Wednesday, 12 June 2019

A Washout

Tuesd ay 11th June

Not much we could do today because of the horrible weather.  Painting definitely off!

We have had notification that the ground signal at Hunting Butts, CRC has been vandalised so John P and myself set off on the 11.20 behind P & O to retrieve the parts which need attention.
The red and green glass lenses have been smashed and some of the white enamel has been chipped - presumably some mindless idiots using it as target practice with pieces of ballast.
So we have unbolted the disc and it's mounting plate to take back to base.
This signal has a detector on it operated by a pin on the back of the plate which we have removed. A bit of a worry this because we are not sure if this detector can lock the points. Luckily this was not the case - it just indicates that the signal is off/normal in the signal box.
A quick call to the signalman from the lineside phone opposite the signal  to check that the points operated OK and we hot-footed it back to the train with 5 minutes to spare.
Here is the damaged disc:


We will replace the lenses with some coloured plastic ones. We have some of these but will need to cut them to size - you may have noticed that we are not strictly GWR here - this is from a Midland signal (at least out of sight up Hunting Butts!)

Back at Winchcombe Peter W is removing the boards from the platform of the bracket signal to enable us to freshen up the rest of the paintwork and to store the boards under cover to dry out before applying another coat of creosote


Work continues with the refurbishment of the point machines for Toddington. These continue to be a bit of a jigsaw but have now had the operating and detection bars removed together with their locating plates.


The bars were all pretty rusty on exposed surfaces but have been taken indoors for a good clean up


One set of plates have been degreased and given some fine emery treatment


Will show a clearer picture of how all this fits together when we re-assemble.

Curl

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Bracket Preparations

Tuesday 4th June

Eight volunteers at a wet Winchcombe yard today. It was OK until lunchtime and then down came the rain, curtailing most of the outdoor painting objectives.
No jaunt to Broadway today - still a bit more track bonding to finish at the northern end. Best to have Neil C with us for that (he is on hols).
So, what were we up to?

The bracket signal which is  to be installed at Broadway to control entry from Toddington into platforms 1 & 2 is currently languishing horizontally in the yard at Winchcombe and is in need of some tlc. The support strut is being removed so that we can give the main post a good rub down and some decent coats of paint


Having washed off the grime Jim P gives it a good sanding


Followed by primer (where needed and then white undercoat


The base is in pretty good condition but gets another coat of black gloss anyway. The top structure consisting of a mass of riveted angle iron has been showing some rust so some chipping, priming and undercoat has been applied:



The two dols have been removed and are receiving attention by George B  by the side of our mess coach. Managed to get primer and undercoat on  with sufficient time for reasonable dryness  before the rain started. So hopefully no pock marked surfaces when we arrive next week!  Unfortunately these parts are too large to move undercover.


Keith L sorts out the paintwork on the support strut:


Two electric point motors are needed for Toddington South. So we have to select the best available from several units we have stored at Winchcombe. The best looking two have some broken parts or parts missing and others are beyond being repaired, so John P and Carl C spent most of the day selecting the best bits.


These Alstom units are pretty complicated with a mass of electrical wiring and it is virtually impossible to remove individual components without cutting wires. Luckily we have a wiring diagram which only the experienced electrician is likely to understand (this is where Neil C is invaluable!)
Some of the wiring will need replacing anyway.

Curly

P S Absence of blog last week was because I was down in Hampshire and managed to fit in  a quick visit to the Mid Hants and capture a shot of this 9F pulling into Alresford Station.
Those of you who may have read the latest edition of Steam Railway will have had a feast of information about  these magnificent machines! Quite a lot of them.

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Steps

Tuesday 21st May

A smaller contingent of us at Broadway today - six of us.
Neil C, Carl S and Peter W continued with track bonding.


Which was now progressing up through the platforms - in between interruptions from passing trains - Dinmore Manor looking resplendent today in the sunshine:


The bonding was completed to mid platform so a bit more to do yet including the fiddly bits round the northern point work.

