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Rail gold: reusing rail in regional Victoria

30 Jul 2020

In early July the Victorian Goldfields Railway (VGR) started installing about 270 concrete sleepers which had come from our Cheltenham and Mentone sites. The heritage railway, which runs between Castlemaine and Maldon, is taking advantage of a temporary shutdown of V/Line services to upgrade the 18 km of tracks.

A team of volunteers, coming from as far afield as Lilydale, have been swapping out every second old sleeper for a reused concrete one. Because of lower speeds, lower axel loads, and fewer trains, the old sleepers will have a much longer life – it's expected that they won’t have to be replaced for 50 years.

Steve Strangward from VGR said the donation of surplus mainline rail infrastructure was desperately needed and gladly received by the volunteers from these Not for Profit tourist & heritage organisations and they would be using the materials to upgrade and restore their rail network for their famous steam train operations in regional Victoria.

The Level Crossing Removal Project is working with heritage railways across Victoria and the Cheltenham and Mentone project has delivered more than 6 kilometres of rail, 5000 sleepers, and a range of other rail materials to Yarra Valley Railway, Victorian Goldfields Railway, Mornington Railway, and the Daylesford Spa Country Railway.

They heritage railways receive materials which are in good condition and this allows them to keep running, reduces the maintenance on their lines, reduces the stress and strain on their volunteers and helps support tourism in regional Victoria.

A red heritage steam train.

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