Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Connecting Up

Tuesday 16th April

Another good turnout today with eight of us at Toddington to continue with the installation of the ground signals at Toddington South.
The signal we installed last week has now had all its wire connections made.

The shuttering round the concrete blocks has been removed and the ballast tidied up. One of the time consuming tasks is the fixing of the signal wires round the thimbles which attach to the shackles linking everything together. This is Malcolm W's task and I am sure he has sore fingers at the end of the day - I counted at least 10 of these joints were made today.
The objective is to ensure that these joints cannot work loose with the significant tension applied when a lever is pulled . The procedure is as follows:
1.Bend wire round thimble with the aid of pliers
2. Cut wire to length leaving approx 8" from thimble.
3. Unwind the seven strands of this excess length.
4. Wrap the first strand tightly round the main wire until it is all used up
5. Repeat successively for all the remaining strands blending all the sharp wire ends with pliers
It should look like this:

Now a few paces North to give our attention to the second ground Signal. 
It has been decided to install a trackside phone at this point so another concrete block has been sited -  we have utilised the 90 degree pipe bend to feed its cable in from underground (you may remember this from a previous blog about the line-side cabinets) 

Then the signal, and angle crank are bolted down - the phone assembly has been positioned on top of the wooden template for its photo shoot with Dinmore approaching from the signal box

The signal wire from here must also pass under the track so we are fixing a pulley to the sleeper ends to connect with the wire coming from the signal box on the Cotswold side. George B and Carl C wrestle with the through-bolting (spanner underneath job with knuckles in the ballast!) 

And here we with the wire sling in place:

With all the connections now in place it remains to check that both signals operate properly.
This will be left to Malcolm and George on Thursday.
I don't think you'll get a dialling tone yet Peter!

Final act of the day was to collect and tidy away the discarded sleepers that P Way are replacing


Thursday, 11 April 2019

Wet and Windy

Tuesday 9th Apr

A very cold, wet and windy outing for us at Toddington today to make a start with the installation of two ground signals at the newly laid pointwork at the southern end.
Access to get the most southerly signal to its position was somewhat limited having got as close as possible with the blue pickup - it was a two/three man job to carry over the rails and drag it along the ballast. A heavy lump and awkward to get hold of in its fully assembled form. But we are made of stern stuff!

We had already unearthed an existing concrete block with fixings that suited this signal so it was soon bolted down:

Next task was to clear some ballast adjacent to the signal to prepare a concrete base for an angle crank to direct the wires across the track.

And the template holding the mounting studs sunk into the concrete:

Focus then shifted to other end to prepare two more concrete blocks for the North facing signal.
More ballast digging and shuttering required  for the signal and its adjacent angle crank.

And the two templates with mounting studs sunk in.

Signal, angle crank and wiring up to be completed next time.

Here is a sneak preview of the two mounting plates that have been pre-assembled in Winchcombe yard. These will carry the horizontal pulleys directing the signal wires across the tracks from the yet to be installed bracket signal at Broadway. We are waiting for a suitable opportunity for Steve and JCB to dig us a large hole for its concrete mounting block.


Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Preparing to Hide Cables

Tuesday 2nd April

Six of us off to Broadway today to do some preparation work for the burying and troughing of the armoured cables that run from the signal box along platform 2 up to the North end signals and finishing at the direction indicator signal by the North headshunt.
It has been decided to bury the cable in a trench along platform 2. To enable this we require access for a small mini-digger. At the moment there are several large piles of bricks of varying descriptions in the way so four of us set about re-locating them on pallets in a less obstructive position.
John P and Carl S make a start:

This occupied us for most of the day until we achieved a suitable access gap from the edging slabs:

Malcolm W and George B attacked the laying of the concrete cable troughs starting at the line-side cabinet adjacent to signal 39. The troughs had previously been roughly laid out where they were thrown off! The layout of the ground and the concrete mounting  blocks do not allow for a very neat alignment without a huge amount of digging.

Some excavation required at the cabinet to level up with the cable exit pipe:

but here is the end result looking north: