Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Connecting the Ground Frame

Tuesday 27th Feb

Six of us in action at Broadway today to complete the installation of the southern turnout  ground frame.
Firstly this involves mounting the facing point lock mechanism to a  steel plate, itself fixed to the centre of a wooden sleeper. However, we are delayed from starting by the arrival of the ballast train and we have to leave the points clipped until they have finished their ballasting run through platform 1.

So, to start we mount a slotted stretcher bar so that the FPL casting position can be determined and the bolt hole positions marked:

Note that the stretcher bar and central section of the steel plate are insulated from the rail to maintain track circuit integrity. The blue plastic tube is cut to length and inserted round the bolt with a plastic washer under the nut

Then the mounting holes are drilled - luckily we are able to use the magnetic drill here. Because we are out of range of an electricity supply we brought a generator with us  (not just to boil the kettle you understand!) :

The slot in the stretcher bar was not wide enough to accommodate the locking bar so a bit of in-situ cutting and filing was required:

Len W carrying out the final adjustment with a file:

And finally here's this part of the assembly complete:

Next we turn our attention to mounting an angle crank to the third  sleeper further south. This will connect the locking bar to the lineside crank already installed (this will be more obvious from the shot of the overall layout which will follow shortly)

The fixing of these fittings is a little fiddly as we use screwed rod which needs a nut put on from underneath the sleeper, so a bit of ballast shovelling is required:

And then using the crank base to spot and drill the four moumting holes:

And then mounted in position with its two connecting links:

Having got all the main components in position we were then able to measure and cut the lengths of point rodding to connect everything together:

Sorry about my shadow!
And for the grand finale- here is everything connected up:

While all this was going on Jim P and Len W headed back to platform 1 to fit and bolt down all the pulley wheels required to direct the signal wires north and south - this is now a full set for platform 1 side. Luckily the plate has remained clear of ballast.

On the opposite side, a triple set of pulley wheels has been mounted on a raised bracket - all fittings for signal wires and point rodding at the signal box are now complete and await the task of connecting up to all points north and south!

The new spring hand lever to operate the Headshunt points at Broadway North has been delivered - this wasn't fitted today as a modified connection coupling is required - got to save something for next week!

Bit cold today with intermittent snow flurries, but another good box ticked.


Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Re-conditioned Ground Signal Installed

Tuesday 20th Feb

The ground signal that we removed from Toddington a few weeks back has now had  a
comprehensive makeover - so today we returned to put it back in place.
It has quite a complicated base casting with some  awkward internal cavities to clean - but here it is ready to go:

A couple of mods have been made to replace the lamp case mounts but otherwise its now good for another 20 years

Jim P and John P cleaning out ballast from underneath the concrete mounting block so that the securing bolts can be pushed through - all a bit awkward and uncomfortable kneeling on the ballast.

 Two bolts fit and it is nice and secure:

All that remains is to re-dress it with all its fittings

Re-connect it and give it an oiling 

And then test it to give the tamper safe passage on its way to Broadway

Meanwhile back at Winchcombe Keith, Carl and Len had begun the task of clearing the yard. There is a large mixture of discarded rubbish here including several wooden cable drums, car tyres, rotten pallets, brambles, etc, so a large bonfire ensued. 
Here are a few shots of the action (please note that were careful not to incinerate the vintage wagons in the background!!!)

We left it looking a good deal tidier but it now needs the assistance of the telehandler to tidy up the heavy stuff. The metal skip is completely full so the removal of the  rest of the metal scrap will have to await an empty skip. 

Before we left Toddington I walked down to the Starter signal that had its down rod replaced recently to give the bottom end a coat of black gloss where the paintwork had suffered some scuffing - so Toddington signals now  in good order. 
Malcolm also took the opportunity to weigh up what is needed in the way of stretchers for the new turnout (see PWay blog for views of this. 


Wednesday, 14 February 2018

We finally got around tuit

Sorry about the cheesy title  but we wish the world to know that we have at long last replaced the PAX  MDF at Winchcombe

Its referred to as an MDF which brings back memories of long apparatus rooms in 10, 000 line exchanges ( I was at Euston, now 01387 and at Canonbury, 01226) .

Here at Winchcombe it was just a single 50pair block enclosed in an old steel Fusebox casing, but it did the job and had kept us working for many years.

However its now replaced by a nice new, plastic Krone Block thanks to Pauls skills.

He made it seem very easy  and, like a lot of these jobs it is if you go about it the right way, and he says that he has  done many, many of these in his time.
The trick was to carefully label each individual circuit before we started- we did all that last week!
Glad to report that it worked straight away and all lines produced the right responses.

A long overdue indoor job done on a very cold winters day. 

Looks like I forgot to get a final picture of the Box with its cover on, but thats a bit boring. Also glad to say that it passed inspection by Neil who came past to take a small warm interval from upgrading signal lamps to LED.

It looks like we need to get the decorators in soon!

Thanks for reading of our exploits

Mike S


Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Ground Frame Installation

Tuesday 6th Feb

Another good turnout with 8 of us at Broadway today

 Plenty to do to get the ground frame and associated fittings dug in.
Luckily we had Steve on hand with his JCB to do the heavy lifting and digging.
First stage was to get the frame up in the air to bolt on four concrete legs:

And then set it aside while four holes were ripped out of the old ballast. I'm glad we didn't have to do this by hand - there was a large amount of bricks, clinker and roots etc buried there.

Then it was lowered in and levelled up

And the ballast shovelled back in to secure it in position:

But this is not the end of the story.  We now need 3 more holes in which to sink concrete blocks to support cranks and rollers. Look at all the bricks appearing:

Having got the holes in roughly the correct position, two concrete blocks are dropped in and separated apart to match bolt holes with a metal plate which in turn will support a crank:

 And the first crank goes on - this one will connect across to the track to operate the points:

And this crank will connect across to operate the facing point lock:

And into the final hole goes the block to support the rodding

And here's a view of the overall layout (the connections across to the track not shown - these will be left off until the track has been tamped)

A bit more tweaking to the alignment and levelling and then we're done. A view from the operating position - light blue lever releases facing point lock after itself is unlocked by the staff carried by the train crew - then the black lever can be pulled to operate the points:

 While all this was going on, three of the team disappeared up Broadway north to install the double disc ground signal on the concrete base at the Route Indicator signal. It will have its discs and balance weights fitted nearer the time of commissioning

On the way back to a final cup of tea in the signal box we saw Steve having downsized to the mini-digger removing some of the recently dropped excess ballast from between the tracks.

Finally, it was decided that because of the low temperature today, it was a good time to try  out the fireplace in the signal box - we had come armed with some kindling and a bag of coal. Unfortunately the only thing that  got tested was the smoke alarm.
There appears to be a blockage somewhere and only a limited amount of smoke made it out of the chimney (we did open the flap!)