Wednesday, 16 December 2020

Broadway Calling!

 Tuesday 8th December

 All set up that Paul and Peter were to finish off the installation of the internal pax phone at Broadway. 0830 phone rang at home- Peter had hurt his back so couldnt attend. Luckily I was getting ready to reinstall the strowger selector that had  been a victim of relay failure ( It was the F, the one that detects the loop as the subscriber lifts the handset aka "answering the phone" in the presence of loads of AC ringing current) a clever application of a standard 3000 type. These relays are a bit prone to failure at 60 years old,  I think its to do with the AC peak voltage and a bit of damp as well.

 So I ended up meeting Paul at Broadway and an hour later the phone was in and working- much easier now to just dial 60 for Toddington station than those long BT codes and cheaper for the railway as well.

Here's a quick pic of Paul - just making sure it works ok



So there we are another job done. And the Office all left tidy as DB was watching! By the way, we were also asked to move the BT phone across to a more convenient spot 

on the window ledge by the door - certainly Sir, anything to oblige

Shortly we hope to start to wire up the Concentrator and the signal post phones, ready for when Broadway Signal Box comes on line, Covid and Cash permitting.

Mike S  

A big Welcome to Peter Giles, our newest recruit. With a knowledge of Strowger as well as those new fangled computery things, Welcome Peter. I hope that your back is better by now

A peaceful and Merry Christmas to all our readers

Continuing Work at Broadway

 Tuesday 15th December

Four of us at Broadway today with various tasks to perform. 

The lineside telephone cabinet with the sliding vertical door that we recently reconditioned at Winchcombe is to be installed at the base of the new bracket signal. But first I couldn't resist a couple of shots with some of the signals pulled off.  Which platform should we choose?! (I hasten  to add that the locking would not allow this combination!)

Or this:

Everything seems to work OK by pulling on the signal wires here

A bit of ballast digging required to prepare two holes for the cabinet legs (2 substantial lengths of angle iron bolted to the sides)

Manhandled into position and secured with two barrow loads of concrete - with just enough left over to secure the base of the ladder


These scaffolding boards should keep it in place  until the concrete sets.

While we were doing this Neil C busied himself in the Signal box locking room with some wiring.    Plenty of connections to make to the electric locks and blockshelf instruments and phones. Speaking of which, Malcolm W and Neil C have been marshalling the instruments and making sure that they are all in full working order plus a good clean and polish of their housings. Here is a selection in the process of refurbishment 

Note the magnificent Church Bell which will take pride of place!! 

Work in progress:

We are getting there bit by bit. 

Before leaving, a quick visit to the direction indicator signal at the North end to replace a shackle connecting pin. Now that the signal lamps are lit I wanted to see the effect of the frosted glass panel. Unfortunately there was still too much daylight to see the full effect - but you can get an idea of the illumination:

And you can just make out the twin LED's here.  Probably get a good view of this from Springfield Lane Bridge at night 



Thursday, 19 November 2020

Broadway Signals Update

 Thursday 19th Nov

Just a quick update on Broadway signalling. 

The following is courtesy of Neil C who has been continuing with the electrical work  at Broadway together with Malcolm W while the rest of us are in lockdown.

I can report that all external  signal and electrical connections are now complete.

All signal lamps and track circuits are working.  It is interesting to plot the progress of a train approaching and running through the station by watching the repeater relays operating from the track circuits in the locking room (8  in all at Broadway and 2 for the Toddington /Broadway section )  - eventually of course there will be indicating lights on the diagram above the levers upstairs to show train position - plenty of work still to do! 

This picture is of Neil C wiring the twin ground signals at the base of the direction indicator signal (north end, platform 1 side of headhunt)

And Malcolm W fitting the lampcases

Malcolm W aloft on the direction indicator oiling the route indicator slides and fitting the lamp cases:

I shall be interested to see how the twin LED's in this case highlight the UP M / DN M letters through the frosted glass screen.

You'll have to wait until I get back for an answer to that.

In answer to a question on an earlier blog about the opening of the signal box, a commissioning date is set for early 2022. So we have just over a year to get it all sorted - read all about it in The Cornishman (assuming you have a copy of course!) 


Thursday, 5 November 2020


 Thursday 4th Nov

Just a quick note about some work I forgot to mention.  John P and I went to Gotherington on Oct 20th while the boss was on holiday to have a go at clearing some undergrowth from signal wires after a report that the wire from the distant signal was struggling to return to the normal position. I think this signal has the longest wire run on the railway.

It turns out that the wires from the station towards Winchcombe are copiously encased in brambles and other vegetation. 

No sign of any signal wires  under this lot !

A bit more work required here - we cleared about 150 yards towards the station from the old concrete sleeper park but there's still more serious de-brambling to do.


Tuesday, 3 November 2020

Mission Accomplished

 Tuesday 3rd Nov

Afraid I was not able to attend today - having to isolate for a hospital visit on Wed - but the stalwart team of Malcolm W, John P and Neil C completed the Broadway bracket. Signal lamps all connected up and working, balance weights fitted and signal wires connected - looks good with the scaffolding removed! 

Looking forward to pulling a lever! 

Photo courtesy of Neil C


Wednesday, 28 October 2020

Broadway Bracket

 Tuesday 27th Oct

Three of us braved the inclement weather today to continue with fitting out the new Broadway bracket signal. 

