Thursday, 15 November 2018

A Learning Day

Regular readers will know that we have steadily being replacing the Concentrators with a home built fully compliant model as designed by Kevern.
Unfortunately as soon as our back was turned, metaphorically speaking , two faults appeared around the Winchcombe unit whilst Paul and I were away sunning ourselves and it all fell  to Kevern to sort out the problem.
 Fortunately I was able to let him have some cable details from my own records in Sunny Spain and since then we have tried really hard to replicate the fault without success.
But it did make us realise that it was only Kevern who really understood the units and our records were , let us just say, a little less than perfect.

So it worked out that we had a training day on the new system and at last Paul and I feel more confident to sort a problem, if and when any should occur. Using Kevern's excellent notes as a guide we listened as he explained how he had managed to develop the first, 3000 type PO system , into the modern electronic version

Above is a raher cheesy pic of Paul) left ) and Kevern. .....Me, I was desperately trying to shuffle batteries as my camera had died.

Afterwards I ran a short session on cable fault location showing how it has developed from the  early days of the Detector 4 ( The Clock!) through the Exchange Test Desk with jumper party T2a's in long khaki dustcoats, to SA9083 testers. And then  to the present day of the pulse echo units and we did a practical session which proved that a part roll of jumper wire was still 47m long.

A really helpful day and thanks to Kevern for all his hard work, not only with the Concentrator units but also with supporting booklet that he had written

Now wheres that soldering iron?

Mike S

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Troughs and Stakes

Tuesday 13th Oct

Seven of us at Broadway today split into two groups - one on signal wire stakes and one on cable troughs.

Four of us continued with the laying og the concrete troughs southwards to Childswickham Bridge. The advanced party cleared the brambles, etc from the side of the fence adjacent to the caravan park site.

Then the process of lifting the bases down onto a roughly levelled ballast base. We took turns at this to prevent too much back ache - here are Keith L and Peter W taking a lead:

Luckily the gravel boarding along the bottom of the fence made it relatively easy to maintain the level and alignment.
And an end on view of the alignment up to the end of the fence

This is as far as we go for the time being. This gap between Childswickham Bridge and the fence is where the advanced starter signal is going to be situated, so to leave access for Steve to dig us a hole we will leave the rest of the troughing until the post is in and the position of any pulley blocks is determined:

Here, opposite, lying on the ground, is the post for signal no. 8 (advanced starter). I believe that plans are afoot to "plant" this post at the end of next week.

Meanwhile back towards the station work continues with the siting of the stakes for the signal wires. These are now in as far as the start of wooden fence by the caravan site - they are approx 3ft long so there is plenty of hammering to get them to the required height (bottom roller block mointing  hole 2" above rail height as measured with our trusty plank!)

Finished off with collar of concrete to keep them rigidly fixed. Here Keith L is shovelling the concrete from a barrow . This is being wheeled from the mixer at the end of platform 1 ramp - not very clever. We will have to acquire a P/Way trolley next time as we get further away to make life a bit easier 

And finally, here is a picture of the finished barrow crossing at platform 1 North. Must give the rubber a bit of a scrub next time!


Friday, 9 November 2018

Its not all Telephones you know!

Tuesday 6th November

By now most people will hopefully have seen the H&S Video which has been made required viewing by our Director of Safety, Chris Webb. In it he reminds everyone that all electrical tools which are used on GWSR property MUST be Pat tested and listed whether they are owned by the Railway or the property of an individual volunteer. Consequently we arranged that all of the mains powered tools which we may use in connection with telephone maintenance or installation would be brought in and tested. This particularly applies to our items such as portable power supplies, oscilloscopes and even simple things like soldering irons. Paul and I also tested the odd items often forgotten and found hiding in Locking Rooms like odd extension leads.

Meanwhile  Kevern was upstairs in Winchcombe Box contemplating mod's to the concentrator unit.
Later it was decided that the mod's could be done more easily and properly at his home workshop rather than balanced on the excellently painted shelf in Winchcombe Box. Oh wouldnt it be nice to have a clean Electrical Bench with good lighting to do this sort of fiddly jobs, Perhaps its getting nearer?.

After Lunch Paul and I went off to Toddington to look again at a Concentrator phone up by the Bridge which was worrying us and causing the signalman to get a false calling signal from time to time. This particular one is not often used but to us its still important that it works, you never know when it will be needed
 The line tested ok but the capacitor was only responding slowly to the standard ballistic test ie was leaky. Just old age I should think, I learnt long ago not to try changing components involving soldering on top of lineside cabinets. Since this is a non running week we will prepare another 706CB from stock and change it next week.

Incidentally next week is "Keverns Course". He promises to fully explain the circuit design constraints  within these concentrators. In the Mk1 and Mk2 units it was easy to be just loop Calling but as soon as we got Gotherington working to Cheltenham, we could see a design problem emerging. A lot of re-thinking around the design of the Box to Box circuits was needed .
Because they are bi -directional they are DC calling rather than the normal Loop calling of the standard SPT's and the ring current supply has to be automatically inhibited to avoid damaging the distant detection circuit. Should be an interesting session. He tells me that he will be using the newly completed box which is destined for Broadway as a training centrepiece.

Sorry its a bit wordy but hopefully some pics next week

Mike S

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Rodding Complete!

Tuesday 6th Nov.
Eight of us at Broadway today and three of our telephone engineers doing stuff at Winchcombe - so a very good turnout!
In my absence last week the second pair of  thermal compensators were bolted down and connected up.

