Tuesday, 26 May 2020

A Few Moving Pictures

Sunday 10th May

Trawling through the many pictures I have on my phone I have come across a few short videos that may be of interest.
The first is of the pointwork at Broadway South as we were installing the ground frame. The detection bars had not yet been installed but this shows the operation of the Facing Point Lock (I think the voice in the background is mine!)


The next one is a very short clip of Steve and his JCB dragging a rather delapidated Stop Block out of the brambles in Winchcombe yard.
This, if I am correct, ended up at the top of Broadway Head shunt.


And finally the testing of the re-installed point motor at Toddington after the track replacement in March 2017.
Here we have all the detection bars operating and with Malcolm W in charge!


Looking forward to getting back into action!

Regards to all


Thursday, 12 March 2020

A Quiet Day

Tuesday 10th March

Only four in today - quite a contrast to last week, so an opportunity to crack on with a few jobs in Winchcombe yard.
One of which was to move the preassembly of the CRC bracket signal along a bit.
Because we are using a cut down section of the main structure a new plate needs fixing to it for attaching the support strut.
Malcolm sets to with the hole drilling:

The support strut positioned after some adjustment to get the clamp casting seated correctly on the post.

The two dolls were then put in place so that the fittings can be positioned to determine the lengths of the down rods - but that will have to wait until next week

(the dolls are actually parallel - the direction of shot seems to have given the wrong impression!)

Today's other task was to re-assemble a crows nest now that it's component parts have been repainted. We only have one other spare one so this will be a welcome addition to our stock ready for the re-furb of the next signal.
To make life easier for fitting new boards we have bolted it to a post which currently holds up a lean to by the MSC shed.

Carl S is doing the woodwork

The final bolting down of the boards will be done next week - we have left them soaking in a bath of creosote to give them a better life expectancy.


Wednesday, 4 March 2020

On the Viaduct

Tuesday 3rd March

Nine of us in action today with the main objective to install cabling and re-bond the rails over Stanway viaduct.
Luckily the diesel railcar has now been serviced with its new brake blocks fitted and fuel and air systems functioning properly - so here we are ready to go with two cable drums loaded.

Before we can fit the new bonding wires we have to knock out the old pegs. The old bonding wires were chiselled off flush with the web of the rails before the rails were lifted. These pegs have been hammered in and need some serious "hammer and punch" to get them out. We are not considering drilling new holes because this section of rail is manganese steel which is notoriously difficult and time consuming to drill.
Malcolm W and Jim P do the kneeling :

I think there were about 15 panels to bond which means 64 rail ends to deal with with two pegs in each.
Having got all the old pegs out, new bonding wires are threaded behind the fishplates (keeps them out of the way of damage from tamping) and bent into the holes with new pegs then hammered in:

While this was going on the rest of the team busied themselves with cabling matters.
The re-furbished cabinet at the middle of the viaduct  has been re-mounted - this position feeds an end of a track circuit so a protective yellow tube is put in under the track to protect the cables :

And the railcar is used to run out the cables. One is a 20 pair which is the main connection between Toddington and Broadway.

Across the viaduct the contractors have already installed new concrete troughing to carry the cables - from the North end of the viaduct the main cable will be buried in a trench up to the distant signal. Steve and his JCB will do that this week.  Here the cable exits the troughing at the North end

And has been left on the sleeper ends ready for burying

Then follows a good workout putting the lids back on the troughs - about 250 of them in all.

We were fitting these from both ends and I was expecting an overlap or gap in the middle requiring stone cutting but miraculously they mated up exactly. 

Neil C has done most of the connecting up in the cabinets so we should be OK for running on Saturday. Here he is in deep connection mode being assisted by John B

It's unusual looking back towards Toddington here with the North siding empty. Vision of a double track railway!

The final tidy up to load all the old cable (cut into manageable lengths) and offcuts onto the trailer and then back off to Winchcombe for a cup of tea. 

One of the advantages of having the railcar in use out on the line is that we can boil a kettle on a camping gas stove out of the wind - so we weren't without sustenance!


Thursday, 27 February 2020

Viaduct Cables and CRC Bracket

Tuesday 25th Feb.

We continued today with the assembly of the replacement CRC bracket signal in Winchcombe yard and a bit more preparatory work with cabling at the viaduct - this to be finished off once the tamping of the replaced track has been completed - this week I think. We hope to re-bond the track over the viaduct next Tuesday - not much time left to get everything up and running now.

So, to the bracket signal. The platform is held onto the main post with two sets of clamping blocks. Two of these blocks have a large "bung" which fit into two diametrically opposite holes in the main post - once all the bolts are tightened this prevents any twisting or axial movement.

In order to fit the post the two halves of the steelwork have to be separated so that once the clamping blocks are bolted in there is clearance for the main post to slide in over the two  "bungs". Here is a view of one of the pairs of clamping blocks - you can see the locating bung in the bottom of the far half:

Here are the clamps positioned in the framework

The tele handler was then brought into play to manoeuvre the post into place - quite an unweildly lump particularly as the tele handler can't provide a sideways motion to "inch"  the post into the hole. (unfortunately I didn't get any pictures of our newly qualified driver (Malcolm W) as I had gone off to the viaduct on the cabling jaunt) - but suffice it to say it all went smoothly without any damage to the nearby parked cars!

The vertical bars you can see in the above photo have been refitted and will support the boards for the platform which we can now cut to suit.

