance

Our Infrastructure Manager has placed a figure of $3500 – $4000 to complete the placement of concrete in the 4’ section that would allow the opening of the line and minimise the use of the scissors crossover in Tramway Street which will require some maintenance very shortly. Some excess concrete from our concrete supplier has helped start this job but we cannot rely on enough excess concrete to become available in the short term.

Any donations, large or small would be welcomed and would give our hardworking Infrastructure team some help to at least get this project completed with the 4’ section concreted and the line opened to Traffic operations.

Please send any donations to:  “Trackwork”, Sydney Tramway Museum PO Box 103 SUTHERLAND NSW 1499

Of course receipts will be issued for any donations, gifts over $2. Any moneys donated will be used for this project alone.

May 18th

The track funding drive has meet with some success, enabling the purchase 10c.m of concrete towards this project. On this Saturday some of the regular trackwork team plus CSO workers concreted a large section of the ‘4ft’ along this track. Over the previous two weeks we had done well out of surplus concrete – in part due to two members being on site working on light gardening duties on days other than Wednesday, but being ‘on-call’ for concrete. This enabled the purchased concrete to go much further than it it other might have, as there was already a ‘foundation’ layer of concrete down.

Now that each side of the gap is locked into place, the final lengths of rail will be welded into position and that too concreted in due course.

Martin Pinches

June 01

The gap being filled. Rain set in before the welding could be completed.

Matthew Geier

June 5

The gap is filled! Now for the concrete.

42s is shown parked on the new recently concreted track just up from Pitt St. As Wednesday is a running day, this allowed 42s to be near the work-site, but be out of the way of regular services.

Martin Pinches

June 15

The gap is filled. In part thanks to a couple of members working on the grounds on Friday, we got small amounts of surplus concrete on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday this week, which has allowed the track to be concreted up to rail foot level. As the rail is now continuously supported, the full segment (subject to approvals) can take trams right up to the cross over. This now will put pressure on the overhead guys to get the two frog pans required ready and the wire up.

42s has already run a trial over the cross-over, running into the northern segment from the north and running back again. But don’t get too excited yet people, there’s no overhead.

Martin Pinches

Now attention will turn to filling in the ‘6 foot’ between the two tracks, but with the closure of the gap, the end is in sight for this project!.

July 6

After a spate of rain finally broke, 2.6cm of purchased concrete was used to finish the ‘4ft’ of this track. Now the opening of the track is waiting for the overhead crew to string the wire and install two junction pans in the overhead. Preparation of the two pans is currently underway. The ‘6ft’ between the tracks and the cess on the Rawson Parade side still need completing, but the track work required just for operations is now completed.

Martin Pinches

July 10

Here are the two ex Melbourne ‘combo’ pole and pantograph overhead pans for the crossover. These are a bit worn, so they will be ‘built up’ in the ‘shop before being installed.

Matthew Geier

July 27

Over this week a fair amount of surplus concrete was received, helped again by some one working on site on Friday who could place the offered concrete down. This has enabled most of the ‘6 foot’ between the cross over and Pitt St to be concreted.

North of the cross over, the Eastern track is being continued to create a shunting neck. One day the double track will run all the way to TAFE crossing, but for now the concrete track will be a sort of storage siding.

Martin Pinches

July 31

The finish of July sees the guys levelling the rails placed the previous Wednesday. Once form work has been added as well, this will be a place to ‘dump’ surplus concrete. A start was also made on wiring the cross over with the first stay wire being put up.

Martin Pinches

August 10

Surplus concrete being used on the eastern track north of the Pitt St crossover.

Bill (Parko) building up the worn surfaces on a overhead ‘pan’ to be used on the Pitt St crossover. Bill is refurbishing a matched pair of these for this location.

Martin Pinches

August 25

Small batches of surplus concrete over the previous few weeks have seen this section nearly completely concreted. This Sunday shot, before regular services started for the day shows only a small amount of ‘cess’ yet to be completed. The six foot is completely concreted.

