Monday, 15 December 2014

Another busy Tuesday

At last a dry Tuesday !

It had been noticed that a signal wire was looking a bit rusty towards the end of Winchcombe platform so a good chance to replace it with new and remove the accumulation of pine needles

John and Andy getting stuck in
Meanwhile Len and Keith helped by clearing away debris and the old wire.
When Keith gets up to speed, there is no stopping him- look at the speed blur on the tip of his shovel

Don't worry Len, its definitely a non running Day!

Meanwhile, back in a very damp and chilly Locking Room I was investigating a reported fault on the Winchcombe pax ( Private Automatic Exchange) unit. The report was of NDT ( No Dial Tone) so first you have to find out if the fault is still there and then which selector is causing it.   Lo and behold the fault is there and here is the view of the selector unit.

The fault is a failed winding on the pulsing relay, but dont worry we have plenty of spare coils to keep it working. These particular ones have to work quite hard, electrically speaking,   they have three separate coils on the one core. One acts as a transformer to inject dial tone back down the line.
Not something to repair in a cold locking room but easy enough on a well lit bench with a cup of coffee to hand!

Mike S

Saturday, 22 November 2014

a bit of a soggy day

Thos of you that have seen out outdoor workbenches will apprecviate that progress can be frustrating on wet or showery days. Well  last Tuesday was certainly that.

But not to be put off we got on with reassembly work inside the old shed
John P and I got stuck into a ground signal which would have come to us as another  rusty hulk and now will have been completely stripped greased and repainted to look almost as new.

Whilst Carl, assisted by Malcolm, did the same with a Crows Nest.
Carefully trimming the timber to fit the steelwork.

Later in the day, the weather was a bit kinder so the redoubtable Mr Collier was able to put a coat of red oxide on one of his favourite signal ladders assisted by  Andy P and Keith.

 Welcome back Richard, good to see you again !

Mike S

Monday, 3 November 2014

The Gap is Filled!

Been a bit of a gap in our Blogspot recently, your Blogger has been away, too many holidays. But here we are back in Sunny Gloucestershire ready for the winter sunshine.

Before I start can I just say thanks to everyone who organised the Volunteer meeting on Saturday, although these Blogs let you hear bits and pieces of News, its always best to get it "from the Horses Mouth". Any way, thanks- it was very interesting and helpful.

A lot has been done here in S&T, under Malcolm s watchful eye, mainly with regard to renovating items for the Broadway Extension of course but also on other projects.
We recently acquired, through contacts made by Carl Smart, a  signal post, ground frame and cabin from a benefactor near Wotton under edge. This is in the process of being erected at Toddington as an extra Visitor Attraction.
Cabin Awaiting Roof tiles
The cabin will contain a small 4 lever frame which will allow visitors to see exactly how a signal works
Sorry about the cluttered background to this pic, we hadn't got round to tidying up since the Broadway Lever Frame was dismantled for measuring up and eventual shift up to the New Signal Box.

Broadway Lever Frame before its dis-assembly in preparation fo the  move up to the New Signal Box
 Aye, it will be a big frame and there are, apparently, only a couple of spares!

Carl and John P enjoying life between the showers assembling the pole for Todd.

Meanwhile work has also continued on the new standardized SPT's and on the Concentrator Project. We have several different designs out there and it makes it difficult when we have to do field swops if we don't know what to expect.

This case (ex Gotherington Mk1) will likely go to Racecourse this winter, hopefully it will look a bit more like someone loves it! It will also have completely new internals.

To our Friends in Carriage and Wagon who helped with plasma cutting and welding, this is what we were aiming  to make

And back at base work also continues on the rodding roller assemblies, again for Broadway, dozens of the things.

Finally, I must send best wishes a for  speedy and ongoing recoveries to the two Richards' -Collier and Etherton- Dont worry we will save some painting for you!

Happy Days

Mike S S&T

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Steady Progress

Two of us, Kevern and I,  spent  Monday morning in Gotherington Locking Room repositioning items , namely the ringing current generator for the newly installed concentrator system.

The spare container from Todd also arrived on Monday- no sorry I don't think you would be impressed by a pic of a grey container!

