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Author Topic: Wokingham resignalling  (Read 3581 times)
stuving
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« on: January 20, 2023, 18:54:16 »

What were these guys up to, do you think? The pictures (during and after) aren't new - they date from two years ago, when work on the upgraded (now residing) siding began. But what's the purpose of whatever they built underground?
« Last Edit: January 21, 2023, 20:02:21 by stuving » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2023, 19:53:25 »

Drainage?
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« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2023, 21:43:25 »

For cabling going under the tracks isn’t it?
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stuving
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« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2023, 17:12:35 »

My initial though was that those plastic cylinders look like the manifolds that sit under drain covers leading down to inspection chambers. These were big enough to provide manholes. But there's no sense in having a drain there, and that pipe sitting across the tracks must be a red herring.

It turns out they are called UTX chambers, and that running wires under the track is another area of railway infrastructure that's got bigger (and more expensive) and one hopes better too. The first of two later pictures suggests that, and, when I zoom the original image right in, that marker post even has "electric cables" written on it.

Oddly, that marker vanished in later tidying up, and it does look as if the cables had to be put in before the civils work was finished. The same is true behind the left-hand one, where the cables have to run along the nearside of the line towards Crowthorne. There was a conduit built across to join the old lineside conduit, and now a new one is being installed. All the trees and bushes have gone too.

All of this is of course for the Feltham and Wokingham resignalling project. The Feltham part is largely done, but Wokingham's area will take until next year. There is one effect so far that passengers might notice - and I don't imagine they'll be pleased. Even as a manual box Wokingham could have had remote control of distant points, but it in the past this wasn't done for the crossovers at Bracknell and Blackwater. They remained with ground frames, and kept locked except for engineering works.

The Bracknell crossover is now controlled from the Wessex Rail Operating Centre (Basingstoke), so it can be used for routinely reversing trains. And from last December three evening trains do that, and no longer Run to Wokingham and Reading. The last two trains do still run through, but L-2 and L-6 terminate and run ECS (Empty Coaching Stock) to Staines, while L-4 runs there in service. For trains from Reading to Ascot, just one (L-2) has been lost.

Now, it was already possible to terminate and reverse trains at Wokingham - but I don't think that was ever part of the service pattern. (With no printed timetables to collect, I can't be sure.) Some complaints are starting to appear, but it's a bit odd for the Bracknell MP (Member of Parliament) to be involved.
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« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2023, 18:46:03 »

Yeah I thought it was for cabling.  As you say it looks more like for water or sewerage!
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stuving
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« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2023, 19:41:10 »

Yeah I thought it was for cabling.  As you say it looks more like for water or sewerage!
Made by the same companies as for drainage too. So are the "pipes" that run under the tracks, but they too have got more sophisticated, being divided into several separate channels.
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stuving
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« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2023, 20:10:43 »

The contractors working on this sort of resignalling programme are getting quite keen to publicise it (and themselves). Since they have to explain what the whole project is, often it sounds as if they are doing more that is the case. Here the civils are (they say) the work of Global Rail Construction, and the signalling per se by Atkins (aka SNC-Lavalin) "supported" by RT Infrastructure Solutions (i.e. they provide extra labour).

So far most of what we've seen here is the civils, including that UTX. GRCL say they had to do 16 of those, and 16 under roads, in one possession. However, I wonder about that as someone is out there right now digging a trench across Barkham Road at the level crossing. After breaking up the surface, the digging is being done by a bloke with a high-pressure hose and a big s(p)oil-sucker truck - plus lots of people standing around looking into the hole.

GRCL claim 26 location case hard standings, with walkways and handrails. We have one of those too, opposite the signal box. When they started that, I did wonder why the signallers needed a patio so much it was worth doing if there was no space next to their box. I also wondered why you'd build a patio with a hypocaust. But now we know it's all about grey boxes and conduit runs. Or it will be - so far it's only been used for dumping bent barrier arms.
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stuving
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« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2023, 20:18:15 »

Well, we're all getting ready for next week's unusual work on our level crossing. Unusual in that it's Monday-Friday, closing road and railway, and not including either weekend. Apparently it's timed to coincide with half-term - you don't think they have left those weekends clear for holiday travel via Gatwick do you? 

But I'm now wondering if it is really going to happen, and where to look for definitive information. (Note that the road closure is separate from the railway one, and not always included in NR» (Network Rail - home page)'s information.) The TRO» (Trowbridge - next trains) was announced in the local papers (with diversion routes), and was in one.network, but it's now vanished. The closure of Star Lane crossing is still shown, but with no diversion route. And the council has no web page listing TROs - only Star Lane is on their Facebook page. I guess we'll find out later tonight.

Railway closures are publicised in several ways, and the local news media picked up on this one (so they do read TROs!). But most of us would never look unless we see one of those yellow signs by the roadside. So I was a very surprised to see this sign on 15th January: "Road closed 11.00pm Sat 28th Jan-10.00pm Fri 17th Feb". It took four days to correct that to "11.00pm-11.00pm/Fri 27th -Sun 29th Jan/11.00pm-10.00pm/Sun 12th-Fri 17th Feb". The TRO came out the same day. The sign vanished a week ago.

