Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Stool Report - 2

Tuesday 17th July

Four of us off to Broadway today to continue with the setting of the rodding stools.
But before we left Winchcombe we loaded up with a few more lengths of rodding from the old stockpile (having now used up all of the reconditioned lengths). Most of this looks in reasonably good condition. A rough count up shows that we will have more than enough to complete the job at Broadway :

We have also taken a load of aggregate on the pickup and barrowed this into a pile at the top end of platform 2 so that we can mix concrete closer to the "action point" - still had to wheel the electric mixer all the way up from the signal box though. John P carefully wheels it along the edge of the platform :

and starts to mix just as 4270 does its first smokey run round:

During the day Carl S and John P concreted in the final 15 stools up to halfway along the platform ramp:

This is as far as we can go before the corbelling gets in the way:

This next picture shows the amount of ramp that will have to be sliced off to get the next two stools and four signal wires through:

So, for a change, once the next 3 fabricated stools are in place  we proceed with concrete stools directly into the ballast, without further concrete, up to the first set of points. This view gives a better idea of where we are up to, just short of the barrow crossing:

We had just enough aggregate left to complete another task just north of the route indicator signal.
A concrete pad is required for a ground signal in the 6ft between the headshunt and siding. This will control shunting operation out of the siding.
So, with some shuttering that had been prepared earlier we wheeled 4 barrow loads of concrete up to complete the job. Carl S on tamping duty!

And once levelled off, a wooden template holding the 4 mounting studs is "wriggled" into the concrete. Here's Malcolm W surveying the finished job- direction Toddington and signal number 14:

Just to finish off today's blog a little further clarification regarding the modifications to Toddington box to accommodate going north to Broadway.
This, as far as I can recall, was all carried out when the railway wasn't running during the winter of 2008/2009. The lever frame was extended by 2 levers as part of this. I can remember painting/repainting  all the levers in the box during a very cold spell when I had the stove going to keep warm while the rest of the team were outside shivering! I am still reminded of this when getting the "plum" jobs!

So, hopefully Toddington Box is prepared for Broadway action.


Thursday, 12 July 2018

Stool Report

Thursday 12th July

Just two of us at Broadway today. I couldn't make Tuesday this week where the main team continued with the digging in and concreting of the rodding stools. Only 10 more now needed to reach the North end of platform 2.
Spent today removing the shuttering from the ones so far concreted and tidying up the ballast round them.

And fitting the remainder of our stock of zinc painted rodding. 
Will now have to bring up another load from our Winchcombe stockpile. 
Tried pulling the levers to see how it all moves so far - surprisingly free moving. 

Meanwhile back in the box thought it time to practice with a few more levers and check their locking sequence. So with the approach of the DMU here are the levers set for the signals (yet to be installed of course!) for the approach to Broadway from Toddington.

Lever nearest camera (red) is the home signal into platform 1, next is the outer home (red), third from camera (yellow) is the motor operated distant and finally the acceptance lever (red top, brown bottom) - sorry the colours aren't very clear.

 A separate concrete block has been installed to support a "swinger" pulley to guide the signal wire more effectively onto the wheel which feeds the wire under the track to the wooden post signal.

And that's all for this week. We now need to modify the end of the platform 2 North end ramp to allow the rodding runs to pass through - a bit of stone cutting  will be required 


Thursday, 5 July 2018

Troughs and Stools

Tuesday 3rd July

Some pictures first of the replacement cabling work going on at Winchcombe. A new cable has been connected along the sidings to the signal box, but not yet fully dug in. Looking towards Toddington a trench has been excavated by Steve and his JCB and the cable placed in:

And buried along the side of the barrow crossing. Looking towards the station the cable continues in the trench.

When the tenching becomes imupossible at the convergent tracks/rodding the cable continues in the concrete troughing that was collected from Broadway last week:

Steve in action with the JCB with Neil C supervising:

And a few more troughs to put in here to finish the job off.

A new cable drum holder has been fabricated. This will mount on the diesel rail car trailer to lay the next 1000m of cable in a trench from Laverton to Little Buckland. Trench still to be dug - should be able to keep Steve busy for a while yet!

Back at Broadway (5 of us today) work continues bedding in the rodding stools. We have positioned and lined up another 9 today, just past the position for the compensators - decided to leave further concreting until next week. Meanwhile John P knocks out and re-assembles the shuttering (in the shade of the footbridge) from the completed positions:

And Peter B puts in and bolts up a bit more rodding. 

While the rodding team were in action, Malcolm makes a start with positioning and fitting some roller sets to the southern end of platform 1 wall (makes a change from rodding!). These comprise a four roller set (lower) and a two roller set (upper). 

Four wires are required at the bracket signal - two arms and two call-on arms. Then one for the outer home signal and one for the advanced starter. All these signals still to be installed. 

Main concern at the moment is that we will run out of the special rodding t-bolts. A new supply being investigated. 4 are required per rod. 


Saturday, 30 June 2018

A Few More Stools

Thursday 28th June

Only three of us at Broadway today. I had to miss our normal Tuesday, although there was a small gang here who did stuff other than stools!
So here is a brief summary from Tuesday.
The connection of signal 7 (platform 1 starter wooden post) to the box has now been tidied up so that the wire is supported at 20ft intervals - 7 rollers have been attached to the platform wall to support the wire :

There is a tricky area at the end of  the platform ramp where the wire has to divert over the top of the rods to "squeeze" through. We should have left the two slabs out that we removed to get the rodding through! It works well with no obvious rubbing points.

