A significant milestone for the Signal and Telegraph Department has now been passed and preparation has given way to installation!
With the two sets of pointwork in the Passenger-carrying line at the western end of the station yard now positioned and aligned, we have been able to start work on the installation of the two lever frames and the associated infrastructure that will operate and securely lock into position the three sets of pointwork on the running line.
Yesterday saw a trial fitting of the new mounting brackets for the Annet's Lock on Ground Frame 'A'. Holes were drilled for the fixing bolts and the bracket was then removed for painting. In addition, further vegetation clearance for the Frame 'A' rodding run also took place.
The work completed yesterday included (i) connecting up the Facing Point Lock (FPL) rodding to Lever 2 on the new Ground Frame (ii) refitting the soleplate on Point No. 4 (iii) test-fitting the lock stretcher bar to Point No. 1 which was then shimmed-up to get the locking bolt in the correct position (iv) drafting the Operating Procedures for the two Ground Frames and (v) drafting the Maintenance Schedule for the pointwork, rodding and Ground Frames.
The tasks completed yesterday included (i) removing the Point No. 2 first stretcher bar, cleaning off all the rust / deposits and then re-assembling using new drive lug mounting bolts to get the correct 108mm clearance (ii) inverting the Point No. 2 crank and moving the concrete base about 18 inches to produce the correct travel at the point and (iii) installing the FPL rodding compensator followed by cutting, drilling and connecting up the rodding.
The work undertaken over the last 3 sessions include (i) changing the timber on Point No. 1, then fitting the new soleplate and refitting the FPL casting & assembly (ii) cutting / drilling point rodding and then fitting an offset connector to connect up to Lever 1 on the Ground Frame (iii) oiling all the Ground Frame parts, cleaning up and refitting all the half-inch pins (iv) starting to fill-in the Point No. 1 crank pits (v) fitting rollers and spindles to all but two of the roller stools and (vi) priming all of the roller assemblies where needed.
Progress has continued apace over the last two weeks. The main jobs undertaken have been (i) the machining of new locking pieces for the ground frame - the 'master' lever catch handle has been modified and a new threaded connector machined to fit (ii) the rodding at the ground frame has been modified for 3 lever operation with the 4th lever as the 'master' lever and (iii) the foundation for the ground frame has been prepared and timbers fitted.
Work continued with final adjustments to the Point No. 2 rodding arrangements, followed by further assembly work on the 4 lever Ground Frame - with all the levers being prepared and fitted. The fitting of turned pins in place of temporary metric fasteners is to follow, with advice on the locking to be given by Roly Johnson.
The compensator foundations started last week were completed and left ready for moving into position. The FPL crank base for Point No. 2 was slewed sideways and the adjustable crank turned over to change the rodding movement direction so that reversing the lever at the controlling frame will withdraw the locking bolt.
The Ground Frame was assembled and the new bearing spindle was fitted. The first lever was assembled and bolted into position. Some slight fitting adjustments are required to allow the catch to hold in the lever at its reverse position, but we will assemble and fit all four levers before carrying out and fitting adjustments. We are now ready for Roly Johnson to come over and have a look at the locking requirements.
With the promise of rain coming in during the afternoon, we made a brisk start by assembling two compensator foundations for the Point No. 2 rodding run. This was achieved using four concrete block sleepers with the timbers secured using M20 studding to make quite a satisfactory assembly.
The pit for the switch crank base was enlarged and the base unit was slid sideways by approx. two feet, the adjustable crank was removed and turned over into the mirror image 'pull' position. Rodding and cranks were then re-connected.
Finally, the four lever Ground Frame was loosely assembled so that we could measure the length of the spindle required for the lever bearings. It was also noted that we could possibly add a fifth lever for the Annet's lock by modifying one of the levers from the Dawdon Signal Box - we'll discuss this with Roly Johnson. The lever spacing was also measured.
Under initially rather wet conditions, the area around the FPL crank foundation for Point No. 2 was excavated and levelled and, by the use of the rail jack in a horizontal position, the base was moved into position and then set level on a bed of chippings. The control rodding was then cut and drilled with the lock plunger in the 'in' position. The spaces between the sleepers were also ballasted and, finally, identification plates were fitted to Point Nos. 1 & 2.
