Wednesday, 31 July 2019

A Large Concrete Block Emerges

Monday 29th July

Neil C, Malcolm W and Steve with JCB spent Monday at Broadway to prepare the concrete foundation block for the (second!) bracket signal. This is situated south of the "south of station" points, close to the steepish access ramp up from the new car park entrance - more about this shortly.
The JCB makes short work of digging a hole and the shuttering is soon in place:

There was some initial concern about getting the Easymix lorry up the slope so the first dose of concrete was ferried up in the JCB bucket, but by the time this was in the hole the lorry had made it up the slope and the rest was delivered neatly from the shute:

It took 1.3 cubic metres of concrete to fill the shuttering. This will take a while to go off before we attempt to put any strain on the studs. This signal should have it's C of G not too far off centre so the lateral strain is minimised.

Two additional holes have been dug to accommodate the blocks which hold the steel plates for the pulley wheels. There is one situated each side of the track to connect to the signal wires on the Broadway side.

(Above pictures courtesy of Neil Carr)

Tuesday 30th July

A very wet day for us at Winchcombe with a bit more progress for the fittings on the bracket signal.
We have taken possession of four new castings for the double balance weight arms required on the bracket signal. These need machining - a bit of milling and boring - hopefully by our colleagues in Toddington machine shop.

In the meantime we have mounted a single balance weight arm to check alignments fot the down rods and signal wires - note the blue nylon rope.

We have also acquired two large electric locks which are being dismantled and cleaned by Keith L, John P and Carl S. We need one of these for Toddington Box  to control the two sets of motor points (still to be installed)

These have four locking positions. A lever  check position initiates the operation of the point motors and confirms that the points have operated correctly, etc.

George B has deburred and primed a consignment of lamp case brackets in the semi-shelter of  the MSC shed lean to:

Continuing rain has rather curtailed our outdoor activities today. Let's hope for better weather next week.


Thursday, 25 July 2019

More Bracket Bits

Tuesday 23rd  July

A very hot day at Winchcombe - and some more trial fitting of parts to the Broadway bracket.
Carl S, Keith L and John P departed for Gotherington to attack overgrown brambles and relieve signal wires from their encroaching tendrils.

Back in the yard we started fitting the ladders to the dolls to mark out the positions for the securing holes in the wooden platform:

And then fit the lamp casings for the main signals:

Next was the Call-on arms. These have a different type of swivel casting and are fixed to the doll so that the arm is 4' 6" below the main signal arm (thanks to last week's blog reader for this!)

We have some brand new call-on arms but these need a separate lens holder to be bolted on, so we have to retrieve these from some old ones - more cleaning required! The plastic lenses in these are pretty discoloured so new ones will need cutting to suit.

That's about as far as we can go at the moment with the fittings. Some double balance weight arms remain but we are short of the castings for these. Hopefully being collected tomorrow.

Jim P and myself were despatched to the lineside of the Carriage and Wagon building to rescue a point rodding compensator which is getting clogged with ballast. A new retaining board to be installed to replace one that has almost completely rotted away. Nice bit of shade here!

Meanwhile, Mike S and Paul D have been fault finding on the telephone system and found one of the Winchcombe exchange selectors had a faulty 3000 type relay coil - managed to find and test a replacement in a spare selector :

Here Mike is removing the coil from the old donor selector ready for reinstall action.
These coils are physically interchangeable but there are many variations on the coil resistances to suit circuit requirements - luck was in as they are not simple to rewind.


Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Trial Fitting

Tuesday 16th July

Most of us had a brain exercising start to the day with our Personal Trackside Safety test in the Tim Mitchell building at Winchcombe station.  At least this avoided some of the heat of the day and we all performed well!

Today's main task was to marshall the fittings for the Broadway bracket signal and fit them on to make sure that everything goes together. We don't want to be at the top of a ladder finding there is a problem.
Finials tend to be a problem where bolt  holes don't match - in fact we drilled new holes in the long doll using the finial as a template.
The second one is wrestled on:

Then the pivot casting is fitted with a hoop and a bolt. Getting the hoops over the post has the inevitable result of chipping the white paint - very hard to avoid this - touching up will be required eventually.

