Thursday, 24 January 2019

Mainly Cabling & Cabinets

Tuesday 2nd Jan.

Split into two groups today - one at Winchcombe to recondition several large line-side boxes and one to do cabling work towards Broadway with the aid of the diesel railcar.
But before setting off a bit of troughing work behind Winchcombe signal box to protect a cable crossing under the tracks.
First a bit of  masonry work to create a ninety degree change of direction with the troughing:

And just right for the cable to sit nicely. Just the lids needed to finish it off:

Now it was time for Neil C, George B, Peter W and yours truly to head off to Broadway in the railcar loaded up with a kilometer of 20 pair cable - here we are disappearing up Defford Straight:

It takes a surprisingly long time to get there at at an average speed of approx 12mph - proceeding cautiously looping round the PW track works at Toddington and passing through the station with the re-slabbing of platform 1 in progress. Have to say that seeing the new aqueduct close up is quite impressive as well.
Anyway, less of this rambling and back to the work in hand.
First stop is at the new distant signal where we install the three cables from the new line-side cabinet across under the track to the post. Peter W digs a trench and George eases away ballast for a protective plastic tube to go under the rails :

The three cables to the signal are for the motor, the detector and the lamp. The main 20 pair cable from Toddington is cut to approx length and pushed up into the cabinet. Neil C has a wrestle with the cable to get it bent neatly into the trench:

And up into the cabinet:

Plenty of work to do here eventually with all the connections, batteries and relay  etc. to make and fit.
Then it's onward to Childswickham Bridge to lay another length of cable up to the signal box.

First of all the railcar moves forward slowly unreeling the cable into the 4ft and two of us follow on at a distance to heft the cable out of the 4ft to the side of the track.
Another length of cable is then unreeled up platform 2 to the signals at the North end.
To finish our work for the day, two large pallets of cable troughing are loaded from the piles on platform 2 onto the trailer. You will notice on the next picture that to get an even loading on the trailer we had to turn the cable drum 90 deg. with much heaving and the aid of a crowbar. Still very heavy with a lot of cable still on it. Just about on the limit of trailer capacity with this lot:

This troughing was taken off at Toddington on the way back with the assistance of the Telehandler. It will be used for cable protection there once the replacement track work is completed.
Few more troughs to remove from Broadway platform 2 yet though before all is tidy!
Back at Winchcombe Jim P, John P, Carl S and Malcolm W were busy with the re-con of the line-side cabinets - I think another 5 of these are required in various positions in and around Broadway station


Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Trip Hazard Reduction

Tuesday 15th Feb

Mixed activities today at Broadway .
But first a shot in Winchcombe yard of the base of the second bracket signal due to be installed just south of the southern end points. This base will be bolted to a concrete block of approx one metre cubed. This will be progressed once Steve has dug us a suitable hole with the JCB (I gather he's rather busy at the moment though).

A lot of finishing off today starting at the northern end barrow crossing where John P busied himself with the mag drilling of holes to secure the two metal plates.

And then Keith L arrives with two barrow loads of concrete to finish off the retaining wall at the end of the platform slope:

Signal 8 up by Childswickham Bridge then got a bit of attention. It is now fully connected with all its fittings in place - here it is pulled off.

A bit of fine tuning of the alignment of the signal wire to prevent rubbing  was required so a "swinger " pulley has been fitted (seen here on the right )

Now that the bottom of the ladder for this signal has been securely fastened to its concrete block, the opportunity was taken to climb up  to touch up the scuffs to the white paint. It's pretty impossible to avoid damaging the paint when assembling the fittings. Anyway, this signal is now complete except for its electrical fittings which will have to wait until the cables are installed.

A notice is to be attached to this post to warn of the limited clearance between the caravan club fence and the track:

Opposite signal 8 the pulley to direct the wire up to the Home signal (you can just see this in the distance) has been aligned and its mounting plate set on two concrete blocks. We are going to leave the installation of the signal wire posts up to this signal until the trenching and burying of the main cable has been completed (heavy plant and signal wire posts don't mix in restricted areas!)

