- November 2012 – Asphalt Laying
- January 2013 – Point Cover Replacement
- May 2014 – Reconstruction of the Eastern track at Pitt St gates
- August 2014 – Concreting the new Eastern track at Pitt St gates
- 27th August 2014 – Relocating the Starters Cabin
- April 2020 – Western track upgrading commenced.
November 21st – Asphalt Laying
Not everything the track work team does is track. On Wednesday the 21st of November, much of the group were laying cold-mix asphalt in Tramway Ave instead. A 1-tonne bag of ‘Cold Mix’ was purchased and hauled down to Loftus by a member using his box trailer. A number of ‘small’ jobs were tackled. 1 tonne of asphalt didn’t last long…
The first place for a ‘tidy’ was at the front gate, filling in the ‘gap’ between the concrete track and the brick curb.
The ‘six foot’ here will have to wait for the eastern track to be lifted and also mass concreted. This area is subject to intense road traffic that broke up the former asphalt surface at this location – mostly by trucks turning into the museum site, so this entire area will be a tough concrete surface eventually.
Railway Square also got some attention as well.
The large expanse of concrete in this area is eventually to be covered in asphalt as well, to make the area look like a ‘typical’ period Sydney tramway street. However, this is too large a job to be tackled by the regular volunteers with the equipment available. This area may have to wait until funds are available to pay professionals with the proper equipment.
The lush green grass you can see just behind the work is thanks to the efforts of a green-thumbed member. He spends many hours lovingly tending to the lawns around the museum and making the site look like someone ‘owns’ it.
January 19th – Point Cover Replacement
Regular visitors will have noticed that the point covers at the Scissors Crossover were starting to look like they needed a bit of TLC. Late in 2012, some planks of recycled hardwood were obtained. Over the summer months, the timber maestros in the workshop turned those planks into new pit covers.
Here are a couple of shots – the new covers have threaded holes into which two lifting eyes can be screwed. The forklift crane can then be used to easily move and place these rather heavy covers. While the covers were off the opportunity was taken to clean the point-pits out.
2014 – Eastern Track Reconstruction at Pitt Street Gate
A long-delayed ‘clean up’ at the front gate has started. The eastern track has been lifted from the edge of the Pitt Street crossing past the gate and about 30 metres up the hill. The drain along the gate will be fully reconstructed and the track concreted inline with the western track that was concreted several years back. This will greatly improve the appearance of the entrance of the museum.
David Canini was engaged to excavate the trackbed to allow the relaying to proceed. David was digging up soil that he and his father Alex had placed near 30 years ago. The relationship between Canini Plant Hire and the museum goes back many years and two generations.
The spoil removed from the track was used to fill in between the rails further up the hill on Tramway Ave were erosion over the years and lowered the soil around the rails out just downhill from the scissors and also alongside the mass concrete track near the Pitt St Crossover to remove the ‘drop’ off the side of the slab.
The lifted rails have been cleaned and are now being welded back into position using the Pitt St level crossing slab as the reference point.
Today the track drain next to the gate was welded into position. Some concrete was also poured between the gate and the drain to lock down that section of track.
Work continues to be concentrated next to the front gate. Sections of ‘bolt-on’ check rail have been installed between Pitt Street and the track drain next to the gate. The welding of steel sleepers/tie bars has continued up the hill from the gate.
Over the last 2 weeks, more small loads of concrete have been used to stabilize the track. On the western track at this point, grooved tramway rail was used. We don’t have any more of that rail left. The Sydney tramways also used ‘bolted check rail’ which when concreted looked like grooved tramway rail. The museum has used most of its supplies of bolt-on as well. So for this section, the foot was cut off some lengths of light worn rail, which when welded into position looks just like the bolt-on check rail from above once it’s surrounded by concrete.
August 2014 – Pitt Street Eastern Track Mass Concreting
Now steel plate is being welded into position to ‘simulate’ grooved rail, and a number of small loads of concrete have enable a good length of ‘4ft’ to be completed.
A special extra workday. David Canini was back to excavate the ‘6ft’ between the tracks.
The ‘6ft’ David Canini excavated yesterday was concreted. As this was also a traffic day, the track crew worked in between regular services on the Sutherland line, with P1497 captured passing some very wet concrete. This now finishes off front gate area. However more work needs to be done further uphill to return the eastern track to use, but this concrete around the gate was the major target of this exercise.
Over the years the original asphalt surface in this area suffered from the ravages of the many trucks that have come in and out of the gate over the years, in particular Australian Train Movers large train/tram carrying trailer. This concrete surface should cope with the ravages of large trailers maneuvering into the site.
