Thursday, 18 May 2017

Putting the Block on

Tuesday 16th May

Four of us off to Broadway today to advance some of the work on the signal box.
As we were departing from Winchcombe we were held up by a departing wagon (presumably for Sharpness)

And last week a tube wagon being winched onto a low loader

The main task today was to mount the Block Shelf in the signal box. The two original brackets were too short and have had extensions welded on - they now needed to be cut to length after trying in position to get a suitable gap between the shelf and the top of the levers. The Transit doubled up as a workshop to do this:

First of all we had to hold the brackets in place and mark the hole positions in the roof beams and drill 2 holes  - a bit of an acrobatic performance because the roof is quite a height


Then to drill the holes in the Block shelf to match the brackets

Have we got the gap right?  Looks OK to me

Leaning- on test discovers that there is a significant lateral movement. A central horizontal bracket needs to be made and will be fitted to prevent this. Also a hollow pillar will be fitted for centre support  - this will double up to conceal the wiring. Otherwise it looks the business.

Meanwhile down in  the Locking Room Malcolm was wrestling with the fitting of the remaining connecting rods for the point operating levers. The ones we had were not the correct length so they have been shortened and re- welded  ( courtesy of out C&W colleagues) . They connect the lever tails to the angle cranks. Further rodding will then reach through the tunnel to trackside. Here's the top  connection

And here's the bottom

Fitting the split pins to retain the pivot pins in the lever tails is a very fiddly job . Malcolm managed it after uttering a few choice words

It was a relief to have a day off from cleaning  the dreaded point rodding today. Four of us have signed up for the grand rail  clipping at Little  Buckland tomorrow.


Monday, 8 May 2017

At Last!

Delighted to be able to say that the Toddington Concetrator is now working fully!

It always did work reliably to the trackside phones but we knew that we had a problem  with low audio level when  a signalman used it to talk from Todd to Winchcombe after much brain searching the problem was down to the design of the new modern transmission bridge. Whilst this coped with calling betwen boxes  the tiny DIL relays did not have enough inductance to  to ensure that the audio went out to line.

The change to  a differently wound relay has done the trick and its now fully working

We will now steadily upgrade the other units that have been installed  and continue with building the final one for Broadway

Mike S

PS We always did have a backup  system via the dial up phones throughout the system

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Same again......

Tuesday 2nd May

Six of us in action again at Winchcombe. A bit more signal preparation work to complete. Since last week the direction indicator signal was extracted from its moorings with the help of the JCB and the Telehandler. (wasn't there to get any pictures of the event). Here it is now lying on its side

The two wooden platforms were looking in need of a bit of preservation, so Jim P set to with a can of creosote. Both platforms have been a favourite stopping off point for the local bird life and were well coated in birdlime - another cleaning job required first

The wooden signal post still needs more fittings positioning. Today's task was to fix the lamp case support bracket. The spectacle plate was mounted first so that the lamp lens could be positioned as closely as possible to the centre of the red spectacle (note that the spectacles are much larger on this signal). Holes then drilled through the post to secure with screwed rodding. John P and Carl S were in charge of this:


We now need to modify a down rod to the correct length to connect the spectacle to the balance weight arm - a cut and weld job to follow.

While we have got the two other signals for Broadway north lying in the yard it was appropriate to make sure that we have finials which fit and  with holes that line up with holes in the post. An  awkward job to do once the posts are in position. These two will need a bit of packing to keep them vertical. Jim P wrestled with this after finishing the creosoting

And of course we all took our turns with the continued cleaning and painting of the point rodding. Now 28 finished and stacked with 2 more almost done. This is going to keep us busy for a few more weeks yet. Well worth the effort though because they will look pretty smart along the edge of Broadway platform for all to see!!



Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Rodding again

Tuesday 25th April

Five of us on site today - and the work schedule is ............more rodding cleaning and straightening.!
A new and more effective method of straightening the rodding has been developed by supporting on three wooden blocks and then "tapping" several times with a sledge hammer. This seemed to work pretty well and the ones with a lateral curve are now acceptable for final wire brushing and painting.

Malcolm and John P carried on with the cleaning

And then we attacked with the Rustoleum galvanising paint (an expensive 5 litres of it - hope this will be enough to complete the job).
It took about 10 minutes of continuous stirring to get it fully mixed - and then had to keep stirring every few minutes to ensure that the solids didn' t separate out again - good to apply with excellent coverage and touch dry pretty quickly.
We managed to get 7 of them fully painted before sleet and rain stopped play.


We have cleared some of the concrete slabs at the back of Winchcombe yard to store the painted rodding now that it can be let loose on the elements.
After Carl S and Keith L returned from a spot of new cable burying up by Greet Tunnel they moved the coated rods to their new resting place ( hopefully for not too long though )

The first seven neatly stacked - only another 130 to go!

