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St Albans South - works in 2015

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St Albans South - works in 2015

Unread postby John Webb » Wed Jan 14, 2015 9:36 pm

This picture was taken a couple of days ago, but relates to a recent purchase right at the end of 2014:
Image
It shows our new non-pegger on the left complete with the button for 'Line Clear Cancel' which our previous instrument,
part of our initial set-up several years ago, didn't have.

2014 ended with a record total of 2,300+ visitors during the year, some 400 above the previous 5 years' average of 1,900 per annum.

We got off to a flying start for 2015 on the weekend of the 10th/11th January with a manned stand at the Chiltern Model Railway Association's annual model railway show for the 2nd year running. The box was open in parallel with the show from 10am-4pm, and we had 200+ visitors over the two days. At the show we spoke with dozens of people. The percentage who hadn't heard about us seemed a bit lower this year, and the percentage of those who had visited us had increased; many complimentary comments were received from the latter!
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Re: St Albans South - works in 2015

Unread postby John Webb » Sun Jan 25, 2015 8:30 pm

Another fantastic weekend - we had another two days of extended opening yesterday and today for the "St Albans Resident First" weekend, and at various times on both days had to queue people up for the upstairs demonstrations due to their popularity.

Total of visitors over the two days was 527+ (262 Saturday and 265+ Sunday) - the '+' because we were overwhelmed at one point and are aware some got in without being given a ticket! Sales and donations over the weekend were pretty good as well.

Saturday was marked by a visit from the Mayor of St Albans just after lunch - was due to stop for 30 minutes and stopped for 45! Turned out a relative had worked in a signal box in the past and he visited it as a young lad.
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Re: St Albans South - works in 2015

Unread postby John Webb » Sat Mar 28, 2015 7:26 pm

Most of the work so far this year has been non-photogenic - maintenance and repair rather than any major new work. Massive effort has gone into clearing the garden of overgrowth to allow room for fresh growth and a better view of some of the exhibits. The clearance of plant growth has also given us a chance to repair/renew stretches of our wood cable duct that had become somewhat tatty - put together rather in haste in our early days, one has to say!

We are receiving more invites to exhibitions and shows - on April 18th we're at Hitchin for a model railway exhibition close to the town centre and on May 17th we're at the Stockwood Discovery Centre's 'Steaming Day' on the outskirts of Luton.
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Re: St Albans South - works in 2015

Unread postby John Webb » Fri Jul 10, 2015 8:50 pm

Right - some updating on things this year.
Last pictures in 2014 were of works on our cable ducting, where we were reconstructing our original ducting and making it more robust. I'll continue that theme.
Image
The trunking along the fence at the end of the lawn has been reconstructed in this picture from March - we had to cut back an enormous amount of plant growth during the Winter before we could tackle it. Those of you who came on the 20th of June will recall the tremendous amount of growth in the garden - all in three months since this picture was taken!

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The old and somewhat tatty trunking close to the colour light signal demo. It was partly fixed to the posts for the fencing which had worked a bit loose, which didn't help.

Image
The revised trunking, now on it's own posts, but not quite straight due to a slab of concrete 6 inches down which stopped us getting a post in where we really wanted it to go.
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Re: St Albans South - works in 2015

Unread postby John Webb » Fri Jul 10, 2015 9:04 pm

Demonstration wire adjuster:
Image
This is one of the items ex-NRM. It is an LMS adjuster, and is seen here after a thorough clean and the first coat of paint. It's going to be wired up to the demonstration signal in the garden, worked by the (spare) lever 32 on the frame.

To accommodate the extended wiring, we've had to alter the existing pulley arrangement and put a second pulley in:
Image

The final set-up will be something like:
Image
The adjuster will be finally fixed down once we've got some wire on the geared drum and can get a nice straight line to the pulley.
We're contemplating using one of our spare signal repeaters mounted near the adjuster and worked by the switch on the signal arm to complete the demo.
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Re: St Albans South - works in 2015

Unread postby John Webb » Fri Jul 10, 2015 9:16 pm

Some bits and pieces:
Our new marquee or whatever you call it at the Herts Steam Show in St Albans in May:
Image
Just to the left of us was the group hoping to restore Smallford station on the former St Albans-Hatfield branch, and on the right our friends from the North London Society of Model Engineers with their portable track giving rides. So quite a railway line-up! And well over £200-worth of sales as well.

The two relays recently passed on to us by Richard Pike:
Image
The photo isn't perfect, alas. Must get my SLR up for a better shot.
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Re: St Albans South - works in 2015

Unread postby John Webb » Mon Jul 13, 2015 9:26 am

The garden in bloom on Saturday 11th July:
Image

Note the trunking in the March picture above is now completely hidden by plants!
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Re: St Albans South - works in 2015

Unread postby John Webb » Fri Jul 17, 2015 3:00 pm

Earlier this week, we got the adjuster wired up and assembled and fitted in place. There was one problem, the closest we could get the chainwheel to the pivot of the balance arm for lever 32 still gave too much pull on the wire - we either had to slacken off so that the signal didn't start moving until the lever was nearly half-way across the frame, or we couldn't pull the lever over to the fully reversed position. So we needed to swap the existing balance arm, which had 5 holes, for another which had six - the sixth hole being closer to the pivot. So here we are with the pivot caps removed ready to do the swap:
Image
Very fortunately the adjacent lever 31 was one arm with 6 holes.

