Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Rodding again

Tuesday 25th April

Five of us on site today - and the work schedule is ............more rodding cleaning and straightening.!
A new and more effective method of straightening the rodding has been developed by supporting on three wooden blocks and then "tapping" several times with a sledge hammer. This seemed to work pretty well and the ones with a lateral curve are now acceptable for final wire brushing and painting.

Malcolm and John P carried on with the cleaning

And then we attacked with the Rustoleum galvanising paint (an expensive 5 litres of it - hope this will be enough to complete the job).
It took about 10 minutes of continuous stirring to get it fully mixed - and then had to keep stirring every few minutes to ensure that the solids didn' t separate out again - good to apply with excellent coverage and touch dry pretty quickly.
We managed to get 7 of them fully painted before sleet and rain stopped play.


We have cleared some of the concrete slabs at the back of Winchcombe yard to store the painted rodding now that it can be let loose on the elements.
After Carl S and Keith L returned from a spot of new cable burying up by Greet Tunnel they moved the coated rods to their new resting place ( hopefully for not too long though )

The first seven neatly stacked - only another 130 to go!

A couple of other tasks have been moving along. A set of locking bars for the electric locks required for Broadway Box have been machined to size by one of our colleagues in Toddington machine shop.
These will require drilling and slotting once their positions have been established in situ on the locking frame.

And Malcolm W has been preparing the trackside markers to indicate the  stopping point for 8 coach train sets.


Thursday, 20 April 2017

More Routine

Wednesday 19rt April

Your blogger missed Tuesday this week but managed to make up for it on Wednesday. Am reliably informed that work continued with the wire brushing and straightening of the point rodding . There was also some trial fitting of the fixtures on the wooden signal post - a bit more work to do here yet with the positioning of the angle crank. This will require drilling and tapping of the steel boot which will probably wait until the post is installed at Broadway. The balance weight position is now fixed:

Malcolm W and myself carried on with point rodding activity - we are now about halfway through the pile. Unfortunately the galvanising paint has had to be re-sourced so we are still waiting to paint them. Once painted we are going to store them outside on the concrete slabs at the back of the yard at Winchcombe. In the meantime they are being stored in the MSC shed to prevent any further rusting - (hardly room to get in there now!) I won't bore you with any more pictures of point rodding but here is my estimate of the quantity of rodding we will need at Broadway for the proposed layout.

Northwards two  runs of 180 yards from the signal box to the first set of points and Facing Point Lock  ( Siding side)
Northwards two runs of 250 yards from the signal box to the second set of points (platform 1 headshunt side) and Facing Point Lock.
Southwards two runs of 250 yards from the signal box to the points and Facing Point Lock
Grand Total length 1360 yards which equates to 226 lengths of rodding (and about 160 rodding stools to support it all). We reckon we have enough to do the job.

Malcolm has been busy cleaning and  painting the cast SW signs and drilling mounting holes in the rodding posts . These are urgently required for the foot crossings on the extension.


Finished off today by applying dark grey undercoat to lamp casing, pulley wheels and signal detector base ( my back had had enough of bending over point rodding!)

Transport is being sorted out to move the first 4 signals ( long enough lorry with crane lift) to Broadway. It is hoped to do this within the next month.

STOP PRESS: Just had a phone call from Malcolm W to say that the galvanising paint has arrived (Thursday) - so a new painting experience next week then!


Tuesday, 11 April 2017

More Cleaning and Painting

Tuesday 11th April

The all consuming point rodding has taken up a lot of today's activity. Unfortunately the galvanising paint we were expecting has not been delivered yet so we continued with the second phase of wire brushing with the angle grinders to remove the remaining rust.

Keith L

And Carl S in full flow

While cleaning these we have noticed that many of them are slightly bowed so we are subjecting them to a straightening technique by supporting them at the ends and applying weight in the middle - hoping that over a period of time we will  reduce the curvature - that's the theory anyway! These are now stored on the floor of the MSC Shed.

