Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Cables Galore

Tuesday 17th Dec

A super turnout today with 10 of us (must have been the potential of  mince pies at break time!)

Lots of activity on the cabling front today.
The existing cables between Far Stanley and the distant signal just south of Greet tunnel (a distance of 1700 metres) have to be replaced. These are a collection of 25 pair and 30 pair cables with two lineside cabinets and 5 troughing joints. The troughing joints are pretty basic and not well protected and subject to rodent "nibbling" and water ingress causing intermittent faults.
So - the whole of this 1700m will be serviced with one continuous 10 pair cable (we only need 7 pairs over this section).
Steve W and his JCB have been digging a 12" deep trench over this length to bury it:

A small lineside cabinet is being installed at the distant signal to terminate this cable. This will join to the remaining bit of (overkill) 30 pair cable down to the electrically operated signal just before Greet tunnel. This cabinet will service the lamp on this signal and the  adjacent treadle (triggered by the engine wheels) which rings a bell in the signal box to alert the signalman of a train approaching the tunnel

Neil C then wrestles with removing the outer coating and steel wire armour on the 30pair cable - it really is difficult to prepare the ends to reveal the wires inside - there is a knack to it combined with brure force! .Connections to the box will be done tomorrow

Here's what the inside of a 30 pair looks like:

One of the large lineside boxes we removed was a connection nightmare - don't quite know how it got into this state - been here from the dawn of the railway I should think!

And removing a cable joint from a concrete trough

OK that's got rid of the old stuff now the new cable can go in. This had been unrolled from a drum on the diesel railcar previously and had already been terminated at its southern end so this was now a track walk to feed it into the trench.
We passed Lineside Clearance doing a grand and noisy job with a 360 machine with an awesome flail mincing everything in sight!

But I digress. Having installed the new cable in the trench (which Steve will now fill in again with the JCB) we turned our attention to removing the now redundant cables. These are buried in ballast up near the ends of the wooden  sleepers and because P Way have an imminent program of life expired sleeper replacement over this section we need these cables out of the way.
So the cunning method of getting them out is to attach an end to the railcar trailer and slowly pull them out

Then drag the extracted length along the track and deposit it in Winchcombe yard.
This was repeated for the second length.

Back at Winchcombe we dismantled the scaffolding round signal 4

And here it is finished with the scaffolding team posing:

And finally a photo of the whole S & T team gathered in front of our notorious "workshop". We don't all fit in at mess-time so here's hoping that all those rumours of a new workshop will materialise in the new year!

Seasons greetings to all my blog followers


Friday, 13 December 2019

Signal Box Electrics, etc

Tuesday 10th Dec

Work on two fronts today. Neil C and Jim P went off to Broadway to do some preparation for electrical wiring.
While the rest of us remained at Winchcombe to carry on with cleaning and painting.
But first, a quick report on progress at Broadway. In order to carry wiring (tidyly) from  the electric locks and contact boxes trunking has been installed from the lever frame to the connections board:

Progress on the connections board showing external cables terminated, some wiring clips and power distribution holders to lower right :

Batteries, 3-stage chargers and lamp and track circuit charging power supplies powered up

(above pictures courtesy of Neil Carr)

Back at Winchcombe we are re-conditioning a large lineside box which is going to be installed in the yard of Church ward House for outdoor electrics.

Will need a second coat of aluminium paint on the outside surfaces next week, the top to undercoat and then black gloss - inside colour to be decided. It was raining for most of the day so we retreated to the Building Services workshop to find some respite, hope they don't mind us invading their space!

And there are always more Signal parts to sort out. Finials taking centre stage here:


Thursday, 5 December 2019

Winchcombe Signal Refurb Continued

Tuesday 3rd Dec

At least it remained dry today so working outside to do some painting was OK.
But the first objective was to re-assemble all the fittings on the freshly painted signal post No. 4 (Winchcombe platform 2 starter). The crows nest has been cleaned and re-painted with new "creosoted" boards fitted.

Starting at the top, we have to haul these heavy parts up by rope and pulley - heavy lumps. And then finishing at the bottom with the balance weight assembly

Because the ladder is concreted in at the bottom this has to be cleaned and painted in situ - John P starting with rust removal

Job complete at the end of the day - the scaffolding can now be removed (and taken to Broadway next?!)

It just remains to fit new cabling for the light in the lamp casing - this can be carried out from the crows nest in due course. No detector on this signal so wiring is a minimum.