The plan for this session was to (i) excavate around the adjustable crank foundation, move it to the correct position and then level it off and (ii) with the switches at mid-position, mark, cut, drill and fit the control rodding. Although short-handed today and with the weather initially rather wet and windy - using the rail jack in the horizontal position with packing timbers to push against, the base was excavated and moved into the desired position, finally being set level using chippings. The rodding was cut and drilled with the switches at mid-position and with the crank at 90 degrees as per standard S&T practice. The spaces between the sleepers were also ballasted, leaving just the FPL crank to set up in a similar fashion.
The plan for this weekend was to (i) drill the wooden FPL crank foundation and bolt it to its concrete foundation and (ii) exchange the horizontal connector at the Point No. 1 switch for an 'upset' type. With a larger team than usual at work, both objectives were easily met and, in addition, the rodding stools between Point Nos. 1 & 2 were levelled and the two rodding runs were assembled, bolted up and tested for ease of running. Both rodding runs out to Point No. 2 ran smoothly in both directions of movement. In the next session, we will level up and align the crank foundations at Point No. 2. A photo has been added to the new album on the Trackwork page.
The plan for this weekend was to fit a temporary wooden soleplate pattern to Point No. 1 in order to allow us to position the FPL crank, rodding and adjustable crank. This approach worked out very well and, with the help of a larger than usual work group, we were able to complete all of the fitting-out and also to fit two channel rodding sections to give us a datum point for levelling out the roller stools for the rodding runs to Point No. 2 - a photo has been added to the new album on the Trackwork page. We now just need to swap the horizontal connector for the switch rodding with an upset type to keep the channel connection horizontal.
Recent work since the last update has included the following:
1. Channel rodding has been assembled between Point Nos. 1 & 2 in order to check the feasibility of the layout. From the initial assessment, it appears that a straight run along the track to the 4 lever ground frame will indeed be possible although a couple of roller frame stools will need to be moved to provide clearance for fishplate joints. At one location, two concrete foundations from the original layout will need to be dug out and removed.
2. The remaining pits for the roller frame stools have been dug out - four large concrete foundations were uncovered which appear to have been stay cable foundation blocks and bearers for crank timbers. These blocks have been fully excavated and prepared for lifting and removal. Channel rodding has been assembled all the way to Point No. 1 as an aid to establishing the alignment of the rodding run.
3. An adjustable crank for switch operation has been stripped, greased and fitted on to the concrete foundation - the latter was then squared up and levelled. A horizontal connector and channel rodding was then fitted to the assembly and support rollers have been fitted under the rodding connecting the adjustable crank for the FPL and switch operation of Point No. 2.
4. The old timber has been removed from the FPL crank foundation and all the eight remaining bolts cut through using an angle grinder. Two additional pits have been dug for the four-roller stools and encroaching vegetation cut back between the crank foundations and Eden Valley Bridge No. 2.
3 photos illustrating this work have been added to the new album on the Trackwork page.
Last Sunday (27th), a new drive lug was fitted to the 1st stretcher bar of Point No. 1 so that we can align the concrete foundation crank correctly and start to mark out the rodding runs. In addition, the 1st and 2nd stretcher bars were primed with red oxide paint to prevent corrosion.
Unfortunately, the existing foundations for rodding cranks that remain in situ from the previous track layout are slightly out of position in relation to our current installation, so it is necessary to relocate one of them into a position suitable for operating the 1st stretcher bar connection of Point No. 1. The crank base piece was exposed, overgrowth removed and the complete unit was then cleared of packed ash down to a depth of approx. 2 feet in preparation for lifting out.
At the same time, a pit opposite the 1st stretcher bar of Point No. 1, large enough to accommodate the relocated foundation unit, was dug out. When mechanical plant is next available, it is planned to lift the concrete base unit and position it in the freshly-dug pit.
Yesterday (12th), we dug out the final three roller stool pits for the planned rodding run between Point Nos. 1 & 2. The next job for us on this section of line is to fit the stretcher bars and a straight cut sole plate to Point No.1. Once this has been done, we will then be able to prepare the foundations for the adjustable crank that will operate the switches.
