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All the latest news and your views
All the latest and uptodate news will be posted on this page along with your views on the site and the project.
If you wish to have pictures that are signaling or engineers trains related posted on this site please send them to email@example.com
This page will be updated soon 16/03/2022
Latest goings on at Epping
Epping yearly report 2019-2020
Since my report in 2019 a lot has happened at the Epping Site but, as we are all aware a Pandemic in late March caused work to stop, however, we are back on site with Covid restrictions in place, these restrict the number of volunteers on site at any one time, this alone causes some issues with close contact working but with the correct PPE we get things done.
With the building of the platform alongside L11 being completed in just 2 weekends, this has made working on L11 much easier and accessible, (no more wonky ladders for a start). The platform was constructed with 4 x 2 timbers to make the frame, this was then covered in 90 un-banded new scaffold boards, over 1000 screws and nails were used during construction. A picket style fence has been erected along the path side due to the height of the platform.
Epping Cabin was coming up to it’s 70th year of opening in 1949 signalling trains under LPTB. WE decided this was a good opportunity to celebrate this event and to officially open the Epping Signalling Museum, the date chosen was 22nd September 2019.
Letters inviting special guests were sent out and also an invitation to a railway photographer to record the day. There was a lot of behind the scenes preparation to be done with the Epping volunteers stepping up to the plate to ensure the day was a success, which it was.
Our invited guests were, Dale Smith General Manager Central Line, Mayor and Mayoress of Epping, Piers Connor, Bob Gwynne Associate Curator National Railway Museum, John Duffel Royal British Legion and Jason Cross Photographer.
After the initial introductions were over, this done alongside L11, guests, volunteers and CHT Directors made their way to the Signal Cabin where Dale Smith performed the unveiling of the commemorative plaque (this has now been moved to the Relay Room), speeches were given by the guests, a buffet and light refreshments were available, guests were then given tours of the Signalling Museum and Locomotive L11, a memorable day was had by all.
(I was handed a letter from John Duffel RBL of which I will explain further on).
An article on the opening of the Museum was published in the June 2020 issue of Railways Illustrated.
We gained our first working signal at the Epping end of L11. A Shunt Signal with working Theatre Type Route Indicator, this works in conjunction with the Train Stop which is also fully functional. The signal is currently worked from a temporary switch but just goes to show what can be achieved with the resources to hand.
As has been documented previously, we have the Illuminated Diagram from Woodford, it’s big and it’s heavy and it needs to be hung on the wall. After a lot of deliberation it was decided to have 4 gallows brackets fabricated by a Blacksmith in Happisburgh Norolk. The four brackets were installed and the stripped down frame of the ID hung and bolted into position then everything stopped.
The base for the model railway with storage underneath is beginning to take shape (slowly), mainly due to the amount of signals, lever frame equipment and miscellaneous equipment we have stored in the Relay Room. If model railways are ‘your thing’ please get in touch if you’re interested in getting involved with its construction and operation.
During February and March (3 weekends) the Epping crew volunteered to help clear what became known as ‘The Secret Train Parts Bunker’, train equipment stored in John Glovers Barn for 25 years.
Agreement was reached with the LTM who are going to store it in a disused Sub-Station. Although mainly train related there were relays and some other parts relocated to Epping either for use or display. There are 38TS doors and other bits we recovered from the IoW trains many years ago, unfortunately, lockdown prevented the move of the doors but I’m sure this will be sorted out at a later date. Other items recovered were from Cravens DM 3902/03 and 3908/09 when they were stored at Hainault, also 2 illuminated WAY OUT signs, these have been converted to LED lighting and vinyl applied in place of the original painted signs.
And then LOCKDOWN!
All but essential security and maintenance checks stopped at Epping but that didn’t stop us from planning ahead.
Lockdown was being eased and eventually we were allowed back on site but not before a very comprehensive set of rules had been put in place, it’s not ideal but so far it’s working. Visitors are allowed but at this time while we play ‘catch up’ this is being kept low key, for everyone’s safety.
However, we are now getting on with what should have been done months ago.
Woodford ID now has its back plates, the Track Circuit and other indication fittings have been installed along with the wiring to each indication that will be in use, this amounts to approximately 200 bulbs. Work is progressing steadily with 2 out of the 4 panels now illuminated.
