Wednesday, 22 March 2017

More Cleaning

Tuesday 21st March

Bit down on numbers with only John P, Richard C in with Malcolm W and Neil C

Just a brief post today as 3 of us continued with the exciting cleaning of some of the corroded lengths of point rodding from the pile in Winchcombe yard. Some of it needs scale knocking off with a chipping hammer first followed up with angle grinding.
All the fishplates have been removed and stored.
But we are getting there - should be about two thirds of the way through it now:

We should have the zinc paint available next week. Need a few dry, warm days then to paint and get them stored at the back of the yard ready for Broadway.

Just a few words about the stools on which this rodding will eventually be mounted. There will be a combination of roller sets which will go in both directions from the signal box to operate points south of Evesham Road Bridge and those north of Broadway Station. Stools will be set at 9ft intervals. 78 of these which will go north from the signal box along the under edge of platform 2 and have already been fabricated in our Winchcombe "workshop" . They are waiting to go away for zinc plating. Here is a picture of one - the roller set will be bolted on top and there will be two pieces of screwed rod bolted to the legs to secure them in a concreted hole ( so quite a bit of  fixing to do once the track level is established)

The rest of the stools are already assembled with their respective roller sets bolted on concrete blocks The blocks will be buried in the trackside ballast. Here are some of them hiding between coaches in the sidings:

Finally, Neil C busied himself with the Telehandler to retrieve the 2 signal posts that are required for Broadway north. We've set them in half of the concrete boot in which they will eventually be bolted.

These will be off to Broadway in the very near future together with the route indicator signal once we've lifted it out


Wednesday, 15 March 2017

More Reclamation

Tuesday 14th March

No excuses for poor timekeeping today! The Toddington Station clock is now receiving its final black  paint makeover after its mechanical/electrical overhaul somewhere down south.  Here it is , almost second perfect, on the bench in the S & T coach at Winchcombe:

You will have noticed from a previous blog that there is a large pile of point rodding sitting in the yard at Winchcombe which was recently collected from the Great Central Railway at Loughborough. I learnt yesterday that this rodding has quite an interesting history. Apparently it came previously from the Wells and Walsingham Narrow Gauge Railway in Norfolk where it was used as rails.  I mention this because one edge of the rodding has been rolled over by train wheels producing a sharp lip which we have decided must be removed because it is a bit of a hazard to handling and is a potential water trap. So, you know what's coming next!  There are about 130 eighteen foot long lengths to angle grind to remove this lip plus a significant amount of rust and pitting to remove. This should keep us busy for a few weeks. We may need a bit more for Broadway but fingers crossed.we have enough here.

But first things first. The ends of the rodding have a connecting fishplate bolted in. Unfortunately the bolts used are undersize and must be replaced with close fit bolts to prevent any movement during operation. The nuts were well rusted onto the bolts so it was necessary to cut off the off the bolt heads
With an angle grinder - this kept John P busy for most of the day:


Meanwhile Jim P and I tooled ourselves up with angle grinders and proceeded with the monotonous task of grinding off the lips and some of the rust. We will leave  the final clean until we have the rust proofing paint available


We completed 35 by the end of play

It would be interesting if any blog follower has information about the trackwork ( 10.25" gauge) at Wells and Walsingham and the history of this rodding. Great to see it having a new lease of life at Broadway.


PS Have to admit that we had time off to watch the Race Trains pass through Winchcombe station well tooled up with Guinness and champagne - great to see the Railway in action again.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Finishing Off

Tuesday 7th March

Four of us at work today. Some finishing off required at the re-vamped track end of Winchcombe.
Richard C and John P went off to Broadway to pick up a few more of the concrete cable troughs stored there. We need a few more to finish off the cable protection up to the new point motor.
But first a view of all four new signals taken from platform 1:

To make a really smart job of the troughing we cut the ends of two troughs and lids at 45 dig to give us a nice right angled approach to the point motor.