Since the end of June, working parties have made 3 separate visits to Parton Signal Box on the Cumbrian Coast route to recover the 38 Lever Frame believed to date from around 1890 (although later additions and modifications have been carried out). Unfortunately, just before our first visit (30th June), there was a break-in - two BR-pattern block instruments, the signal box diagram and the track circuit / signal indicators were all stolen.
During this first visit, all the locking was dismantled and work commenced on removing the lever assemblies. Originally, we had intended to only remove 12 levers (to suit our needs at KSE), but it became clear that it would be more satisfactory to remove them all, including the support beams - the surplus sections could be passed on to other heritage groups. Such an approach would then allow us to recover the windows, flooring and joists should they become available.
The next visit took place on the 7th July and the day was basically spent loosening everything off ready for subsequent removal - it became clear that the frame was, in fact, built up from 2 separate 18-lever sections. As we plan to use only half of the frame, this will save time in the modification of the support rails and will give us sufficient spare parts to enable all the levers to be re-instated with the best assemblies.
The third visit took place on the 7th August. By lunchtime, all the first 18-lever section had been stripped out and loaded. The remaining section was out by mid-afternoon and work started on removing the horizontal castings on which the lever frame sections and the locking array were bolted. A final visit is planned to remove the last few bits and pieces.
After quite a lot of effort, we now have the two 'concrete horses' pretty much correctly positioned adjacent to Point No. 2 and the rodding has been connected to check the alignments - a photo has been added to the new Gallery on the Trackwork page. The next jobs are to grease up all the connecting pins, raise the 'horses' very slightly so that they are completely level, drill and fit the sole plate to Point No. 1 and put together the Facing Point Lock (FPL) cranks and connectors.
The two 'concrete horses' have been lowered into the pits adjacent to Point No.2 and the adjustable crank is now positioned and levelled - a photo has been added to the new Gallery on the Trackwork page. As the standing line is slightly lower than the passenger-carrying line, we will need to lift the rodding run with two 'downset' connectors - one of which will be double-ended. Once this is done, we will start work on the FPL crank foundation and then clear the line to the rodding run that will connect with the 4-Lever Ground Frame.
Latest progress includes the following work undertaken on the ex-LNER signals obtained from Brampton Fell:
(i) side rails and decking were removed from the bracket signal, (ii) the bent 'doll' was removed from the bracket signal in order to attend to the spectacle plate pivot casting, (iii) the bracket signal was cleaned and primed, (iv) some components (wire crank brackets etc) were removed from the BR pattern bracket signal platform and, finally, (v) various wire shackles were recovered for re-use.
This weekend saw the following work undertaken: (i) firstly, we completed digging the pits ready for lowering in the concrete 'horses' on which the adjustable cranks for Point No. 2 will be mounted. We also cleared the ground adjacent to Point No. 1 to get a feel for how we will locate the 4 Lever Ground Frame (ii) secondly, we started to assemble the 4 Lever Ground Frame - it is our intention to fit this out with tappet locking and house it in a small NER-pattern signal hut and (iii) finally, we sorted out some components to make up a complete signal arm assembly using the LNER parts we acquired from Leighton Buzzard for one of the unfitted Brampton Fell lattice posts.
UPDATED - 04.05.10
Continued progress on the point installations was made over the Bank Holiday weekend. Pits (4ft square x 2 ft. 6 ins deep) to accommodate the 'concrete horse' foundations for switch angle cranks have been dug. One of the pits revealed an old sleeper about 1 ft below ground level and much effort was expended on its removal - it finally succumbed on Monday afternoon! On this installation, we are re-using sets of foundations (dating from the 1950's) recovered from the site during previous clearance work. Due to their great weight, we will have to lift and lower them into position the next time that we have a 'LoadHall' on site. We learned the lesson of having inadequate foundations while working on the crossover and now understand why foundations for something as seemingly insignificant as an angle crank have to be so robust!
In order to facilitate stowage, the ladders have been taken off the LNER lattice post signals. These will need to be shortened and modified anyway as we will be setting part of the post in concrete foundations. Underneath the paint, most of the metalwork is in good condition - we have been putting on a coat of red oxide primer to assist with preservation as we will not be installing these just yet - this will follow on from completion of the signal box.
