Friday 13 October 2023

Boat Of Garten Signalling Project.

Boat of Garten Signalling Project.

By Robert Law  


It has been a while since the last S&T Blog update , however we have been busy in the background. 

Work is slowly progressing on several areas of the Boat of Garten South Project, with the normal maintenance still to be done across the whole of the railway. In addition Dalfaber level crossing  has been added as part of the regular work. 

I thought we would start with a reminder of  what we are looking to achieve: Currently the Down platform is signalled to allow bi-directional moves of passenger trains. In simple terms trains are permitted to arrive or depart in both North or South directions. However the  Up platform is currently only permitted to send passenger trains in both directions but not receive passenger trains form the South. This is because of the lack of  Facing Point Locks FPLs been fitted on the yard and the crossover points.

We have so far prepared the rodding run from the signal box to the point ends, for the FPLs. Locking and associated equipment have been fitted at both point ends. The lift bar, we are still working on and hope to  complete this in the coming months. 

Firstly at the yard points, we have needed to dig a big hole. The reason for this is to accommodate a new detection table. You can see the Timbers used to build the table, stacked up in the background.

Once the hole was levelled off, at a depth of 2ft 2”. The bottom timber and cross members were lowered into the hole and then partially back filled. The Timbers have been packed to ensure that they are firmly in place, reducing the risk of movement or sinkage. With this achieved, the top Timbers have been placed, with a detector base and a single detector on it. (Two will be required). It has then been possible to adjust all parts until a good placement is found. Ensuring that: heights and alignments are all correct and the swords will be able to move freely. On our next organised visit we will be spending time screwing and bolting everything into place.

At the B end of the crossover, some investigation digging was carried out to see what condition the existing timber table is in. The original timbers were found to be in very good condition and placed in a way that a second timber to widen the table could be added. This work is required for a larger detector base that needs to be installed, that can accommodate 3 detectors for the 3 routes from these future signals.

New timber added and the ground back filled.  There will be a new table built in front of this and the new pair of ground signals will be installed. This includes a signal post in the middle for movements into the Up platform.

Inside the Signal Cabin we have been busy with the installation of the extra/ missing levers from the frame. As you can imagine nothing is small, nothing is light. It dose not look much, but I can assure you that this was no easy task. With help been drawn in by unsuspecting passersby’s. Thank you.  First the quadrants had to be lifted out of the way. But to do this, the lever catch handles needed to be dismantled to allow them to be lifted. The levers themselves were then carefully lowered down, onto the cam shaft below. 

With the lever’s in-place the cam followers could then be installed. This is the connection between the interlocking tappets and the levers. The remaining tappets will be installed as the interlocking changes are made. With All this installation completed the whole frame was then put back together.

With the history of the cabin that is documented, this is the original frame and can be placed back as far as the 1930s. It may well be earlier but we are unable to confirm that it is. We do believe that this is the first time that the frame has been complete in its history. As it never had all its levers installed in BR days or LMS, that we know of. Please if you have any information about the early days of the frame, get in touch.

Before and after shot.

The extra levers that have been installed in the frame have come from the original 40 lever frame, out of the North cabin at Boat of Garten. Which we do still have. The frame that is in the North Cabin has 20 levers. That came from Carrbridge central cabin and was located in the station building. Witch was removed in the 1970s with the coming of the current signalling system “Scottish Geographical”.

1 tray of 4 that make up the locking.

In the background of site, planning and development is still ongoing with the mechanical interlocking designs. This is no easy task and is proving difficult to achieve. For every problem there is a solution! It just takes time and lots of tea and biscuits. For those who are unsure what the interlocking means. This is the brains of the signal cabin. Controls the train movements with the aid of a competent signaller. Ensures that trains can only travel when it is safe to do so.

There is lots of small jobs that can be done, it’s not all about big lifting. Time has been taken by our operations volunteers Painting the levers to the current layout. Tidying the place up until the big change comes.

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