Not a great deal visible of what we've been doing, now that the major structural works are complete. Much of what we've been doing in recent months isn't very visible, like fitting microswitches to the levers so the simulator knows what position each lever is in.
Outside the box work has started to link up a signal or two:
And I've been busy renovating a 3-aspect signal head, as reported elsewhere:
Before above and more recently:
The renovated signal will be used to replicate signal 16:
This was used to switch trains from the Down Slow platform back onto the Up slow to form a passenger service back to London, and was used as an alternative to putting terminating trains into the Up slow platform. Note that the Red aspect is at the top of the signal so it is still as close to the driver's eye as possible.
We've still got more than half the levers to fit switches to.
Just a reminder we're open 2-5pm 2nd and 4th Sundays of the month - but 10am - 5pm on the 12th and 13th September - 12th likely to be busy as that's when we are formally opening the box. I shall be there both days in September and always on the 2nd Sunday.
We have two major 'movers' who work together on the landscaping - one does the 'hard' landscaping such as the picnic area and the other the plantwork. They organise various other members to assist them in keeping things trim - works well and leaves others like myself to get on with the interior of the box.
I'll have a few more pictures soon included our 'crowd control' ground position light signal!
2009 - A short report on our first year of public opening:
2000+ visitors - interestingly the feasibility study done before restoration reckoned we could exist on 500 visitors a year!
Awarded the top prize for 2008 by the local St Alban's Civic Society for our restoration work - particularly for the 'community involvement'.
Contact established with other museums in Hertfordshire.
Work goes on mostly 'behind the scenes' to improve displays and demonstrations. In particular work is underway on a new computer simulator to allow extended demonstrations (to those who want them) which will eventually allow the running of a segment of the 1970s Working Time Table to show how busy the box could have been!
This is the first Interface board to be constructed and will connect the 37 working levers to the computer so that the simulator knows the position of each lever from moment to moment:
The LEDs will show the position of each lever and are an aid to fault-finding.
There are 74 lever connections, 24 for the track circuit dagram lamps, approx 48 for the block instruments and 75 connections for the various signal repeaters and the like. Unfortunately the computer only has circa 100 inputs/outputs with limited drive current on the outputs, so the interfaces have to carry out multiplexing/demultiplexing techniques on the inputs/outputs respectively. They will also provide drivers on the outputs to ensure the computer is not overloaded and more importantly it is isolated as much as possible from spikes and other electrical interference generated by the operation of the instruments.
The computer interface construction has been completed:
The small blue board is the 'Computer Breakout board' - the cable from the computer input/output socket is connected to this.
The upper board is the interface between the four block instruments to the left and centre; ICs used on the right drive the track circuit diagram lights.
The middle board is the interface for the levers to the computer.
The lowest board is the interface to the various signal indicators.
There are about 2000 soldered joints in total on the three boards!
A long-delayed update - partly caused by instabilities in my photobox album (hence the loss of a number of previous pictures), so I've set up a new album in photobucket, which has been recommended by several people.
The new interface and simulator:
Computer - 2nd test with interface - a general view:
Over a third of the wires are run in tested and now connected to the interface.
Simulator main screen closeup:
This has 'block instruments', the track diagram, indicator and lever repeaters.
Out in the garden we now have a line up of four 4-aspect signals, one of which is now fitted with a Position 1 Junction Indicator (Feather'):
Other recent acquisitions:
Midland Railway Ground Disc:
Note the finger indicating which track the signal refers to.
Midland Railway Ground Frame:
A longer term project for some of our volunteers, I think!
Great progress John. My partner & I had the pleasure of a visit a few months ago. Met John & some of his colleagues & had a lovely cup of tea with them. Great bunch of very friendly people. This is well worth a visit.
Will have to call again on my next visit to the UK in November.
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