Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Loads of Drilling

Tuesday 14th Nov

We continued at Broadway today with the fitting of the  point rodding angle cranks on the steel plates exiting the signal box tunnel.
Having lined out and pilot drilled the base mounting holes for the four northbound sets of rodding last week we now set out to position the three angle cranks for the southbound rodding.
Having got the positions set we decided at this stage to unbolt the steel plates and drag them out onto the ends of the freshly placed sleepers - a four man job! This enabled the use of the magnetic drill  - hopeless trying to do this in the tunnel with a hand drill.

But first we needed to drill (by hand) two more holes into the C- channel using the pre-drilled holes in the plate as a guide. The C- channel has turned out to be pretty hard and resisted several drills (13mm) before getting through. John P struggled valiantly in the restricted space:

Plates now clear of tunnel

Having got the plate assembly out and clear for attack from above,  the magnetic drill proved its worth. Each crank base is to be secured by four 3/4”BSW bolts ( we try to keep it heritage!) so we drilled through the plate with a 25/32” drill. Bolt clearance to be kept to a minimum to prevent any possible movement during operation.  We are hoping at this stage that our lining out was accurate!

The finished pattern for the northbound cranks:

And finally, all 7 bolted up in position with the plates back in . Our lining out proved to be pretty accurate and we got all the bolts in without any drama:

All this activity took us most of the day so nothing else to report, but we did have time to admire everything that was going on around us - new fencing going up between the goods shed and Evesham Road Bridge and  window frame painting on the station building. It’s a magnificent sight now looking northwards from the signal box vantage point.


Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Crank Setting

Tuesday 8th Nov

Five of us at Broadway today to do some preliminary layout of the cranks on the steel plates at the exit of the signal box tunnel under platform 2. and to continue with work on the locking frame.

A bit of freshly laid ballast to be scraped away and a couple of holes prepared for the two rodding stools which we are temporarily inserting to line things up. Keith L just loves shovelling ballast. A few of the fittings are lined up on the platform:

The cranks are of two different heights to prevent fouling. The four cranks we are fitting first will take the rodding from the tunnel through a right angle to direct it northwards up the side of platform 2. First step to set the stools in position so that we are approx equidistant between the sleeper ends and the platform wall. This allows a sufficient gap for a cable to be laid up against  the wall. So it looks as though our positioning of the steel plates was spot on.


All heights are now fixed by the steel plates.  We now slide in the 18ft lengths of rodding to align the crank positions. The holes in the ends of each crank have to be aligned at 45 degrees .

Unfortunately we only brought three lengths of point rodding from Winchcombe on a previous visit so we had to do a bit of swopping to set all four cranks.
We have now marked and pilot drilled the four holes for each crank base . When we have set a further    three cranks for the southbound rodding and the pulley wheels , we will remove the plates and use the magnetic base drill to open out all the holes for bolting. (not enough headroom to get at these holes with it).
These four northbound rods will operate the two points and two facing point locks. Levers 12,13 and 15,16.

Unfortunately rain ended up stopping play by mid afternoon so we repaired to the locking room to admire the efforts of Malcolm and George bringing the locking frame jigsaw to a conclusion. All locks and locking bars have now been fitted and subject to a bit of easement here and there it is now complete. Only remains to do the testing to make sure that all the locking combinations work.

 All 60 of the support brackets for the attaching the signal wire rollers to the platform walls have now been drilled and are ready for action.


Wednesday, 1 November 2017

A Range of Tasks

Tuesday 31st Oct

Seven of us in attendance at Winchcombe today with a range of tasks to carry out. Richard C, John P and Jim P were sent off to Broadway to pick up 10 lengths of concrete cable troughs to complete the cable tidying up at Winchcombe,  We took with us a rather smart armchair that Carl S has acquired - this is now placed “temptingly” in Broadway box to await its first incumbent!

The ballasting between the platforms at Broadway has now reached the southern end of the platforms and our recently fitted steel mounting plates are nestling neatly up against it. Glad we fitted these before the ballasting! 

Anyway, back to Winchcombe where the rest of the team were busy with the replacement cable work between the tracks. The old defective cable has now been severed and the new one attached into the lineside cabinets. We are going to leave the remains of the old cable buried where it is rather than attempt to dig out a whole load more ballast to try and find what the problem (sorry for previously building up expectations for an exciting resolution of the problem!!)
The final tidying up under way:


The other end of the new cable is connected back to the Toddington cable in this smaller cabinet which is now secured in concrete. A bit more painting required to finish off.

 Some more of the concrete troughing was required to provide ducting for the new telephone cables which will supply communication to the new reception building. So a bit more digging and cutting required by Jim P and John P. This is in preparation for the phone line installation by BT. 

The finished job:

Back at the bench we are cutting up two lengths of our beloved (carefully restored!) point rodding into 7” lengths to make mountings for the signal wire roller sets that will be attached along both platform walls at Broadway .  So, out with the angle grinder:


And approx 60 cuts and a couple of cut-off wheels later we had amassed 60 pieces which four of us set about filing off all the sharp edges, led by Keith L 

These will now have to have a mounting hole drilled at each end for the bolting.

I believe that the distance from the signal box to the northern end of the platforms is approx 500feet, so a fair number will be needed if, for example, we  position one every 20feet. I think that when we did a similar job  along platform 2 at Cheltenham we had a roller support at approx every 25ft ( to be decided) . To give you an idea of what such an assembly will look like here are Keith L’s hands posing with a mock up against the C &W building at the end of play (no holes drilled yet):

They will be attached using Rawlbolts. 

