Thursday, 2 July 2020

Detection of points

Morley project.

Detection of A end of points.

To say this has been simple. Straight forwards! Was not a problem at all! Well not quite. This has been challenging to the last nut and bolt. With several rethinks and a lot of tea drinking. Still it’s in and meets with the specifications that must be achieved. It requires to be Electrically wired up yet, as well as the electrical interlocking within the signal box still to do.

This is the HJ Detector, I would have liked to have installed. It came over the fence from the Networkrail Aviemore project. It was part of the redundant materials that the Strathspey was given. Unfortunately it is set up to be on the left hand side of the points as you look at them. It can not be changed to a right hand mount without the locking bars been swapped out. The reason it can not be fitted on the lefthand side is simply, the points rodding is in the way.

This HJ detector was looked out from our store, was not in the best of condition. Although it is set up correctly to be on the right hand side of the points and contains the correct locking bars that can be swap out. But first will clean it up and see if this on can be fitted.

Before having a good looking at the insides of the HJ detector. The mounting brackets of this detector required to be removed. Unfortunately the mounting brackets are of the wrong type for the type of rail and buckled beyond repair. Managed to get three of the nuts off, there are four in total. One in each corner. The bolts, where stuck fast and an angle grinder needed to be applied to cut them all off. Unfortunately they would not knock out with out a lot of pressure being applied. The problem being that the body of the detector is cast and is likely to fracture if to much force is applied. A much kinder approach was required. Drilling a hole through the old bolt to weaken it, allowing it to collapse in on it self. Reducing its hold and allowing it to be knocked out with out damaging the casting.

Making progress! All four bolts out, now to have a good look at the insides.

Stripping it down reviled a few problems with corrosion on key parts.  ThIs is the unfortunate part of it being in storage for a long time out in the open. Some parts Where heavily pitted and some of the “fingers” the electrical contacts broken.

Corroded parts that needed to be swapped were swapped. The fingers changed over to the other body and a good clean. This is how it was looking before putting the mechanical Locking parts back in. Has very much been stripped right down and built back up. A workshop would have been better for this job, but a p-way trolley as a workbench is just as good.

Before mounting the detector, the drop lugs on the switches had to be turned and a good alignment achieved. This is to know were the detector is to be placed. Yes it goes between the sleepers! but it all needs to line up. If there is any rubbing or it is not square it will make the points harder for the signaller to pull.

Then the more challenging part, Getting everything to line up and then screwed down. First the rods are placed in, detector placed on top and all cheeked. Before being screwed down, You can see the BR standard mounting plates used to secure the detector to the timbers in this picture. Once this was done, then needed to measure how long each rod needed to be to go between the drop lugs and the detector lugs. These where removed, cut, drilled and offered up. Fitting nicely just a little adjustment was required but worked really well. So now it is ready to be Electrically wired up.

A Nice clean and tidy site. For those who are not sure why this is being done. It is for the locking controls of the signalling. Before the signal can be “pulled off” allowing the train to pass over the points, in a facing move. We need to prove that the points are in fact, closed and locked. If the system dose not see that the points are closed and locked,  then the signaller will not be able to pull any signal in a facing move over the points.

Sunday, 21 June 2020

Points in and working!

Strathspeys Engineering Department  Sidings,
(Or to giving it, it’s informal name Morley’s shed)
20 June 2020

It has been nice this weekend to be out on the engineering squad.

Working along side the P-ways squad this weekend has been refreshing, to be working along side other people and to receive help digging holes as well as back filling has been a great change . It has been interesting seeing the effort which has gone into making physical distancing possible with in the work space. Whether it was questioning what was needing worked on or who was able to access the various site next , it highlighted that even though the work process is slightly different it’s certainly not impossible.

Start of the day! All the holes have been dug and stools repaired on my passing visits. We were now ready to put the cranks down and put the rodding in and see how much we can complete today.

First job was putting the compensator crank down. Currently sitting in it’s mid stroke position, in this picture. For those who do not understand the reason why we use this crank...Well it is very clever! With out this the points system will just not work. With the temperature variants the rodding is broken into two parts “push” and “pull. The compensator crank is very clever and changes a “push” movement into a “pull”movement. So why do we have half of the rodding as push and the other as pull? Simple! to equalise expansion and contraction. As long as both are equal in length and warm and cool at the same rate then both remain the same length all the time. This way we do not have to constantly make adjustments to the points to make them work.

This is the sleeve crank being positioned, set at 90 degrees, or mid stroke this is standard practice when setting up or making adjustments to a mechanical points setup. It’s not as easy as you think! You need to keep it in the mid stoke position. Get the “sleeve” in line with the drive rod on the points. Plus get the hole on the other side to line up with the rodding run. In this case 610mm from the inside of the rail. Otherwise you will end up with extra resistance and make the points heavy for the signaller to operate! 