I also got another "Dear railway neighbour" letter to add to my large collection, and that had both the right dates in a table, and the scaremongering ones in its heading. Maybe that's what the first sign was based on. I suspect a lot of users of the crossing (most of whom are not railway neighbours) are in for a big surprise tomorrow, including some driving HGVs for which the diversion is very long. If it gets signposted, that is ...
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stuving
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« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2023, 00:24:54 »

The work two weekends ago showed what that patio was really for: high-rise tin beehives. And these were not empty cabinets to be populated out in situ; they arrived with ID labels and all their contents fitted and wired up. In the picture, the one still dangling is for the level crossing controls, and the one in front of it the crossing power supply.

Along the line to Reading, there are several new signals (I see straight posts are so out of fashion!), some with mini-patios of their own. None of the station signals has been done yet, but some posts and handrails are in place nearby. Looking towards Crowthorne, there's a cranked post on the right this side of the existing signal, but maybe not by enough to shorten the long drag up to the crossing. On the left, that's a new signal and it's a straight post!

The final signal before the crossing is down on the right, an old one, and what's that inverted triangle beyond it? It looks like the back of a warning sign, perhaps for marauding leaves. Is anything else that shape?
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« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2023, 06:58:27 »

I wondered what the "South Western Railways replacement" bus through Reading was as I came to work this morning.
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« Reply #10 on: February 13, 2023, 07:08:53 »

Yeah I thought it was for cabling.  As you say it looks more like for water or sewerage!

UTX (Under Track Crossing) the Track Engineer requires UTX to be typically greater that 2.5 meters below track base level (track base is from the bottom of the ballast) 
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« Reply #11 on: February 13, 2023, 11:50:18 »

The final signal before the crossing is down on the right, an old one, and what's that inverted triangle beyond it? It looks like the back of a warning sign, perhaps for marauding leaves. Is anything else that shape?

That's a warning board for the PSR (Permanent Speed Restriction) of 30mph that applies through Wokingham station.  You can just about make out the AWS (Automatic Warning System) magnet beyond it, which of course you don't get with adhesion warning boards.  Here's one from the other side (but not that one!): https://railsimroutes.net/driversguide/images/psr_warn_2.jpg
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stuving
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« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2023, 12:55:22 »

The final signal before the crossing is down on the right, an old one, and what's that inverted triangle beyond it? It looks like the back of a warning sign, perhaps for marauding leaves. Is anything else that shape?

That's a warning board for the PSR (Permanent Speed Restriction) of 30mph that applies through Wokingham station.  You can just about make out the AWS (Automatic Warning System) magnet beyond it, which of course you don't get with adhesion warning boards.  Here's one from the other side (but not that one!): https://railsimroutes.net/driversguide/images/psr_warn_2.jpg

That does make sense, even if most drivers have slowed down well before they get there. Having found out that the warning is meant to be about 1 km in advance for a 70-30 speed reduction, my initial reaction was "that sign can't be far enough away". But it can! For one thing the viewpoint on the footbridge is 220 m from the PSR change, and then a bit of zoom and foreshortening does the rest. The signal in the distance showing a green aspect is 1.7 km from the footbridge, so the warning sign is indeed 780 m away.

One bit of signalling that's already gone in at the station is new AWS magnets - pretty green ones. But today, there's a striking absence of any work being done, and no road closure over the crossing. And I have found no source of information on this.
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paul7575
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« Reply #13 on: February 13, 2023, 14:36:53 »

One bit of signalling that's already gone in at the station is new AWS (Automatic Warning System) magnets - pretty green ones. But today, there's a striking absence of any work being done, and no road closure over the crossing. And I have found no source of information on this.
IIRC (if I recall/remember/read correctly) green AWS magnets are the version used in DC (Direct Current) third rail traction areas. I think they’re stronger than the yellow versions used elsewhere?
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stuving
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« Reply #14 on: February 13, 2023, 15:18:41 »

One bit of signalling that's already gone in at the station is new AWS (Automatic Warning System) magnets - pretty green ones. But today, there's a striking absence of any work being done, and no road closure over the crossing. And I have found no source of information on this.
IIRC (if I recall/remember/read correctly) green AWS magnets are the version used in DC (Direct Current) third rail traction areas. I think they’re stronger than the yellow versions used elsewhere?

That's right. The field strength as specified is not much higher, but is sensed higher up (193 mm vs 150* mm). So two receivers, or a dual one, are needed for trains running in both DC and non-dc areas. The old ones that have just been replaced would also have been high strength ones, just not colour coded like these new Vortok ones. 

*PS: the two heights were 193 mm and 115 mm, but since 2012 both receiver types are specified at a range of heights. The traction-related fields to be ignored are not specified numerically.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2023, 17:37:11 by stuving » Logged
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