Wednesday, 19 January 2022

Toddington Strip

 Tuesday 18th Jan

In preparation for the replacement of the pointwork at Toddington by contractors (starting this week I believe) we are in the process of removing a whole load of fittings.

So, with four of us plus the Ops Manager we set off in the diesel railcar from Winchcombe with all the necessary tools including a generator to power the large angle grinder for cutting off stubborn/seized nuts. 

It is necessary to:

1. disconnect and remove signal wires and stakes 

2. Remove facing point lock, stretcher bars and all connecting bars and cranks

3. Remove Rodding compensator and mounting plate

4. Remove Point detection unit and mounting plate 

5. Remove Point rodding and cranks 

6. Remove Concrete rodding stools. 

This will allow the whole area of the crossover to be dug out and be re-ballasted/regraded

Getting the FPL out:

At last:

The mounting plate for the compensator having its nuts cut off!

Signal wires cut and removed- just a few short lengths from the bracket signal remaining here

The booty unloaded from the rail car onto platform 2 at Winchcombe ready to take back for cleaning:

We have not attempted to remove the rodding stools yet because they are well secured in dirty ballast. These will be left  for digging out by mechanical means.

There are also a  number of other concrete blocks which will have to be dug out. I'm sure we could manage this with picks and shovels but so much easier with an excavator on site!

They will be replaced with the ones we removed from the North sidings. These have now had two wheel roller sets fitted. The bolt hole spacings for the older GWR units are a different pitch so the stools have been turned over to suit the fittings with a different hole spacing that you see here:

So plenty of cleaning and bolt sorting to follow. 


Wednesday, 5 January 2022

Preparation Work at Toddington

 Tuesday 4th Jan

Just two of us plus Malcolm W in today for a visit to Toddington to do some preparatory dismantling ready for some of the major rail replacement work. 

The point motor (for points no. 22) north of the station is planned for removal once all shunting moves have been completed. So to expedite this we have dug out the ballast underneath the sleepers to make spanner access to the bolt heads. (Yes, the dreaded throughbolting!). A liberal coating of release oil has been applied to the nuts so hopefully when we return to unbolt it there will be some yielding!

We then moved further up the track to the North siding which is to have its trap point removed. This means that we need to remove the detection unit and all its connections, about 50 yards of point rodding, a compensator unit, a set of angle cranks and associated linkages to the point motor and finally dig out all the concrete mounting blocks and stools.

Having removed the point rodding Malcolm and John P wrestle out the stools with the aid of a crowbar and brute strength:

The detection unit being disconnected:

A short pause in operations while one of the shunting moves passes with a rake of coaches:

I'm sure that there is going to be a lot more hard graft from many volunteers over the next few weeks. We have to get everything done by the beginning of March!

A happy  New Year to all our followers. 


Thursday, 16 December 2021

Block Diagram Mounted

 Thursday 16th Dec

Neil C, Malcolm W, Peter W and Andy D went to Broadway Signal Box to lift the completed  illuminated Block Diagram into position. All the wiring and fitting of the LED's has been completed. 

With some well-placed spacing blocks on the block shelf and a T-shaped prop stood on the block shelf the job of manoeuvring this heavy object into position went very smoothly. 

I hope you agree that this looks good and makes a nice addition to the box. 

The diagram has been wired up internally and tested and now just requires linking to the block shelf mounted connector. 

Thanks go to Robin Walker and Kevin Simpson for their assistance in designing and drawing the diagram layout. 

Malcolm, Peter and Andy posing by the diagram! 

And a front view


(Photos courtesy of Neil C) 

Thursday, 2 December 2021


 Wednesday 1st Dec

Some re-bonding of replacement rails at Broadway Station was carried out by Neil C, Carl S and Keith L today. 

Carl and Keith inserting bonding wire adjacent to platform 2. (photo courtesy of Neil C


Wednesday, 1 December 2021

Unfinished Business

 Tuesday 30th Nov

We set off to CRC again today to complete the salvage of the spare point rodding rollers and brackets from the concrete stools heading north from the signal box. Quite a few seized nuts which wouldn't yield to spannering so we resorted to splitting them with an angle grinder. We ended up with quite a pile

We plan to use these at Toddington when the pointwork and rodding is replaced in January.

The rest of the day was spent back at Winchcombe putting the rollers, brackets, spacers and rods into sets 

And cleaning and oiling the salvaged bolts. 


Tuesday, 16 November 2021

Preparing for the Contractors

 Tuesday 16th Nov

Today was spent at Winchcombe at the embankment slip by the concrete block retaining wall. Objective to remove all the fixtures which will impede the contractors machinery during the embankment repair. 

This means that the ground signal adjacent to the bracket signal has to come out; the electric point machine has to come out and nine signal wire posts to be broken out of their concrete "boots" and removed. One signal wire to be severed because it traverses the access road down the opposite embankment.

The point motor is fixed to two adjacent sleepers with four through bolts which meant digging out the ballast underneath so that we could get a spanner on the nut

As usual quite a fight against corrosion (stainless Steel bolts next time??) but successful in the end. 
We didn't want to leave the detection rods buried in the impending ballast drop so these were extracted from under the rails

We had borrowed a PWay trolley to transport the fittings back to base. A four man lift was necessary to hoist the point machine onto the trolley - a higher lift would have proved very difficult - its quite a heavy beast. 

The points were left unclamped so that some wooden blocks can be inserted to protect the blades from the oncoming burying and compacting. 
While we were there the contractors were making good progress with making a substantial roadway down the embankment onto the track. A length of track has already been buried in ballast and compacted by rolling enabling access to an excavator

A layer of terram is being laid down first  all the way down to platform 1 starter signal and probably by the end of next week (according to the chap in charge) 650 tons of ballast will be laid - an up to 800mm thick covering. Should be quite interesting to see how this work progresses! 

Looking towards the station

You can just see the sloping access road coming down on the right. 

Back at Winchcombe station we had the luxury of the Tele handler to unload the point machine!

A couple of weeks ago we collected a number of GWR signalling parts which had been retrieved from a garden at Frome, Somerset by some of our gallant volunteers.
Suffice it to say these parts looked more like scrap having lain on the ground for many years. Here is the pickup loaded with it all 

 Ready for us to take from Toddington to Winchcombe for evaluation.

Some of it was beyond redemption and has been consigned to the scrap skip, but some has now been cleaned and painted and will serve a useful purpose 


Friday, 29 October 2021

Token Instrument

 Tuesday 26th Oct

Quite a good turnout today with six of us in action. 

Neil C and John P set off to Gotherington to re-bond a replacement rail.

While the rest of us waited to board the 10.10 from Winchcombe.

For a trip to Cheltenham Racecourse

Our objective is to reclaim some surplus rodding rollers and castings from the stools heading down to the points from the signal box. There are several stools with sets of six rollers attached but only two are in use. 

Mindful of the fact that we needed to catch the DMU back to Winchcombe to reunite us with our lunch, we had to leave several stools for another day. Unbolting turned out to be more difficult than anticipated with the growth of brambles and seized nuts. Next time we'll come armed with a battery angle grinder to cut them off! 

We will need some of these when the pointwork at Toddington is re-configured.

The token instrument in Toddington signal box is proving a bit problematic to operate so we are attempting to provide another one. We have two almost complete units which hopefully can provide us with a fully functioning one. Looks quite complicated inside!

We finished off the day with chopping up some posts to provide kindling for the signal box fires/stoves. These posts were the ones holding up the rotted Greet Tunnel sign (South end) - this has now been replaced with a posh new one - so a bit of useful recycling achieved. Axeman John P in action