Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Sloping Off- who us, Never!

Whilst much mechanical work has been going on to get Winchcombe's new track signalling ready for the new season. 
Paul terminating cable s into the new Krone distribution Board

We on the "electrical side" of S&T have achieved a lot in so much as the new concentrator has now been installed and commissioned  at Toddington Signal Box , this is the 4th we have built from scratch.
Now only Broadway to do!

New Unit installed at Toddington

Gradually we are also carrying out improvements to the various Signal Post Phones to improve reliability and get them  to a standard internal design to make repairs easier.
Train Crews will also see more consistency in the external labelling of the SPT's which will make it easier to find them and, as at the earlier 'boxes, when they lift the handset, they will hear a ringing  tone to indicate that the circuit is working.

Meanwhile, Kevern had been taking a short break from writing up the maintenance and repair notes for the new units and was at Winchcombe investigating  the circuit conditions needed for our Box to Box circuits to work

Internal view of the Toddington Unit

Len and I  started  with  an apparent disconnection up on the Bracket Signal 27/29 which is north of Toddington. After a long walk we found that in fact it wasn't disconnected but internally, the bell was!
(The presence of the ring capacitor is a standard line test from a distance and shows up clearly on an analogue meter.)
Anyway, Len and I drew a reconditioned unit from our stock back at Winchcombe  and installed it.
I reckon that between us, we walked about 3 miles on the ballast to get it done.
'Tis done and working now.

Mike S

Still Getting Connected

Tuesday 21st Feb

Overwhelmed today with 8 of us turned out - our "bijou" carriage mess room could barely cope with the first cuppa of the day.!

Mike S and Len went off try and detect cable faults that have been reported between Toddington and Winchcombe.

The rest of us went off to Winchcombe South to carry on with the re-connection of the new Starter Signals. On the walk up platform 1 we were just in time to see the delivery of the new temporary Elf Centre:

And couldn't help noticing the recently poured concrete foundations for the new Visitor Centre - glad we didn't have to mix that lot by hand.

Anyway, back to the day's objectives.  Having got most of the pulley wheels fixed into position last week we still had to configure an additional wheel at the base of the new platform 2 starter signal to allow the reverse pull to the banner repeater. So another concrete block was required. A bit more shuttering and more concrete


And here's the vertical pulley in position on its template. The  second picture shows the double pulley wheel set which will connect to this pulley and to the angle crank on the signal post.

To enable all this to be connected, we have to re-install quite a few signal wire stakes. Each of these has a pulley wheel set attached on which the signal wires are supported. The stakes are hammered into the ballast and then given a shot of concrete to keep them rigid. Getting the alignment correct to avoid drain covers and other obstacles is essential to prevent rubbing of the wires.  We previously removed many of these stakes to provide access for the track modification activity. 

Keith,  as usual,  shovelling ballast to create a pocket for the concrete

Richard C, having  been nominated  the departmental painter, was despatched to tidy up the paintwork on the two new signals. It's quite difficult to prevent chipping the paint on the posts when mounting the fittings so a bit of re-painting is required. Took the opportunity to add another coat of gloss to both posts and their ladders. 

While all this was going on the ballast train appeared and deposited 6 wagon loads of ballast on the newly laid track. So just in case you haven't seen enough shots of this on the P Way Blog, here is our take on some beautifully deposited ballast:

Quite a bit more to do and just over a week to go before the first service train - so no pressure then!


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 :