George B was continuing with the makeover of the signal box steps
which have now received a coat of primer :


And the tread plates have been given a wire brushing ready for painting:


A small problem has arisen to make bonding with the standard bonding wires at the northern barrow crossing not possible. The  ends of the fishplates are very close to the rubber pads which won't allow access to drill the holes, so the holes have to be drilled between the next gap back. The solution is to cut some  longer lengths of fencing wire of a similar gauge (8 lengths needed) and thread them under the rubber pads trying to oid the hidden clips and chairs. This was achieved after much fiddling and swearing!
Lifting of the pads was not an option - far too heavy without mechanical assistance.
Now ready for the "bonders" next week.




We have noticed that the older stock of point rodding used towards the end of platform 2 is looking a bit shabby and rusty and lets down the view from platform 1 of our previously restored and painted rodding. So I have embarked on a painting  odyssey with the zinc paint and a wire brush. I am not including any more boring photos of rodding though!


Curly

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Stretching and Bonding

Tuesday 14th May

A team of eight of us at Broadway today to continue with rail bonding and the fitting of two brand new fpl Stretchers to the headshunt and siding points.
But first the team photo at the signal box with 4270 running past in platform 2:


Neil C, Keith L and Carl S headed back towards Childswickham Bridge with the drilling machine to continue with the bonding:


Here they are arriving at the pointwork with the slightly more challenging layout to fit the drilling machine in the correct position relative to the fishplates. Bonding was completed up to Evesham Road Bridge by end of day.

Now for the Stretchers.
What are Stretchers I hear you cry.  I hope this description will explain. They are steel strips which are bolted between the point blades to maintain the correct gauge through the points. There are three of these through the siding points on which we are working plus the fpl stretcher.

Two brand new fpl ones have been purchased and don't they look good! Not gold plated however (probably cadmium) :


They have two preliminary slots which are in the approx positions required to line up with the fpl locking bar. They have to be bolted in position on the point blades and line up with the fpl bar to mark the correct position for the slots to be widened out to.
This involves a lot of trial and error with shims to ensure that the point blades seat properly - One side of the stretcher has to be insulated with plastic shims for track circuiting purposes.


This closeup shows the stretcher in position with the two pre-cut slots in mid-position:


Then it's unbolt and return to the signal box to open out the slots with a combination of angle grinder, hacksaw and file.


Then back up the tracks to re-fit the stretcher. Up to this point we have been barring over the points with a crowbar having disconnected the point rodding. To ensure that the locking works correctly everything is re-connected. To do this we have left George B back in the signal box to pull the levers and use our mobiles to communicate.
Some fine trim is needed by filing to ensure that the fpl locking bar passes freely through the slot with minimum clearance. The depth of the slot also turned out to be too shallow and fouled the bar. Jim P here with a file - this took several attempts to get it just right. We ran out of time here - slot 2 will have to wait until next week.


The finished slot is on the right with points in normal position.


We ticked another box earlier by fitting metal straps to each end of the four sleepers which separate the fpl and its crank. This is to ensure that there is no relative movement of the fpl and its crank  to upset its alignment and operation.
John P busy drilling the holes for coach screws :


And the fitted strap secured to all four sleepers


We have been concerned about the condition of the signal box steps so have decided to sort them out. The ravages of water has taken its toll on the woodwork and its paint so the metal tread plates have been removed and George B has cleaned up all the steps ready for a re-paint (while he was waiting for our lever-pulling communications!)


Curly


Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Bonding

Tuesday 7th May

A good team gathered today at Broadway with two main objectives. One, to clear the signal box locking room from all the "stuff" that has accumulated since we moved in. This will pave the way for all the electrical installation work now required.
Four of us spent most of the morning sorting it all out.
Here is the before:


At the end of all this platform 2 also looks a great deal tidier.


Most of the stuff removed will be taken back to Winchcombe for a good sort out and probably a lot of binning. John P made many trips with barrow loads down platform 2, over the barrow crossing and up platform 1 to the blue pickup parked on station drive. Similarly George B made innumerable trips up and down the locking room steps :


Platform 2 now also looks a lot tidier.

