Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Trip Hazard Reduction

Tuesday 15th Feb

Mixed activities today at Broadway .
But first a shot in Winchcombe yard of the base of the second bracket signal due to be installed just south of the southern end points. This base will be bolted to a concrete block of approx one metre cubed. This will be progressed once Steve has dug us a suitable hole with the JCB (I gather he's rather busy at the moment though).

A lot of finishing off today starting at the northern end barrow crossing where John P busied himself with the mag drilling of holes to secure the two metal plates.

And then Keith L arrives with two barrow loads of concrete to finish off the retaining wall at the end of the platform slope:

Signal 8 up by Childswickham Bridge then got a bit of attention. It is now fully connected with all its fittings in place - here it is pulled off.

A bit of fine tuning of the alignment of the signal wire to prevent rubbing  was required so a "swinger " pulley has been fitted (seen here on the right )

Now that the bottom of the ladder for this signal has been securely fastened to its concrete block, the opportunity was taken to climb up  to touch up the scuffs to the white paint. It's pretty impossible to avoid damaging the paint when assembling the fittings. Anyway, this signal is now complete except for its electrical fittings which will have to wait until the cables are installed.

A notice is to be attached to this post to warn of the limited clearance between the caravan club fence and the track:

Opposite signal 8 the pulley to direct the wire up to the Home signal (you can just see this in the distance) has been aligned and its mounting plate set on two concrete blocks. We are going to leave the installation of the signal wire posts up to this signal until the trenching and burying of the main cable has been completed (heavy plant and signal wire posts don't mix in restricted areas!)

Neil C arrived later with the diesel railcar to uncoil another length of cable and to deliver two large concrete blocks (seen on the LH side of the trailer - the purpose of these I will describe shortly:

The railcar together with Carl S and Keith L then disappeared south to the distant signal, loaded with all the necessary equipment to install a large line-side cabinet:

The buried cable from Toddington will connect into this cabinet. You can see the cable emerging from the ground.
This cabinet will contain all the necessary equipment for this motor operated signal. A further identical cable will then connect here to carry on to Broadway (more cable trenching required)

Right, block time. The two large concrete blocks are part of a temporary platform to enable train crews to get access to the ground frame without the hazard of tripping over point rodding and signal wires. A couple of planks are bolted to the blocks:

And then  an old scaffold board is sawn up and screwed to the top:

A couple of sleeper halves and fence posts form the steps:

So hopefully safety reigns!


Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Plating Up

Tuesday 8th Jan.

A good turnout at Broadway with seven of us in action. It was Carl S's birthday yesterday so today saw the signal man's desk adorned with a selection of doughnuts to get us fuelled up ready for the cold outside.
I heard the clunk of a lever followed by George B saying "take a look outside " - and there it was  signal no. 4 now connected up and working perfectly!

And here is the pulley system directing the wires at the base of the bracket:

Today's main task was to fit the steel plates and construct ballast retaining walls to complete the barrow crossings.
Here are the steel plates arriving on the trailer of the diesel railcar - quite heavy lumps to manhandle. There are 5 plates in all, two for each crossing and a smaller one for mounting a pulley on blocks at Childswickham Bridge where the signal wires cross under the track towards the home signal.
At this point the cable drum on the trailer had unreeled a 20 pair cable from the distant signal, a distance of approx 1300yds.
Just arriving slowly:

And then Neil C heaving them off:

John P and Malcolm W start by using the Magdrill to drill holes through the plate and c-channel (embedded in the concrete)  at tapping drill size for M12 and then opening out clearance holes in the plate and finally countersinking for the bolt heads. Tapping the holes in the c-channel was necessary because of the limited access for fitting nuts underneath (and of course we needed to test our knowledge of tapping drill sizes!!)

Here is a close-up of one of the c/sunk bolts fitted - all nice and smooth with no trip hazard.

At each side of this southern end barrow crossing there is still a significant amount of infill/ballast required to provide a smooth transition from the ends of the platforms. This needs short retaining walls building to keep this infil away from the wires and rodding. Carl S makes a start on a brick wall platform 1 side. This will be made to match the platform wall and will eventually be topped off with an edging slab to make it all nice and tidy!

And on the opposite side on platform 2 Keith L shows off his bricklaying skills:

And here's a view of the completed crossing - just the infil and slabbing to finish it off.
Some of the spent ballast from the track work at Toddington would be useful here.

The two steel plates have been positioned at the North end crossing but are not yet fixed. The retaining wall has been started here to use up the last barrow load of concrete of the day - jobs to complete next week.

The other main thrust of our concreting today was to fix the foot of the ladder on the Advanced Starter signal at Childswickham Bridge in a block.
Would you believe that this needed 4 large barrow loads of concrete to fill it!
Two studs bolted to the bottom of the ladder are sunk into the concrete to secure it.

I think we should be coming to an end of the need for any more large concrete blocks - although I've just remembered that we are going to need an "industrial sized" one for the bracket signal yet to be installed between the ground frame and Childswickham Bridge!

And just to round off the day while we were up by C/Wickham Bridge the two concrete blocks (dropped off earlier by Neil C from the railcar) were roughly positioned  for the steel plate to carry a pulley which will divert a wire across the bridge to the Home Signal

Hole courtesy of Stevie W with mechanical assistance!
It's amazing just how much ash, brick and clinker is buried in this embankment.