Having completed the swap, it was found that the chain wheel had just the right amount of movement, seen here with lever 32 reversed:
Image
There was a minor problem with the down rod; you can see the end of it is at the furthest hole of the balance arm. As a result it was just catching mid-travel on the edge of the upstairs floorboard - a couple of minutes with a saw and chisel making a small notch solved that problem.

Finally, the freshly painted adjuster in position:
Image
Just need now to do a notice to go alongside explaining what it is!
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Re: St Albans South - works in 2015

Unread postby John Webb » Sun Aug 9, 2015 9:10 pm

Signal Arm switches - mix and match!
Our LMS switch from our earlier signal, the one worked from lever 32, being dismantled:
Image
Note the broken-off contact to connect to the moving part of the switch; although the moving part was in good order.

How it looked after stripping down:
Image
Sadly, despite lots of liquid and heat from soldering irons, 4 out of 5 screws sheared off while trying to remove them! One of our members has taken it off to his workshop and will drill out and retap the holes so we can reassemble it.

Fortunately, our similar MR signal arm switch (from the signal on the lawn) yielded a complete contact and spring:
Image
although we had to use the moving contact from the LMS switch as the MR one was in a very poor state - one of three contacts broken off and the other two badly distorted.
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Re: St Albans South - works in 2015

Unread postby John Webb » Sun Aug 9, 2015 9:24 pm

The MR switch dismantled, cleaned up and ready for reassembly:
Image

And reassembled:
Image

It's been fitted back to the frame-worked signal and wired up to wires coming back to the box. We'll be using a spare signal repeater mounted near the adjuster on the ground floor so that it reacts to the signal being worked. Pictures to follow when it has been done.
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Re: St Albans South - works in 2015

Unread postby John Webb » Wed Aug 12, 2015 7:26 pm

The MR repeater switch refitted to the signal post (with a bit of fill-in flash to overcome the weak shadow being cast by a weak sun):
Image

Work continues to set up a spare indicator near our new tensioner. (And to continue the usual Weds afternoon weeding!)
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Re: St Albans South - works in 2015

Unread postby John Webb » Wed Aug 19, 2015 4:36 pm

We now have a working signal repeater connected to our signal in the garden:
Image

Rear view - a bit fuzzy, I regret to say, using my small camera:
Image

The circuit board is fed with twelve volts that also feeds the signal lamps, and contains a potential divider to feed +/- 1 V or thereabouts to the signal arm switch and thence to the repeater. Using the lamp supply ensures that if the lamp power supply unit is not switched on (and therefore the lamp is out) the repeater shows 'Failed'.
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Re: St Albans South - works in 2015

Unread postby John Webb » Sat Nov 14, 2015 3:39 pm

Sorry for the lack of recent posts, but I've been busy sorting out a medical problem!

Improved views of the signal 32 repeater arrangement:
Image

and the relays:
Image

Up by the entrance we've installed a permanent time switch for the outdoor lights:
Image
This is an elderly time clock we were using in the box to switch the internal lights and running board lights on in the evening; that's been replaced by a quieter running modern clock with automatic dusk switch-on, thus releasing the old one for reuse here. It replaces a cheap 'plug-in' timer which took up one of the two sockets, which was sometimes inconvenient.
Last edited by John Webb on Sat Nov 14, 2015 4:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: St Albans South - works in 2015

Unread postby John Webb » Sat Nov 14, 2015 3:48 pm

Heritage Open Days in September saw 630 people through the box in the two days.

One of our members provided an unusual display about the Home Guard by our entrance:
Image

Other members and friends from the North London Society of Model Engineers brought up their portable ground level passenger carrying railway as an added attraction:
Image

Inside the grounds we were selling off donations of model railway items, as well as our own unique wagons:
Image

Besides these, model stationary engines were displayed and a new set of photos by H C Casserly showing Cricklewood and Kentish Town engine sheds was unveiled.
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Re: St Albans South - works in 2015

Unread postby John Webb » Sat Nov 14, 2015 3:57 pm

In October, we were invited to join in the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the opening of the Hatfield-St Albans branch line. Closed some years ago, the trackbed now forms the 'Albans Way' giving a walking and cycling path.

Unfortunately the preserved London Road station was out of bounds, and we had to erect our stand under the London Road (former A6) bridge:
Image

A close-up view of part of our stand - good publicity and nearly £200 of sales:
Image
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