There is quite a spaghetti of cables entering and leaving the line side cabinet 


So we did a bit more cutting of ports in the troughing to tidy this up a bit. One of the larger cables here is due to be replaced in the near future so we are not going to bury and cover them with ballast until this has been done. Anyway it's looking a lot tidier 


Here's   a view of the completed job


Having run trains over the re-laid points over the weekend it was necessary to make some adjustments to the settings of the detectors on the point motor. Malcolm W and Neil C tried different  spacer combinations on the stretcher bars to fine tune the seating of the point blades. 
The replacement point motor moves the blades pretty rapidly so it's essential to keep fingers and tools  clear of the gap when it is operating under power ! A hand crank is used to wind the system over  while making these adjustments 

We gave the point motor cover a coat of silver paint to finish off the job - lets hope we have everything set spot on for reliable operation.

Just a quick word to finish off regarding further preparations for Broadway signal box. Malcolm W is sorting out the manufacture of 16 couplings which we need to couple the vertical tappet blades to the electrical locks. Once we have these made we can get on with fitting the locks to the bottom of the locking trays - a fair bit of drilling and bolting required. Here's a picture of the one coupling we are using as a pattern:



Thursday, 2 March 2017

Connecting the Signals

Tuesday 28th Feb

Six of us in action today with several objectives at Winchcombe:

To replace the remaining signal wire stakes with their pulleys.
To connect all the signal wires to the re-positioned starter signals and their banner repeaters.
To continue laying the concrete cable troughing from the line side cabinet to the connection point for the new point motor.
Fit approx 120 track bonding wires (all holes in rails previously drilled)
Re-connect the track circuit wiring.
Clean and paint the wooden signal post at the end of platform 2 ( now the repeater).

Malcolm W has been busy since last week preparing the 2 Banner Repeater discs , here's the second one finished and  ready to take up and fit:

And here it is fitted


And it does work!


Signal wire can be very tricky to uncoil and great care must be taken to keep the coil from springing open because once it gets tangled it can be a swine to straighten, hence a steady 2 man operation with Keith holding tight and Jim easing it out:

And a couple of shots of the connections at the signals. This one of the platform 2 starter has ended up with 3 pulleys to reach up the bank. The wire coming down from the upper pulley is the return pull to activate the banner repeater at the end of the platform.


The arrangement for the platform 1 starter is more straightforward requiring only one pulley for the return pull to its banner. This shot not too clear as I was put off by the approach of the tamper! A lot of activity going on today, dodging around P.Way activity!

John P and Jim P were busy with the bonding wire fitting. Quite a long job which took all day. Luckily Neil C had pre-drilled the two holes in the rail ends a couple of weeks earlier. Bonding wires are fitted in pairs so that there is always continuity in case one gets broken or disconnected.


There has been  a visit by S & T to the Great Central Railway at Loughborough to collect a purchase of point rodding. This is another essential supply required for Broadway. It is looking a bit rusty at the moment so another few hours of angle grinding with wire brushes required followed by a bit of anti-rust treatment.  Never a dull moment!

 I'm afraid I didn't get any more photos of the rest of today's activity but I can report that we achieved most of our objectives.
Four of us were at it again on Wednesday. Neil C was beavering away to finish  installing the new cabling for the track circuits. Richard C , Ian R (all the way from Bletchley) and Malcolm W spent the day installing the point stretchers and linkages for the point motor. A lot of adjustment was necessary with trial and error spacers to ensure that the point blades were in the correct position and within tolerance.  Some work still required to determine the length of the detector linkages once the motor is positioned. 
The plan is to instal the point motor on Thursday. Hope it all works by Saturday!


Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Sloping Off- who us, Never!

Whilst much mechanical work has been going on to get Winchcombe's new track signalling ready for the new season. 
Paul terminating cable s into the new Krone distribution Board

We on the "electrical side" of S&T have achieved a lot in so much as the new concentrator has now been installed and commissioned  at Toddington Signal Box , this is the 4th we have built from scratch.
Now only Broadway to do!

New Unit installed at Toddington

Gradually we are also carrying out improvements to the various Signal Post Phones to improve reliability and get them  to a standard internal design to make repairs easier.
Train Crews will also see more consistency in the external labelling of the SPT's which will make it easier to find them and, as at the earlier 'boxes, when they lift the handset, they will hear a ringing  tone to indicate that the circuit is working.