Into it we (they, I was absent) have started to load the stripped out Levers from the Broadway Frame.

You will remember that the whole Frame has been assembled for some time now, it was the best way to be sure we had all the bits we needed.
Also,  having it assembled meant that detailed measurements could be taken so it should fit when it gets there.

The container will provide secure storage when it gets to site and perhaps also  workshop facilities if we can't squeeze a temporary one into the locking room.  The poor old MSC shed looks a bit disheveled at the moment with the partially stripped frame filling the central area

Work also continues on the smaller dem signal for Toddington.
On the Telecom's  side I have now delivered into stock the first of the Broadway SPT's and with the help of C&W today we have some internal metalwork to hold the pcb cards inside two of the new concentrators.

Very many thanks for that. A little job that was easy for you but saved me hours of hacksawing or worse, spending railway money!

As I said, "Not a lot to see but quite a lot of steady progress"


Sunday, 6 July 2014

Mix of Pics, some steamy

A varied set of pictures this time some of which were taken from the windows of the new Upholstery dept, yes I know I should have putting in the cabling for the Carriage and Wagon Office phone but it was a very hot afternoon and I just had to stop by some of the new windows and have a breather.

I have also included some from last winters trip to Spains' "Museo de Ferrocarril" .the Catalonian museum of the Iron Road this one was at at Vila Nova i la Getru, about 20miles sth of Barcelona but I think there are two or three more around the country. 

Interestingly and wonderfully they have preserved the interior of the signal box, I presume it was the one at  at some are of their version of a Lever Frame, obviously  the spanish signalmen were not made of the same stuff as our superhuman signalers- no long levers for them!
You can see the resemblance beween this track diagram and ours! Also, just a  little glimpse of the vertical locking trays under the levers- y'see Malcolm I am learning those mechanical terms.

But back to Winchcombe yard where work continues on painting up the fully welded Broadway Bracket, good old John P gets stuck in assisted by Richard C

Meanwhile Carl and Keith had returned from Gotherington where they had been undergrowth beating so Keith, now happily recovered from his bruising encounter and having got  a bit left in his sprayer started to tackle  the yard undergrowth ( yes, he is fully qualified to use these chemicals)

And then just to top off a perfect day, we had tea!

Just a couple more pics from the Museum visit, Andy wouldnt you like one of these!

Thats about all for now, see you soon

Mike S

PS We hope  to complete the new C&W phone wiring this week which means that we can  also re connect the S&T phones.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Progress, slow but sure

It's been a little while since the last posting,  for which I apologise.
Your blogger hasn't been as much in evidence as before largely due to domestic duties but she is now well on the mend so hopefully I will be able to get out more - as they say!

I have been over to HQ a couple of times recently and took pics of the progress but unfortunately my computer offered to download them and erase from the camera and now won't tell me were it put them, so I fear those gems were just put into ram and are now lost forever. Sorry Richard C, you were tightening up all those base nuts with such enthusiasm as well!

Progress still continues on the assembly of the point rodding rollers for Broadway, I saw yesterday that they are now neatly stacked in stillages ready for dispersal along the track when the time comes. Some have also been bolted to the concrete supports as well, you don't realise how big those supports are until you see them out of the ground.

On  personal level I am still refurbishing Signal Post Phones as domestic duties permit ( see above).
This is the casing of the old unit as it came out of Gotherington. The new one is much more hi tech and  no longer an ex-PO unit  which this was. It will have done  many thousands of operating hours in a previous life.  You can see just how tired it is- but it did still work!


You may have already experienced the first of the new generation of concentrators which has now been installed at Gotherington. So far it has proved reliable. We are now starting to get  ready for the build of the second concentrator unit which will go into CRC which should clear some known faults at that location. All the new ones are similar in appearance, they are simpler to operate and look more in keeping with the rest of the blockshelf equipment.

Incidentally, one big change is that users of these new systems will hear a ringing tone whilst they wait for the signalman to respond. This will confirm to them that the system is working.

Meanwhile, back at the yard, I see that work continues on the Broadway Bracket Signal. From what I could see it has now been turned over ready for the flanges which were underneath to be welded now they are on top, if you know what I mean!

