The exciting development of the Yarra Glen station and yard continues apace, but it’s not a matter of just clearing the ground, laying ballast, sleepers and rails and start running trains.
To ensure the longevity of all the hard work being done by the YVR Way & Works volunteer track gangs, an accurate surveying of the ground must first be carried out and a track design developed with the help of the railway’s friends at Tracklink Surveys, so all the infrastructure is built exactly where we need it to be.
Using a GPS Rover, a mobile device carried and operated by a surveyor that uses information from orbiting global positioning satellites to pinpoint its exact position on earth, it’s possible to be accurate down to a 20 cm sphere around any given point.
Control Points are fixed points strategically positioned every 200 to 300 metres along our rail corridor providing known points of reference in which infrastructure can be built. Basically, this provides a detailed map of key features such as bridges, curves, grades, platforms and level crossings.
Using the above information provided by the Survey Pick-up, a complete track design model is created on a computer which is used to help track gangs know exactly where the track is to be built.
A bulldozer fitted with a GPS loaded with the above information can now begin cutting, shaping and grading the ground to the desired formation. Drainage is also installed at this point. Once this is completed, bottom ballast can be bought in and dropped along the now prepared formation in the correct alignment. The ballast is graded by the bulldozer and then compacted flat by a roller.
The track centreline and edge of the sleepers are now marked along the formation and then finally, sleepers can be laid and rail attached and clipped in place. This is then followed by top ballast, aligning and tamping. This all sounds very straight forward, but anyone who has laid track will know that it takes a lot of hard and sweaty work despite the use of machines.
There is certainly no doubt that YVR Way & Works volunteers are laying some of the highest quality track seen on any tourist railway in Australia that will serve us and our passengers well for decades to come.