An additional 'brace' has been fitted to the Point No. 3B expansion compensator as we had a very small amount of movement taking place in the 'mounting' sleeper during testing.
Finally, excavation at Point No. 1 revealed robust foundations still in place under a perished timber that was sticking out of the ground. This shows that the pointwork is within a couple of feet of the original. It looks like we will be able to fit a new timber onto these foundations and save a good deal of digging.
UPDATED - 07.04.10
After a busy weekend with changed roles in support of the Vintage Vehicle Rally, the S&T returned to their natural habitat - working in the rain and mud. In those most enjoyable conditions, we managed to complete the infilling of the roller stool pits adjacent to Point No. 3A. The pit in which the large angle crank is located took many buckets of ballast to fill it. We were a bit sad really as both Graham and James have slipped into that particular water-filled pit on several occasions and in a way we were sorry to see it go - we will now have to find something else with which to amuse ourselves!
The next job completed was filling in the stool pits on the rodding run to Point No. 3B. This section is now ready to be topped up with ballast and we are hoping to have this done in a week or two. Next weekend, we will be attending to the final adjustable crank and will then carry out the adjustment procedure.
One further milestone today was to agree where the 4 Lever Ground Frame for Point Nos. 1 & 2 will go - the decision was to put the frame on the north bank equidistant from the two sets of switches.
UPDATED - 14.03.10
Work progressed well today in very pleasant weather conditions - sunny and quite warm at times. The two expansion compensator foundation timbers were strapped together using new tie plates and the compensator assembly was screwed down into position. After adjustment of the compensator arms to suit the prevailing temperature, the rodding run was marked out and cut. The cut rod end was then drilled and, finally, the compensator connectors were lined up and bolted into the rodding run - a photo has been added to the Gallery on the Trackwork page.
This now leaves us the final adjustable crank to mount and connect up to the stretcher bar of the point. Once everything is in position (and after a final check of levels), we'll be able to ballast and pack all the rodding stools and fit the retaining rollers prior to the final adjustment of the pair of switches.
UPDATED - 07.03.10
We were blessed with a fine sunny day today (7th) and the team certainly made the most of the sunshine and blue sky. In the morning session, we completed the levelling and straightening of the rodding run out to Point No. 3B. One cause of the poor initial levels that we had last week was that a couple of the rodding sections were bent - once diagnosed, these were exchanged with good straight sections. The area where the second expansion compensator is to be positioned was then dug out and packed so that the two arms were at the correct level with the rodding run - a photo has been added to the Gallery on the Trackwork page.
A pair of steel tie plates are currently being manufactured and we hope to fit them next week. These plates will tie the foundation sleeper for the compensator to a larger companion sleeper that has been bolted to a section of bullhead rail forming a sort of weighted keel - the aim being to add extra mass to the whole assembly. Once the tie plates have been fitted, we will then insert the compensator into the rodding run.
We are hoping to have this rodding run out to Point No. 3B finished by the end of March - we can then move on to setting out the operating system for Point Nos. 1 & 2 which are located at the north end of the layout.
UPDATED - 01.03.10
Yesterday (28th), the rodding run from Point No. 3A to 3B alongside the embankment was straightened - a photo has been added to the Gallery on the Trackwork page. The remaining jobs are to level the rodding, insert and fix the expansion compensator and then finally fit the angle crank.
UPDATED - 08.02.10
Work finally restarted on Sunday 31st January following the prolonged period of snowfall. The first job of the year with the snow cover gone was to examine all the installed cranks and fittings and oil and grease all the moving parts and exposed threads. Once that had been completed, the rodding run from the channel lug at Point 3A as far as the adjustable crank at Point 3B was carefully measured up. This run was plotted on paper back at home and the correct position for the expansion compensator was determined. Yesterday (7th), we started to construct the compensator base and excavated the hole where it will be located.
UPDATED - 14.12.09.
The last few weeks have witnessed excellent progress - all of the roller stools and frames are in place and the rodding run to Point No. 3B is almost complete. There remains a little levelling /straightening to do and then the next jobs will be to fit the adjustable crank and expansion compensator.
UPDATED - 23.11.09.