And the last thing I want is “more” grumpy signallers.

Today I was given some help from Angus. Between the two of us we started to put the rodding in. Lifting and packing and slewing. Very similar to P-way techniques. 140mm above the sleepers and 610mm from the inside of the rail profile. Takes a bit of time but well worth the effort. The better the line the easier it is for the signaller to operate. Plus it makes it look better as well.

Missed a couple of pictures at this point! The rodding has all been installed, closures been cut. If you look at the A end of the points you can see that they are set half way. The sleeve crank closest in the picture is also set in mid stroke/position. At this point we were ready to make the last cut and put the closure rod in from the points drive rod, (with the B end of points sitting half open) to the sleeve crank. Mid opening for This type of points is 54mm fully open is 108mm.

The last rod cut to size and pilot holes drilled. Now to offer it up and well, yes see if it fit! Thankfully it fitted perfectly.

Angus looking over quite happily “I think”, at the work that we have done today. You will notice the threaded bar that has been installed at the front of the points. This is to act as a sole plate. This makes sure that both stock rails do not move apart from each other, this may lead to the switches not closing properly. Worst case scenario derailment. Next worst scenario someone forgets about it and face plants into the ground! I hope both never happen!

Points Number on, all connected up working well. Will need a bit of usage to bed in. Think even the worst of signaller should be able to operate it easily. Now it is time to start working out the points detection for connecting up the signal out of the yard. Although there is an other day for that.

A end of the points looking down into the job. With the SGE type HJ electrical detector sitting loosely in place. Points guards still to be mounted and points numbers in place. Need to drill out for the nails! Jarrah wood 8 - nails zero!

So overall a very good day with the points in a usable condition. Although the interlocking is still not done. Until then the points will remain clamped, scotched and locked out of use. This ensures the safety of any trains that may run over the points in the short term future.

Here is a quick look at what goes into the design of the rodding run. 

This is only the points rodding ,there is a different drawings again for the FPL (facing point lock).

Saturday, 13 June 2020

Big push at permanent way depot, Morley’s

Morley project update 13 of June 2020

It has been a while since I last did a post so there is a fair bit to put in.

Prep work has been carried out getting the outer home, and yard exit signal ready to be planted. The rodding run to the A end of the points has been cleaned up, and finished off. Each crank was only held down by two screws. After proving that it works. The remaining screws holes have been drilled and cranks secured fully. With all this “finishing” work been done the points are now very light to operate. Anyway each picture has a description and will show you what has been done. Of course following current government guidelines and regulations.


Thanks to Georgie for pulling out this signal from the back of the yard at Boat of Garten, this one came from Dyce. There was three signals that we got from Dyce all the same size. Two are already in use on the railway. One is the Home signal at Aviemore from Boat of Garten. The second is the signal in front of the Roy Hamilton carriage shed site for our mainline heading to Boat of Garten.

Painting work not fully completed in this photo but well on the way to been completed.

This is the exit signal, out of the “permanent way depot” Morley’s. All painted up, missing parts found ready to go up. This signal came from Fouldubs signal box, at Grangemouth. Formally know as FD34.

Planted! Ready to be connected up to Boat north signal box once everything else has been done. The balance wight and the down wire, is still to be fitted. Nun of which will be done until the points are finished.

Some more hole digging has been completed. Stools dropped in. But than ran out of stool! So a visit to the sand pit at the back of the yard is required.

There was no, already made single rodding run stools. Which resulted in time been spent making up 9 to complete the job. The ones you can see in this picture came from the Aviemore resiganaling project of Networkrails. These stool use to carry six rodding runs in there day. But now will only carry one.

Here are the stools cut down and made ready to carry the single rodding run to the “B” end of the points.

Here they all are! Ready for someone to dig some more holes. Oh goodie!

This is the New outer home now up. Thanks to Georgie and his amazing machine! Also the embankment been levelled off and space made for two location cases for track circuit equipment and signal lighting circuits. The bottom of the post still needs to be painted black plus one or two bits of the white needs touched up as well.

Then the location cases were put in. These location cases came from Perth some years ago. They are still needing a bit of work yet. A good clean down and paint up is still required. Although this can be easily done where they now are.

Still some tidying to do but starting to look really nice.

Thursday, 4 June 2020

Morley project part 3

Morley project part 3 03/06/20

Hello all,

Has been another productive week of lock down. Unfortunately there is not much to show for it. A lot of it has been tidying up and making things look better. With the weather being SO hot, work turned to the preparation of the signal for coming out of the sidings. In the hot sun managed to scrap the signal down to bare metal and the paint it up. With it being so hot, managed to get two coats on and touch dry before leaving the site.

Signal before been scrapped and cleaned up.

Signal all cleaned up ready for painting.

White paint done, still needs black paint at the bottom 

White paint done, all round the post. Black paint still required.

