Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Signal Wheels

Tuesday 14th Feb

We are now racing ahead to get the two new signals associated with the re-vamped trackwork at Winchcombe with their banner repeaters operational. Last week the two new "short" Signal posts were put in and fitted with all their re-conditioned parts. These are shorter than normal so that they can be seen under the road bridge:

The first of the discs for the banner repeaters are under way, here's the first one cut from apiece of steel plate with it's first coat of primer:

Today's main task was to instal four signal wire pulleys, one at each new signal and a re-positioned one at the existing posts for the repeaters. All four require a new cast concrete block. Unfortunately we had to dig out a huge lump of concrete to enable the new block to be correctly positioned for the platform 2 repeater - this proved to be a very energetic job for Keith L


Shuttering was then positioned and concrete poured. The pulley wheel is bolted to a piece of plywood    
with some pieces of 12mm dia screwed rod which protrude approx 8" underneath into the concrete. Once set the plywood template will be removed and the pulley bolted onto the concrete surface:

The one opposite required an extension to the existing concrete block to raise the height of the pulley so that the signal wires woul clear the adjacent drain inspection cover:


The pulley for the new platform 2 starter signal posed a bit more of a problem. This signal is set into the embankment and requires the pulley to be set about 20 degrees from the horizontal to feed the signal wire up to the post. So we set the shuttering up at this angle and used a dry mix in the hope that    the concrete would stay put - luckily it did!

Then the last one for platform 1 starter opposite:


It was surprising just how much concrete we used for these for blocks. We trundled up 4 "bath tubs" full of aggregate and used four bags of cement ( sorry Andy) .  Keith felt that he needed a bath after all his hard work:

And thank goodness for the P Way trolleys  getting all the materials to site. We did leave them in good order for Wednesdays trackwork operations. We will wait until the ballasting is completed before re-installing the signal wire posts and wheels


Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Laying of the Troughs

Tuesday 7th Feb

Plenty still to do to get the re-vamped signalling and electric point motor installed at Winchcombe north end. First of all I was shown the work which has been going on above and below in Winchcombe signal box over the last few days. Neil C has been busy configuring the new control board for the point motor and detection (relays etc) which is attached to the wall in the locking room:

Meanwhile upstairs some of the signal repeater dials have been moved and two additional indicators for the points have been installed (the ones on the right of the shot - one above the other):

Now to the main event which required a bit more physical effort.  An additional 240volt supply cable is being laid from the signal box up to a lineside cabinet near the re- positioned pointwork. There are now 3 cables of varying section which are going to be housed in concrete troughing from the end of platform 2 up to this cabinet. More about the electrics in a minute, but first a few shots of our labours - a P Way trolley loaded up:

We need approx 100 of these to complete the run. However, to get all 3 cables into some sort of shape    to go into the troughs we first had to "un-bury" the 30 pair cable . This has probably been buried here since 199* ?( anybody know the date?) and proved quite a problem teasing it up, it was buried about a foot deep behind this drainage inspection chamber - we adjourned for lunch once it was freed. Here's Malcolm on the last stretch:

The troughing is being placed on ballast after we have levelled it out and then established a reasonably straight line towards the cabinet. Because the troughing has to be placed in front of the drainage chambers there is a bit of deviation but it still looks fairly tidy. We must have it looking good from the platforms.  Len was following on with cable insertion:

Back to the electrics. 250 v AC  is being supplied to the cabinet from the Signal Box by armoured cable.  The point motor operates on 110v DC so we have to transform and rectify to suit.  Here is the transformer and rectifying unit being installed on the LH side . There is a sea of cable connections here for all the other control systems, signal lights, detectors , phone system etc

Had to duck out before the end of play for a doctor's appointment , so not sure how far the troughing reached. But there are two more of the team coming in on Wed to help Malcolm  so hopefully another  box will get ticked. 


Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Signal Preparations

Tues 31st Jan

Six of us on duty today. Plenty of work to do to get the two new Down Starter signals ready for the re-positioned track work at Winchcombe. The two existing signals adjacent to the road bridge will be converted to Banner Repeaters (white discs with black stripe - looks like the one at the end of platform 1 at Toddington) These will be connected mechanically to the new signals and operate simultaneously. First task to sort out a pair of posts from our stock at the back of Winchcombe Box (these have all been previously restored):

These posts are all too long for this position - need to ensure that the signals are visible to the drivers on approach - so a bit of cutting off required, here's John P in action:

It's important to get the top end square so that the Finial will sit correctly,; wrapping and taping a sheet of paper round the post ensuring that the edges match up gives a good cutting guide for the cut-off wheel.  It worked out perfectly and after using the holes in the finials to mark out two new holes in the posts - here are the finials fitted:


Now the fitting of the concrete "Boots". These are approx 5 feet long and pretty heavy and will support the post in the ground without any further concreting. They are in 2 halves and are clamped round the post. Just needs Steve and the JCB to dig us some suitable holes to sink them in with just a few inches showing  above the ground once the trackwork is completed. The blocks are bolted together with 20mm Dia screwed rod. Here's John P in action with Malcolm W supervising

Next, the ladders. Four of us cleaning and painting. One of the ladders was rescued from the brambles at the back of Winchcombe yard and was in a pretty corroded state - two of us knuckled down with angle grinders with wire brushes while the second ladder only needed a token wire brushing before prime painting.

Outdoors wasn't very good for painting today so Carl and Len took to the Building Sevices Dept for cover and prime painting of the two ladders:


While Neil C had the Telehandler fired up we got one of the electric point motors onto the bench. This unit will replace the battery operated one at the re-positioned Winchcombe pointwork. Looks in reasonably good nick but will need a good clean up and testing. 