Work has continued to extend the rodding run up to Point No. 3B of the crossover. The first and second stretcher bars of Point No. 3B have been removed and refitted with cleaned and serviced bolts. A standard connecting lug has also been fitted in preparation for the positioning and assembly of the adjustable operating crank.
UPDATED - 26.10.09.
The second angle crank foundation is now finally in position and this takes the rodding run under the standing line. It has been a time consuming process getting the foundation in the correct place (and fabricating a special mounting plate) due to its close proximity to the main drain which runs along the northern boundary of the site. The next stage is to install the rodding run from the angle crank to operate Point No. 3B of the crossover.
UPDATED - 14.09.09.
During the first half of September, our S&T volunteers were busy removing the 55 lever LMS frame and asociated interlocking from Greetland Signal Box.
We are most grateful to everyone involved at Network Rail for their patience, support and encouragement in making it possible for us to acquire this equipment.
The album below shows some of the components which are now safely stored at KSE for future use on our project. All photos were taken by our S&T Manager, James Redfern.
UPDATED - 01.09.09.
The Bank Holiday weekend saw good progress on a number of fronts - the major effort was to position the first set of concrete foundations and assemble the base plate / angle crank for the rodding extension from Point 3A to 3B. In addition, the sole plate for Point No.1 was drilled with pilot holes ready for cutting the four holes to fit the FPL and the wooden decking which will form part of the base for the 4 Lever Ground Frame (operating Point Nos. 1 & 2) was rough cut to length and delivered to the site.
UPDATED - 24.08.09.
Over the past couple of weeks, a number of jobs have been undertaken. These include (i) preparing the second foundation base for the rodding extension cranks to Point No. 3B, (ii) positioning 5 sleeper timbers on the site of the Junction 'box in preparation for the construction of the base for the 4 Lever Ground Frame, (iii) greasing all crank and compensator nipples, threading and fitting a new grease nipple to the Point No. 2 FPL crank and (iv) completing a base plate drawing for the right-angle cranks.
In addition, (i) the steel mounting plate for the first crank base on the rodding extension to Point No. 3B is almost finished, (ii) the driving irons from the Pespool and Tynemouth North Lever Frames have been sorted and oiled and (iii) the first two S&T Newsletters have been issued.
UPDATED - 20.07.09.
Work completed over the weekend included (i) replacing the stretcher bars on Point 3A to establish the flangeway clearance at 108mm, (ii) replacing one concrete roller base with a cast iron base to 'level up' the rodding run to Point 3A, (iii) preparing two 'equal cranks' for fitting and (iv) some preventative maintenance on the signals recently obtained from Brampton Fell.
UPDATED - 15.06.09.
Yesterday (14th), work continued on the cross-over connection between Point Nos. 3A & 3B. We drilled four concrete breeze blocks and added a single roller frame to each. The blocks were then placed in the pre-dug holes and the point rodding fitted. The next base will actually be two bases tied together with a bridge piece - these will take the full thrust of the rodding as it changes direction and passes under the standing line. A photo showing the new section of rodding has been added to the Gallery on the Trackwork page.
UPDATED - 09.06.09.
Having set up the operation of the ground frame controlling Point 3A (the western half of the cross-over), we have now turned our attention to extending the rodding run out to operate the switch which forms the other half of the cross-over (Point 3B), so that when we pull the operating lever in the ground frame, both switches will move to their correct positions smoothly and in unison.
The practicalities of this have meant changing the 'upset' connector at the end of the rodding run, adding new rodding and replacing the rod-end connection with a channel lug (please see photos added to the Gallery on the Trackwork page). We are now in the process of drilling the breeze blocks that we are using as roller frame bases and fitting two frames and a roller onto each. The ground in the '6-foot' between the two lines has been very difficult to dig and full of large rocks and this really precludes the use of standard concrete bases - hence the option of using the shallower breeze blocks.
Once we get the first section of new rodding into place, the run will then pass under the standing line by means of a pair of cranks (acting additionally as expansion compensators) and then turn again into the 'home straight' to operate the switch blades of Point 3B. A not insignificant piece of work that should take us about 6 weeks and, when it is finished, our attention should then be moving along to start the next phase of work at Bridge No. 2.
UPDATED - 26.05.09.