The wooden signal post had already received its undercoat yesterday so today it received its top coats of white and black gloss - now looking good and weatherproof. Broadway next stop.

There are always plenty of parts to clean and paint. Jim P was occupied with pulley wheels and lamp casings.

And what better way to relax than in the sunshine of the Winchcombe tea gardens


Wednesday, 5 April 2017

A Bit More Posting Work

Tuesday 5th April

A total of 7 of us at work today. Paul and Mike went off to do telephone and fault finding work which is part of Mikes separate blog.
Just a footnote to add to his blog. I understand that the main reason for the Poor condition of the piece of 30 pair cable he is holding was the repair of this following a lineside bonfire which melted  some of the insulation circa 25 years ago!!

First task of the day was to re-fit the steel "boot" to the wooden post. This has now had all four seams welded. Three of us managed to manhandle it most of the way up the tapered post

However, with just a few more inches to go it got tight so we resorted to a bit of heavy persuasion with Malcolm on the sledge hammer:


It wouldn't seat down quite as far as the position it was in when tack welded- it has probably distorted slightly after finishing the seam welds in its free state. A couple of inches of timber protuding at the bottom isn't a problem and is going to allow copious layers of protective paint to be applied. The boot was then secured in place with the original 12 screws that had held the plates prior to welding  (absolute belt and braces)
We then applied a coat of primer paint to boot and timber. While doing this I spotted a date mark on the post (1929):


Undercoat and top coats to follow


While this was going on John P and Malcolm started to dismantle the arm, spec. plate, ladder and lower angle crank assembly from the direction indicator signal - this will now be lifted out as an assembly (bit of trenching round the base required first) prior to transporting to Broadway



 The wooden signal post will be held in position inside a concrete block with a layer  of  pea gravel . We have prepared the inner shuttering for this from some plywood kindly supplied by our colleagues next door at Carriage and Wagon. 


 All of the large pile of point rodding has had its first stage of cleaning completed and a couple of the badly corroded ones have been cut up and painted for conversion into supports for SW signs along the extension. 

Oh, and just after tidying up at the end of play I spotted the decayed end of the wooden post that we cut off prior to restoration - it was in rather a state


Electrical Matters

Now that the  Concentrator Upgrade scheme is completed for now, and thanks to Keverns clever work, we also have fully operational direct comm's between Toddington and Winchcombe.
We had the circuit working before but using a spare phone connected as a phantom SPT.
Since this is safety critical we always had the fallback on the strowger system extensions

Broadway is the final unit and thats presently under construction deep in a garage in Worcestershire.
We have had to modify the original design for these Box to Box circuits  and this has taken time and brain cells to engineer, shortly it will be added to the box to box circuit between Winchcombe. Gotherington and Cheltenham.

Final Installation at Toddington complete with posh engraved signal name labels and new shelf courtesy of Eddie in Carriage and Wagon

 Incidentally the other circuits based on our ancient strowger  exchanges continues to work - more on Toddington 60 a bit later.

We have started to turn our attentions to the  condition of the Signal Post Phones. Initial inspections show that we need to change about half of them for upgrade and refurbishment , that means that I need to get on and build up some more spares,

 Signal Post Phone on Winchcombe signal 3/5

We continue with the programme of cable replacement- getting rid of dodgy old joints like this one  which was at Winchcombe

 This particular one was sorted out  by Neil  and is the reason why there is now a new  small cabinet opposite Winchcombe Signal Box. Its what happen if connections lay damp for many years. The  crimps were originally grease filled  but the grease  does eventually give up and electrolysis sets in giving all sorts of odd faults. Shortly the old joints inside  Greet Tunnel will be in the scrap , sorry recycling, bin and this will also help to reduce the fault liability. They are very difficult to work on safely inside the tunnel.

I said earlier that the Strowger units continue to work well. On the whole, they do, yesterday Paul and I investigated the problems with the Todd Booking Office internal Phone, we eventually proved it to a particular length  of cable close to Todd Box, those hungry meeces again, we surmise.

Mike S, Paul D and of course Kevern O.