Thursday, 31 May 2018

Still not Finished

Tuesday 29th May

A smaller group of us at Broadway today to continue with the point rodding installation up to the southern points.
We finished setting in the last four stools up to the point and fpl connections. It has been slow going because the alignment to meet up with the angle cranks which will be set on the concrete blocks at the points has proved a little problematical and has involved the moving (by large crowbar) of the blocks holding the compensators that we buried last week! Anyway, after much grunting and groaning we have got the rodding runs looking respectable. Here's Carl S fixing the steel plate to the first set of blocks - the level of these will need adjusting once the angle cranks are fitted:

And here is the second set of blocks with steel plate fitted at the fpl connection.  Note that we can do all this without disturbing the existing connections from the ground frame. It should then be a relatively simple operation to eventually change over to signal box operation:

I don't think you want to see any more pictures of rodding today, but just to finish off here is a close up of a roller assembly on which the rodding sits. This enables the stub shafts to roll rather than turn therefore minimising friction:

A signal wire has now been connected from the signal box to the wooden Post (platform 1 starter - lever 7) to check the clearance with the platform 2 ramp brickwork. It's all a bit tight here and may need a bit of brick "pruning" - anyway it works OK and we tried it out on Oliver Cromwell!

And the wire being diverted under the tracks by the pulley at the base of the bracket signal:

We were treated to some excellent views of both Oliver Cromwell and P & O coming and going today.

Cromwell running round:

And P & O running round

A fitting wind down from last weekend's Gala!


Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Not Quite There Yet

Tuesday 22nd May

We were still slaving away at Broadway today to complete the installation of the point rodding up to the south pointwork. But I have to report that we have not got there yet.
We have been having a bit of a problem with our lengths of point rodding some of which are not particularly straight - so there has been a bit of juggling with rodding selection and stool positioning to get the layout looking presentable and functioning properly. On top of which we had to get the two sets of  compensators re-aligned - a bit of a jigsaw.
Anyway, at last all is OK. Here are a few pictures of the day's work starting with Malcolm on the end of a crowbar - this is quite an effective way of "wriggling" a buried concrete stool to make a small adjustment :

And then check that the distance is OK:

While Jim P and Len W connect the rodding to the compensators. The blocks on which they have been mounted have had the ballast shovelled back in so the system should be nice and stable. NB the wooden height gauge which is used to keep a constant height relative to the track.

And here are the compensators all connected up and looking a lot tidier :

Then continuing on with the stool burying up towards the temporary ground frame. We shall carry on past this up to the point where the existing rods cross to the track. We  left ourselves with four more stools for next week and the burying of four more concrete blocks to take steel plates and angle cranks - these to be connected when the ground frame is eventually removed.

We were "double-headed" today. Another group of two stalwarts from the S & T Oiling Gang turned up for some greasing and oiling. They are responsible for lubricating all the moving parts of signals, pulleys, cranks, etc on the railway- now becoming a major task to keep everything in good working order :

You will also see in the above picture one of the holes for the concrete blocks.

A grease gun poised to inject grease into an angle crank leading to the fpl.

And as if we hadn't had enough excitement for one day we were alerted to the approach of the Gala Visitor 5197 pulling into Broadway Station. It certainly has a unique whistle and a certain presence.
It probably startled people standing close to it on the platform when it's safety valves lifted - guite a noisy blast!

I think it will be a star at the gala.


Gotherington Auto battery alarm system

Sorry, no pics this time . I think you have perhaps seen enough of us peering into circuit boards and things in-animate.

Just to say that Kevern and I met up on a non running day to start to install another of Keverns magic boxes. It has always been a system weakness that mains failure could go un-noticed until the signalman arrives for duty to find parts of the box system are not working. Then its too late.
This one monitors the various battery voltages at Gotherington so it directly checks that not only are the batteries ok but also that the 240v mains must be on and all the chargers are working correctly.

If the cell voltage on any battery starts to fall outside a set range it will then start a flashing beacon that I mounted under the block-shelf for passing crews to notice and report that there is a fault.

Its pretty bright so perhaps we ought to warn the deer on the hill opposite that they might need sunglasses at night!

Once the battery voltages  have settled down the system will be fully commissioned.

Mike S

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Stools Progress in Concrete

Tuesday 15th May
Seven of us at Broadway today for a bit of seriously hard work .
Fortunately Malcolm and Steve had been at Broadway yesterday with a mini digger to excavate some holes in the ballast for the concrete stools and blocks but a bit of fettling was required to get levels and positions right. Carl S taking a well earned breather:

We now have 15 concrete stools to bed in up to the point where the compensators will be situated. The first five of these are three roller sets up to the point where a second fpl may be needed in the future, and then 10 two roller sets up to the expansion compensators. Here's a 3 roller set bedded in. We shall leave filling in the ballast  in case we need some final adjustment by the time we reach the compensators.

Some way still to go!

Len W follows on with the bolting up of the rods. Doing this as we go along checks that the alignment looks good. This shot shows us approaching today's goal of us reaching the compensators. Team 'B' of Malcolm W, John P and Keith L are in the hole at the top of the picture:

The two compensators are to be mounted on two steel plates on four large concrete blocks. Putting these on the pick up back at Winchcombe with the Telehandler was a breeze, but getting them into the hole back here was a little more tricky - at least a 3-man lift, but the rails came in useful for a breather!

After much mauling and tweaking the blocks have steel plates bolted on and the first compensator fitted. We are now in almost the correct position.

But this is where we left things at the end of the day. A bit more
adjustment to line up with the rodding and then holes can be filled in:

And a view back towards the bridge of the stool planting:

In my absence last week (to make a change from point rodding duties) the team had cast two concrete blocks on which pulley wheels for signal wires are mounted. These will direct wires under the tracks. This one at the base of wooden post - a single wheel :

And one opposite at the base of the bracket signal for a double wheel.

So next week all being well we should complete stool installation up to the point where connections will eventually made to the points and fpl.


Thursday, 3 May 2018

Over the Bridge Competed

Tuesday 1st May

As you may now be well aware we have taken a while to get our beloved rodding safely under the tracks and over Evesham Road Bridge, but today was the day.
As we progress, levels and alignments need re-adjustment to get everything moving smoothly.
So one of the first actions today was to install a pair of single rollers in the six foot to give additional support to the rods going across the tracks :

and encase them with concrete in the previously constructed shuttering boxes.

Last week I promised a picture of one of the pre-cast supports that will now be used from the Bridge up to the points - so some serious holes to dig in the ballast:

A couple more of the steel supports to assemble, - - all we need to fill the gap up to the bridge, here's Len W fitting them together

Now all the supports are fitted and concreted in - Carl S giving them the perfect finish with a trowel

A view of the rodding looking back over the bridge towards the station:

Later on we were rudely jolted from our peaceful tinkering on the bridge by a huge bang. The contents of a low loader had hit the Evesham side of the bridge and deposited its load in the middle of the road - some chaos ensued which merited the attendance of two police cars

 Hopefully the damage to the Bridge is not serious, but I think there is some expensive damaged equipment sitting in the road.

Carl S took advantage of the fine weather to creosote the ballast retaining boards before fitting them back on the bridge:

And Keith L rounded off the day with a bit of gardening to fill in and tidy up round all the excavations:

The gang viewed from the bracket!

And the completed rodding over the bridge.

Plenty more of the same to come!