Great Central Railway - S&T Department 2003 Working Week

The GCR Signal & Telegraph department 2003 working week ran from Saturday 10 to Sunday 18 May 2003. The work was almost exclusively towards the Quorn resignalling project which has been ongoing for a couple of years now and which will provide an intermediate box on the absolute block system which runs from Loughborough to Rothley. The effort was roughly divided between the obviously visible (erecting new signals etc) and the very discrete (running several miles of wire in the signal box). Whilst the S&T were working, the P Way gang took the opportunity to insert a switch into the Down line to cater for the Down Lie By siding. There was a healthy turnout on all days and everyone made the maximum effort. Whilst it was not possible to complete the resignalling project during the week it certainly moved us very close to completion. By my estimate over 1300 man hours were expended during the week. As well as the mammoth task of wiring the box and installing the electric locking, the following work was completed during the week:

My apologies to those whose labours I have forgotten or passed over ! Below are a few pictures I took during the week - click on the thumbnails to see the hi-res image (average 300kb each).

The first pictures show the moving of No 15 signal from south of Quorn station foot crossing to the exit of the Up Reception North Sidings. The signal was lifted by the diesel crane whilst a six foot deep hole was dug by JCB. The signal was then planted and underwent much delicate tweaking to get it completely straight ! A miniature arm was then fitted and the detector realigned.

The next big thing to take place was that the ex GNR lattice post (recovered from Forest Road in Leicester IIRC), having been lovingly rebuilt and painted, was planted in the bank to control the exit from the new Down Lie By Sidings. This post required a fair bit of welding to replace wasted metalwork. It will be fitted with an ex GCR lower quadrant signal when finished (this has already been trial fitted). Again the diesel crane and JCB made life a lot simpler.

Then the biggy - the Eastern type bracket signal was placed (or should I say replaced - there was a similar signal in this exact spot during the lines later operational days). This signal, which weighed in at around 2.5 tonnes, also required a lot of work to prepare - both in fabrication (new base, platform etc) and protection (seemingly endless coats of paint which Andy and Derek applied, almost non stop). The hole was dug by JCB and levelled by yours truly then the crane dropped the post in. The base required shovel packing on a largish scale to get it level and the hole was then backfilled. Once the post was secure I managed to beat the others to volunteer to climb the post and secure the ladder. Unfortunately the ladder required a bit of fettling and I'm afraid to say that my sense of humour began to fail as teatime approached and I was still marooned atop the post in (what seemed to me!) a freshening gale ;-) I made it down for tea and later, when the ladder was installed, Richard Napier and I fitted the platform and guide rails that we had tral fitted at ground level. Then a seemingly massive number of castings disappeared up the ladder to be fitted by the S&T acrobatic team.

One of the things that needed to occur before the signals could be lifted was to clear the Up Reception Sidings and Nick Tinsley performed the shunts in the Class 25 diesel loco. As well as the P Way train, the siding also held two Class 101 DMU cars (51427 and 53321) which belong to Renaissance Railcars, and these wagons were propelled along the Up line to get them out of the way. As several S&T members (including myself) are also members of the owning group we were reasonably interested in seeing them move. It was quite a sight to see the DMU glide quietly through Platform 1 at Quorn, especially as it was seemingly pulling a mixed freight train *and* a Class 25 behind it ;-)

Thanks to all who took part and made the week such a rewarding experience - especially Graham Bannister, who may wish to consider a second career as a juggler after coordinating the whole thing !

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