It operates on 110 volt:

I mentioned in a previous blog , the route indicator signal which will control entry to the platforms from Broadway north end - I remembered to take a shot of it today while it is still erected in Winchcombe  yard, so here it is :


Thursday, 19 January 2017

Action on Two Fronts

Tuesday 17th Jan

Working on two fronts today. John P, Carl S and Keith under the guidance of Neil C continued with re-cabling at Winchcombe. The objective here is to instal an armoured mains cable from the station up to where the mains operated point motor will be installed for the re-positioned pointwork. The point motor that we took out was operated from the lower voltage line side battery pack. Managed to get a shot of the gang before the rest of us went off to Broadway to collect the balance of concrete trunking required to set the cable in (a total of approx 70 lengths required)

We needed 40 troughs from Broadway - here we are moving them for the 4th time!

A good load for the pickup

We took the opportunity to carry on with a bit more of the mechanical locking jigsaw under the Signal Box. Neil C has constructed a pair of substantial "benches" that we can stand on to make access to the upper part of the frame easier: 

We have now identified all the positions for the brass locks, subject to bit of checking.  The combinations of what locks what has  been established by Malcolm W and is quite a complicated system to arrange the locking bars connecting the locks without running out of channels. Will give a better close-up shot of the set-up once the locking bars are fitted.

Paul, Len and me behind the camera trying to get our heads round "normal and reverse" locking. Top edge taper on the lock for locking the lever in its normal position and bottom edge taper on the lock for locking the lever in its reverse position. Hope I've got that right! There's gong to be a lot of cutting and filing of slots for the locks in the vertical tappet blades - to be continued.........

We have now brought the two brackets that will support the block shelf from the roof of the Box. The brackets we think have come from Norton Fitzwarren and have now had some extensions welded on and have been painted black:

And the finishing touch to the lights in the signal box - looking good with their shades fitted :


Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Cables Galore

Tuesday 10th Jan

Before work can start on the foundations for the new Visitor Centre at Winchcombe now that the wooden structure has been dismantled, S&T have to remove and re-route various cables which have been lying in troughing round both sides of the site. So where do we start? Good job we've got the  electrician with us who knows what's what!

We started just station side of the signal box and worked our way up behind platform 1 by removing all the concrete troughing covers and then attacked the platform and grassy sward:



Some cables have been removed completely and will be re-configured . It's amazing just how much mud and muck gets into this troughing - in places the cables are completely buried . We had to remove all the covers up to the station building to lift the cables because they could not be pulled through. The feeds to two of the lamp posts on the platform have been removed prior to re-positioning:


35 troughs and covers were dug out and will now be used for the re-cabling of the re-positioned pointwork motors and signalling up towards Greet Tunnel (about 70 more will be required so we shall bring some back from the ones currently stored on platform 2 at Broadway). Here's the pile taking shape with Keith L keeping fit in Winchcombe yard

One length of 30 pair cable was removed , approx 50 yards long, and dragged down the yard for cutting up by the skip. It took 3 of us to pull it. Malcolm led the procession with 2 more of us behind the camera.  It was decided to scrap this because there was significant damage to the armoured  cover.


And finally back in the "Workshop" an update on the progress of the wooden signal arm for Broadway, only a bit of white gloss to go now:

The frosted glass panel in the background is part  of the Route Indicator Signal destined for Broadway. It sits in front of the lamp case to diffuse the light. 


PS While all this was going on Malcolm W and Richard C went off to Cheltenham RC to fit a new signal arm and undercoat the ladder of Starter Signal 22  -  will need another visit to complete. No picture I'm afraid.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Preparations at Winchcombe

Tuesday 3rd Jan

Urgent preparations today to remove all the point operating equipment at the north end of Winchcombe station ready for PWay to attack sleeper renewal up to Greet Tunnel and the re-siting of the pointwork starting tomorrow (Wednesday).

Seven of us in attendance today ready to wield the spanners to attack the usually well seized bolts. However, we were extremely lucky with this. Most of the bolts holding the equipment  to the sleepers are fitted from underneath with the nuts on top, so if the bolt turns there is no option but to clear away  a whole load of ballast from underneath the sleeper to fit a spanner. This luckily happened only once!

Here's some of the action

These points are operated by an electric unit which is a bit of a beast to handle - it took four of us to manhandle it with the aid of planks onto the rail mounted  trolley

The connections to the electrical detection unit and the point motor were "chopped" and the cables removed

We had quite a load of parts to take back to base for cleaning and re-conditioning

And finally here's a shot of the brand new signal arm in preparation which will adorn the wooden signal post at Broadway. This is best quality teak!


Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Locks and Brackets

Tuesday 20th Dec

Another visit to Broadway signal box today to do further work on the locking frame.
It was decided to add four further support brackets give additional rigidity to ensure that the locking trays cannot move This should do the trick:

Then it was time to make a start with the positioning of the locks. The tappet blades have many and various notches from their previous life at Aller Jn Box (like this one for example)

It is quite a jigsaw to position them so that some existing ports can be used . We are trying to avoid cutting  new ones where possible because of the tedious work involved.  Locks must be precisely positioned to ensure that a locked lever cannot start to be pulled because of slack in the mechanism. 
Malcolm W has produced a locking scheme which we have been making a start with trying out today.
Here are some of the brass locks in position:

There are some more locking combinations to finish yet which may mean some  re-positioning but hopefully it will all fit in. Once all the ports have been established, the locks will be attached to locking bars, the new material for which is now here:

Quite a jigsaw before it's all done.

Just managed to get a shot of the finished Block Shelf which was brought over last week and is now lying on the floor behind the levers. The two brackets to hang this from the rafters are currently being  modified at Winchcombe. Another job for the new year to hang this.