We have now put the undercoat and top coats on the new CRC bracket post - looking a lot tidier now

One of the two remaining pieces to complete the part count for the new Broadway bracket is now complete after machining in the Toddington machine shop. The pivot bracket that holds one of the double balance weight arms - the pivot pin slides in beautifully - a precision fit! Well done the machinist. 


Wednesday, 20 November 2019

More Signal Recon

Tuesday 19th Nov.

Malcolm W is on a 4 day telehandler course this week so Neil C was leading operations with six of us in attendance.

Signal 6 adjacent to Winchcombe signal box has now been completely re-furbished and is back in operation:

And next is a similar project to re-furbish signal 4 opposite. The scaffolding has been erected round this signal and its fittings removed ready for the big clean. Here is a close up of some of the rusting:

Carl S makes a start cleaning up the crow's nest prior to a re-paint. The boards have gone rotten and will need replacing

We managed to get the whole post wire-brushed and prime painted in the day.

The main post for the Cheltenham replacement bracket has been rescued from the back of Winchcombe yard  by the tele- handler so we have made a start cleaning it up. Two of us spent the morning with angle grinders getting it ready for paint. Quite a lot of surface area here!

And a coat of primer put on before end of play.

Several lengths of cable have been measured out on the concrete roadway using a measuring wheel ready for connecting the point machines, and other services at Toddington south points. These have been laid out at Toddington ready for connecting and placing in the recently positioned troughing.


Signal Box Progress

Tuesday 5th Nov.

Another excellent turnout today so plenty of activity going on.
But first, a quick update on Broadway Signal Box. Neil C has been busy installing the batteries and charging units required for powering the signal box equipment in the event of mains power interruptions. These have been mounted on the North wall of the locking room.

On the lower shelf are four 12volt batteries and above them are four individual charging units. These are now operational and the orange light at the bottom RH of each unit indicates that the batteries are now charging. This changes to green when the batteries are fully charged
This system allows the selection of either 12, 24, 36 or 48 volts for the different systems/instruments.

News Flash:  It has now been decided to transport the bracket signal to Broadway by lorry this Thursday. To do this the two dolls are being removed:

Once the main post has been secured on its base the two dolls can then be lifted in with straps using the Hiab. We will then erect scaffolding to continue putting all the fittings in place (a day without wind and rain would be good!!)

At trackside of Winchcombe signal box some re-furbishment work has started. Signal 6 has had its fittings removed to clean up its fairly rusty post. The whole post has been wire brushed with an angle grinder and given a coat of green primer :

The adjacent ground signal was also looking its age so we have replaced it completely with a spare unit. John H wrestles with four heavily corroded nuts to get the old one off:

While Jim P and Malcolm W wrestle the re-conditioned one into place:

Tumbling ballast has been falling onto the base of this signal so we have put in a concrete retaining wall to tidy it up:

And topped it off with a covering of fresh ballast to key into the concrete

For most of today Neil C, John P, Carl S and Keith L went off to Toddington to continue the fitting of the second point motor at the southern turnout. This now leaves the installation of cabling to the motors, adjacent phone and track circuits. (no pictures I'm afraid)


Thursday, 7 November 2019

Thursday Special

Thursday 7th Nov

At last the bracket signal has arrived at Broadway! Sound the trumpets!
Firstly a reminder of where it is going
- on these 4 studs on the concrete block adjacent to the South end points.

This is probably the last "new" signal that will be erected on the GWSR

Not without its problems - bit of a worrying moment trying to get the Vic Haines lorry reversing up the ramp from the entrance to the car park but having turned round it shot up the loose ballast on full power

And made it to the top without further incident

The plan is then to lift off the main post and lower it horizontally to the ground

Then to re-fit the two dolls. These are manageable with a two man lift to "wriggle" them back into their clamps  and bolt up. securely

Now to re-sling the assembly to lift it  vertically.

Luckily this hiab has got a phenomenal lift height. So taking things slowly it was manoeuvred to a vertical position

And positioned onto the four studs. It fits beautifully (the wooden template used to set the studs in the concrete some weeks ago did its job well!)
Each stud already has a nut fitted underneath the baseplate so that fine tuning to get the post absolutely vertical can be achieved - just needed a few tweaks.
The assembly that holds the four pulleys to direct the signal wires vertically has to be fitted at this stage  for final bolting - this fits over two of the studs on top of the baseplate

So here we are all secure and vertical - just a matter of retrieving the two slings from up on high- out with the ladders

Job done in just over an hour. Roll of honour goes to Vic Haines' driver, Neil C, Andy, George B, Malcolm W and yours truly behind the lens.

Scaffolding required next!