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Answers and more News

Well, we have a question and it  seems like I should know but being a 'phone man I don't so I asked the powers that be and sure enough I got a succinct answer

"The best I can find is that BR(WR) started painting posts with aluminium paint (black bottom section) in the 50s.  Since we are broadly aiming to recreate the 30s/40s then black and white is correct for us.


Neil Carr BSc(Hons)
GWSR Operations Manager 
If I was good at blogging then perhaps it could have been posted as a response but I am a mere mortal.
Thanks however for the question- it goes to show that our pageview statistics are not just automatic web crawlers!

In the meantime, since I last looked, the post has been squared off, the base plate has been cut to size and delivered so the Base Plate and Flanges now await welding not only that, but I am reliably informed this will erected nicely in time for the Steam Gala. 
That is welding, floods and anything else permitting.

Meanwhile back in the dusty depths of S&T The workers have been getting on with the point rodding brackets for Broadway, in fact you could almost say that we are now awash with them. After we had split down the 6 way units we inherited, they now become
  The four way, three way, and then the two ways that we need. By Crikey we will be busy!

Well done chaps! and welcome back to Richard E who ventured across the yard this very afternoon, dont forget the gate code, see you soon Richard.

Mike S


Monday, 5 May 2014

Slow and Steady Progress

Spent quite a bit of time in the last couple of weeks trying to get things ready for the first of our new Concentrators to be installed.
This will be at Gotherington- you may ask why? The reason is that the older unit (that 2+4 GPO unit) is in the sort of wooden box that we need to be able to reuse later on! And they are a bit in short supply. Watch out C&W we might be asking you to do some more of those tip top varnishing jobs for us!.

So here's a pic of what we started with ( Its actually a teleprinter Key and Lamp type unit of about 1950 or so)
Which changed internally to the all electronic version shown below

Shortly we hope to report that its working away nicely and you can enjoy its many little advancements.
Just to be serious though, the project has taken quite a lot of man hours and worn out quite a few of Mr Olivers brain cells, However he does remain confident that the next ones will be much easier.

In the meantime, back at the Ranch aka Winchcombe Yard, Progress continues on point rodding rollers. We seem to have an awful lot of 6way ones but we only need a max of 4 way for Broadway so lets take 'em apart and reassemble them

Good ol' Carl Smith getting on with it.

Meanwhile, across the Yard a discussion continues re the Broadway Bracket
Richard C, Andy P, John P and Malcolm of course

I am told that the base plate has almost completed cutting to size, then for the welding and we are away.
Best wishes for  speedy recovery to Richard E and to Keith- Keith argued with  a four legged cow and the cow won. Get well soon both of you, we need those rollers finished and Toddington Steps.

Mike S

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Is Tea a good lubricant?

Oil & Grease

So far this year, Signal and Telegraph have organised three workdays to continue the basic maintenance of lubricating the external mechanical signalling equipment.  However, this year marked a change to the way in which the job was organised.  Previously, the one-day routine had been to concentrate on a particular equipment group, e.g. signals or points, up and down the whole railway, but this year it was agreed that we would concentrate on doing all the signalling equipment at a particular location in one day.  It was felt that this approach would foster a better working relationship amongst the team as we would be working together as a group rather than spread out throughout the railway. 

Getting ready for the start of another oil and grease session.

This got off to a good start at the beginning of the year when the team descended upon Toddington and carried out the lubrication of all signals, points and rodding and detection equipment located there.  The day also included a visit to the Laverton Loop where lubrication of all equipment was carried out.  We were able to welcome several new members to the team, and this allowed us to form two groups, which helped to speed up our progress.  This was just as well, as it had been decided that the greasing of the slide chairs on the hand-operated points in the loco yard at Toddington should be added to our routine. This was duly completed by late afternoon.  I had not appreciated just how many hand-operated points there were in the loco yard, but both of us involved certainly knew by the end of that afternoon!

The second workday of the year involved targeting Winchcombe, and again the routine included the addition of the hand operated points in the sidings on the up side of the line and the points in the C&W yard.  We hope that our colleagues on the Permanent Way and in the Carriage and Wagon department have noticed an improvement in the ease with which these hand points can now be operated!