We’re not far from being able to operate the Frame with ‘virtual trains’ generated by computer, here is how it should work:
The Interface unit
The interface unit detects the state of the signal and route relays, and controls the state of the track circuit relays, via multicore cables which directly connect to Graham's interface relays.
This is a remote unit (roughly a 6in cube) which can be discretely hidden. It only requires a power supply as it uses WiFi to connect back to the simulator.
The Basic Simulator (completed)
This is a small Linux-based computer board, like a RaspberryPi, which has the simulator code it. It connects to an WifI Access Point to talk to the Interface Unit
Initially, whilst we prove the interfacing, basic routing, signalling, track circuit lengths, etc., this software allows:
a) The creation of trains from Debden or North Weald by pressing a push-button.
b) A train previously sent to the coal siding or the yard may return upon setting a route out of the appropriate siding
c) A loco maybe generated by setting a route from the loco shed
d) Trains sent to North Weald or Debden will silently disappear.
e) All Epping train signalling/routing controlled via the frame levers.
The Completed Simulator (work in progress)
a) In time and with experience, we will add new software features, such as:
b) Running to a timetable
c) Variable length trains with different acceleration/braking characteristics, and the ability of a loco to run-round at Epping.
d) 2x speed running.
e) Bell-codes, and the ability to communicate with simulated signalboxes at North Weald and Debden.
The information above was provided by Paul Sweetland.
The space under the Illuminated Diagram will be used for storage, a walkway has been constructed for access to the rear of the ID. To access the walkway a 38TS J door has been used to enclose the entrance. During the installation of the J door a small panel on the door, about eye level, was taken off to reveal the original recess for the emergency lamp, there is some debate whether it was a candle or oil lamp, however, if you have one in the back of a shed or up in the loft, we’ll give it a new home.
Up at L11, we now have working colour light main running signals, a main repeater, one shunt signal, one Calling On signal, Tripcock Tester light, Illuminated A, original SPT and coming soon a Distant Signal, signals have been placed at each end of the platform. All signals will be L W which is the original Epping signal identification code although these ID plates, Shunt and Calling On will be replicas, originals will be in the Museum.
There’s still a lot of work to be done before we can scale down to ‘maintenance only’ but without more volunteers this is going to be some time. Epping volunteers post regular updates on our Facebook page Locomotive L11 & Epping Signal Cabin.
I say it every year, if you’d like to join us or visit Epping please contact me via the Facebook Page, Messenger, Whatsapp, by phone 07443569940 or 01953 888240
Since my last report the team at Epping have been working tirelessly with a recent 'full weekend' producing a staggering 140+ man hours put in by a team of 7 spread over the two days, a very good result.
The usual scraping and filling is producing good results for the Control Room ceiling, shouldn't be to long now before the first coat od emulsion is applied the kitchen store cupboard has been rebuilt with a new base and supporting beams, all had suffered severe water damage and needed renewing. Period light fittings are now up and working and really give the Control Room a 'period feel'. Sanding of the interior doors has revealed the words 'CONTROL ROOM and AET ROOM' these will be re-applied after top coating in Brunswick Green.
Exterior staircase handrails, Relay Room door, Gas Meter cupboard, Signal Main access doors and drainpipes have been primed and are now in Brunswick Green, this gives observers a real feel that things are happening at Epping.
We have on board a new volunteer, Graham Floyd is a retired BR/NR Signal Inspector/Lever Frame specialist and is undertaking the task of stripping the Frame down into it's component parts. He is adamant that the rebuilt Frame in the Control Room will be as near as functionally correct as the original Frame was in 1949, right down to the Shunters Plunger and the exact operation of Lever No.1 the Permission Lever for the Branch and I won't be arguing that point.
The individual lever 'quadrants' (2 per lever) will be stripped of paint and powder coated, the Frame covers will undergo the same treatment at a later date.
Telephone panel: This needs completely rebuilding so if this is your 'thing' we'd like to hear from you.
The Cab floor in the London end has completely rotted through, templates are being made and new steel will be welded in place, new flooring is being sourced. In the meantime, the roof is getting a coat of bitumen (as original) and further repairs carried out. The Roof/Side panel join has been filled with putty to seal the join between the two, by chamfering the putty, rain will roll off the Loco and not collect in the void. Smaller holes in the body panels have been filled using a repair paste as used by NR P.Way to repair Insulated Block Joints, unsurprisingly it dries very hard.
