Sunday, 18 October 2015

Progress is good

Someone once said that steady progress in the right direction will get you there faster that dashing hither and thither. Our little Blog does get a bit delayed at times but we are glad to shout out loud when we have something in particular to show

Here we can see the final assembly of the Route Indicator signal for Broadway, its quite a lump and the bits are somewhat unusual such that it was felt best to assemble it here and then transport it, intactum as they say, to site.
Hmm,,,,,,,probably a bit large for the pickup.

Elsewhere in the yard and in the meantime, the painting continues

Here we have Carl Smart and Richard Collier duelling away to see who can finish the white bit first.

Not quite sure whether this was before or after the last pic but you can also see the continuing work to assemble the bracket signal , another bigger lump and again for Broadway.
On the telecoms side we still plan to replace the concentrators in both Winchcombe and Toddington signal boxes during this close season.
That will make a total of 4 new ones, all to the same design and operating methods and looking in period for our 'boxes; but with  completely new and standardised components.

Mike S

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Slowly but ever forwards: including "Find the Lady"

A bit of a gap since the last entry for which we apologise.
Steady progress continues as my heading suggests but  de-rusting and painting poles, sorry Posts isnt very photogenic is it?   
Visitors have probably seen the stack of painted Posts below the Winchcombe signal box and how it has steadily grown. As you will see they are all lettered with their planned positions at Broadway.
Of course Posts are not all there is to it, we also continue to clean off and prepare the Post fittings, ladders,crows nests, cranks and wheels for signals, as well points linkages for each location and all that has been the main part of the work done.

We also work steadily toward the Concentrator replacement program.  The new units should be into Winchcombe and Toddington during the closed season, ready for the start up next year.

Here is another stage of it, Joinery made the boxes, C&W did the varnishing, here is the Winchcombe varnishing front panel ready for the original PO type keys and  almost ready to start the electronics, over to you Kevern.

Since we are also renewing other outdated connection systems (only MDF's! ) we need to have ready new cabling to connect the new system to the old original cable pairs  and we would rather spend time now in preparation hopefully ensuring that we meet nothing unexpected when we change things over- at least thats the plan.

As part of the preparation we have to work inside the cable head cupboards in the Locking Room.
Your other scribe "Curly" aka Richard C got very wound up as we were finishing off last time as it was almost a  game of Find the Lady!
We have three similar cupboards all with heavy steel fronts but only one actually fits each cabinet and you can't tell until you put them in position AND try to lock them.  Poor old RC!

Hence we got Alex from C&W to paint on some numbers. Not rocket science but  we will be for ever  grateful each time we have more than one cabinet open. Thanks Alex, tidy job. Hope that you enjoyed the quick guided tour of the Locking Room, yes, I know its due for a vacuum out.

Oh, nearly forgot.
In the meantime we had  reports that occasionally  the tie lines were not working properly between W and Todd. We have seven possible routes that choose between two lines in each direction. Anyway the problem was that two of the seven selectors had faulty TL relays so it was pot luck which one you got  (the alotter uniselector automatically  steps calls round to share the load) the effect was No Dial Tone from the remote end. But thats now been sorted with bits from the spares box and some more help from Paul at DFR, thanks Paul.

Happy Days

Mike S

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Tuesday 7th July- S&T at Winchcombe

An unusual start to the day with operations being disrupted by bees.
Working by the side of the MSC shed was risky because a swarm of bees
have taken residence inside the end of one of the recently painted
Bracket signal dollies. So if anyone needs a swarm for their hive
they know where to look! (making the assumption that they are
honey bees)

Re-conditioning of signalling equipment continues at a pace with 6 of us
on site today. Richard C, John P and Keith L attacking another 26ft post.
This took most of the day to wire brush with angle grinders and then paint
with primer. Luckily it stayed dry.


Andy P has time off from lineside drainage duties to re-condition a lineside
electrical cabinet. Makes a change from digging ballast and silt.

A ground signal post received its top coat of black gloss.

