Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Concrete Repairs

Tuesday 27th Aug

The two concrete blocks holding the pulley wheels at the bases of the two signals adjacent to the road bridge at Winchcombe are suffering from embankment slippage and water scouring.
Last week the sticky black clay was dug out in front of the signal on platform 2 side and a preliminary pour of concrete put in with some supporting lengths of point rodding hammered into the ground (yet another use for miscellaneous bits of point rodding!!)

The embankment side is quite steep here but this additional support should stop any further tilting of the pulley blocks - the signal post anchored in its deep concrete "boot" looks OK. Carl S adding the finishing touches :

And the finished job

We had taken a possession of the line through platform 2 so made use of a P Way trolley to carry supplies up to under the bridge - this a) gave us some shelter from the sun and b) prevented the trolley interfering with the track circuits further on.

The ground under the concrete blocks at the base of the signal on the opposite side had been badly scoured away by water coming down the embankment :

The block on the left was completely unsupported underneath. So a bit more excavation was required to make space for a few more barrow loads of concrete

We will have to keep an eye on this to check for further scouring.

A bit more work has been done on the fittings for the bracket signal including the fabrication of brackets to hold the call-on arm lamp cases and the welding of down rods - but more of that next week.


PS  A message for Aardvark. We would love to take up your kind offer of a block shelf plunger. I have a colleague near Solihull who could pick it up if you could let me have contact details.

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Those rare Hen's Teeth Discovered!

Tuesday 13th Aug

Back at Winchcombe this week to do some more work on the bracket signal fittings. Still quite a bit more to do before everything is sorted.
There are two balance weight arms to be fitted to each doll, but because we do not have the new castings for these machined yet (hopefully by Toddington machine shop this week) we have been fitting a single unit. This has enabled us to measure the lengths required for the down rods which attach to the spectacle plate. The lower end adjustable connection is shown here. It will have it's end bevelled so that the upper section can be welded to it:

The reference to Hen's Teeth in today's blog title alluding to the rarity of the lamps for the call on arms for this signal is appropriate generally but I can report that we have two of them which we have retrieved from the depths of our store of railwayana! They are in remarkably good condition - just  need a coat of black gloss to smarten them up.


And after:

The mounting of these is a bit of a mystery -  here is one being held in roughly the correct position. It will need some kind of fabricated bracket to attach it to the post:

The letter C is illuminated by the lamp via a 45 degree mirror inside the casing. The C is obscured by the signal arm until it is pulled "off".

Malcolm W spent a lot of time today preparing the signal wires which will connect from down below up to the angle cranks and from the angle  cranks to the balance weight arms. Each end of these has a thimble fitted which will connect using a small shackle.

At the bottom of the signal once it is erected there will be a set of four pulleys in a fabricated frame which will bolt on top of the signal base flange. These will direct the signal wires upwards.
This assembly has now been completed today:

And finally,  a plea. Some of the block shelf plungers have been fitted in the signal box at Broadway (sorry no pictures of them in position!) . We have three more of these ready to be cleaned up but are short of five -  so if anyone knows how we could acquire these we would be most grateful!


Wednesday, 7 August 2019

Much Work at Broadway

Tuesday 6th August

A very good turnout at Broadway with ten of us in action.
Firstly a big push to get all the electrical cables buried.
Steve W has joined us today with a mini digger to produce a shallow trench along platform 2.

The one 20 pair cable coming southwards towards the signal box is already connected at its northern end in a cabinet, so it is progressively laid in the trench and can then be trimmed to length once inside the box. Luckily the minidigger in Steve's hands can access even the steep bits down to the rear of the box:

And all hands to the pump to help with the filling in:

Neil C had already drilled an access hole for the cables to enter the box. There are 4 twenty pair cables here  - 3 coming in from the south and one from the north

A bit of rodent proofing will be required here.
So now all cables are buried and out of sight - the 3 coming up from Evesham Road Bridge have been buried behind the back of platform 2.
Excess cable has been sawn off but leaving plenty for making all the connections in the locking room:

A mounting board for all the connections and electrical equipment has been fixed to the wall on the LH side.
The oil store cabinet is now in position at the back of the box:

The next event is the removal of the shuttering  from the concrete block for the bracket signal

And replacing the surrounding spoil to tidy things up. Peter W giving it a good tamping  - should be a good solid foundation for the signal

Foremarke Hall gives us an appreciative whistle when passing

Next is the aligning and fitting of the pulley wheels on the steel plates which will direct the signal wires under the track from the signal  to connect with the wires on the Broadway side. Four wires required here - two for the main arms and two for the call-on arms. First of all we use nylon rope to set the alignment and when happy we fill in and tamp round the concrete blocks which support the steel plates. (after a pause to let P & O go by)

Then to drill the mounting bolt holes in the steel plates - three for each pulley set. Could have done with the mag drill for this but the battery drill managed the 12 holes - had to use the spare battery for the last two.  John P coaxing the drill bit through

The signal wires that go under the track and round the pulleys have a thimble crimped onto each end for connecting at each end.  Here's one in close up:

And the large crimping tool used to do it - a two man job without a vice!

These wires are then threaded round the pulleys and under the track and tied off for the time being.

Here is an inside view of the lineside cabinet opposite the bracket signal. This has a 10 pair cable terminating in a connection block. At the top is the unit containing the rechargeable batteries for the track circuits and below left the connections for the track circuit between here and Childswickham Bridge signal.

And with the cover on:

The piece of rail that held the Beware of Trains notice at the South end of platform 2 which we removed until cable burying and cabinet positioning had been completed, has now been reinstated and is here receiving a coat of primer from Peter W


PS. With regard to the questions about the damage to the point blade at Broadway, this is in the hands of the P Way Dept. I believe that the current thinking is that the point be taken out and sent away for repair and to be temporarily replaced with plain rail.