Further steady progress with the running line facing point locking was made over the Bank Holiday weekend. The rodding run for Point Nos 1 & 2 was finished ready for the completion of the closure rails on the associated Point No.1 at Bridge No.2. Once the closure rails have been cut, drilled and connected and ballasting is complete, we will mark the centre point of the rodding run and start the excavations for the 5 lever Ground Frame base.
On the cross-over (Point Nos. 3A and 3B), we completed the adjustments of throw - we are still about half an inch short on the turnout throw, so we are going to put a new connector onto the upper of the two holes on the operating lever to give us that little bit of extra movement that is needed. However, everything is working very much as planned and it now just requires some minor adjustments for us to sign off this part of the work.
The next step is to install the rodding extension to operate the second point (3B) of the crossover - it will be a hefty pull, but the layout is very similar to the terminus crossover at Lakeside on the Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway, so we know that the scheme is practicable. Finally, we have drafted the preliminary signalling drawing which shows a requirement for 16 levers to signal the full layout - this has now gone to our Network Rail S & T colleagues for their comments.
UPDATED - 15.05.09.
The last few days have seen (i) all the roller frame stools linking Point Nos 1 & 2 and (ii) approx 160 feet of point rodding installed. A photo illustrating the work has been added to the Gallery on the Trackwork page.
UPDATED - 05.05.09.
The Bank Holiday weekend saw excellent progress with Chris and Dave joining the S&T team for the day on Sunday. Working on Point No.3, the compensators were adjusted and screwed down and the 2 Lever Ground Frame was fixed in position. The switch lever was successfully commissioned with just a slight 'throw' alteration to be made at the adjustable crank. The rodding stool pits were backfilled and all the remaining spoil was removed from the worksite. Finally, a third tie strap was fitted to the compensator foundation timbers.
Frame assemblies were laid out between Point Nos.1 & 2 and, at Point No.2, the first adjustable crank was positioned on its wooden foundation timber and connected to the 1st stretcher bar of the switch. The next main job is to dig in the roller frame bases as far as the location of the 5 Lever Ground Frame. The rodding run will follow the curve of the standing line.
UPDATED - 30.04.09.
During the evening of Friday 24th, an all-night possesion took place at Brampton Fell on the Carlisle to Newcastle route. Through the generosity of Network Rail / Jarvis Rail, we were able to obtain 4 LNER - period Lattice Post Signals from Brampton Fell and 1 BR (North Eastern Region) - period flat-braced 2-doll Lattice Post Bracket Signal from Low Row.
We are most grateful to everyone involved at Network Rail for their patience, support and encouragement in making it possible for us to acquire this equipment.
We would also like to express our grateful thanks to (i) all the Jarvis Rail employees involved, particularly Site Managers Paul Mullane and Vinny McCoy, and Project Manager Matt Tupling, (ii) Jim and Colin Lawson for making it possible to load and transport the signals and (iii) our own volunteers who were on site throughout the night. Photos of some of the work involved (courtesy of James Redfern, our S&T Manager) are shown in the Gallery below:
UPDATED - 20.04.09.
This weekend saw (i) the second tie strap fitted to the compensator foundation timbers on Point No. 3 and (ii) two single rollers from the switch stretcher bar on Point No. 2 were put in.
UPDATED - 14.04.09.
Yesterday, progress was made on a number of fronts. Firstly, some tie straps were made up and one was fitted to the compensator foundations on Point No. 3. Secondly, four point identification plates were produced and one was fitted into position on the Passenger-carrying line. Thirdly, the FPL, adjustable connector, angle crank and rodding connector assembly to the 1st Stretcher bar on Point No.2 were fitted. Finally, one of our professional signalling colleagues was on site giving much appreciated advice and encouragement. A photo showing progress on Point No. 2 has been added to the Gallery on the Trackwork page.
UPDATED - 06.04.09.
In the past week, work on Point No.3 has included fitting two tie straps to the Ground Frame foundations and levelling off the foundation timbers for the two compensators. Work is also underway off site to manufacture tie straps for some of the other pointwork in the Passenger-carrying line. A photo has been added to the Gallery on the Trackwork page.
UPDATED - 30.03.09.