The second team of four took themselves south to start some track bonding required for the track circuits. They worked back towards the station from the breather joint at the end of the continuously welded rail section south of the home signal.

This requires the drilling of a pair of holes in the rails each side of a fishplate using our motorised twin drilling machine - here's Neil C in action with it:



A pair of bonding wires are then threaded behind the fishplate and bent through the holes.in Pegs are then hammered in to secure the wires and thus provide a good electrical circuit.


It seemed a good place to finish work as the 15.00 train with 4270 approached half way along the caravan site fence. Four weary workers Peter B, Carl S, Keith L and Neil C glad of a rest.


The same train returns from Broadway hauled by Freightliner with 4270 on the rear to be de-coupled at Toddington


Bonding still to be completed up to and through the station.

Not terribly clear here but this picture shows the two pegs which have been hammered in secure the wires. The pegs have a slot which sits on the wire and a  taper to allow entry into the drilled hole followed by several good clouts from a lump hammer.


Must remember to bring kneeling pads next time - ballast plays havoc with your knees!

Curly

Sunday, 5 May 2019

A Great Day Out

Thurs 2nd May

 Nothing to do with GWSR (I think?) but had a great day out on Thursday to an old stately pad near Tamworth called Middleton Hall, and what did I spot on the restaurant wall but the nameplate of a close  relative of our dear friend Foremarke Hall:


Curly

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Cables Galore

Tuesday 30th April

The next major stage at Broadway for the S & T Dept is the installation of the many cables needed for the track circuits, signal lamps, signal detectors and phones. So a strenuous day was spent shovelling ballast and replacing cable trough lids.
Cable drums ready for action once Neil C had determined the individual lengths required with a measuring wheel:


We started at the North end of platform 1 adjacent to the line-side cabinet by signal 39 (the one with the ground signal mounted on it). Firstly to dig a trench to feed the 20 pair cable (the one coming from the signal box along platform 2)  into the cabinet:


Next stage was to "tickle" a channel between the sleepers to fit the yellow plastic pipes which carry wires across the tracks



Signal lamp and signal detector wires from signal 38 and track circuit wires all have to cross over here. The object of the yellow tubing is to highlight the position of wiring hopefully to prevent damage by tamping, lighting of bonfires on top of cables (this has led to cable damage in the past!), etc. This is the reason we are now generally burying the armoured cables to a greater depth and using concrete troughs where burying is not practical.
There is now a multitude of cables feeding into this cabinet including a second 20 pair which feeds up to the next cabinet opposite the Route Indicator signal - quite a tangle to feed in! and 20 pair armoured cable is quite a swine to bend in a tight radius


A pause as 2807 runs round:


And then we moved northwards to the smaller cabinet opposite the Route Indicator signal to repeat the laying of the plastic tubes to take the wires from the signals and track circuits.
A close-up of the radial hole drilled into the tube to feed in the track circuit cable:


There are four cables required for signal lamps - one for the spectacle plate, one for the lamp behind the route indicator plate, one for the double ground signal at the base of the indicator and one for the ground Signal between the tracks.


And of course the track circuit cables. Just managed to get these all fed into the cabinet through our "patented" 90 degree brown soil pipe system!


And finally the lids were replaced on the cable troughs between the two cabinets:


Although all the necessary cables are now installed and buried with the exception of the ones along platform 2 (mini digger channelling required here) the connection of these will be a significant job for the future once we have the cables fed into the signal box (hole drilling through the brickwork required).
Over time the signal box locking room has become a workshop/storeroom and has accumulated a lot of equipment which now needs removing and tidying to give easy access for wiring activity.
The big tidy next week perhaps unless track bonding through the station is given priority.

Curly

PS. The cabinet by the bracket signal at the south end of the station holds the record for cable numbers - 15 in total - I'll treat you to an internal view once all the connections have been made.
There will be a fair amount of testing required.

I believe that the two track circuit connections from Toddington to Laverton have already been connected and tested and operate in Toddington Box - first one from the viaduct to the Stanton Aqueduct, the second one from the aqueduct to Laverton. The next two circuits will terminate at Childswickham Bridge.