Craig Donald, Signalling & Telecommunications Technician, takes us back over 10 years to the construction and installation of a new Bracket Signal for Levisham Station.

The NYMR has a collection of varied signals, from colour lights at Pickering and New Bridge, through to upper quadrant signals at Grosmont, with Levisham and Goathland having predominantly North Eastern timber slotted post signals.

Anyone could be forgiven for thinking we have a collection of original timber post signals at Goathland and Levisham. Some of them are, but quite a few are now copy’s of the original post. Over the years they have succumbed to rot and can be beyond repair. Sometimes we can cut out the bad timber and splice in new sections, but not always so new signals are made nowadays as and when needed.

The original signal post.

One signal that was replaced ten or more years or so ago was the Down Starting signal at Levisham. This is the one across the track from the signal box at the north end of the platforms. It was not in the best of health and a new siding had been constructed north of the level crossing which required a signal to be provided so it could be safely used. This required a two-doll bracket signal. We certainly did not have any spare ones on the railway, and none existed anywhere to buy or scrounge so we decided the best thing was to construct a brand new one.

The new timber arriving at the P-Way yard.

Timber was ordered along with two large steel plates to construct the large overhanging cast iron brackets. These are fake castings if you like.

The timber being lowered into position for working on.

These items were delivered and laid out next to the old Beckside siding at Pickering as we had nowhere inside to work on them back then. The timber post was constructed first with the arm slot marked out and then cut out using a circular saw and large wood borers.

Boring out the wood slot.

The holes for the large overhanging metal brackets were drilled using a magnetic drill clamped to the timber post. The post is tapered, and small packing pieces were used to angle the drilling machine to the post so the holes would be in the correct position on the opposite side of the post once the drill bit passed all the way through.

Marking out ready to drill the holes.

The post then had to be taken to Levisham before we had a chance to make the metal brackets due to only having the use of the crane for a very short time scale as it was needed elsewhere on winter P-Way projects.

The old signal removed.

The old straight post was dug out and removed and the hole which was extremely muddy opened up and made deeper for the larger post. We also had to remove the large chain wheel bench at the base of the post to allow access to this work. Mind you that was a bit rotten as well in places, so it needed doing in its own right.

The base of the signal post.

The new main post arrived on a P-Way train and the crane lifted it off the wagon for us and installed it at the same time.

The new main post is installed.

At this time the overhanging metal brackets were not attached as work had not started on them yet. This was to our advantage as the main post would not have a lot of offset weight trying to make it lean towards the signal box.

A large underground land tie was constructed to hold the signal vertical once the brackets were fitted later on.

To make life more interesting we had quite a bit of snow to contend with as well. This makes the drive down to Levisham a challenge not to mention getting back out again.

Snow on the Levisham roads.

Work now started on the metal plates at Pickering with the marking out of the outline of the fake castings. In fact, as it turned out, we could just about get two castings out of one plate. We still have the other metal plate spare.

One bracket cut out from the metal plate.

Using a magnetic drill and oxygen and acetylene cutting tools we soon cut the brackets out, but we still had lots of work to do on them to make them look original. Anywhere where there would be ridges or strengthening items on a real casting we made by welding on metal straps or just building up metal ridges.

Welding the parts together.

Once the fake brackets were completed, which was inside the C&W shed, we talked the P-Way into providing a train and a crane again to take them over to Levisham for us.

One of the completed brackets.

They were promptly lifted on arrival, and it is at this point in time you cross your fingers and hope all the bolt fixing holes line up. Much to our delight, they did, and we managed to bolt the brackets to the post with no problems. If the holes had not lined up I'm not sure what we would have done. This was the first time the two items had actually met each other.

Lifting the brackets.

Once the brackets were fitted there was a lot of fitting out work to be carried out from fitting the walking planks, the outside main doll post and all the chain wheels and moving parts as well.

Fitting the brackets.

But after a number of weeks, the bracket signal was completed and it's as if it had always been there.

The completed signal.

Read the previous S & T Blog post and if you like the sound of volunteering alongside our S & T Team, please consider submitting a Volunteer Expression of Interest