Thursday, 27 February 2020

Viaduct Cables and CRC Bracket

Tuesday 25th Feb.

We continued today with the assembly of the replacement CRC bracket signal in Winchcombe yard and a bit more preparatory work with cabling at the viaduct - this to be finished off once the tamping of the replaced track has been completed - this week I think. We hope to re-bond the track over the viaduct next Tuesday - not much time left to get everything up and running now.

So, to the bracket signal. The platform is held onto the main post with two sets of clamping blocks. Two of these blocks have a large "bung" which fit into two diametrically opposite holes in the main post - once all the bolts are tightened this prevents any twisting or axial movement.

In order to fit the post the two halves of the steelwork have to be separated so that once the clamping blocks are bolted in there is clearance for the main post to slide in over the two  "bungs". Here is a view of one of the pairs of clamping blocks - you can see the locating bung in the bottom of the far half:

Here are the clamps positioned in the framework

The tele handler was then brought into play to manoeuvre the post into place - quite an unweildly lump particularly as the tele handler can't provide a sideways motion to "inch"  the post into the hole. (unfortunately I didn't get any pictures of our newly qualified driver (Malcolm W) as I had gone off to the viaduct on the cabling jaunt) - but suffice it to say it all went smoothly without any damage to the nearby parked cars!

The vertical bars you can see in the above photo have been refitted and will support the boards for the platform which we can now cut to suit.

While all this was going on two of the gang George B and Peter W were assigned a task to replace the tatty labels on the block shelf plungers and repeaters in Winchcombe signal box. Had to come to terms with using some significantly smaller screwdrivers than normal to deal with the small brass screws!
The old :

And the new:

The plungers refreshed:

The repeaters refreshed:

And George wrestling with the screws up his fingernails:

Three of us went up to a point approx 250 yards  north of the viaduct to replace a lineside cabinet that has been damaged during recent workings there and to prepare for the installation of a new 20 pair cable that will run from a new cabinet on the viaduct to this one.
The old cabinet is on the left:

And was wrestled out of the ground by Neil C- a significant lump of concrete attached. We smashed it off and dumped it back at the concrete pile at Staunton.

The other cable connecting here feeds the lamp on the adjacent distant signal. A bit of re-burying required by Peter W

The finished job - just the wiring still to connect up

The diesel railcar is being serviced at the moment and has been out of action needing new brake blocks so it cannot be used - we are planning on using it for our work on the viaduct next week to carry our equipment so fingers crossed the spares will arrive and be fitted this week.


Wednesday, 12 February 2020

More Cleaning

Tuesday 11th Feb

Another good turnout today with nine of us in attendance. So a mixed bag of activity.
We decided to postpone a visit to CRC because it was far too windy to be struggling with fittings on top of the scaffolding  round the outer home signal - will have to wait for a calmer day.

Another signal that requires attention is the Distant on the Bishops Cleeve side of Greet Tunnel. The plan here is to dig the existing one out and replace it with a shorter version. Here is one we prepared earlier - having bolted on the concrete "boot"

We managed to heave these fiendishly heavy blocks into position without the assistance of the Telehandler. Four lengths of M20 screwed rod clamp them securely onto the base of the post (never to be seen again when buried - a job for the JCB in due course).

 Neil C, Carl S and Keith L disappeared off to the viaduct to position a new cabinet ready for connecting a new cable once P. Way and the contractors have finished their work.
Re-bonding the rails is another task we must carry out. This should be fairly straightforward  as the original bonding wire pegs wee all knocked/drilled out before the track was lifted.
While at Toddington they concreted in a post for mounting a trackside phone at the southern end points.

Back in Winchcombe yard we continued with a series of "clean up and paint" jobs.
Peter W busied  himself with a bit of woodwork to make a new crows nest platform - creosoted and re-assembled:

George B and John P dismantle yet another pair of cabinets

Jim P cleaning parts for another crow's nest. Had to resort to splitting the nuts with an angle grinder - some well corroded bits after n years in all weathers at the top of a signal.

And a spectacle plate gets the treatment - plenty of nooks and crannies to tickle out corrosion and flaking paint.

Each of the lenses is secured in to the plate with some small flat clamps. Having got these out the securing  threaded holes need re-tapping. Careful not to break the tap John!!

So, all in all, quite a productive day


Wednesday, 5 February 2020

Continuing Cabling

Tuesday 4th Feb

Nine of us in today to continue with the re-siting of cables to avoid the Winchcombe embankment slip and to finish painting the CRC outer home signal post.

I was off to CRC for the painting with Malcolm W so unfortunately there are no photos of the action at Winchcombe but I took these of the completed work at the end of the day - so no mug shots I'm afraid!
All the old cables have now been removed from the slip side and fed under the tracks through protective yellow plastic tubing:

And an inside view of the newly positioned cabinet adjacent to the repeater signal at the end of platform 2. A fair bit of connecting up to do here.

Concrete troughing has been laid up to the cabinet at the bracket signal, cables inserted and lids put back on. The cables have been fed into the cabinet ready for connection.

And the connections to the motor operated points have been re-routed:

And finally a view of the completed troughing coming out through the road bridge towards the end of platform 2 - looks very neat!

This work using the 30 pair replacement  cables has resulted in the removal of a number of smaller cables -  a much tidier arrangement.

To bring you up to date with the re-furb of the CRC signal post - this has now been finish painted with its bottom black and upper white gloss coats, so providing we have good weather next week, the fittings can go back on.
And, if I dare to dream, this will release the scaffolding so that we can start to "dress" the new Broadway bracket!