On Saturday (28th), work continued on the installation of the Facing Point Lock and the operating channel rodding for Point No.3. With the two compensators positioned on a set of three timbers, we dug two additional pits for the roller frame stools and dropped the new concrete stools and roller frames into place. This now just leaves (i) the foundation timbers for the two-lever Ground Frame to be prepared and fixed into place and (ii) the two horizontal connectors to be attached to the levers. A photo has been added to the Gallery on the Trackwork page.
UPDATED - 16.03.09.
As if to herald the equinox, the sun made a welcome return today and, with the ground reasonably dry, we started work on the final arrangements for the Ground Frame and FPL on Point No. 3. Timbers were set out for the two expansion compensators and two additional runs of point rodding were bolted into place so that we could fix the position of the Ground Frame and satisfy ourselves that the required clearance from the running line was being maintained.
With everything loosely connected, we adjusted the position of the roller frame stools to give us a straight run from the two cranks to the centre bridge pier and marked out the positions for the Ground Frame base and the two additional roller frame assemblies. The compensator base now just requires levelling-up and the sleeper sections binding securely together with steel tie strips, leaving us with only the Ground Frame foundations to prepare. Once the Frame is in place and fixed securely, we will be able to turn our attention to the two points (Nos. 1 & 2) at the western end of the site. A photo of the current position has been added to the Gallery on the Trackwork page.
UPDATED - 02.03.09.
Today we transported the two lever groundframe down to Point No.3 for a 'trial fit'. With the frame positioned at the end of the first rodding run, it was immediately clear to us that to insert an extra length of rodding (and two expansion compensators) would position the frame in the protection of the middle bridge pier making a more satisfactory ' place of safety'. This will also allow the frame operator a good forward view of the point.
Fortunately, the foundations put in for the frame can be used for the compensator pair - all we have to do is put in two additional roller frame bases.
We have ordered two 90 inch steel tie strips which will tie the sleepers between the FPL block and the FPL crank together and prevent any 'creep' taking place between them.
Our task for next Sunday is now to install the tie strips and dig the additional roller frame pits. The following weekend, we can then move the groundframe into its final position.
UPDATED - 23.02.09.
After being 'snowed out' from site work for two weeks, it was a pleasure to get to grips with the installation of the FPL on Point No. 3 again. After a measuring up session in the S&T store on the 2 Lever Ground Frame, we worked out the installation position and then went up the yard to cut two 4 ft long foundation timbers.
We have chosen to stay within 30 ft of the switch blade stretcher connection (whilst, of course, retaining 6 ft 6 in clearance from the passenger-carrying line) so that we do not need to install expansion compensators in this instance.
We dug through some very hard ground to place the two foundation timbers (for the Ground Frame) which will be bound together with tie plates. All will then be ready for us to trial fit the assembly.
We are leaving the drilling of the switch ties and fitting of the lock stretcher bar until we are in a position to carry out this operation on all of the 3 points as a single exercise. We will be arranging supervision of this critical work by some of our professional colleagues. An annotated photograph of the current position has been added to the gallery on the Trackwork page.
UPDATED - 18.12.08.
Our installation work has come to an end for this year - we're all taking time off for a well earned Christmas and New Year break.
Our final piece of work for the year has been to complete the FPL rodding and crank assemblies ready for the positioning and fixing of the two-lever Ground Frame. With the experience we have gained from this first installation, our pace of work has gradually increased. Additionally, in order to further improve installation time, team members are now undertaking much of the equipment preparation in their workshops at home.
We hope to complete installation of the three FPL's by the spring of next year as we have now acquired almost all of the equipment we need. It is our intention that this will also include interlocked ground signals.
We would like to acknowledge the expert technical advice most kindly provided by a number of 'amateur' and professional railwaymen - this is greatly appreciated.
Latest photographs of the trackwork and FPL installation have been uploaded into the gallery on the Trackwork page.
UPDATED - 24.11.08.
On Sunday (23rd), the team removed the original standard sleeper at the toe of Point No.3 and replaced it with a twelve inch wide type. As the alignment of the original plain sole plate had not been particularly satisfactory, it was also replaced with a newer one (which we recently obtained) that had come pre-drilled for the four FPL shoe retaining screws.