Special Guest visit.
I was contacted earlier in the year by Alan Zelazo to arrange a visit to our project. Alan is an Engineer (Driver) at PATH. It stands for Port
Authority Trans-Hudson Railroad. Alan is on the Board of Directors of The Shore Line Trolley Museum and is co-curator of Hudson & Manhattan Car 503 & sponsor of cars NYCTA R-17 car 6688 & IRT LoV car 5466.
I arrived at Epping at 0630 on Monday 3rd August so l could get a parking space, Epping is usually full by 0700. In attendance were 4 others from the Epping Team ready to welcome Alan at around 0930.
In addition to coming to the Signal Cabin I'd arranged for Alan to have a Central Line Cab ride, he had to meet the train at Liverpool St. WB at 0704, the trip was LIS - WHC, WHC - NEP, NEP - LES he then made his way to Epping weighed down with a black sack of goodies to take back to the USA courtesy of I/Op Paul Andrews.
Alan describes his visit to Epping as a 'Royal Welcome'. He spent about 3 hours on site looking over L11 and the Signal Cabin, having a good old chat and drinking copious amounts of tea. I presented Alan with a certificate to commemorate his Cab ride and another to welcome him as an Honorary Member of the Locomotive L11 & Epping Signal Cabin Team.
Not one for saying 'no' to something free I wasn't going to change the habit of a lifetime when the Project was offered a genuine GER Waiting Room Bench embossed with 'GER 1900' on the underside. It was duly collected and is stored in the Cabin, it will be renovated to original condition.
As you can see, we aren't letting the grass grow under our feet with regards to progressing the project so please come down and get involved.
To be included in the email group please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org where up to date information is exchanged between volunteers, updates available on the website www.eppinsignalcabin.com
News update for weekend 11-12 July 15
It's always a pleasure for me to get down to Epping to see the progress first hand and have a catch up chat with the Team and of course meet new members and guests, this weekend was no exception.
There is of course still some way to go in getting paint on the ceiling in the Operating Room but it's a lot closer than a year ago, those pesky hair line cracks require a 'skim' of filler to get a good finish, laborious but well worth the effort.
Tony and John have also been tackling the window frames, no wonder they wouldn't shut properly as there's countless coats of paint on them. It sounded like Tony was strangling that Parrot he mentioned a while go but in fact it was scraper on paint on metal frames, a drop of Nitromors is called for. So it's safe to say that 'no Parrots were harmed over the weekend but our ears are aching'.
The rewiring is coming along at a steady pace and the Relay Room Lighting Stanchions being re- fitted. The complete lighting circuit has been renewed and mapped, Stanchions have been stripped, tested, cleaned and are proven safe. The outside lighting will be wired but not connected until we can obtain sufficient new glass globes, additional Bulkhead lights will be installed under the stairs and outside the Relay Room, there will also be 2 along the path leading to the Mess Room.
Jamie and our other new member Garry will be undertaking the mucky work on L11 of cleaning out the interior, there's some big holes in the floor that will need plating and bodywork repairs, the latter has already started. While the weather is kind to us the exterior will be sanded in sections and Undercoated, it was mentioned that the Cab ends and the roof will take priority as 5 minutes inside L11 on a sunny day is akin to torture.
There is now ample equipment and materials on site to finish the first stage of the Cabin which of course is the Operating Room but we really do need additional volunteers to step up to the plate and get the job done.
Everybody agrees that we all have our own skill or area we prefer to work in but sometimes we have to down tools on some jobs to finish another, finishing the Ceiling and the electrics is a priority in getting the Lever Frame upstairs.
The Relay Room has had a general tidy with the components of the Frame now in some kind of recognisable order instead of being heaped up and spread about, it's a lot easier now to move about as there is now more space. The same goes for the 62TS seats, signals and train equipment.
All in all a very good weekend with about 140-150 man hours being achieved.
Well done, you're all a credit to the Project.
News update 06/05/15
It's fast coming up to a year since the Epping Project was re-launched and so much has been achieved by the dedicated volunteers who have spilled blood sweat and probably a few tears getting where we are today.