We must make sure that we get the positions of these castings at the right height because a Call-on arm has to be fitted below the main signal arm and we have limited space with the lengths of these dolls. Not sure but I think there should be a minimum distance of 5ft between arms.

Next is the mounting of the spectacle plate on its pivot:

Then a problem. The brand new signal arm (immaculately enamelled red and white) won't fit over the central boss. So it's out with the files to fettle the boss. Filing the hole in the signal arm is a no-no, risking sure damage to the enamel.
Finally it is coaxed on and secured with 4 M12 bolts.

Then the back blind is fitted to the other end of the spectacle plate pivot. This masks the light from the rear of lamp casing when the signal is pulled off.

This will all be dismantled before transporting of the signal to Broadway.

End of day picture - still a bit more to fit on yet.

The converted cabinet for the Oiling Gang storage is now finish painted inside and out and ready for transport to Toddington:


Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Cleaning and Painting

Tuesday 9th July

A total of nine of us  in attendance at Winchcombe today with a lot of cleaning and painting in prospect.
First mission was to rescue a large lineside cabinet from the back of the yard:

This is to be cleaned up and converted into an oil store for our Oiling Gang's equipment at Toddington.  (We have already prepared one for Broadway which will be sited behind the signal box).
A bit of carpentry required for a shelf and a new base:

We have a selection of ladders, two of which are needed for the crow's nests on the bracket signal for Broadway. Jim P and Malcolm W sort this out to make sure the two lengths are satisfactory

And then it's back to the paintbrush for Jim to bring them back to exhibition standard!

While on the subject of the bracket signal I am consigned to apply the top white gloss coat to the post and dolls

All the newly installed signals at Broadway will  require lamps. These will consist of LED lights in traditional lamp casings. We have a selection of old casings which will need a fair amount of attention to make them presentable - we could do with a grit blaster for this (a lot of fiddly areas difficult to get at to clean off rust) - but Peter W has a go with emery paper and needle file:

And after several hours this is the result ready for some primer

Luckily we should have enough of these lamp casings because as we were discussing the different types Malcolm produced a brand new one of which several had been made for us some time ago. 
One of the problems with the old casings is that they have a series of slots in their base to allow air to circulate through to the oil lamp - they tend to rust away badly in this area making them difficult to re-mount

In the picture above the reconditioned main signal  one is on the left, a new main signal one is in the centre and a new ground signal one is on the right. The new ones are pretty faithful reproductions of the originals - I am impressed with the workmanship in making one of these.

Paul D and Mike S, two of our telephony and electrical experts were on site today continuing with the PAT testing of various equipment including the station vacuum cleaner! 


Thursday, 4 July 2019

Laying the Troughs

Tuesday 2nd July

Only five of us today so off to Toddington for a bit of cable trough laying. Not the best of occupations for a hot day to be humping concrete troughs about but it is a job that has to be done.
Another 75 troughs will complete the cable protection from signal 25 (South of the signal box) to the two sets of recently laid points.
Electrical feed cables for the two point motors will go into these troughs.
A quick picture here of these motors now that they are nearing the end of their re-conditioning - just a bit of internal wiring to complete :

Although some weedkilling activity has taken place this does not seem to have had any effect on the Mare's Tails - so a bit of gardening required before we start:

Also a bit of ground levelling is required outside the signal wire run to get the troughs looking in reasonable alignment

Most of the troughs and lids had been previously dropped off trackside at roughly the positions they are required but still had to be lifted over the signal wires and knocked into position with a bit of packing.
The embankment  falls away quite steeply along here but we managed to complete without major incident:

The end of the troughing run as 2807 approached:

And a closeup of the extended sleepers where a point motor will be bolted.

What!  Another signal!!

A ground signal is to be installed to control exit from the south headhunt  - nearly opposite from where the troughing ends. So another hole is required to site a concrete pedestal for this. John P gets busy:

And then lowers in the pedestal. This has a steel bracket bolted on it to take the signal:

Here we will have a coloured light signal with 3 lamps - and here it is sitting in our coach back at Winchcombe -  lens colours to be sorted yet:

And finally, also back at Winchcombe our Broadway bracket signal has been re-assembled for its final paint titivatiom. The two dolls will be removed again befote it is. transported to Brosdway.
The digging of the hole for its foundation block isn't far away now.