Matthew Geier

The overhead for the crossover is now waiting waiting on the crossing pans. The span wires on both sides have been attached and coiled up out the way.

Matthew Geier

There will be month long gap in reporting here as the editor of this page has a holiday in Germany.

October 21

Overhead installed

On Monday the 21st Glen Killham, Chris Olsen, Bill Parkinson, Hayden Holmes & Greg Sutherland completed the installation of the crossover overhead. The refurbished junction pans were installed along with a short extra length of trolley wire. Adjustments will continue as the wire beds in.

A note for our interstate/international viewers – the haze in some of these photographs isn’t fog, it’s smoke from bush fires over 70km away!.

The eastern pan being placed into position. The pan is clamped under the main wire.
The trolley wire being run out.
The trolley wire being tensioned.

Sam McGuiness

Scrubber 134s cleaning the rails.
Sydney R1 1979 and Brisbane Phoenix 548 were used to test the new overhead.

The crew pose with 99u after a hard days work.

Martin Pinches

October 23

Scrubber 134s (A converted D class passenger tram) actually came out on Wednesday the 23rd. It ran up and down the eastern track several times to clean the rail surface. Then a couple of the regular Wednesday services were routed over the new track.

With this crossover cleared for regular service, Traffic Notice 1305 this project is effectively complete. Work continues with concreting a ‘shunting neck’ north of the crossover to make use of surplus concrete as it’s delivered. This ‘shunting neck’ will run to line up with the end of the concreted western track. Some time in the (distant) future it form part of a double track line to TAFE crossing.

The Breakfast Torque

October 27 2013

For a number of years now, Sutherland Council has been sponsoring a motor cycle safety event at Loftus Oval called the 'Breakfast Torque'. However car parking is at a premium at the oval when it's taken over by motor bikes. With plenty of parking up along Rawson Parade and in the TAFE, the council hires the tramway to run a shuttle service between TAFE crossing and Loftus Oval. The museum has constructed small platforms at both locations for this service. A 10 minute frequency shuttle service was run between TAFE crossing and Loftus Oval, making full use of the new cross over and track, hence this event making a hard deadline for getting the new crossover into service.

Breakfast Torque shuttle services
Breakfast Torque shuttle services
R 1740 about to pass R1 1979 on the new track.
R 1740 using the new crossover

November 20

A large load of surplus concrete sees more of the ‘shunting neck’ concreted. The orange cones mark where another drain is located. Soon this track will reach the end of the concreted western track, where the mass concrete track will stop. Grass is being planted in the gap in the ‘six foot’.

Martin Pinches


January 2014

January is typically a slow month for concrete as much of the building industry takes January off. However on the 18th no less than 8 trucks turned up with a total of 5m of concrete.

Martin Pinches

Feburary 2014

This ‘shunting neck’ reached the end of the mass concrete track with the construction of the final segment of track drain. Most of our train drains are cast, but this one was made with pre-cast segments of signal cabling troughing that had been donated to the museum.

Martin Pinches

March 2014

The track drain has been concreted in over the last couple of weeks, leaving a gap to be filled. On Saturday the 15th a truck has obliged with another small amount of surplus concrete.

Soon this section of track will be finished. Only a couple more loads of concrete and ‘TAFE Cutting’ will be completed.

Matthew Geier

This is as far as the mass concrete double track will go. At some time in the future the double track will continue up to the TAFE level crossing as open ballasted track.

May 2014

Another small load of concrete gets this section even closer to ultimate completion.

June 2014

On Saturday the 7th of June the last concrete pour occurred for this project. All track construction in this area is now complete.

While all main construction is complete, the area will now be cleaned up and grass planted in the ‘nature strip’ between the two tracks and a general tidy up of the area undertaken. An electrical services pit just past the end of the mass concrete slab is yet to be completed.

Martin Pinches