We have a dedicated email address where we can contact one another individually or everybody in one go and as has been reported here previously have discussed everything from paint colours to blocked sewers...... and it works.
The website has been given a makeover plus an additional page which highlights just some of what we've achieved this past year, progress that is all down to dedicated individuals, a First Class Team that you can join!
Thanks to our friends in LUL we now have a HO type Trainstop as used on the Central Line before ATP, we also have a Tripcock Tester, both are now bolted in place under L11.
L11 was given a makeover a year ago which stood it in good stead this past winter but we now need to 'get on with the job' and get L11 repaired, painted and presentable...... A dedicated team is needed to do this work.
An unexpected visit by H&S a few weeks back gave us a clean bill of health on all of our planning, implementation, storage and qualifications. No issues were raised regarding future public Open Days, access and egress to the Cabin and Relay Room. It was acknowledged that the site is NOT on the Operational Railway and has a substantial physical barrier between the two although it was agreed to use orange barrier mesh when we do eventually open.
Come along and join this exciting project.
News update 04/05/15
Much has been happening at the Epping site over this past month. The leaky roof has been fixed and the walls drying out, drainage pipes from the P.Way room have been replaced as the original copper had been stolen, re-wiring the Relay and Operating Rooms continues apace which will include complete mapping, rubbish and cut down foliage is leaving the site bagged on a weekly basis.
A chance comment to a visitor has resulted in L11 gaining a 'HO' type train stop, this type was used on the open sections of the Central Line also Balfor Beatty have said they will help with current rail and ramps. We still need a bit more lineside equipment, Section Switch boxes, old style trackside signalling/relay boxes, Signals etc. so if you can help in any way for us to obtain these items please contact us, even if it's only to forward a contact name and details.
The 1949 colour scheme came in for a lot of debate mainly because there are only B/W photos available. However, one of our team went searching and found on a door frame and the coat hanger rack that green was indeed the first colour, researching a bit further we discovered it was Brunswick Green for the doors and frames, window frames and stair handrail, it was obviously brightened up a bit at a later date with Red doors and Cream frames inluding the window frames. During the discussion, it was recalled that Hainault interior doors were light Blue, Woodford was Brown and Epping Red, if anyone can remember Leytonstone, Newbury Pk. Loughton ot Debden please get in touch and let us know.
The P.Way room has been made more comfortable by re-arranging the furniture and adding a few more seats, it's nice and cosy for those essential Bacon roll and Tea breaks.
Our email address has come in very useful over the past few months and is almost becoming a newsletter. Our Team can contact each other, ask questions, post the lates progress report etc. or even arrange to meet at Epping. It's more than a working Team it's a very socialable Team, come and join us.
We still need volunteers so if you're interested please contact us at email@example.com
We know there are many out there who can't physically get to Epping but like to follow what we are doing, would you be prepared to make a donation and support the project this way? If 'yes' you can either use the Donate button but remember Paypal take a percentage or contact us directly for other ways of making that much needed and grateful donation.
With grateful thanks to the Epping Team for supplying the above reports.
We are always seeking new volunteers for both projects, come down, meet the team and make new friends.
News update 10/04/15
The project to refurbish the Cabin moves on apace because of the dedication of a few regular volunteers who freely give up there weekends and occassional days in the week. If you want to be involved in the only active project on London Underground to preserve a Signal Cabin, please get in touch.
An array of equipment has been purchased in recent weeks, cable, period light switches and bell push, ES light fittings, new toilet cistern, door bell and transformer, signs to advertise our prescence, glazing for the period light shades and much more, so you can see we are making good progress but still a long way to go.
The current colour scheme of red doors and cream window frames is wrong for the period we are recreating, a little research via Social Media and we can now confirm the original colour was green but at this time we are unsure of the shade. LTM are being very helpful and are trying to confirm the shade of green we require for that 'authentic look'.
Although this past week has seen fair weather with rising temperatures it's still not suitable to start on L11, hopefully anther month and we can start on her exterior. L11 might be a project you'd like to get involved in and build a team, please contact us if you want to get involved.
I still have a few mugs left of which all proceeds go to the Epping Project.