During the day we were observing the preparations for the removal of the first wagon from the rear siding at the back of the yard . This one I believe was made in the USA for the war effort in France and is now off to Sharpness (Vale of Berkeley Railway ) - going to need a fair bit of restoration! It did actually move without much resistance. 

Before sheeting 

After sheeting 

Another day of good jobs completed


Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Plating Up

Tuesday 24th Oct

Five of us turned out at Broadway today to carry on with the fitting of the two sets of steel trackside mounting plates for the pulley wheels and cranks. Today was going to probably be our last opportunity to drive the pick-up along the track bed as far as the signal box with all the heavy stuff. Just as well that the two steel plates for platform 1 side had been delivered - 2 big lumps 8 ft long by 16” wide. We also decided to bring the majority of the pulley assemblies and angle cranks plus 3 lengths of our lovingly restored point rodding (for alignment purposes) ,

Ballasting between the platforms has now reached the signal box and beyond southwards so we had to distract the mini-digger operator for a while to clear us a working space round the concrete base by platform 1 (hope we’re forgiven for holding up P-Way activity! wasn’t long)

Here the magnetic base drill really comes into its own . We are joining the two steel plates together a cross plate underneath. These holes (for 6 x M10 bolts) are countersunk so that we will end up with a completely flat surface on which to configure the pulleys:


The whole assembly is then bolted down to the four channels which are anchored in the concrete.
A total of 14 holes and counter sinks - took most of the morning by the time we got it all secure. I have temporarily placed one of the pulley wheel assemblies in position to give an idea of what things will look like - this one will direct a signal wire north up the platform wall . The wires to this side will pass between sleepers under the tracks: 

After lunch we repeated the exercise with the two larger plates for the exit from the locking room tunnel. Same number of holes and same procedure. Ballasting on this side not quite reached us yet so lying down to fit awkward nuts underneath was a lot easier. 


Again Malcolm and George were down in the locking continuing with the configuration of locks and locking bars. Much drilling and filing  and fitting still to do:


Wednesday, 18 October 2017

More at Winchcombe

Tuesday17th Oct

Eight of us on site at Winchcombe today. One team carrying on with sorting out the faulty cable across the tracks from the signal box and the other preparing some more parts for the signalling at Broadway.
A lot more ballast digging to prepare a trench for the replacement cable (a 20 pair armoured).

The cable will pass under the siding track through the orange plastic tube. This piece of cable will be approx 25 metres long to join the existing lineside box and the new (smaller) one pictured last week.
It has now been buried in position and will be connected up as soon as poss on a non-running day so that we don’t cause any disruption to operations.
We are now interested in finding out exactly what and where the fault is with the old cable. So, another ingress has been cut into it (at the position of the piece of covering grey tubing pictured below):

And then having bared the suspect wires carry out the magic pulse test -

This indicated that there is a fault approx 2 metres away in the Toddington direction. At this position the cable passes underneath water and electricity supply cables so we can’t pursue any further investigation until we have cut and dragged it out. You can just see the tubes carrying these services coming out between the sleepers:

A bit more tidying up for the Cheltenham cable with some additional trunking 

And a view of the spaghetti of existing  connections inside the cabinet. 

Part two consisted of organising some more fittings for Broadway.  Once we have fitted the steel plates for mounting the angle cranks for the point rodding and the pulley wheels for the signal wires we can start to line out their positions. To assist with this we have prepared two of the fabricated steel  rodding stools and bolted on a four wheel set of rollers: 

 The screwed rod bolted at right angles to the feet will serve to anchor them in a concrete “boot”. The height at which they will be set is determined by finished sleeper surface. The face onto which the roller sets are bolted will be level with the sleeper and spaced in the gap between the sleeper end and the platform wall. A length of point rodding laid on these two sets of rollers will then give us a good datum for positioning of the fittings. 

Here are a few of the bits in the process of being cleaned up:

and some of the speed restriction signs destined for Broadway

and some of the lineside cabinets now undercoated - silver and black top coats to follow:


Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Cable Hunting

Tuesday 10th Oct

A Cable fault lineside of Winchcombe Signal Box was the subject of  today’s labours under the direction of Neil C. Two cables go under the tracks from the box and needed digging out of the ballast - one is the Toddington communication cable and one is the Cheltenham communication cable. A very time consuming and awkward job to tickle the ballast out from under numerous rails.

But after much concerted digging all was revealed

There has apparently been an intermittent fault on the Toddington line for some time so a bit of testing was now required to try and determine the location. The clever bit now follows!
From the cable end connections in the Signal Box, an electrical pulse is sent down the suspected faulty wire using a Time Domain Reflectometer (wow!). If there is a break/fault this pulse is reflected back down the wire and the instrument measures the time this takes thus giving a measure to where the fault lies. This indicated that there was a fault within 38 metres. So.....further digging ensued to try and locate the Toddington cable circa this distance:

Next stage was to bore into the cable to uncover the “offending wires” inside. This means cutting off the covering sheath, cutting through the steel armour and the plastic insulation, to eventually bare the wires in question and to carry out a short circuit test. All this led us to believe that we could remove a length of cable between 25 and 38 metres from source - this would enable the existing cable to be connected into the adjacent lineside box and a new piece of cable to be installed from this box to a new box beyond the 38 metre point. In the last picture the savaged cable is temporarily protected with a piece of plastic tubing. A freshly prepared lineside box now ready for a bit of concrete:

Neil will need a few hours of quiet concentration to reconnect cables when the railway isn’t running!
A new piece of cable is now standing by 

To protect the cables running under the tracks, concrete troughing has been installed. This will give protection from  burning coal which can  cause damage  and makes it evident where cables are 

Back at the workshop we have been restoring more lineside cabinets which will be required around Broadway to connect all the cabling that will be required there