Meanwhile, Kevern had been taking a short break from writing up the maintenance and repair notes for the new units and was at Winchcombe investigating  the circuit conditions needed for our Box to Box circuits to work

Internal view of the Toddington Unit

Len and I  started  with  an apparent disconnection up on the Bracket Signal 27/29 which is north of Toddington. After a long walk we found that in fact it wasn't disconnected but internally, the bell was!
(The presence of the ring capacitor is a standard line test from a distance and shows up clearly on an analogue meter.)
Anyway, Len and I drew a reconditioned unit from our stock back at Winchcombe  and installed it.
I reckon that between us, we walked about 3 miles on the ballast to get it done.
'Tis done and working now.

Mike S

Still Getting Connected

Tuesday 21st Feb

Overwhelmed today with 8 of us turned out - our "bijou" carriage mess room could barely cope with the first cuppa of the day.!

Mike S and Len went off try and detect cable faults that have been reported between Toddington and Winchcombe.

The rest of us went off to Winchcombe South to carry on with the re-connection of the new Starter Signals. On the walk up platform 1 we were just in time to see the delivery of the new temporary Elf Centre:

And couldn't help noticing the recently poured concrete foundations for the new Visitor Centre - glad we didn't have to mix that lot by hand.

Anyway, back to the day's objectives.  Having got most of the pulley wheels fixed into position last week we still had to configure an additional wheel at the base of the new platform 2 starter signal to allow the reverse pull to the banner repeater. So another concrete block was required. A bit more shuttering and more concrete


And here's the vertical pulley in position on its template. The  second picture shows the double pulley wheel set which will connect to this pulley and to the angle crank on the signal post.

To enable all this to be connected, we have to re-install quite a few signal wire stakes. Each of these has a pulley wheel set attached on which the signal wires are supported. The stakes are hammered into the ballast and then given a shot of concrete to keep them rigid. Getting the alignment correct to avoid drain covers and other obstacles is essential to prevent rubbing of the wires.  We previously removed many of these stakes to provide access for the track modification activity. 

Keith,  as usual,  shovelling ballast to create a pocket for the concrete

Richard C, having  been nominated  the departmental painter, was despatched to tidy up the paintwork on the two new signals. It's quite difficult to prevent chipping the paint on the posts when mounting the fittings so a bit of re-painting is required. Took the opportunity to add another coat of gloss to both posts and their ladders. 

While all this was going on the ballast train appeared and deposited 6 wagon loads of ballast on the newly laid track. So just in case you haven't seen enough shots of this on the P Way Blog, here is our take on some beautifully deposited ballast:

Quite a bit more to do and just over a week to go before the first service train - so no pressure then!


Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Signal Wheels

Tuesday 14th Feb

We are now racing ahead to get the two new signals associated with the re-vamped trackwork at Winchcombe with their banner repeaters operational. Last week the two new "short" Signal posts were put in and fitted with all their re-conditioned parts. These are shorter than normal so that they can be seen under the road bridge:

The first of the discs for the banner repeaters are under way, here's the first one cut from apiece of steel plate with it's first coat of primer:

Today's main task was to instal four signal wire pulleys, one at each new signal and a re-positioned one at the existing posts for the repeaters. All four require a new cast concrete block. Unfortunately we had to dig out a huge lump of concrete to enable the new block to be correctly positioned for the platform 2 repeater - this proved to be a very energetic job for Keith L


Shuttering was then positioned and concrete poured. The pulley wheel is bolted to a piece of plywood    
with some pieces of 12mm dia screwed rod which protrude approx 8" underneath into the concrete. Once set the plywood template will be removed and the pulley bolted onto the concrete surface:

The one opposite required an extension to the existing concrete block to raise the height of the pulley so that the signal wires woul clear the adjacent drain inspection cover:


The pulley for the new platform 2 starter signal posed a bit more of a problem. This signal is set into the embankment and requires the pulley to be set about 20 degrees from the horizontal to feed the signal wire up to the post. So we set the shuttering up at this angle and used a dry mix in the hope that    the concrete would stay put - luckily it did!

Then the last one for platform 1 starter opposite:


It was surprising just how much concrete we used for these for blocks. We trundled up 4 "bath tubs" full of aggregate and used four bags of cement ( sorry Andy) .  Keith felt that he needed a bath after all his hard work:

And thank goodness for the P Way trolleys  getting all the materials to site. We did leave them in good order for Wednesdays trackwork operations. We will wait until the ballasting is completed before re-installing the signal wire posts and wheels