Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Threading Signal Wires

Tuesday 18th Sept.

Seven of us at Broadway today to continue with the installation of signal wire stakes and to make a start with the threading of the wires.
A couple of barrow loads of tools loaded ready for action.

The roller blocks have now been fitted to the stakes all the way north on platform 2 side so wires can now be fitted. Here is a close up of one of the four roller sets on its stake (now concreted in). These rollers are brand new:

Now comes the tricky bit. These coils of signal wire are notoriously difficult to un-reel and can end up in a serious tangle if care is not taken. 
Carl approaches cautiously with the first coil! 

And then it is a three man job to uncoil. One to feed through the rollers, one to guide the wire off the coil and one to slowly rotate the coil. So John P will gradually work his way back from the signal at the North end of platform 2 threading back to the signal box while Carl S and Peter W man the unwinding:

Malcolm W then connects the end of the wire to the sling that will go round the pulley to take another piece of wire across the tracks to the platform 1 starter signal. This requires some splicing of the wires after passing  round a bushing to ensure a joint that won't pull undone (needs strong fingers and two pairs of pliers - not shown! ) :

Across the tracks a start is made with fitting the stakes which will take four wires up to the direction indicator and ground signals. Again we are making a 3  man job of this - the piece of wood on top of the stake to protect the nice shiny zinc coating as it is hammered in:

Neil C is finishing off the securing of the fpl (at the siding) with the mag drill  Four new holes for M20 bolts required in the mounting plate. Contrary to what I said last week, it does not now appear necessary to slice a piece of the base of the fpl - so full steam ahead:


Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Levelling Off

Tuesday 11th Sept.

Malcolm (the boss) is away on hols this week so we have been left a list of things to do.
So, a good turnout of 7 of us at Broadway to tick some boxes.
Four stalwarts set out to dig out and barrow some of the loose soil and small gravelly ballast from beyond the signal at the top end of platform 1.
The purpose of this is to infill round the concrete blocks on which the cranks are mounted. As it rains this will get washed down through the larger ballast and consolidate the packing round these blocks so ensuring that they can't move.
Steve and George having to carry a barrow full across the tracks:

And then deposit it round the blocks:

Looks a lot neater now that everything is levelled off:

As mentioned last week the stretcher bar which the fpl controls at the North siding points still has to be fitted. But before this can be done a bit of rectification needs to be carried out to straighten the end of the point blade - it doesn't seat correctly against the adjacent rail. So, bring on the heavy mob!
Neil C has brought this natty set of hydraulic jacking equipment to try and bend the blade a bit. There is a block of wood between the blade and rail (on the lhs - which you can't see) to act as a cantilever. Then pump up to 10 tons and leave for a few minutes. This was repeated 3 times.
Gap now a lot better:

Now the stretcher can be fitted. The following picture shows the bolting arrangement of the insulated joint on the platform 1 side. From the top of the picture coming down from the blade is a thick steel spacer followed by a plastic insulating shim butting up to the stretcher. On the other side of the stretcher is a second plastic insulating shim with a thin steel plate  butting up to the nuts.
The bolts are sleeved with a plastic tube to insulate them from the metalwork:

The stretcher bar is attached to the opposite blade using metal shims to maintain the correct spacing:

Unfortunately, with the fpl lined up with the locking slots in the stretcher the base of the fpl fouls by a small amount  on the joint in the baseplate. In a previous life these components probably didn't live together. The solution will probably be  to slice a little off the chamfered base of the fpl. We don't want to weld and re-slot the stretcher.

The stakes for the signal wire pulleys have now been set and concreted in alongside the rodding runs on the siding side:

And the supporting roller assembly for the rodding in the signal box tunnel has been wrestled into place.
With the lengths of rodding now in a settled position there is a bit of rubbing on the slots cut in the wooden "rabbit proof fence" - so a bit of easement required!

 John P hoping to drill and bolt down to the concrete floor this pm
(I had to depart early so got no pictures of this - will report outstanding observations next week!)


Tuesday, 4 September 2018

A Mainly Pulley Day

Tuesday 4th Sept.

Seven of us in attendance at Broadway today with the focus on pulleys and concrete.
Firstly the usual moving of several barrow loads of aggregate from the pickup to the pile at top end of platform 2 ready for mixing.