News update 23/03/15
A huge amount of work has taken place recently but it's this weekend (22/3) that warrants reporting.
It became very obvious recently that trying to organise the workload from a distance into manageable chunks required an on-sight meeting with our volunteers so that was duly arranged.
The main project at the moment is getting the upstairs lighting rewired of which various ways were discussed, but without going on site and exploring the options we were getting nowhere fast. The meeting produced a plan of trying to 'pull through' the old cable, much to our surprise this produced excellent results in most of the the rooms so we now don't need to chase the walls and ceilings but there is a bit that is causing us a lot of scrating of heads but we'll get there I'm sure.
The roof has been repaired so hopefully it shouldn't leak anymore, with that done further removal of flaking paint can continue and eventually the bad bits can be re-plastered ready to be painted.
On my way home I collected 2 period light fittings that I acquired over 10 years ago. One was damaged so I set about soldering the joints and the break in the bottom bar, this can just be seen in the right picture. I spent a whole day stripping down and cleaning one so you can now see what can be achieved with a bit of elbow grease and lots of patience.
A bit more news 09/03/15
Fairly mundane stuff but essential work has been attempted on clearing the blocked sewer, rods and a powerful jet have not dislodged the blockage so this will now be passed on to LU.
One of our volunteers has donated a much needed fridge, thank you. We now have a temporary sign on the gate informing onlookers about the project, I have ordered 4 vinyls that will be mounted and be a permanent fixture affixed to the gate and fence.
The weather still isn't good enough to work on L11, although as reported previously an inspection has been carried out on the lighting circuit, this will be updated to modern standards.
Steady progress is being made towards getting the Cabin ready for moving the Lever Frame but it's still got a long way to go and that's where you come in to it, come and join us, work on the Signal Cabin or L11 or even both.
We need Electricians, Fitters, Builders, Plasterers, Labourers, you don't need to be skilled just be enthusiastic and join in.
You can if you wish make a donation via the Contact page.
News update covering the weekend 21-22 Feb.
The weekend at Epping went very well and I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all those who came along and to those who left there contact details.
Although primarily a 'volunteer recruitment' weekend, progress on cleaning the Operating and AET rooms continued to show what can be achieved over just one weekend, flaking paint and general rubbish has been removed and those areas look a lot smarter.
Explaining the project in the best way I could to include the mundane work before the Frame could be moved didn't seem to put anyone off from saying they'd 'come along again' which is very encouraging. So, we now have a good volunteer base to move the project on but we musn't rest on our laurels, more volunteers are needed, skilled, unskilled or you just want to 'muck in', please contact me using the form on this site.
Installing period lighting will be a job undertaken by the experts (as discussed) but this will mean burying the conduit in the wall and ceiling and obtaining retro Bakelite switches so if anyone has a 'wall router' we could borrow for a day I'd like to hear from you. A fair inspection of the wiring didn't reveal any nasty surprises which is a bonus.
Clearing branches and debri along the back of the Cabin continues and that means we shouldn't have to clear the flat roofs of leaves and will allow air to circulate freely.
Locomotive L11 lighting circuits have been inspected and are 110v, some rewiring will take place to ensure the circuit is safe for many years to come, work is required on the 'headlight light box' to gain access to the light fittings and repair the box. It might also be possible to power the compressor and have it 'ticking over'. I am awaiting a full report.
Please remember, skilled or unskilled you are welcome to come to Epping (the tea and coffee are free).
I am looking for help in the following areas:
More news 13/01/15
The planned Open days of the 21/22 Feb. are attracting a lot of interested parties so here's hoping that we can get more people involved. Having had the project feature in the retired LU Staff magazine (OTM) and the local press it's all looking good. We are keen to attract people with Lever Frame and Rolling Stock experience to help oversea the projects but individuals with bundles of enthusiasm are most welcome and will indeed form the backbone of this project.
Are you a Railway Modeller, if so get in touch.
It will be 20 years in June 2016 that Epping Signal Cabin signalled it's last train away, can we get the Cabin open in 16 months?
News update 11/02/2015
The handrail leading up to the Cabin was seperating from the main structure due to rust, unfortunately the welder we had on site was playing up so repairs have been delayed, a new welder has been obtained. Temporary lighting has been installed in the Operating Room.