Neil C arrived later with the diesel railcar to uncoil another length of cable and to deliver two large concrete blocks (seen on the LH side of the trailer - the purpose of these I will describe shortly:

The railcar together with Carl S and Keith L then disappeared south to the distant signal, loaded with all the necessary equipment to install a large line-side cabinet:

The buried cable from Toddington will connect into this cabinet. You can see the cable emerging from the ground.
This cabinet will contain all the necessary equipment for this motor operated signal. A further identical cable will then connect here to carry on to Broadway (more cable trenching required)

Right, block time. The two large concrete blocks are part of a temporary platform to enable train crews to get access to the ground frame without the hazard of tripping over point rodding and signal wires. A couple of planks are bolted to the blocks:

And then  an old scaffold board is sawn up and screwed to the top:

A couple of sleeper halves and fence posts form the steps:

So hopefully safety reigns!


Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Plating Up

Tuesday 8th Jan.

A good turnout at Broadway with seven of us in action. It was Carl S's birthday yesterday so today saw the signal man's desk adorned with a selection of doughnuts to get us fuelled up ready for the cold outside.
I heard the clunk of a lever followed by George B saying "take a look outside " - and there it was  signal no. 4 now connected up and working perfectly!

And here is the pulley system directing the wires at the base of the bracket:

Today's main task was to fit the steel plates and construct ballast retaining walls to complete the barrow crossings.
Here are the steel plates arriving on the trailer of the diesel railcar - quite heavy lumps to manhandle. There are 5 plates in all, two for each crossing and a smaller one for mounting a pulley on blocks at Childswickham Bridge where the signal wires cross under the track towards the home signal.
At this point the cable drum on the trailer had unreeled a 20 pair cable from the distant signal, a distance of approx 1300yds.
Just arriving slowly:

And then Neil C heaving them off:

John P and Malcolm W start by using the Magdrill to drill holes through the plate and c-channel (embedded in the concrete)  at tapping drill size for M12 and then opening out clearance holes in the plate and finally countersinking for the bolt heads. Tapping the holes in the c-channel was necessary because of the limited access for fitting nuts underneath (and of course we needed to test our knowledge of tapping drill sizes!!)

Here is a close-up of one of the c/sunk bolts fitted - all nice and smooth with no trip hazard.

At each side of this southern end barrow crossing there is still a significant amount of infill/ballast required to provide a smooth transition from the ends of the platforms. This needs short retaining walls building to keep this infil away from the wires and rodding. Carl S makes a start on a brick wall platform 1 side. This will be made to match the platform wall and will eventually be topped off with an edging slab to make it all nice and tidy!

And on the opposite side on platform 2 Keith L shows off his bricklaying skills:

And here's a view of the completed crossing - just the infil and slabbing to finish it off.
Some of the spent ballast from the track work at Toddington would be useful here.

The two steel plates have been positioned at the North end crossing but are not yet fixed. The retaining wall has been started here to use up the last barrow load of concrete of the day - jobs to complete next week.

The other main thrust of our concreting today was to fix the foot of the ladder on the Advanced Starter signal at Childswickham Bridge in a block.
Would you believe that this needed 4 large barrow loads of concrete to fill it!
Two studs bolted to the bottom of the ladder are sunk into the concrete to secure it.

I think we should be coming to an end of the need for any more large concrete blocks - although I've just remembered that we are going to need an "industrial sized" one for the bracket signal yet to be installed between the ground frame and Childswickham Bridge!

And just to round off the day while we were up by C/Wickham Bridge the two concrete blocks (dropped off earlier by Neil C from the railcar) were roughly positioned  for the steel plate to carry a pulley which will divert a wire across the bridge to the Home Signal

Hole courtesy of Stevie W with mechanical assistance!
It's amazing just how much ash, brick and clinker is buried in this embankment.