As the week carried on and the weather got cooler, attention turned back to the points. Between Georgie and myself, we managed to heat treat the kicker bar on the A end of the points. With this done the movement of the points is much better and it now has the required gap in the railway specification.

Moving to the B end. The real problem solving end! This type of turn out, our “P-way supervisor” and myself have only ever seen this set up in a book. Making it a little harder to understand what is needed to put it all together, making it quite a challenge. But we will not be beaten! With blunt drill bits and lots of measuring twice, or several times until two reading are the same. We finally managed to get the stretcher bar in place and secured. I must say that I am certainly very pleased with how it has come out.
 The next problem that had to be sorted, was the switches required to be drilled. To take the drop lugs for the mechanical detector of the points for the signal. Sounds easy but trying to measure on something that is not quite flat and a little different to the other with a 1mm tolerances for the holes to the bolts. Well all I can say is “got it spot on”. Measure lot’s of times drill once.

Stretcher bar being drilled to take the swan necks and drive rod.

Stretcher bar mounted and drive rod attached 

This switch rail needed to be cut down to match the other then both switches measured for the drop lugs. Pilot holes drilled to guide the big drill.

The switches beeing drilled out to 21mm after the pilot holes have been drilled.

Drop lugs fitted, perfect fit! Yes one is pointing the wrong way.
 And that’s it for this blog. Hope you all are enjoying looking and seeing what is going on. Any questions please do ask.

Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Morley project continued

Morley shed project continued

Update 26 May 2020

Hi all,

Once again the S&T department is making progress, in a safe and distant manner. It would be nice to be working with other people! It would be nice to have the trains going past! If for nothing else, it’s a good excuse to stop for a cup of tea. But there are not, so make the best of the time and get some work done.

The day started nice and early, to try and get the digging done before the day got to hot. Didn’t work though.

This is how it was when arriving to site, all laid out. More digging, digging and a touch of digging to do.

This is how we were looking at 11am ish. In a right mess. Holes All dug one line of rodding in. But not quite lining up! So in came Georgie, to do what most P-way workers do best!!! Put an eye to the job.

Georgie worked at on end while I worked at the other. We do like to speak to each other but to work safely at the moment, this is what is required. I got the second line of rodding into place and bolted together. While Georgie started packing and slewing up at the bridge. Taking out some of the bumps and creating a “gentle sweeping rise” in the rodding run.

Then together but still apart. Georgie’s eye on the line and myself on the jack and shovel. We worked on getting the heights and alignment correct on the rest of the rodding run. It amazing how long, tiring but rewarding this was. Three hours of lifting packing and slowing and it started to look better.

End of day results a nice straight rodding run.

So with the rodding run all connected up to the A end of the points there was one last thing to try.

It is needing a bit of adjustment yet but we have normal and reverse. Plus a working FPL on the mainline. Lock has not been cut for the reverse yet. That is still on the to do list.

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Morley shed project

Morley’s project part 3

A bit of time has passed and more work has been done. There is not much really to show for it, but when working your own you realise the enormity of the project.

 Track safety is still adhered to and always ensure there is other people around if anyone comes into trouble. It’s always good to have a friendly face working at the other end of the work sit and  our Station Master working away happily painting the platform edge.

So this is how it all starts for this blog. Putting the compensator cranks down and getting the first of the rodding on. Georgie was very kind and had dug the hole and put the bench in the week before. With a bit of mechanical assistance rather than by hand.

So by the end of the day this is how it was looking both compensator cranks fixed down with two screws each and a bit of rodding on both sides. This needs to be done at the same time, to help make sure they are positioned correctly and pointing the correct direction. Needs to work well but must look good as well.

Work continued with 8 one and a half foot deep holes dug for the stools.(What the rodding sits in). The rodding is then put in place and the hard bit begins. Getting it all straight and level. Or in this case a nice steady rises up to the bridge and then level over the bridge.

Don’t know if I said in the last blog but we had to do a bit of redesigning, with the restrictions of space in front of the signal box. The crank had to be flipped over. Changing it from a pull movement instead of a push. So to account for this the final crank at the points end has had to be flipped over as well. Otherwise the FPL would never go in

This is the signal that will be used for coming out of Morley’s shed area and onto the main running line. This signal with a miniature arm, is being used because of sighting issues. If we were to use a shunt signal at ground level. The signaller will not be able to see the back of it, from the signal box. As the handrails of the bridge will obscure it.

This is the current signalling layout at Boat North.

This is what it will look like once this project is completed. Drawing is the other way round to the diagram above. Don’t get confused.

Here is a little video for you, with a walk through of the site. Done with a possession in place social distancing observed, and all rules of the railway followed.

Hear is a quick look inside the North signal box, 

I hope you all in joy looking. This is all new to me and a bit out of my comfort zone.