We are running out of space to mount parts for painting - here you will see
 a selection of balance weight arms and ladder fixings hanging from
hooks under the MSC shed "awning"

And finally a mention of the sterling work that Mike S is doing with tidying up the
Phone system. Here he is with the wall mounted phones that have been moved from the 
Top of the PAX UNIT

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

S & T at Gotherington

9th June - The Gotherington Strim

The S& T Tuesday gang had a welcome break from the re-conditioning of signal fittings
with an away day at Gotherington to tame the growth that was beginning to choke the
signal wires at both sides of the station.

Ready to go but start with refreshment in the time honoured railway tradition! Andy P, Carl S & Keith L. Raring to go.

                                                     Before the Strim looking south ( can just spot the wire)

After the Strim looking south

Before looking north

After looking north 

Richard C and Keith L In action

Back to routine duties next week I guess


Tuesday, 26 May 2015

S & T at Toddington 26th May

Today's task was to install the levers and connect the demonstration signals
for the ex Wotton Under Edge box on the west side of Toddington car park.

John P with much cursing and scraped knuckles assembled the levers shackles
and signal wires to the frame which then took a 4 man lift to lower the assembly
Into position

Andy P, John P, Carl S, Malcolm W, Keith L & Mike S surveying a job well done - well
almost - still need to connect the ground signal once the concrete fixing block for the
pulley wheels has set. 

Great to see magnificent P & O glide past back to base while we were grafting!


Sunday, 3 May 2015

Lets get the Terminology right!

All the way through the last post I referred to the uprights as poles. That reflects my Post Office background  .
On re-reading my Cornishman I realise that i should have referred to them as Post's .  
Apologies to Malcolm, I guess it will cost me chocolate biscuits on Tuesday!

   Mike S

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Apologies, has your scribe been AWOL?

Tuesday 28th April, I've only been away 5 weeks and it seems the Blog has been missed. Before I went I sent invites to several of the depts computer buffs  so that the Word could continue to spread but somehow Google and Blogger just didn't click but  now,,, it can be announced that "Curly" has been admitted to the dizzy heights of blog author along with me Mike S, and Oily Roy.

Whilst I have been away general work has continued. I omitted to show a picture of the raw material that we work with, the descalers were too quick, but here is a general shot of the outside storage area.
You can see that it takes a lot of work to get these bare poles up to this standard ready for the castings to be added. Each item is stripped back to bare metal, primed, undercoated and glossed.
In the end they will look like these ones below which are, of course destined for Broadway, apparently we need another 9 poles in total as well as the bracket that is already in place.
The bracket main pole is on the right. Dollies on the left foreground 
The one on the ground looks forlorn!
In addition, each pole needs a ladder and a hoop

Here we see Richard C and "new Jim" getting on with it. Its all work that has to be done but sadly we can only do it when the weather allows so that's why you can see the smiley faces today.

I cant say too much about it but I understand that "Curly" will be out and about in future with his camera  helping to keep this Blog a bit more up to date especially when I am locked in the depths of signal Box concentrators and strowger telephone systems or just plain on holiday!.

Mike S

Friday, 20 February 2015

More Oil

My apologies for the longer than planned break in providing an update on the routine maintenance that our small group undertakes.  I believe the last blog made reference to Sunday 6th April being our third workday in 2014 and since then 2 further cycles were completed during the year with each cycle covering Toddington (1 day), Winchcombe (1 day) and Cheltenham RC + Gotherington (1 day).   Just to make sure we know what we are doing it has been arranged for this to start all over again on Wednesday 11th February, weather permitting.

As well as finding time to drink tea the following photos do show part of the group in action during the 2014 year.

I'm not sure what was being discussed at the time but as can be seen it was

certainly a case of oil cans at the ready.

Bill ensuring that the tube clamp that carries the signal arm pivot is secure

on the Up Advance Starter at Winchcombe.

Bill at ground level giving the signal

balance lever pivot some attention.

Me up above giving some loving care and attention to the Down Inner Home
 bracket signal at Winchcombe.

Roy S (Me) and Peter Hughes (Camera)