The target date for this work was to have the area tidied up for the COTMA visit on the 11th of October. A combination of luck and some hard work has seen this largely completed. Only a small amount of work now is needed to complete this section and return it to traffic.
The in morning before Trams under the Stars, some more concrete was offered, and more of the 4ft concreted. Some minor welding was also undertaken before people arrived for the late afternoon tram runs. This track is now reconnected and only needs about 2 metres more track to be fully supported, and the track will be again able to take trams. The sleeper pile that had been acting like a buffer-stop protecting the work site was tidied away.
The 4ft is nearly complete, with the eastern cess now formed up waiting on concrete. Most of the ‘6ft’ will be refilled with earth and grass planted to pretty the place up for the upcoming COTMA conference.
27th August – Moving the Starters Cabin
One of the issues discussed at the recent traffic staff meeting was finding a better place for the OIC to keep things like the radio mic and the starters journal during the day. The starters cabin was intended for this sort of thing, but it’s location just north of the signal box was too far from the ‘centre of the action’ around the bookshop and kiosk to be useful. The meeting agreed to ask if it could be moved. On Wednesday the 27th, the Wednesday work crew picked up the cabin using the No3 forklift and relocated it next to the kiosk where it can more usefully serve its role. It also moves this artifact off the roadway, where over the years it’s been nudged by various people attempting to park their cars alongside.
The relayed eastern track has been cleared for operation and re-opened for traffic. A small extra bit of finishing concrete was added. This event provided an excuse to get scrubber 141s out to give the rails a bit of a clean.
A 1-tonne bag of cold-mix asphalt was purchased and used to ‘finish off’ the front gate area. Shortly after these photos were taken the ‘6 foot’ between the tracks was back-filled and grass planted. The front gate area is now complete.
Railway Square also received extra attention with the ‘leftover’ material.
Street Track Relay
After many delays and years of planning, work has commenced on the next major track renewal project: the relay of the track in Tramway Avenue from the front gate to the scissors crossover.
This section of track was some of the earliest rail laid at the then "NEW SITE", as it was commonly referred to. It was put in with second hand sleepers so the museum could open in 1988 , with the intention of coming back post opening to relay the track. Like the best laid out plans, other projects took a higher priority and now 30 years later the infrastructure team has gotten back to finally relaying the track permanently in mass concrete.
Recovered tram rails from Anzac Parade, Kensington will be reused for this project. The plan is to take one track out of action at a time, resulting in single line working whilst each track is rebuilt. The first stage will see the western track relayed, with the second stage focusing on the eastern track. As has been done in the recent track relays, the rails have been pre-welded into long lengths prior to the start of excavation of the old track. Seven lengths of ex-Kensington 102lb grooved rail were cleaned of adhering concrete and welded into one long length with various ‘dings’ also repaired. Other works such as tie bars have also been prepared in the workshop by the museum's infrastructure crew.
As this a long running project, jump to the start of the following months -
- May 2020
- June 2020
- July 2020
- August 2020
- September 2020
- October 2020
- November 2020
- December 2020
- February 2021
25th April 2020
Works to prepare the current life-expired western track for excavation are underway, with old asphalt bordering the rails being cut up and removed, resulting in a nice clean finish.
2nd May 2020
Removal of the original track has now begun with earth excavations expected to begin next week. Lengths of Kensington rail have been moved closer to their final position.
9th May 2020
The museum's contract earth mover Alex Canini spent much of the day excavating the new track bed. The spoil was loaded onto the museum tip truck, and dumped in an area near the South Shed. Work was also undertaken to break up a worn section of concreted track south of the scissors crossover.
A time-lapse video of the day's excavation work has been posted to the museum's YouTube channel and embedded below for viewing.
16th May 2020
Our earth mover was back to finish breaking up and excavating the worn section of concreted track south of the scissors crossover, with the old rails removed.
Some of the spoil has been reused in other areas to 'tidy up' (fill holes and dips) sections of land alongside the South Hill track. Most has been stockpiled for future use near the South Shed.
20th May 2020
The infrastructure crew spent much of the day cutting up sections of the old rails, in preparation for reuse as track drain covers on the new track.
3rd June 2020
The track team continues to prepare the old rails for reuse as track drains and pit cover frames, among other uses.
13th June 2020
The new rails have now been laid, in preparation for their final positioning and connection to the existing rails.
17th June 2020
Work continues on welding the new Kensington rails, to the previously laid Bondi Junction rails at the Pitt St gate.
24th June 2020
The infrastructure crew continues to progress with minor works before concreting can begin. This includes adjusting the rails to the correct height and gauge, before tie bars and track drains are then fitted.