There is still quite a lot of work to do here, some of which is quite fiddly. Although most of the fittings were assembled on the ground at Winchcombe some while ago, it's a different matter getting it all to fit up in the air with a stiff wind blowing and intermittent rain. I have to say that the highlight of the morning was when P&O stopped on its run round with its chimney opposite us engulfing the signal in steam and grit and a welcome blast of heat! 

Engine approaching:

The first task was to mount the lamp cases on the two dolls

Followed by the lamp case brackets and cases for the call-on arms

Then the fitting of the two upper ladders which give access to the two main arms.

A couple of problems have arisen which will need attention back at base. The bracket holding the down rod guide on the long doll won't reach so a welded extension is required - and the down rod on the short doll just fouls on the platform handrail (a bit of tweaking required). Otherwise apart from the electrical wiring for the lamps the work up top is complete.

But meanwhile down below the main ladder needs support brackets attached to the main post. We have done this by drilling a hole in each side and securing two flat bars with a piece of M12 threaded bar passing through the post. Luckily the holes were in line!

And finally a shot from up top of P&O arriving tender first from Toddington


Friday, 16 October 2020

Wildlife Intrusion


A large wasp nest discovered in one of the lineside cabinets at Broadway by Neil C while he was sorting out some issues with the track circuits on Tuesday.  Make a bit of a mess getting it out! 


Wednesday, 14 October 2020

The Bracket Gets Dressed

 Tuesday 13th October

At last a day out at Broadway. Having got the scaffolding up round the new bracket signal last week we can now get it looking like it belongs to a railway!

Pickup loaded with most of the parts and ready to go. 

We need a decent lengthed ladder to enable easy and safe access to the platform. We start at the top by fixing the finials then the pivot and plunger castings to the long doll followed by the pivot pin and back blind. Note that there are no detectors on this signal because they are well within vision from the signal box. 

Repeated for the short doll and then fit the spectacle plates and signal arms (nice sparkly new ones) 

Good view of approaching train from up here - 4270 approaching from Toddington

Down below George B and John P manoeuvre the metal ladder into position between the scaffolding and hollow out a hole to secure the bottom in. To be concreted at a later date

Moving down a level we fixed on the castings for the balance weight arms and adjusted the down rods to connect with the arms. That's as far as we got today - here's a shot of the state of play.

And just a reminder of the set up for connecting the signal wires. Two for the main arms and two for the call-on arms.


Friday, 9 October 2020

Finnial Fitting, etc

 Wednesday 7th Oct

We continued today with more signal? refurbishment. Signal 33 (just north of the entry to Greet tunnel) was having a problem with its spectacles!  The green  lens (plastic) has turned white -

So the signal arm has been removed from its spectacle plate - a few stubborn bolts had to be cut off with an angle grinder - and then cleaned and bolted back onto a freshly  refurbished plate.

Then back up to the signal in the railcar to refit the plate and arm. Here's the signal post without its arm (looking towards  Greet tunnel portal) 

Neil C who  was up the ladder wrestled the spectacle plate assembly back onto its pivot and re-connected the down rod. It needed the strongest of us to do this!

Today's team of Neil C, Carl S and Keith L having ticked off another job. 

Meanwhile back at base Peter W was busy preparing the lamp holders which will be fitted in the signal lamp cases at Broadway

And a few more preparations for the replacement Cheltenham bracket, including the drilling of a plywood template which will be used to set the mounting studs in a new concrete base. Here Carl S is drilling the holes in the template to match the baseplate

And just so that we don't get it the wrong way round on site - a bit of marking

Finial fitting is always a bit awkward. Even with the through bolt tightened they will not sit vertically. So our solution is to cut and fit thin rubber discs inside the base of the finial - these two needed three to ensure that they sit squarely on top of the post. 

The down rods which attach to the balance weight arms for both the main signals and the call-on arms still have to be made. Each one has to be made in two halves and them welded together once the correct length has been set. Bottom end shown here has screwed end into a fork and pin for fine adjustment  whereas the top end has an eye which fits on a peg in the spectacle plate.

(should have taken a few more pics, but I hope you get the drift!)

Note the coned end prep for welding. 

Stop Press - Action at Broadway , Thursday 

Neil C, Malcolm W, Andy D and George B erected scaffolding round the new bracket signal. This now opens up the prospect of some more open air activity with signal fittings. Hope we can find them all! 


Wednesday, 2 September 2020

More Reconditioning

 Tuesday 1st Sept

Just two of us in today with the boss. A nice day so working outside was a pleasure

An appearance of the tele handler with Neil C after lunch to turn over the "Cheltenham" replacement bracket signal - this to facilitate finish painting of the underside. Still need to purchase four 3metre lengths of substantial planking for the platform but this will probably have to wait for a while now.

The ground signal that was dismantled last week has now received its dark grey undercoat:

And one of the spare fibreglass covers from a point motor has been rubbed down and re-coated silver:

With a socially distanced drinks break! 

A selection of replacement ground signal spectacle plates are being cleaned up from their sorry state ready for a few more years of operation:

And primed ready for the next coat

And John P continues with dismantling and  cleaning of the rescued terminal blocks

That's all the cleaning for today!!

We have been talking about moving up to Broadway before too much longer to mount all the fittings on the new bracket signal. This will need transport and assembly of scaffolding. 
Will be good to see this signal fully equipped and connected.