Wednesday, 14 March 2018

A Modest Start

Tuesday 13th March

Today was the start of the task of installing the point rodding at Broadway.
We were met on arrival by a cacophony of sound and frenzied activity on platform 1 by the tarmac contractors - platform surface now looking very smart!

It has been decided to install the rodding southwards first down to the temporary ground frame. The rodding is suspended on stools which have to be spaced 9 feet apart, so the first task is to measure and mark these intervals on the platform wall (a 9ft long plank facilitates the measuring) :

We have made a bracket to give initial support to the rodding on the steel plate.  This has been positioned so that the rodding runs parallel with the platform wall and at the correct height to connect with its crank.

To secure the stools in the ballast we are making shuttering boxes into which we will cast concrete. Several of these will be made to be re-usable so that a number will be cast each time we come.

To maintain the correct height and position of the rodding as we work along, this "plank gauge" sits on and butts up against the rails :

This is how it is beginning to look with the first 3 stools in place. We aim to start concreting next week.  Now that we have got over the adjusting to set the alignment things should start to progress a little faster:

The signals have had their out of use crosses added:

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

All Points Go

Tuesday 6th March

A good turnout on a fine day at Broadway with 6 of us in attendance.
We still had a bit of adjustment to make to the ground frame at the southern points to get everything operating smoothly and ensure that blades were seating properly in both positions - this linkage allows for a bit of trim:

and to make sure that nothing moves a bit of tamping round the concrete blocks :

And to ensure that there is no movement between the sleepers holding the FPL and its operating crank a pair of steel straps are screwed to the outside ends of the sleepers - John P in action here :

We all had a go at operating the levers but Len W got his picture for the blog (note that we have the blue FPL lever lock released with the red token- this means that all movements from now on are controlled this way - there is no point clipping) 

Set for platform 1 approach from Toddington :

And set for coming out of platform 2 on the run round:

and with the FPL in the locked position

While we were doing this, Neil C, Keith L and Carl S took the blue pickup loaded with all the necessary stuff (including sand, cement and water) to position and concrete in the new speed limit signs at each side of Childswickam bridge. 10mph into the station and 25mph off to Toddington :

Then off up north to install the hand spring point lever to operate the Headshunt points. 
This needed a bit of carpentry to the end of one of the sleepers to cut a slot to clear the base. Tough stuff those new sleepers. 

Then mark and drill for four substantial coach bolts:

Neil C had brought his own substantial socket set which made the winding in of these bolts a bit easier - even coated with a drop of oil they are a bit of a struggle:

So, four sets of heaves later we have it securely fixed. It must have  a very good seating because it needs a good pull to snap it over.

 And here it is connected up with the three main men admiring  their handiwork 

All Pointwork controls at Broadway now complete. Remember that the point into the Siding will stay permanently clipped - unclipped only when access is required to the Siding. 

Meanwhile, back down south there is some vandalism going on! It has been decided to remove the unwanted fittings from the bracket signal:

The doll will stay.  Looks a bit bereft without its bits! 

End of day, Keith L decides that a bit more ballast shovelling is good way to wind down. We need to clear between some sleepers for the signal wires to pass through. I think we are clear now that ballasting is finished to start thinking about the next stages of connecting up. 

A continuous stream of Broadway members were passing up and down platform 1 with barrow loads of sand for the final levelling  before tarmac team arrive next week. Lots of activity going on all round! All getting pretty exciting and looking good. 


Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Connecting the Ground Frame

Tuesday 27th Feb

Six of us in action at Broadway today to complete the installation of the southern turnout  ground frame.
Firstly this involves mounting the facing point lock mechanism to a  steel plate, itself fixed to the centre of a wooden sleeper. However, we are delayed from starting by the arrival of the ballast train and we have to leave the points clipped until they have finished their ballasting run through platform 1.

So, to start we mount a slotted stretcher bar so that the FPL casting position can be determined and the bolt hole positions marked:

Note that the stretcher bar and central section of the steel plate are insulated from the rail to maintain track circuit integrity. The blue plastic tube is cut to length and inserted round the bolt with a plastic washer under the nut

Then the mounting holes are drilled - luckily we are able to use the magnetic drill here. Because we are out of range of an electricity supply we brought a generator with us  (not just to boil the kettle you understand!) :

The slot in the stretcher bar was not wide enough to accommodate the locking bar so a bit of in-situ cutting and filing was required:

Len W carrying out the final adjustment with a file:

And finally here's this part of the assembly complete:

Next we turn our attention to mounting an angle crank to the third  sleeper further south. This will connect the locking bar to the lineside crank already installed (this will be more obvious from the shot of the overall layout which will follow shortly)

The fixing of these fittings is a little fiddly as we use screwed rod which needs a nut put on from underneath the sleeper, so a bit of ballast shovelling is required:

And then using the crank base to spot and drill the four moumting holes:

And then mounted in position with its two connecting links:

Having got all the main components in position we were then able to measure and cut the lengths of point rodding to connect everything together:

Sorry about my shadow!
And for the grand finale- here is everything connected up:

While all this was going on Jim P and Len W headed back to platform 1 to fit and bolt down all the pulley wheels required to direct the signal wires north and south - this is now a full set for platform 1 side. Luckily the plate has remained clear of ballast.

On the opposite side, a triple set of pulley wheels has been mounted on a raised bracket - all fittings for signal wires and point rodding at the signal box are now complete and await the task of connecting up to all points north and south!

The new spring hand lever to operate the Headshunt points at Broadway North has been delivered - this wasn't fitted today as a modified connection coupling is required - got to save something for next week!

Bit cold today with intermittent snow flurries, but another good box ticked.


Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Re-conditioned Ground Signal Installed

Tuesday 20th Feb

The ground signal that we removed from Toddington a few weeks back has now had  a
comprehensive makeover - so today we returned to put it back in place.
It has quite a complicated base casting with some  awkward internal cavities to clean - but here it is ready to go:

A couple of mods have been made to replace the lamp case mounts but otherwise its now good for another 20 years

Jim P and John P cleaning out ballast from underneath the concrete mounting block so that the securing bolts can be pushed through - all a bit awkward and uncomfortable kneeling on the ballast.

 Two bolts fit and it is nice and secure:

All that remains is to re-dress it with all its fittings

Re-connect it and give it an oiling 

And then test it to give the tamper safe passage on its way to Broadway

Meanwhile back at Winchcombe Keith, Carl and Len had begun the task of clearing the yard. There is a large mixture of discarded rubbish here including several wooden cable drums, car tyres, rotten pallets, brambles, etc, so a large bonfire ensued. 
Here are a few shots of the action (please note that were careful not to incinerate the vintage wagons in the background!!!)

We left it looking a good deal tidier but it now needs the assistance of the telehandler to tidy up the heavy stuff. The metal skip is completely full so the removal of the  rest of the metal scrap will have to await an empty skip. 

Before we left Toddington I walked down to the Starter signal that had its down rod replaced recently to give the bottom end a coat of black gloss where the paintwork had suffered some scuffing - so Toddington signals now  in good order. 
Malcolm also took the opportunity to weigh up what is needed in the way of stretchers for the new turnout (see PWay blog for views of this.