Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Plating Up

Tuesday 24th Oct

Five of us turned out at Broadway today to carry on with the fitting of the two sets of steel trackside mounting plates for the pulley wheels and cranks. Today was going to probably be our last opportunity to drive the pick-up along the track bed as far as the signal box with all the heavy stuff. Just as well that the two steel plates for platform 1 side had been delivered - 2 big lumps 8 ft long by 16” wide. We also decided to bring the majority of the pulley assemblies and angle cranks plus 3 lengths of our lovingly restored point rodding (for alignment purposes) ,

Ballasting between the platforms has now reached the signal box and beyond southwards so we had to distract the mini-digger operator for a while to clear us a working space round the concrete base by platform 1 (hope we’re forgiven for holding up P-Way activity! wasn’t long)

Here the magnetic base drill really comes into its own . We are joining the two steel plates together a cross plate underneath. These holes (for 6 x M10 bolts) are countersunk so that we will end up with a completely flat surface on which to configure the pulleys:


The whole assembly is then bolted down to the four channels which are anchored in the concrete.
A total of 14 holes and counter sinks - took most of the morning by the time we got it all secure. I have temporarily placed one of the pulley wheel assemblies in position to give an idea of what things will look like - this one will direct a signal wire north up the platform wall . The wires to this side will pass between sleepers under the tracks: 

After lunch we repeated the exercise with the two larger plates for the exit from the locking room tunnel. Same number of holes and same procedure. Ballasting on this side not quite reached us yet so lying down to fit awkward nuts underneath was a lot easier. 


Again Malcolm and George were down in the locking continuing with the configuration of locks and locking bars. Much drilling and filing  and fitting still to do:


Wednesday, 18 October 2017

More at Winchcombe

Tuesday17th Oct

Eight of us on site at Winchcombe today. One team carrying on with sorting out the faulty cable across the tracks from the signal box and the other preparing some more parts for the signalling at Broadway.
A lot more ballast digging to prepare a trench for the replacement cable (a 20 pair armoured).

The cable will pass under the siding track through the orange plastic tube. This piece of cable will be approx 25 metres long to join the existing lineside box and the new (smaller) one pictured last week.
It has now been buried in position and will be connected up as soon as poss on a non-running day so that we don’t cause any disruption to operations.
We are now interested in finding out exactly what and where the fault is with the old cable. So, another ingress has been cut into it (at the position of the piece of covering grey tubing pictured below):

And then having bared the suspect wires carry out the magic pulse test -

This indicated that there is a fault approx 2 metres away in the Toddington direction. At this position the cable passes underneath water and electricity supply cables so we can’t pursue any further investigation until we have cut and dragged it out. You can just see the tubes carrying these services coming out between the sleepers:

A bit more tidying up for the Cheltenham cable with some additional trunking 

And a view of the spaghetti of existing  connections inside the cabinet. 

Part two consisted of organising some more fittings for Broadway.  Once we have fitted the steel plates for mounting the angle cranks for the point rodding and the pulley wheels for the signal wires we can start to line out their positions. To assist with this we have prepared two of the fabricated steel  rodding stools and bolted on a four wheel set of rollers: 

 The screwed rod bolted at right angles to the feet will serve to anchor them in a concrete “boot”. The height at which they will be set is determined by finished sleeper surface. The face onto which the roller sets are bolted will be level with the sleeper and spaced in the gap between the sleeper end and the platform wall. A length of point rodding laid on these two sets of rollers will then give us a good datum for positioning of the fittings. 

Here are a few of the bits in the process of being cleaned up:

and some of the speed restriction signs destined for Broadway

and some of the lineside cabinets now undercoated - silver and black top coats to follow:


Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Cable Hunting

Tuesday 10th Oct

A Cable fault lineside of Winchcombe Signal Box was the subject of  today’s labours under the direction of Neil C. Two cables go under the tracks from the box and needed digging out of the ballast - one is the Toddington communication cable and one is the Cheltenham communication cable. A very time consuming and awkward job to tickle the ballast out from under numerous rails.

But after much concerted digging all was revealed

There has apparently been an intermittent fault on the Toddington line for some time so a bit of testing was now required to try and determine the location. The clever bit now follows!
From the cable end connections in the Signal Box, an electrical pulse is sent down the suspected faulty wire using a Time Domain Reflectometer (wow!). If there is a break/fault this pulse is reflected back down the wire and the instrument measures the time this takes thus giving a measure to where the fault lies. This indicated that there was a fault within 38 metres. So.....further digging ensued to try and locate the Toddington cable circa this distance:

Next stage was to bore into the cable to uncover the “offending wires” inside. This means cutting off the covering sheath, cutting through the steel armour and the plastic insulation, to eventually bare the wires in question and to carry out a short circuit test. All this led us to believe that we could remove a length of cable between 25 and 38 metres from source - this would enable the existing cable to be connected into the adjacent lineside box and a new piece of cable to be installed from this box to a new box beyond the 38 metre point. In the last picture the savaged cable is temporarily protected with a piece of plastic tubing. A freshly prepared lineside box now ready for a bit of concrete:

Neil will need a few hours of quiet concentration to reconnect cables when the railway isn’t running!
A new piece of cable is now standing by 

To protect the cables running under the tracks, concrete troughing has been installed. This will give protection from  burning coal which can  cause damage  and makes it evident where cables are 

Back at the workshop we have been restoring more lineside cabinets which will be required around Broadway to connect all the cabling that will be required there


Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Plating Up

Tuesday 3rd Oct

Six of us in action at Broadway today to carry on with the preparation of the concrete block for the signal wire pulley wheels opposite the signal box against the wall of platform 1.
We decided on quite an unusual and heavyweight solution to support the 4 lengths of C-channel which are to be set in the concrete to support the steel plates (2-off 8ft long x 18” wide).
To support them and prevent them  from moving during the concrete pour they will be bolted to two lengths of channel sitting on the base of last weeks excavation.
First step to cut up the pieces from the (approx 20ft long) piece


The large angle grinder made light work of this


Six pieces required. Keith L with the four short bits for debuting


Then a bit of marking out and drilling for the bolt holes. Jim P in charge

And here are the two completed assemblies

Now I hope you can see what all this was about with them finally in position

Then onto the concrete pour. I reckoned we needed just over half a cubic metre to fill it so it was a good job we brought the mixer with us. Keith L slaved away keeping keeping it fed with aggregate and cement off the back of the pickup. 

And here’s the finished job with just the upper halves of the C- channel showing above the surface of the concrete. 


While we were in the mood for moving and drilling large lumps of steel we turned our attention to the opposite of the (almost! ) tracks to configure the four 9” C-channels that we brought up last week.
These required positioning on top of the channels which are already cast into the tunnel floor so that 
they protrude out to be level with the top of the platform.
Marking out and drilling  required to match up with the existing holes 

And then bolted in position. 

 Limited access!!

 We already have the two large steel plates which were then manhandled on top of the four channels. Not yet bolted down - a job for the magnetic drill next week or we may now wait until the ballasting has been done. These plates will protrude out a little further over the ends of the channels. 

 Obviously a good place to sit for a tea break! and still plenty of room for wheels and angle cranks.

While all this was going on we managed to avoid the dumper truck on its many journeys ferrying ballast up to the fast approaching northern railhead- in fact I believe we have featured in the Extension Blog this week -  Jo paused for a photo shoot as we were about to start pouring concrete!