Thursday, 20 December 2018

Making Way for the Wires

Tuesday 18th Dec.

Only five of us at Broadway today to continue with barrow crossing work at the south end of the platforms.
Platform 1 side needs a channel  through which the signal wires pass. Some shuttering has been prepared using old scaffold boards - now ready for some concrete:

And here with the concrete poured:

The length of point rodding on the right is secured in the concrete with some studs - the point rodding on the left holds two pieces of c-channel (the rodding will be removed once the concrete is set). A steel plate will then be bolted on to cover everything up.
On the opposite side of the crossing you can see a similar arrangement but with some block work. Because the ground to the left falls away significantly we need to build a retaining wall for the infill required. Peter W starts by digging out for some footings.

And now it is time to practice our bricklaying skills to match up with the platform wall. I'm afraid rain stopped play after the first row so I guess it will now be after Christmas before this is finished.

Adjacent to this another concrete block has been prepared to mount a horizontal pulley to direct a signal wire across to the base of the bracket signal.

I had a walk up to the signal by Childswickham Bridge with Malcolm to joint up the wire for this signal with the sling. This is now all connected up to the balance weight arm. The ladder, platform and upper fittings are still required to finish off this signal.

I promised a picture of the completed mechanical detector at the south points so here it is

Showing the three detector bars (one to each blade and one to the fpl). The piece of rodding on the left attaches the body of the detector to the rail to ensure that it cannot move.
The two locking bars (at right angles  which attach to the signal wires) have been tied off in a retracted position. This is to ensure that the ground frame can still operate.
Talk about leaves on the line causing problems - the fpl and locking bars were completely covered in leaves when we arrived, so we took some time to clear them away to prevent them clogging up the mechanisms

That's all from me until the New Year - so a very Happy Christmas to all you readers!


Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Filling the Gap

Tuesday 11th Dec.

Today's efforts at Broadway spent in doing work to fill in the gaps in the barrow crossing at the south end of the platforms.
We arrived with the blue pickup loaded with a fresh heap of aggregate which needed barrowing from the station entrance gate to a pile by the wooden signal post where we will do the concrete mixing. About  20 barrow loads later with 3 of us marching up and down:

We achieved a reasonable pile which should be enough for a day's concreting:

Just as we finished this we heard the unmistakable "roar" of the diesel railcar pulling into the station (slowly) un-reeling a 20 pair cable between the rails platform 2 side (this shows our newly fabricated reel holder in action).
Neil C had just reeled out the major part of this drum between Little Buckland and the distant signal ready for burying.
Calculations worked out fine because there was just enough cable remaining to complete the two runs required between the signal box and a cabinet to be installed adjacent to the existing bracket signal.

Having the railcar trailer here was the ideal opportunity to remove the pile of cable troughs to clear space for the line-side cabinet. You can see here where the cable has been manhandled  into rough position to be buried:

And the troughs loaded up for despatch to Winchcombe.

(There's a few more hundred still need moving from up near the signal box when we have an idle moment! )

Anyway, I digress from the main event. Preparations made for a concrete pour with some scaffold board shuttering in the gap between the rubber pads in the six foot and a bit of rubble to eke out the concrete:

Here is the finished pad which was eventually levelled out after much tamping :

In the foreground of this shot you can just see part of the concrete channel we are preparing for the rodding and signal wires to pass through - this is essentially the same arrangement as that at the northern crossing - with a steel plate to be fitted over the top.

And a close-up of the pad prior to a bit of tidying up:

I sloped off to walk up to the Advanced Starter signal up nr Childswickham Bridge where some further work had been carried out last week. A scaffold tower had been erected  to facilitate the mounting of the upper fittings:

And the counter-balance weight arm and pulleys have been fitted:

And finally, the railcar off back to Winchcombe with George B keeping us all clear of the tracks!


Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Pulley Work

Tuesday 4th Nov.

More concreting was the order of the day today.
Ready for action with the PWay trolley

A double pulley wheel set and a single vertical pulley wheel are required at signal B8 (advanced starter at Childswickham Bridge).
So we prepared a substantial concrete block to mount these using some of the concrete cable troughs as shuttering (we have plenty of these to play with) - they should be removable once the concrete has set. I think we got a bit carried away with the size of the excavation  but we should have enough aggregate to fill it with a few added brick ends.

But first to get the height for the concrete right for the pulleys using the nylon rope. The wire for the home signal will cross under the track through a plastic tube which will be then be buried where the up main used to pass which is now used as an access roadway. Another concrete block will be required here to turn the wire through 90 degrees.
The stakes for the signal wires will then continue over Childswickham Bridge and along the opposite side of the embankment to the Home Signal.

So, many barrow loads of concrete later (all laboriously trundled up from the mixer at the end of platform 1 on the trolley), we have a concrete block with the two templates containing the studs for mounting the pulleys.

Picture quality not too good I'm afraid - it was getting quite dark by this time and the flash doesn't seem to have done much for the image. 

Other stuff going on today was the feeding of some more signal wire through the rollers southwards - John P wrestling with a new coil - it really is awkward to deal with :

And Peter W on the end threading it through. This wire will operate the signal on the bracket behind him. There will probably be another pulley required here to get the wire in the correct alignment (another concrete block?!)

Neil C and Keith L disappeared southwards to do some cabling work - installing feed wires to the rails for track circuits.