Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Re-connecting No.1

Tuesday 29th Nov

Today's urgent task was to replace the track bonding wires and the wires and posts that operate the home signal No.1 at Didbrook all of which were removed prior to the lifting of the track for sleeper replacement last week.
Stage 1 was to clear ballast  (of which there is plenty prior to tamping) from between two pairs of sleeper ends each side of the fishplates to enable the mounting of the drilling machine. This makes life easy to drill a pair of holes on each side for two bonding wires. Luckily every other rail joint here is welded so we only had to bond 5 joints on each side. Here's Neil C in full flow with the motorised twin drill:

A pair of bonding wires was then threaded through behind the inner fishplate and chairs, chopped to length and bent through the holes. The wires have clearance and are secured for good electrical contact by hammering in tapered pins round  them. John P and Richard C followed on behind the drill:

Here's a view of the wires in place - hopefully bent sufficiently away from the ravages of the fotthcoming tamping.

We then turned our attention to fitting the two pulley wheels which take the signal wire under the track from the Cotswold side to the Malvern side where the signal is situated. This meant clearing the ballast between two sleeper ends and underneath 4 sleeper ends to give acces for bolting- a bit awkward for spannering up but a nice neat solution with the pulleys secured to the sleeper ends on steel plates:

This left the signal wire posts and pulleys to be installed. These are hammered into the ballast which usually gives them sufficient rigidity as there is very little lateral force on them an we have ensured that the runs are (almost) perfectly straight!  Here's one in position with the signal wire threaded through. The longer ones of these where we go through shallow ballast into softer earth are made from short lengths of point rodding:

There were several joints of the wires to be made. Malcolm W is skilled in this "art" which I would describe as a method of metal wire plaiting! I should have taken a close-up of one. It certainly ensures that a joint is secure. He was complaining of holes in his fingers at the end. Signal wire is very unforgiving stuff even with the assistance of pliers. The last joint has to be made while keeping tension on the run. Luckily we got it right and only a small amount of adjustment was needed on the Toddington signal box  adjuster to get the "pull" operating correctly. 

Bring on the tamper !


Tuesday, 8 November 2016

A Bit More Prep for Broadway

Tues 8th Nov

One of the jobs we are getting on with to enable the ticking of another box towards the kitting out of Broadway Signal box is the construction of the Block Shelf.  This is quite a large construction which consists of 3 separate sections of GWR block shelf which were originally in Dawlish Warren signal box. These have been jointed together to make an 18ft long piece with 5 ribs to stiffen a new one piece front panel. We have retained the original end radii so when it is in position it will look pretty well heritage!

Because of its size and the pending inclement weather we have 'borrowed" Building Services facilities to do this. More work to do on it yet but it's beginning to look the business. Here are John P and Carl S with the assembly at the end of the day:

We shall require the modification of the steel mounting brackets which will hang this from the box roof - number of brackets and modifications to be decided. Putting it up is going to need a bit of ingenuity and muscle!

In the meantime cleaning and refurbishing carries on. All the point operating components have been rescued from Laverton and Keith L and Mike S are labouring away to undo some pretty stubborn nuts:

and in the relative warmth of the coach "workshop" a start has been made with the cleaning and testing of the electric locks:


And finally, from last week, progress was made with the stripping and painting of the wooden signal post which we have in the yard at Winchcombe..............................................................................