Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Telephones, Telephones

Whilst a lot of the workers are up at Broadway having fun with things mechanical. There were still four others around Winchcombe getting on with clearing away the old cabling- thats Carl and Keith. Paul and I had decided that an inspection, particularly of the lesser used Signal Post Phones would be a good plan before the intensive Santa Season. Particularly the two at Gotherington where the Concentrator System may well be the only effective communication in the event of a problem  either with the line or the train, even Vodaf... don't work everywhere on our line!

The result was that we had to change a phone at G20  whoever would put a poor old Sweeney phone (706L) in an unheated cabinet and then leave it there for ten years!,

 It did work when last tested in April Now I suspect the damp has got at the old carbon Transmitter Insert- there's little point in changing them as the carbon granules are all over 30 years old. So we change the whole phone with an electret type, when we pulled it out we found a mouse had tried to have dinner on the handset cord so it was a failure waiting to happen. Then it was over to Winchcombe to look at W3/5 Tunnel North and the W36, the Outer home which were all OK
Much later in the day, Paul got a lift in the rail-car "Malcolms Buggy" driven by Neil whilst they were pulling out old cable and so he was able to check out  the phone at Tunnel South (W2), all working but no incoming ring. Hopefully we can get back to that next week and Santa will complete all his trips without a problem

Since the last report, the 5th and final Concentrator, for Broadway, continues in new build in Kevern's workshop. I gather it is close to Final Test but presently we have a problem with the bench power supply, anyone got a spare 50v one laying around?

Watch out for Santa

Mike S

A Bit of Carpentry

Tuesday 28th Nov

Five of us at Broadway today to carry on with the fitting of rodding.
Malcolm and John P crumpled themselves in the tunnel to connect the three southbound cranks. All seven are now
complete. Continuing with installing t hi e rodding up the platform will now have to wait until the ballasting and tamping is complete.

Looks quite colourful

This now leaves us with the carpentry bit. Six more slots to cut in the rabbit proof fence for the rodding - a bit of accurate marking out required followed by careful cutting (I say careful because these planks are getting a bit flimsy with all the slots)

And then put in position to see (thankfully) that it fits pretty snugly over the rods

Next step while we were in carpentry mood was to line up the positions for slots for the signal wires. With the aid of some blue nylon rope attached to the pulley wheel (for no. 2 signal position initially) and then passed out across the tracks to a pulley wheel on the opposite side this allowed us to set the best alignment parallel to the sleepers  and then to mark the woodwork for cutting:

 This was repeated for another 10 wire positions. To ensure that  these wires pass across the tracks without fouling a bit of adjustment of the sleeper positions was needed (we did refit all the clips!)
John P in charge of drilling and George cutting the slots down to the holes

And a view from the inside with the  board re-fitted


Should keep the wildlife out! 


Thursday, 23 November 2017

Linking up

Tuesday 21st Oct

Action on two fronts today. Firstly the installation of an armoured mains cable from Winchcombe Signal box to the 8 coach marker at the south end of the platforms.
This to provide a connection point between the tracks for charging coach batteries.
The concrete lids from about 170 troughs were removed first (a very good workout!).


And then feed the cable into the troughing from a cable drum on platform 2 and then replace the lids. All accomplished in 45 minutes by four of us.

 With an orange tube to feed the cable under the track to protect it from hot embers 

Then off to Broadway to continue with the linking up of the point rodding cranks in the signal box tunnel. To do this we have to cut a suitable length of rodding to fit between the crank on the steel plate (set at 45 degrees) and the angle crank connected to the lever (hope you're following this!) AND with the lever set in its mid position in the lever frame.  


This allows a 2.5" movement of the rodding in each direction from the mid position. 
Here's a view  looking down on the connections with the vertical rods coming down from the lever. The point rodding then goes off to the left through the tunnel

And here's a view looking back up the tunnel from the outside with four of the northern bound rods fitted
The pins connecting these rods are not fitted correctly yet - they will be reversed with grease nipples on top.
Just a word about the holes for bolting. Once we have cut a rod to length we have a cunning tool/jig for punching, (not drilling) the 2 bolt holes in the end. This clamps the rod to give the correct position relative to the end and then with a suitable amount of grunting and brute force a punch is wound through to produce the hole Then it is re-positioned to produce a second hole. This is through steel about 5mm thick. 
Here's Malcolm doing the grunt! 


 More grunting next time with the southbound set.


Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Loads of Drilling

Tuesday 14th Nov

We continued at Broadway today with the fitting of the  point rodding angle cranks on the steel plates exiting the signal box tunnel.
Having lined out and pilot drilled the base mounting holes for the four northbound sets of rodding last week we now set out to position the three angle cranks for the southbound rodding.
Having got the positions set we decided at this stage to unbolt the steel plates and drag them out onto the ends of the freshly placed sleepers - a four man job! This enabled the use of the magnetic drill  - hopeless trying to do this in the tunnel with a hand drill.

