Large Scale Central

Navvies Equipment on Australian Sugar Cane Railway Pt1

A few shots of the Navvies equipment used on the Australian Sugar cane Railway.

Compressor driven Leaf Blower used to clear track of leaves and branches (Railway is in a Botanical Gardens)

The Leaf Blower outlet
The navvies trolley with trailer, hand tools (picks, shovels, and the all important “smoko” chairs etc) are in the metal boxes.

Explainer; "Smoko is a 15 minute break taken between Start time and the lunch break with a second between lunch and finish (knock off) time. It was when a smoker got the chance to have a cigarette/cigar/pipe.

Ballast hopper in background, the sleepers are laid straight onto the ground and “CrackerDust” (a type of blue metal rock fine crushed) is used to fill under, around and between them. A tamper is used for this purpose.


What are the bent bars and castings on the trailer in the last pic?

The bent bars are sleeper/tie lifters we used cast concrete sleepers with a metal loop cast into them.
The loops take clips that hold the foot of the rail to the sleeper.
When are replacing the old timber sleepers with concrete ones as they rot or the white ants (termites) eat them out.
The small hook at the bottom goes into the clip loops and with 2 people either side we can maneuver a sleeper into position.
Once it is positioned under the rail we use a “lifter” to lift the sleeper into position so the clips can be hammered into the loops . You can see the handles of the lifters in the trailer they are basically a long handle with a semicircle of flat steel at one end.
The semicircle goes under the sleeper and they are levered up to the rail.
When in place the sleepers are backed filled and the tamper is used to pack under them.

The castings are rail jacks used to hold the rail up while the sleepers are located underneath the rail. You can see the pieces where the handles fit and the handles are just visible behind.
It takes 4 people to replace a sleeper, lots of pick and shovel work to dig the old ones out. (we are an aging group so we take it easy).

You can see sleepers with clips in these picture, The yellow device is our rail bender.

The area that the rail is being run into is now inside the shed that the Navvies gear is stored in, sort of a before and after