Tuesday, 16 November 2021

Preparing for the Contractors

 Tuesday 16th Nov

Today was spent at Winchcombe at the embankment slip by the concrete block retaining wall. Objective to remove all the fixtures which will impede the contractors machinery during the embankment repair. 

This means that the ground signal adjacent to the bracket signal has to come out; the electric point machine has to come out and nine signal wire posts to be broken out of their concrete "boots" and removed. One signal wire to be severed because it traverses the access road down the opposite embankment.

The point motor is fixed to two adjacent sleepers with four through bolts which meant digging out the ballast underneath so that we could get a spanner on the nut

As usual quite a fight against corrosion (stainless Steel bolts next time??) but successful in the end. 
We didn't want to leave the detection rods buried in the impending ballast drop so these were extracted from under the rails

We had borrowed a PWay trolley to transport the fittings back to base. A four man lift was necessary to hoist the point machine onto the trolley - a higher lift would have proved very difficult - its quite a heavy beast. 

The points were left unclamped so that some wooden blocks can be inserted to protect the blades from the oncoming burying and compacting. 
While we were there the contractors were making good progress with making a substantial roadway down the embankment onto the track. A length of track has already been buried in ballast and compacted by rolling enabling access to an excavator

A layer of terram is being laid down first  all the way down to platform 1 starter signal and probably by the end of next week (according to the chap in charge) 650 tons of ballast will be laid - an up to 800mm thick covering. Should be quite interesting to see how this work progresses! 

Looking towards the station

You can just see the sloping access road coming down on the right. 

Back at Winchcombe station we had the luxury of the Tele handler to unload the point machine!

A couple of weeks ago we collected a number of GWR signalling parts which had been retrieved from a garden at Frome, Somerset by some of our gallant volunteers.
Suffice it to say these parts looked more like scrap having lain on the ground for many years. Here is the pickup loaded with it all 

 Ready for us to take from Toddington to Winchcombe for evaluation.

Some of it was beyond redemption and has been consigned to the scrap skip, but some has now been cleaned and painted and will serve a useful purpose