But first we needed to drill (by hand) two more holes into the C- channel using the pre-drilled holes in the plate as a guide. The C- channel has turned out to be pretty hard and resisted several drills (13mm) before getting through. John P struggled valiantly in the restricted space:

Plates now clear of tunnel

Having got the plate assembly out and clear for attack from above,  the magnetic drill proved its worth. Each crank base is to be secured by four 3/4”BSW bolts ( we try to keep it heritage!) so we drilled through the plate with a 25/32” drill. Bolt clearance to be kept to a minimum to prevent any possible movement during operation.  We are hoping at this stage that our lining out was accurate!

The finished pattern for the northbound cranks:

And finally, all 7 bolted up in position with the plates back in . Our lining out proved to be pretty accurate and we got all the bolts in without any drama:

All this activity took us most of the day so nothing else to report, but we did have time to admire everything that was going on around us - new fencing going up between the goods shed and Evesham Road Bridge and  window frame painting on the station building. It’s a magnificent sight now looking northwards from the signal box vantage point.


Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Crank Setting

Tuesday 8th Nov

Five of us at Broadway today to do some preliminary layout of the cranks on the steel plates at the exit of the signal box tunnel under platform 2. and to continue with work on the locking frame.

A bit of freshly laid ballast to be scraped away and a couple of holes prepared for the two rodding stools which we are temporarily inserting to line things up. Keith L just loves shovelling ballast. A few of the fittings are lined up on the platform:

The cranks are of two different heights to prevent fouling. The four cranks we are fitting first will take the rodding from the tunnel through a right angle to direct it northwards up the side of platform 2. First step to set the stools in position so that we are approx equidistant between the sleeper ends and the platform wall. This allows a sufficient gap for a cable to be laid up against  the wall. So it looks as though our positioning of the steel plates was spot on.


All heights are now fixed by the steel plates.  We now slide in the 18ft lengths of rodding to align the crank positions. The holes in the ends of each crank have to be aligned at 45 degrees .

Unfortunately we only brought three lengths of point rodding from Winchcombe on a previous visit so we had to do a bit of swopping to set all four cranks.
We have now marked and pilot drilled the four holes for each crank base . When we have set a further    three cranks for the southbound rodding and the pulley wheels , we will remove the plates and use the magnetic base drill to open out all the holes for bolting. (not enough headroom to get at these holes with it).
These four northbound rods will operate the two points and two facing point locks. Levers 12,13 and 15,16.

Unfortunately rain ended up stopping play by mid afternoon so we repaired to the locking room to admire the efforts of Malcolm and George bringing the locking frame jigsaw to a conclusion. All locks and locking bars have now been fitted and subject to a bit of easement here and there it is now complete. Only remains to do the testing to make sure that all the locking combinations work.

 All 60 of the support brackets for the attaching the signal wire rollers to the platform walls have now been drilled and are ready for action.


Wednesday, 1 November 2017

A Range of Tasks

Tuesday 31st Oct

Seven of us in attendance at Winchcombe today with a range of tasks to carry out. Richard C, John P and Jim P were sent off to Broadway to pick up 10 lengths of concrete cable troughs to complete the cable tidying up at Winchcombe,  We took with us a rather smart armchair that Carl S has acquired - this is now placed “temptingly” in Broadway box to await its first incumbent!

The ballasting between the platforms at Broadway has now reached the southern end of the platforms and our recently fitted steel mounting plates are nestling neatly up against it. Glad we fitted these before the ballasting! 

Anyway, back to Winchcombe where the rest of the team were busy with the replacement cable work between the tracks. The old defective cable has now been severed and the new one attached into the lineside cabinets. We are going to leave the remains of the old cable buried where it is rather than attempt to dig out a whole load more ballast to try and find what the problem (sorry for previously building up expectations for an exciting resolution of the problem!!)
The final tidying up under way:


The other end of the new cable is connected back to the Toddington cable in this smaller cabinet which is now secured in concrete. A bit more painting required to finish off.

 Some more of the concrete troughing was required to provide ducting for the new telephone cables which will supply communication to the new reception building. So a bit more digging and cutting required by Jim P and John P. This is in preparation for the phone line installation by BT. 

The finished job:

Back at the bench we are cutting up two lengths of our beloved (carefully restored!) point rodding into 7” lengths to make mountings for the signal wire roller sets that will be attached along both platform walls at Broadway .  So, out with the angle grinder:


And approx 60 cuts and a couple of cut-off wheels later we had amassed 60 pieces which four of us set about filing off all the sharp edges, led by Keith L 

These will now have to have a mounting hole drilled at each end for the bolting.

I believe that the distance from the signal box to the northern end of the platforms is approx 500feet, so a fair number will be needed if, for example, we  position one every 20feet. I think that when we did a similar job  along platform 2 at Cheltenham we had a roller support at approx every 25ft ( to be decided) . To give you an idea of what such an assembly will look like here are Keith L’s hands posing with a mock up against the C &W building at the end of play (no holes drilled yet):

They will be attached using Rawlbolts. 

During the day we were observing the preparations for the removal of the first wagon from the rear siding at the back of the yard . This one I believe was made in the USA for the war effort in France and is now off to Sharpness (Vale of Berkeley Railway ) - going to need a fair bit of restoration! It did actually move without much resistance. 

Before sheeting 

After sheeting 

Another day of good jobs completed