The site will be open on 21/22 Feb from Midday.
If you would like to come along to work or just have a look to see what we're doing, you'll be made most welcome.
News update 26/01/15
Temporary lighting has been installed in the 'switch room' this will enable our electrician to have a good look at the panel and wiring hopefully he'll be able to work out why certain circuits aren't working.
2 Heritage style light fittings have been sourced for the Operating Room, these will be installed once the wiring has been sorted out and the ceiling plastered.
We still need a fridge and now we need to find a good plasterer, please contact us if you can help out.
News update 1/12/14
The winter months are with us so that means changing tactics at Epping. Work on L11 has all but stopped due to the inclement weather but at least it's protected from further deterioration by the work done over the summer months, well done to all those that came down to lend a hand.
We are currently attempting to sort out the issues with the boiler and gas heaters with LU Property as these need replacing. Work has been carried out to remove overhanging branches that were causing the roof drains to block, a temporary heater installed in the P'Way room to help dry it out, tap fitted to enable the use of a Jet Wash as the stairs need cleaning, new high level toilet cistern sourced, so all in all things are progressing but your help is needed at Epping.
If you'd like to get involved just offer yourself up on a day to suit you, look out for published days or use the 'contact' page.
News update 13/01/2015
The very good news is that our finances will be boosted by a promised donation of £500 by someone I met while 4500 miles away while on holiday. I can't reveal who the person is but what I can tell you she is a PR guru working for a major City firm with contracts with Virgin and Carribbean Cruises. In addition to the donation she has offered the use of her IT and PR departments should we need them in the future.
The repairs to the boiler have been a complete success as it's been running for just over a month witout issue, this of course will keep the P.Way room warm and damp free, the electric fan heaters have been migrated to the upstairs Operating Room of the Cabin where there is no heating at all, they will help but are not the long term answer to keeping it warm.
To give the Cabin exterior a look of 'something's happening' work on painting the doors has begun, the Cabin door is now in bright Red with a White frame, the Relay room door and the small doors that gave access to the Signal Main Breakers have been rubbed down and will be painted Green as will the handrail.
A visual inspection has been carried out on the wiring for the lighting of which a report will be published as soon as I have it.
Work on L11 has not progressed due to the weather, what was done in the summer is holding up and should stand us in good stead until the weather is in our favour.
We could do with a new or secondhand fridge if anyone has one, please use the contact page if you can help.
Volunteers are essential to the success of this project, please use the contact page if you'd like to help.
News update 15/12/2014
Putting things right at the Signal Cabin after so long is proving no mean a task. When work started back in May it was discovered that the gas to the heating appliances had been turned off in the Cabin and the water and gas supply to the Combi boiler had been disconnected.
A local firm of Gas Engineers were called in to check the integrity of the appliances, we were told to replace them all as they were beyond economical repair but he gave us a clue to what the problem was with the boiler and also suggested a replacement would cost £1200.
A quick search on-line and a replacement pump, fan and flue were purchased for 1/10th of the cost to replace the boiler, as it turned out after fitting the flue and fan the boiler fired up, hot water and working radiators are now the order of the day.
Replacing the 'working parts' of the the Cabin heaters will cost around £150 for each heater but it might be possible to clean the burner, pilot light and ignition system. As the pilot light keeps going out it might be that simple failing that, economically it will probably be prudent to install new heaters, gas or electric........ time will tell.
News update 7/12/2014
With years of dirt and grime on the stairway it was obvious that something needed to be done to clear away the slime that had built up on the treads thus making it hazardous to gain entry to the upstairs. A garden style tap has been installed in the P.Way room allowing the use of a jetwash to be used, cleaning this way proved to be the answer and at the end of the day everything that was washed down looked good as new.
The ceiling in the P.Way room was showing signs of damp/water ingress, it has been found after inspecting the roof that 'pointing' between the ridge slabs had cracked. At this moment in time we are undecided whether to just repoint or remove the slabs and reset them. The original P.Way room was extended some years ago to accommodate a few home comforts in the form of a toilet, boot wash and shower, it's at this 'join' where old meets new that the problem has arisen and will be suitably dealt with.
Comments on the website
Definite improvement on the original site.....job well done! Steve Cooper 16/11
Looks good! Richard Randall 19/11