A couple of other tasks have been moving along. A set of locking bars for the electric locks required for Broadway Box have been machined to size by one of our colleagues in Toddington machine shop.
These will require drilling and slotting once their positions have been established in situ on the locking frame.

And Malcolm W has been preparing the trackside markers to indicate the  stopping point for 8 coach train sets.


Thursday, 20 April 2017

More Routine

Wednesday 19rt April

Your blogger missed Tuesday this week but managed to make up for it on Wednesday. Am reliably informed that work continued with the wire brushing and straightening of the point rodding . There was also some trial fitting of the fixtures on the wooden signal post - a bit more work to do here yet with the positioning of the angle crank. This will require drilling and tapping of the steel boot which will probably wait until the post is installed at Broadway. The balance weight position is now fixed:

Malcolm W and myself carried on with point rodding activity - we are now about halfway through the pile. Unfortunately the galvanising paint has had to be re-sourced so we are still waiting to paint them. Once painted we are going to store them outside on the concrete slabs at the back of the yard at Winchcombe. In the meantime they are being stored in the MSC shed to prevent any further rusting - (hardly room to get in there now!) I won't bore you with any more pictures of point rodding but here is my estimate of the quantity of rodding we will need at Broadway for the proposed layout.

Northwards two  runs of 180 yards from the signal box to the first set of points and Facing Point Lock  ( Siding side)
Northwards two runs of 250 yards from the signal box to the second set of points (platform 1 headshunt side) and Facing Point Lock.
Southwards two runs of 250 yards from the signal box to the points and Facing Point Lock
Grand Total length 1360 yards which equates to 226 lengths of rodding (and about 160 rodding stools to support it all). We reckon we have enough to do the job.

Malcolm has been busy cleaning and  painting the cast SW signs and drilling mounting holes in the rodding posts . These are urgently required for the foot crossings on the extension.


Finished off today by applying dark grey undercoat to lamp casing, pulley wheels and signal detector base ( my back had had enough of bending over point rodding!)

Transport is being sorted out to move the first 4 signals ( long enough lorry with crane lift) to Broadway. It is hoped to do this within the next month.

STOP PRESS: Just had a phone call from Malcolm W to say that the galvanising paint has arrived (Thursday) - so a new painting experience next week then!


Tuesday, 11 April 2017

More Cleaning and Painting

Tuesday 11th April

The all consuming point rodding has taken up a lot of today's activity. Unfortunately the galvanising paint we were expecting has not been delivered yet so we continued with the second phase of wire brushing with the angle grinders to remove the remaining rust.

Keith L

And Carl S in full flow

While cleaning these we have noticed that many of them are slightly bowed so we are subjecting them to a straightening technique by supporting them at the ends and applying weight in the middle - hoping that over a period of time we will  reduce the curvature - that's the theory anyway! These are now stored on the floor of the MSC Shed.

The wooden signal post had already received its undercoat yesterday so today it received its top coats of white and black gloss - now looking good and weatherproof. Broadway next stop.

There are always plenty of parts to clean and paint. Jim P was occupied with pulley wheels and lamp casings.

And what better way to relax than in the sunshine of the Winchcombe tea gardens


Wednesday, 5 April 2017

A Bit More Posting Work

Tuesday 5th April

A total of 7 of us at work today. Paul and Mike went off to do telephone and fault finding work which is part of Mikes separate blog.
Just a footnote to add to his blog. I understand that the main reason for the Poor condition of the piece of 30 pair cable he is holding was the repair of this following a lineside bonfire which melted  some of the insulation circa 25 years ago!!

First task of the day was to re-fit the steel "boot" to the wooden post. This has now had all four seams welded. Three of us managed to manhandle it most of the way up the tapered post

However, with just a few more inches to go it got tight so we resorted to a bit of heavy persuasion with Malcolm on the sledge hammer:


It wouldn't seat down quite as far as the position it was in when tack welded- it has probably distorted slightly after finishing the seam welds in its free state. A couple of inches of timber protuding at the bottom isn't a problem and is going to allow copious layers of protective paint to be applied. The boot was then secured in place with the original 12 screws that had held the plates prior to welding  (absolute belt and braces)
We then applied a coat of primer paint to boot and timber. While doing this I spotted a date mark on the post (1929):


Undercoat and top coats to follow


While this was going on John P and Malcolm started to dismantle the arm, spec. plate, ladder and lower angle crank assembly from the direction indicator signal - this will now be lifted out as an assembly (bit of trenching round the base required first) prior to transporting to Broadway



 The wooden signal post will be held in position inside a concrete block with a layer  of  pea gravel . We have prepared the inner shuttering for this from some plywood kindly supplied by our colleagues next door at Carriage and Wagon. 


 All of the large pile of point rodding has had its first stage of cleaning completed and a couple of the badly corroded ones have been cut up and painted for conversion into supports for SW signs along the extension. 

Oh, and just after tidying up at the end of play I spotted the decayed end of the wooden post that we cut off prior to restoration - it was in rather a state