While all this was going on two of the gang George B and Peter W were assigned a task to replace the tatty labels on the block shelf plungers and repeaters in Winchcombe signal box. Had to come to terms with using some significantly smaller screwdrivers than normal to deal with the small brass screws!
The old :

And the new:

The plungers refreshed:

The repeaters refreshed:

And George wrestling with the screws up his fingernails:

Three of us went up to a point approx 250 yards  north of the viaduct to replace a lineside cabinet that has been damaged during recent workings there and to prepare for the installation of a new 20 pair cable that will run from a new cabinet on the viaduct to this one.
The old cabinet is on the left:

And was wrestled out of the ground by Neil C- a significant lump of concrete attached. We smashed it off and dumped it back at the concrete pile at Staunton.

The other cable connecting here feeds the lamp on the adjacent distant signal. A bit of re-burying required by Peter W

The finished job - just the wiring still to connect up

The diesel railcar is being serviced at the moment and has been out of action needing new brake blocks so it cannot be used - we are planning on using it for our work on the viaduct next week to carry our equipment so fingers crossed the spares will arrive and be fitted this week.


Wednesday, 12 February 2020

More Cleaning

Tuesday 11th Feb

Another good turnout today with nine of us in attendance. So a mixed bag of activity.
We decided to postpone a visit to CRC because it was far too windy to be struggling with fittings on top of the scaffolding  round the outer home signal - will have to wait for a calmer day.

Another signal that requires attention is the Distant on the Bishops Cleeve side of Greet Tunnel. The plan here is to dig the existing one out and replace it with a shorter version. Here is one we prepared earlier - having bolted on the concrete "boot"

We managed to heave these fiendishly heavy blocks into position without the assistance of the Telehandler. Four lengths of M20 screwed rod clamp them securely onto the base of the post (never to be seen again when buried - a job for the JCB in due course).

 Neil C, Carl S and Keith L disappeared off to the viaduct to position a new cabinet ready for connecting a new cable once P. Way and the contractors have finished their work.
Re-bonding the rails is another task we must carry out. This should be fairly straightforward  as the original bonding wire pegs wee all knocked/drilled out before the track was lifted.
While at Toddington they concreted in a post for mounting a trackside phone at the southern end points.

Back in Winchcombe yard we continued with a series of "clean up and paint" jobs.
Peter W busied  himself with a bit of woodwork to make a new crows nest platform - creosoted and re-assembled:

George B and John P dismantle yet another pair of cabinets

Jim P cleaning parts for another crow's nest. Had to resort to splitting the nuts with an angle grinder - some well corroded bits after n years in all weathers at the top of a signal.

And a spectacle plate gets the treatment - plenty of nooks and crannies to tickle out corrosion and flaking paint.

Each of the lenses is secured in to the plate with some small flat clamps. Having got these out the securing  threaded holes need re-tapping. Careful not to break the tap John!!

So, all in all, quite a productive day


Wednesday, 5 February 2020

Continuing Cabling

Tuesday 4th Feb

Nine of us in today to continue with the re-siting of cables to avoid the Winchcombe embankment slip and to finish painting the CRC outer home signal post.

I was off to CRC for the painting with Malcolm W so unfortunately there are no photos of the action at Winchcombe but I took these of the completed work at the end of the day - so no mug shots I'm afraid!
All the old cables have now been removed from the slip side and fed under the tracks through protective yellow plastic tubing:

And an inside view of the newly positioned cabinet adjacent to the repeater signal at the end of platform 2. A fair bit of connecting up to do here.

Concrete troughing has been laid up to the cabinet at the bracket signal, cables inserted and lids put back on. The cables have been fed into the cabinet ready for connection.

And the connections to the motor operated points have been re-routed:

And finally a view of the completed troughing coming out through the road bridge towards the end of platform 2 - looks very neat!

This work using the 30 pair replacement  cables has resulted in the removal of a number of smaller cables -  a much tidier arrangement.

To bring you up to date with the re-furb of the CRC signal post - this has now been finish painted with its bottom black and upper white gloss coats, so providing we have good weather next week, the fittings can go back on.
And, if I dare to dream, this will release the scaffolding so that we can start to "dress" the new Broadway bracket!


Friday, 31 January 2020

Cable Re-location

Tuesday 28th Jan

Two activities today - the main one  being to re-locate the cables and lineside cabinets north of Winchcombe station between the road bridge and Greet Tunnel. The embankment adjacent to the new build houses (where the Harvest Home Pub used to be) is collapsing towards the track and is pushing over the existing lineside cabinets and cable troughs. Contractors are endeavouring to sort the embankment out - temporary pipework has been installed to take water directly into the track drains to alleviate the problem. (See drainage blogs for details). The two cabinets shown here will eventually be removed once the new cabling is installed. (note the temporary drainage pipe on the right)

To sort this out we are moving cables to the other side of the tracks (platform 1 side). Three cabinets (on point rodding legs!) are to be concreted in first.

One "post box" at the bridge

And the two large ones which we reclaimed from the Far Stanley area recently are positioned to deal with the new cables which will be routed under the tracks away from the slippage. One by the repeater signal at the end of platform 2

And one on platform 1 side:

Then the hard work to transfer the troughing to the other side.

We are utilising two lengths of the 30 pair cable that we rescued from Far Stanley recently during the re-cabling up to Greet Tunnel. One length dragged back from Winchcombe yard ready for re-locating:

In the meantime two of us went off to CRC to apply undercoat to the outer home signal post that we are re-conditioning - already cleaned and primed.
White undercoat at the top and dark grey ready for black gloss at the bottom:

There has been an intermittent problem with the electric lock on signal 22 in CRC signal box so the locking bar has been modified to adjust slot position - Malcolm W here re-fitting it down in the locking room:

And a modified link inserted to tighten up the signal wire