This, with the  connection of the rodding to the fpl for the headhunt points marks the end of the Broadway rodding saga, George and Malcolm here bolting in the last piece :

It only remains to fit the slotted stretchers  which the fpl's lock - two new ones are on order for December.
So, on to signal wires. Two more stakes with pulleys need fitting between the south end of platform 1 and Evesham Road Bridge using the nylon rope to get the alignment right.

All the necessary pulleys are fitted across the bridge so it now remains to carry on with the stakes every 18ft - they are being sited adjacent to every other roller support block.

Then a continuous march firstly up to Childswickham Road Bridge for the Advanced Starter and way into the distance for the Home signal (some 720 yards from the signal box) - so a fair number of stakes required.
The Distant signal (a further 600 yards on will be motor operated) so only electrical cable required here. Which leads me neatly into some of the preparation for the cabling that we continued with today.
The cable runs from Toddington to Broadway will be buried in a trench up to Childswickham Road Bridge with connections along the way at line-side cabinets. Between the two bridges cabling will be placed in concrete troughs.
So today saw the aligning of the troughs along the fence line adjacent to the caravan club. Firstly clearing the brambles:

And then levelling off :

To get a good looking line of troughs. The lids are being left off until the cable appears:

About another 40 yards (=40 troughs) to go to C/Wickham Bridge next week if those involved this week have recovered enough from heaving these monsters about!!

A bit more finishing off has been done at the North end barrow crossing. Here is a view of the platform 2 side with the point rodding re-instated ready for its steel plate.

On the other side we have lowered the blue tube slightly and prepared the shuttering for a better thickness of concrete to cover the tube (no steel plate required here).

The concrete has been poured but I didn't get a picture - you will have to temper your disappointment until next week!


PS During my time off last week up north I ventured to the Aln Valley Railway at Alnwick and took a ride.
Here is one of their tank engines (Richboro) having a good blast up a 1:46 gradient back into Lionheart station.

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Two Down Two to Go

Tues 23rd Oct.

A good turnout today of 9 and three separate tasks to continue with.
Firstly, Peter W and Paul D headed off south to make a start with the "proper" laying of the cable troughs that had been dropped off the works train last week. A lot of levelling and aligning to get a smart looking run. The lids have been left off ready for cable(s) to be dropped in:

After a full day's grafting the troughing was laid up to the start of the fencing round the goods shed. Only another 200 yards to go to Childswickham Bridge!

George B, Carl S and Keith L set about configuring some shuttering to provide a concrete base and supporting steel structure for a steel plate to span over the point rodding and signal wire tube  at the barrow crossing (platform 2 side north) .
The blue tube has been shortened to match the width of the crossing - the four runs of rodding removed with excavation for a concrete base:

Three pieces of c-channel have been bolted to a piece of inverted rodding. Once concrete has been poured and set the rodding will be unbolted leaving bolting holes for the steel plate which will sit flush with the crossing pads :

In the next picture you can see another piece of rodding (supported on bricks on the lh side of the shuttering) - once this is set in the concrete we shall tap some holes in it to match securing holes in the other edge of the steel plate (with c/sunk heads of course)

And the finished structure - steel plate to follow.:

Meanwhile the rest of today's team continued with the fixing of the first pair of temperature compensators. John P in action with the magnetic drill after marking out the positions of the four mounting holes for each unit:

Then re-connecting the rodding and fitting split pins

And the completed set up with ballast replaced round the concrete block:

Not enough time left today for fixing the second pair of compensators but we are getting there.
We had quite a lot of interest shown from both the opposite platform and from the coach windows while this work was going on "what are those orange things for? So we had some interesting conversations  - so I think our compensators were the star attraction this week!


Tuesday, 16 October 2018


Tuesday 16th Oct

Not a lot to report today.
Four of us at Broadway to produce the concrete blocks for the compensators.
With the compensators now finally lined up with the point rodding, they were removed together with their mounting plates to give access for the pouring of concrete, and being careful not to disturb the mounting frame which will be secured in the concrete.

We then proceeded to pour endless barrow loads of concrete (John P on the mixer up on platform 2) - approx 36 loads to fill the two holes up to within 2" of the top of the  c-channel (to enable nuts to be fitted from underneath).

These blocks need to be pretty substantial to prevent movement.

Then the mounting plates were re-positioned to ensure that all holes still aligned:

Drilling of the mounting holes for the compensators will be done next week once the concrete has set. This should hopefully bring the rodding saga to a close!


Monday, 15 October 2018

A Good Wet Workout

Monday 15th Oct

An extra day today to take advantage of a train-free line to unload cable troughing - six of us braved the rain.

The class 73 had two objectives today once it had retrieved the two bogie flats from Broadway North siding - the empty one is destined for Stanway where PWay need it for loading a significant number of scrap/surplus rails which will be   transported  Winchcombe for sorting.
The second one has about 300 of the stored concrete cable troughs on it.

After a bit of shunting the empty one was despatched to Stanway and the other lined up just past Evesham Road Bridge - we gradually worked our way up to Childswickham Bridge unloading the troughs and placing them in their approx positions. There will still be a fair bit of work to level and align them. They will not be buried.

And looking south along the caravan site fence past the goods shed - a total of 300 offloaded up to Childswickham Bridge.

All rather soggy - it rained all day.  The next phase will have to wait for better weather!

And for a bit of respite lever 3 was pulled off in the box and I walked up in the drizzle to take a picture of the route indicating into  platform 2 - looks OK to me as UP M! !