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.



  1. Wonderful work, especially bearing in mind the cold weather!
    Regards, Paul.

  2. Excellent to see all the progress on the outside works! I imagine you all will be even more excited than I will to see it all connected up inside the box, so even more levers do things!


  3. Presumably the main post for the other bracket signal isn't long enough to allow the proper concrete butt to be fitted to it? I know many of them were cut off at ground level when they were felled by their previous owners.

    1. We have welded a 30" square plate to the bottom of the post with four supporting webs. This will bolt it to the concrete block in which will be sunk four large steel studs. Will take a photo of this next week. This is the same as the bracket already erected at Broadway.

    2. Particularly fine photo of the arrangement above - second picture in the blog.