This last Sunday 6th April saw the third workday of the year taking place and on this occasion we visited Gotherington and Cheltenham Racecourse to continue our quest of lubricating all signalling parts that move. Part of this quest included a long walk to the new operational distant signal for Gotherington, however, we were able to travel to Gotherington station and Cheltenham RC station using the timetabled train service!  This was the first time that we had made use of the train and it presented a bit of a challenge in so much that we had to complete our scheduled tasks around the departure times of the trains.  Anyway I can safely say that we managed to complete all tasks.

As the new routine settles in it will mean that all signalling equipment is lubricated on a 4 monthly interval basis thus ensuring the continued reliable operation of the external signalling equipment. 

As you will see from the photos below (taken with a camera which somehow survived all the oil and grease), it is not all hard graft in S&T – the department still functions on copious amounts of tea!

The usual suspects but can you spot the difference?

From the pen of Mr Roy Steel ( our Foreign Reporter) and others.


Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Broadway bracket and Broadway Rollers

Tuesday 1st April

Day started bright and clear. Then it got worse "Would you just check the Signal Post Phone Winchcombe Signal 2?" My heart dropped, its an awful walk round and down to the southern tunnel entrance literaly, its  on the wild side.

So no hiding today in the comfortable bowels of Signal Box Locking Rooms and PAX units.  Tested OK from the cable head under Winchcombe box so no alternative, just load up and get down there. 
Methinks "Sticky Plungers, thats what it will be"
 Luckily the redoubtable Carl Smart offered to help carry the kit and beat a path down through the nettles. 
Sorry, there are no pics of this- too much kit to carry. Will try again next week when we can carry out a permanent repair, in the meantime please be gentle with it!
And then it was back to HQ for our first outdoor lunch of the year.

Here are just few pics of the afternoons activities

Firstly  a rare pic of Carl Smart getting on with  preparing and selecting point rodding rollers for the platform sections at Broadway. 
Whats rare about it? You may ask. 
Well he usually disappears if he sees the camera come out. Behind him you might just be able to see a Broadway Finial awaiting a final coat of paint

Malcolm and Andy P continued on the assembly of signal arms onto the dolly's of the Broadway Bracket Signal.

 Mind that nice new paint now!

 Here you can see the outcome of all Carl's work , at least we now know just how many more we have to find. Now was it 19 3 sets and 58 4's or the other way round?

I hear that we may have a new input to this blog shortly so watch this space for more exciting adventures from the world of S & T!

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

The work goes on

Well, here we are back again. I  had better not say where I've been for the winter but in the meantime here are a few pics of the jolly gang doing S&T type jobs

  Toddington Box steps starting to get a  well earned spruce up ( Richard Collier and Richard Etherton)

  Richard E getting at the  south end window of Toddington box, is it really all filler Richard?

 Meanwhile back at the Yard, Keith was starting on  a Broadway jobbie for the customers to play trains with. I understand it will be linked up to the Bracket signal as a working item, it might have a little way to go yet
 But don't worry Keith, Mr Collier has now got 'ere with a bigger spanner

 Mmmm, me thinks still a way to go though. (Since these pictures were taken its been completely dismantled and is presently waiting for the paint to harden before re-assembly.)

And then as promised here's an update on the Broadway Bracket firstly  here's Andy and Carl putting together the framework for the bracket itself ( it now has its timber boards filled and handrails  as of 25th March)

And John P fiddling with his Finials!

 Stop Press- as at 25th March the base plate went away for cutting to size . Next job after that will be welding the webs and plate together

Almost forget to welcome our newest recruit  Len from Evesham. He and I spent a delicious morning rewiring the DC feed to the Toddington pax unit under Todd Box.

And a Get Well Soon message for Richard E, hurry back please the other side of Todd steps needs finishing!

In the afternoon Neil and I extended  the  cabling for Winchcombe 25 C&W and 26 the infamous S&T extension. One day soon the C&W building will be complete and all will work again. 

So that's about all for now I will see what I can conjure up for next week.

Buenos Nochas.

Sorry, I almost forgot I was back in England

Mike S