With our latest acquisition, a pair of switch blade extension pieces, we are now ready to drill the point blades for the two holes needed to fix the lock stretcher bar and fit the bar and switch pieces. With a set of detector rods in store, we now only need a mechanical detector unit to allow an interlocked ground signal to be put into place. Finally, with the FPL fitted, we can then position and mount the two-lever ground frame.
UPDATED - 07.11.08.
Yesterday (6th) saw further progress with Point No.3. Firstly, a pit for the second concrete base and its roller frame was excavated and the base was lowered into it to the correct height. The FPL control rod and all the cranks, including the FPL crank, were then trial fitted to ensure that all will be in order. Next, a timber was cut to size ready for mounting the adjustable crank for the FPL and, finally, the FPL stretcher bar was also trial fitted in position.
UPDATED - 03.11.08.
The first job undertaken last weekend (25th / 26th October) was to position the concrete roller frame bases (stools) at roughly 8ft intervals between the toe of the B9 point (Point No. 1) and the toe of the B8 point (Point No. 2).The 4 Lever Ground Frame that will operate these two sets of switches will be positioned on the north side of the line, opposite the western end of the Junction 'box foundations.
The cross-over near Eden Valley Bridge No. 1 will be operated by a 2 Lever Ground Frame positioned a short distance from the bridge abutment and protected by a short section of fencing on either side.
With the concrete bases at the western end of the yard laid out approximately in their correct positions, this weekend (1st / 2nd November) we turned our attention to the cross-over point (Point No. 3). In order to fit the sole plate (this holds the rails in position at the toe of the point and also provides a mounting for the FPL casting so that all the key components cannot move relative to each other), we firstly had to change one of the slide chairs from a 2-screw type to a 4-screw type. With the sole plate and an adjustable tie bar fitted, we next made up the rod assembly that goes between the adjustable crank and the 1st stretcher bar of the switch. This enabled us to fix the position of the right-angle crank. The crank was mounted on a sleeper tied in place and then, having pegged out the line of rodding from the crank, we dug out a pit for the first concrete base. Finally, the first length of rodding was threaded through the rollers and put in place on the connecting rod. For the latest photographs, please see the 'Signalling and Trackwork' Gallery on Alan Usher's Kirkby Stephen East website.
Our current S & T projects are:
1: Refurbish and fit Mechanical Facing Point Locks to the the three points on the running line
Our running line in Phase 1 of the development will have three points that will, according to the current view of the Railway Inspectorate, have to be fitted with mechanical facing point locks (FPLs). We have prepared a design for the signalling and lever frame and are using lever designations from the 1959 layout drawing to maintain the historical context. We have completed the refurbishment of two sets of FPLs and have three more to do, thus giving us two spares at present. The last set should be completed by the end of March. The first sets of roller frames and the ground frame are currently being built up and will be fully assembled before being moved out into position in front of the S&D 'box.
When it comes to the complete installation, we currently have some equipment shortages to make up and these are:
- 3 x sole plates
- 3 x lock stretcher bars
- 200 x point rodding roller frames
- Approx 1800 ft of point rodding
- 3 x detector assemblies for interlocking the ground signals
If you are able to help with sourcing these items, please email the secretary.
2: Rebuild the overhead signal gantry with five dolls
This second phase might at first seem a little ambitious, but it is actually a preferred solution as building a truss gantry of 50 to 60 feet is probabaly easier than fabricating and erecting five individual signals with foundations, ladders, fittings etc. We have most of the signal parts required (these will be fitted to wooden posts), but need some second-hand truss sections ex-industrial use. If necessary, we will design and construct our own structure. A general arrangement drawing on Autocad has been prepared.
3: Rebuild the Stockton and Darlington (S&D) Signal Box to control the points and signalling.
Initially, we will be operating the running line from the ground frames, but an ongoing project is to rebuild the S&D 'box to accomodate a frame of around 24 levers to fulfill the station signalling requirments. We have prepared the outline drawing for the structure and have been offered an appropriate lever frame which will be collected and refurbished shortly. The next step is to prepare further detailed drawings for the internal arrangements and to draw up a complete list of the materials required for construction.
Thanks to James Redfern for this update and we have included a diagram to illustrate the plans, but please note it is schematic, not to scale in width and has been simplified for clarity.