27th June 2020
Works have progressed on track re-gauging, as well as tie bar installation.
8th July 2020
Mike Giddey continues to prepare the rails for the fitting of tie bars, as donated chunks of concrete are spread out along the line.
18th July 2020
Installation of track drains is now underway, as more lengths of Kensington rail are selected and laid to complete the gap between the previously laid track, and the scissors crossover.
22nd July 2020
The works team have begun to level and weld the two new sections of grooved Kensington rail, to the rest of the existing track.
1st August 2020
The last of the tie bars have now been fitted, as progress continues on installing the track drains. Dents in the rails continue to be welded up as well.
Meanwhile, a section of the "four-foot" near the museum entrance, has already received a donation of surplus concrete.
6th August 2020
Another section of four-foot has received concrete, with the first of two track drains now locked into position.
21st August 2020
More surplus concrete has been donated, resulting in a continuous section of newly concreted track.
22nd August 2020
More sections of track are being marked and prepared for future concreting by the infrastructure crew. Also underway is the cutting down of a small section of concrete from a previous relay, so as to enable a new top layer to be poured. This will provide better connectivity between the old and new sections of concreted track.
29th August 2020
The museum received a 6.5 cubic metre load of concrete today, enabling the track team to make a significant amount of progress towards completion of the western track. Once the delivery was completed, the crew spent the entire afternoon screeding the concrete, in order to achieve a level and smooth finish before it began to cure. This task was finished by early evening.
16th September 2020
Another donation of concrete arrived at the museum, allowing a section of four-foot just before the second track drain to be completed.
19th September 2020
Yet another donation of surplus concrete arrived, which was laid just south of the previous donation.
Meanwhile, Mike Giddey is in the process of repurposing more sections of old rails, for re-use as track drains in the future eastern track relay.
3rd October 2020
The museum received a total of 3 cubic metres of surplus concrete at various points during the day; most of it being used to fill in more of the cess, however a further section of four-foot was also filled in.
Progress has also been made on the six-foot, with Ian Saxon continuing to dig a trench for conduits. Once this is complete, concrete will be received here as well.
Meanwhile preparation for the eastern track relay continues, as more sections of grooved Kensington rail is laid near the existing track for future welding and repairs.
17th October 2020
1.2 metres of concrete was donated to the museum today and poured in another section of four-foot. This leaves only a few more sections of track to be concreted before this portion of the relay is complete.
21st October 2020
Negative conduits were laid in the trench within the six-foot, as another donation of concrete was received. This was used to fill in a gap in the four-foot and cess, resulting in a continuous stretch of concreted track up to the second track drain. In addition, the first stretch of six-foot also received a layer of concrete.
28th October 2020
Another donation of concrete was laid in the six-foot. Despite a grim weather forecast, the rain luckily held off for most of the day, allowing the concrete to cure.
4th November 2020
Work continues on preparing more lengths of Kensington rail for the future eastern track relay as dings and cuts are ground down and welded off.
Meanwhile, with enough of the western track now concreted, 42s was used for a short test run, making it the first tram to run over the new rails since they last saw use in 1961.
7th November 2020
More of the six-foot received a donation of concrete. In addition, a brick electrical pit is being built around the negative conduits, which will ensure future access is maintained post-relay.
18th November 2020
A total of 3m of concrete arrived at the museum, and was poured into another section of four foot past the second track drain.
5th December 2020
The gap in the rails between the scissors crossover and the newly relaid track, has now been bridged with the placement of two small sections of grooved "closure" rail; resulting in a continuous stretch of track from the entrance gate up to the crossover and beyond. We await further donations of concrete to finish off this project.
19th December 2020
Mike Giddey continues to weld the "closure rails" between the crossover and new western track.
6th February 2021
Works continue on the final stage of welding between the closure rail and the scissors crossover. With this task completed, we will be able to receive concrete again; completing the western track.
13th February 2021
Under very wet conditions, the last of the 4’ on the western track was concreted. The was smoothed out in between various breaks of rain with the wet concrete covered over with corrugated sheets of metal for protection. With this recent pour, we now have a continuous stretch of concreted track between the scissors crossover and the Pitt Street front gate.
20th February 2021
Mike Giddey spent the morning welding the street end of the 2nd track drain in place.
Meanwhile, with the western track now mostly concreted aside from the six foot and a section of cess, this has meant trams are once again able to operate along this stretch of track without much issue. As such, the opportunity was taken for Sydney scrubber car 134s, to clean the track in preparation for its use in traffic during the Vintage Tramway Festival on the 28th February.
Once completed, the afternoon was spent hosing down the track to clear any remaining dirt.