We need a fairly substantial block of concrete at the base of signal no. 39 (northern starter into platform 2) for signal wire pulleys. Peter with one of several barrow loads of concrete:

A three wheel pulley set is required here. One wire will operate this signal, one will operate the shunt (ground) signal attached to the post of no. 39, and one will direct a wire across the tracks to operate no.38 (starter signal into platform 1). The positioning of this is fairly precise to ensure that the wire will clear the staggered sleepers on its way across. We have mounted the pulley set on a wooden template with 3 lengths of screwed rod pushed down into the concrete - a length of rope attached to the opposite pulley gives us the alignment - all rather close but clear

The pulley opposite at the base of signal 38 is awaiting its concrete "boot"

The pulley directing the wire up to the shunt signal is one which was set some time ago when the post was installed - some rapidly encroaching undergrowth appearing:

And just a reminder of where this shunt signal is positioned :

John P and Carl S continue with the drilling and fixing of the 4-wheeled pulley blocks along the wall of platform 1. The installation of these pulleys has been completed along platform 2
Today should see them all finished along platform 1.

Next stage is making a start to position the stakes to hold the pulley blocks outside the platform limits. These will be knocked into the ballast and supported with a pool of concrete. Malcolm makes a start:

The two pulleys guiding the wires through the tube at the barrow crossing have been set :

Back up north I fitted the two straps to ensure that the spacing between the sleepers that carry the fpl and its operating crank cannot change and affect its operation:

The  fpl and its operating "slotted" stretcher have been positioned here - some drilling required to mount the fpl on the steel plate. The stretcher also has to be insulated from the Cotswold side rail for track circuiting purposes - will expand on this when we have the parts sorted out 


Tuesday, 28 August 2018

More Pulleys

Tuesday 28th August

Six of us at Broadway today to carry on with the installation of rods and wires.

Just needed 3 more lengths of rodding to complete the job. Some of this will need cutting up to connect to the four compensators once the new couplings have been delivered. This has left us with a respectable pile of about 30 lengths back at Winchcombe:

The compensators have been positioned on fabricated steel frames to hold them in position once concrete is poured. However concreting and final tweaking will have to wait until everything is connected - unfortunately we are still waiting delivery of the couplings (next week hopefully!) 

And back up north all the components have now been fitted to complete connections to the headhunt point and fpl (left unconnected for the time being of course). Just the fpl to install and concrete to pour round the single support rollers  and then we can concentrate on wiring up the signals:

So on to signal wire fitting. There are to be four wires running up each platform wall. Wires are supported on roller blocks - here is an example of one of many that were bolted onto their support (wait for it!)...... a short piece of rodding - one of its many uses!
We are using nuloc nuts and metric fasteners here to prevent any loosening due to vibration (not strictly heritage but not sure if you can still get BSW equivalent locking nuts) :

There will be one of these positioned every 15 feet. John P and Jim P are in action working back down platform 2 towards the signal box. Each one is fixed with screws using  two rawlplugs

A view of progress looking north

All done in between dodging the trains.  With P & O arriving majestically as usual:


Tuesday, 21 August 2018

A Bit of Wiring

Tuesday 21st August

A shortened report today as blogger had to leave at lunch for a hospital app. Nevertheless here is a summary of Broadway North in the pictures I managed to take.
Firstly, to make a change from point rodding (but only for a short while!) we have to sort out the routing of the signal wires along platform 2 ramp and across the barrow crossing. This has to be done before the tapered slabs are put back in place - the overhang restricts access for fixing the pulley blocks. John P starts off by finding the best place at the end of the ramp:

And George B poised with the plastic tube through which four signal wires will pass through:

But first a bit of ballast removal by Keith L:

And the tube set in adjacent to the rodding. The sleeper at the side is only a temporary measure. Probably have a concrete base here for a steel plate to sit on and span the rodding:

In the next picture with a pair of wires temporarily fitted, the roller block has been fitted upside down to bring the wires down to pass through the tube. There will be a similar block at the other end of the tube so that the wires will lift up again to clear the rodding stools:

Looks OK from here - a bit of tube alignment to centralise the wires:

Meanwhile, back to rodding. Now that both lines of rodding have been inserted a bit of re-alignment is required to straighten them up. So a bit of raking out of the ballast needed to ease the stools over. Keith L and Carl S taking some exercise!

Looks OK from the North end

P & O running round between operations:

A single roller support is needed to support the length of rodding that passes through the 4ft, both for the fpl and the headhunt point blade - so a bit more ballast removal and a shuttering boxes required for concrete blocks. All this probably completed in my absence later in the day

Cranks have been bolted to the sleepers in the 4ft for both fpl's :

I will catch up with the rest of the day's work next week.