Track gangs and passing trains

It might surprise you, but plenty of work happens on Melbourne’s railway network while trains are still running.

Metro Trains track gang at work at Richmond Junction

Work crews stepping off the tracks when trains approach.

Alstom Comeng train 572M passes metro staff inspecting the tracks at Franklin Street

And then get back to work inspecting the tracks once they’ve passed.

Maintenance staff get back to work after a down train departs Sunshine

But trains have continued running through bigger projects – like the 2009 rebuilding of Laverton station.

VLocity VL30 and classmate runs through the worksite at Laverton

Where an entire track was ripped up.

VLocity VL30 and two classmates run through the worksite at Laverton

Or the rebuilding of a level crossing in Geelong.

Ballast regulator 5th run: regulating with brushes

With V/Line trains crawling along to one side.

VLocity train passes a ballast tamper on the other track at North Shore

And freight trains on the other.

Trackwork continues as a freight train passes on the other track

Or Regional Rail Rail works at South Kensington.

Up VLocity gets the red flag on the approach to the worksite at South Kensington

Each train being stopped by a red flag, allowing the track to be cleared, before a green flag was given to proceed.

Down train passes the active worksite at South Kensington

But the craziest example I’ve seen was back in 2009 outside Geelong.

Freshly resleepered track at Bell Post Hill

The complete trackbed had been dug up and relaid, but no ballast had been laid.

Rail joint on the resleepered track

But a steam train headed towards Ballarat was still allowed over the track.

The kettle on a light simmer along the unballasted track

But with the track gang keeping a very close eye on it’s progress.

Workers go to check up on the unballasted track after T413 passes

A similarly crazy movement occurred in 2007, when suburban trains stranded by the Middleborough Road Project were rescued by diesel locomotives travelling on a hastily constructed track through the work site.


This video has done the rounds over the years – 1,200 Japanese workers convert above-ground train to subway line in a matter of hours.

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