Neil C has marshalled a pile of cable troughs on the edge of platform 2 - these will be collected  by the diesel railcar for moving to Winchcombe for installing a new cable from the siding renewal work up towards the signal box. The existing cable is buried under the track and will probably get damaged. So better safe than sorry!

So back to today and the dear old rodding.  We dug in a further three stools and concreted them in plus the other 5 that were prepared the previous week.

With the four runs of rodding now installed over all the concreted stools it looks the business:

There are now 7 more stools to put in before we reach the point where two of the compensators will go. We hope to get Steve and his mini digger in to prepare the hole for a substantial concrete block. Once we have laid out the positions we can determine how much to cut off the end of a sleeper to get it all in.

Finished off with a shot of Dinmore Manor appearing out of the shadows

Note in this picture that we have upgraded to an electric mixer after all the problems we had with the petrol one!


Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Advancing North

Tuesday 19th June 2018

Following the interest shown in Block Bells and the expectancy of sonorous tones expected from Broadway signal box in due course, I can announce that we are going to install a "Church Bell"  - and here it is:

I am reliably informed that the six types of block bell normally used are:

Church, Ordinary Round, Flat Round, Cow, Sheep, Gong.
I'm sure Church will sound best!

Back to stool planting. Firstly we unloaded another 20 lengths of rodding from our diminishing store at Winchcombe. These are now residing in the 6ft waiting to be put in once the concrete has set on the next batch of stools:

John P and Carl S started by dismantling the shuttering from last week's run of concreting and filling in the ballast round them:

George busied himself assembling some more stool/roller assemblies on the makeshift cabinet bench while Foremarke Hall rolled by

Still quite a few more needed to get us to the end of the platform - but sufficient to keep us going today:

A total of 28 stools have now been installed which takes us almost up to the footbridge. Probably another half dozen to get us to the point where the first pair of compensators need to be for the first set of points and fpl:

Just 5 of these left for concreting next week.

Couldn't resist climbing up the bracket signal to get an overhead view of Foremarke Hall on its last Broadway run round of the day:


Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Connected and Disconnected

Monday, 11th June

Firstly, apologies to my observant blog readers. I got carried away with the detector connections last week to the Wooden post starter signal - this was of course wrong and should have featured the new bracket signal (yet to be installed approx a panel length south of the points). Will explain this in more detail when we put the detector in.

So, to today. Four of us at Broadway. No trains running so we are going to temporarily disconnect the ground frame rods at the south points and connect up to the rodding runs from the signal box. We availed ourselves of the P Way trolley to save a bit of carrying to and fro:

With the ground frame disconnected we could now line out the positions for the point and fpl cranks on the steel plates that were installed last week. Firstly four pilot holes by Malcolm:

Followed by John P on the magnetic drill:

Note that the orange connecting link (here connecting to the point stretcher) has an insulated joint to keep the integrity of the track circuit) :

We had the generator with us today so that we could use the angle grinder for cutting the several short lengths required for connection. And of course two more holes needed in each end - achieved using the "high energy input" hole punch.

And here we are all connected up. George was sent off to the signal box to pull the levers and after a bit of adjustment all works well:

We left ourselves a bit tight for time at the end of the day but managed to get the ground frame re-connected ready for Tuesday's services.

So.. .. when the time comes it will be a relatively simple task to changeover to signal box operation. Just a bit of tidying up and tamping required round the concrete blocks.


Wednesday, 6 June 2018

A Change of Direction

Tuesday 5th June

We have decided to pause our efforts going South with the rodding - we can't do anything meaningful with with the setting of the cranks on the blocks that we installed last week until the connections from the ground frame are temporarily disconnected. So the grand plan is to do this next Monday (a non-running day) . We will then re-connect the ground frame (having checked that everything works from the box) leaving everything ready for connection to the signal box at a later date.

In answer to one of the questions to the blog last week regarding the positioning of the rollers that the rodding moves on. After several pulls on the levers it appears that rollers (having random positions in their slots initially) all adopt the same position along the run - so a pure rolling action of the roller stub axles in their slots is achieved (ie much reduced friction).
However, the Eagle eyed  observer will note that some rollers do not adopt this regimented position - this is because some of the lengths of rodding are not perfectly flat which means that some rollers do not make contact and do not move!
Similarly, some of the rodding lengths are not perfectly straight laterally which may result in contract with the sides of the rollers - so a certain amount of friction is unavoidable.

Anyway, enough of this roller talk and back to today's activity.
We are now marching northwards with the installation of stools. These have now morphed into the four wheel variety :

Quite a lot of time spent bolting the rollers onto the bases. Each set has 10 bolts. The bolts we happen to be using are a bit longer than they need to be so the winding up of nyloc nuts is a bit labour intensive- but very secure.

Here's Peter B our American volunteer from Hawaii (the current volcanic activity is not on his island) - over here for the summer, having a good workout with the spanners :

Our logistics for concreting today left a bit to be desired. We manhandled many barrow loads of aggregate from the back of the pickup by the station to a pile at the end of platform 2. A barrow crossing needs  a Barrowcrossing:

Concrete then mixed with a very temperamental petrol mixer
which somewhat hampered our progress today:

Then barrowed up the platform and shovelled into a bucket to be handed down to Jim P below

We managed to complete six stools today with a further three ready for concrete - so a modest start.

We were treated to KEII twice today with  well populated carriages: