Wednesday 29 June 2022

Aviemore Improvement Works Continued

 Aviemore Improvement Works Continued.

By Robert Law


Only a short blog today, to fill you in on what’s now been completed. On the ground, our up direction home signal has a call-on arm. The purpose of this is to inform the driver that the section into the station is not clear to the buffer ends and that they must proceed at caution, following any instructions that are given. Lots of improvements have been made around this with the interlocking now completed. Improving the overall safety of the railway. Not that it was not safe before but it makes it a lot harder to make mistakes now. A new shed exit signal is currently getting installed but still to be completed. The paint brushes have been out and the levers in the box have received a clean up. The home signal has received a bit of paint to but a second coat wouldn’t go a miss. Time has been spent writing up briefing notes for all our operating staff. So everyone is aware of what has been done and how it effects there roles. The brief should be handed out soon. Just needing approval at this stage.

The view as you arrive into Aviemore. The main arm being number one lever and the call-on being number two. The rust stains have gone with a coat of paint. But a second would be good!

The lamp unit with the stencil on the side. Will only be see when the arm is in the off position.

How it all looks with the call-on signal in the off position.

The frame after receiving a bit of paint and a good clean up.

Aviemore signal diagram 

Wednesday 15 June 2022

Aviemore improvement works.

 Aviemore Improvement Works.

By Robert Law

15 June 2022

Over the last two months our attention has moved to Aviemore. What was always considered to be a temporary signaling arrangement until the loop is re-instated. Has now for the time being become permanent. With this, it has been decided to make some improvements to the interlocking, to help take away human error. Which also includes the installation of a new call on signal for permissive movement when the section is not clear to the buffer ends. 

Our residents class 31 passing the work site.

The planed new signal is going on to the home signal structure. It will be a smaller arm for calling on a train. This way the signaler can inform the diver that they are permitted to continue at caution but be prepared to stop sort of any obstructions.

What is to be installed 

This is an illustration of what we are looking to install. Which is in keeping with the heritage signaling of our area. When the signal is “pulled off” it will reveal a stencil with the letter C, for Calling On. Giving the driver permission to proceed.

A start has been made.

On the signal, the spindle bracket and lamp bracket have been installed. All parts were sand blasted in the workshop, before been painted and put up.

Bottom of post

At the bottom of the post the old balance weight has been replace from a single to a double. One for the current home signal and one for the new calling on signal. Again these parts have been stripped down, sand blasted and painted. Signal wires have been attached and run under the track to the flat pulley wheel.

Replacement flat wheel.

The flat wheel opposite the signal was requiring replacement as it was only a single before. As the timber base was not in the best of condition the decision was made to use this opportunity and replace it at the same time. This picture was taken before the new wire and rope was run.

Works at the signal box end

At the other end of the signal wire run. The chain and adjustable wheel has been installed on the lever tail. The vertical and flat wheel have been installed and chain has been run to the outside of the box. Ready for the wire to be run once we have the time to do it.

The lamp and stencil holder.

The lamp unit being cleaned down with most of its paint removed. Revealing the wonderful tin work of the stencil unit. Someone had put a lot of work into building this, with it’s white metaled joints. Truly a lovely thing to work on. Unfortunately the history of where it came from is unknown to me other than it has been in storage for a very long time. If anyone knows the history behind it please send me a message!

A view of the back of the lamp holder.

Not completed but starting to look the part again.

At this moment in time the lamp unit has been fitted with a electrical lamp holder. It did not have one fitted before, as it is of the era from when everything was lit by paraffin. The lens is only loosely fitted and needs some window putty to fit it. The stencil with the letter C is still to be fabricated. As you can imagine it is not a standard item and requires something to be specially made for it.  

Interlocking designs 

Before all this “ground work” was done. A good few months was spent discussing and designing the interlocking for Speyside cabin. A lot of tea was consumed in the creation of these plans. Just when you think it is correct your independent checker would find something you had missed.

Hard to get a shot that shows the working of the interlocking.

A closer look at the slip locking for permitting opposing signals to be pulled when the box is switched out.

Several days was spent implementing the plans of the interlocking. New tappets, notches and bars made up. Lots of fun was had doing this work and I am glad to report that the diagrams were made correct and that everything worked as expected.  This is a big step in insuring that operations are controlled and reduces the risk of mistakes been made. 

Everything explained.

Along side all the work that the S&T department has been doing, the operational department has been keeping up with us! Each signal box now has written regulations of what and how to do it. From normal operations, to in the event of failure. This in itself is a big step forwards in running a safe railway. Just need everyone to read them now.