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> SMEC signals & a question on bracket signals, looking for advice
TidzaBoy
post 7 Nov 2010, 19:23
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Hi, i'm currently looking at adding a few signals to my layout.....

A while back, I bought a couple of metal posted signals off e-bay, these have a small solonoid coil under the base that pushes the linkage to operate the arm. I have seen the letters SMEC on one... does anyone know any more info on them ???... were there any other signals in the range, ??? (Both signals ( Home & Distant) have single arms))

Whats the best way to glaze the spectacles, currently they have nothing, just open holes???
joe


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TidzaBoy
post 7 Nov 2010, 21:11
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sorry, forgot to ask the question re - bracket signals.
On my circular layout, will the signals on the clockwise circuit generally be bracketed to the left and Anticlockwise bracketed to the right, to help viewing for the driver? I intend to use Upper and lower quandrant signals, only a few though. I don't really have any straightish track, trying to keep the curves as large as possible ( within my small shed - not easy!) .... but I think a few bracket signals would look good.....
joe


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John Webb
post 8 Nov 2010, 12:22
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Don't recognise the SMEC initials - sorry!

Re glazing spectacles - Wizard Models/Model Signal Engineering www.wizardmodels.co.uk do the coloured sheet for these. Cut small pieces to go behind the arm, hold in place with a thin coat of clear varnish on the front of the plastic.

Bracket signals:
It is the signal sighters' (they usually work in small groups) desire to get the signal arm as close to the eye-level of the driver as they can - normally about 12 foot above rail level. Normally this is done with a post just to the left of the track, althought the Great Western in particular, with right-hand drive engines, often put signals to the right if they could.
Where there are obstructions, such as station buildings, canopies, bridges or bends where a train coming the other way may obstruct the view, then the signal arm may higher than usual or put on a bracket to put it in a better position.
The most common use for bracket signals is at a junction where two signals are required, usually at different heights to indicate to the driver which route he is to take - normally the lower signal for the branch line will be on a bracket.

A number of the books in the 'Sources of Information' thread pinned to the start of this sub-forum will help you with information on where signals should be put, although as most model railways tend to be compressed in length it's not always possible to put signals in the right place.

Regards,
John Webb
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TidzaBoy
post 12 Nov 2010, 18:28
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thanks John, for all the information. much appreciated
joe


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TidzaBoy
post 14 Nov 2010, 12:40
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Below is a picture of the signal......


can anyone identify its make?? Anyone got a few to sell??

regards,
Joe


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electra
post 30 Dec 2010, 18:37
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Hi there, if you know of anyone who has them still let me know as I will offer you or anyone else 10.00 Each for them. Contact [email protected] 01132 563415 8am-1pm.
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Scalelinkbob
post 11 Oct 2017, 21:33
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SMEC signals are from the early 1950's. They cost about 15 shillings (75p) which was a lot of money then, the same cost as 80 quality cigarettes or 7 pints of beer. As a result, sales were quite small and only 3 types were listed by W&H models in 1953. Home, Distant & Starter, all Upper Quadrant.
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John Webb
post 12 Oct 2017, 06:40
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Welcome to the Forum, and thanks for that interesting bit of information. Was rather young in the early 1950s (primary school) which is why I don't remember them. Got more involved with model railways late 1950s assisting my father, but we tended to use colour light signals as introduced by Hornby Dublo about that time.

John Webb
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Bear 1923
post 12 Oct 2017, 10:50
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How did I manage to miss this before??? wink.gif

Those signals look pretty good for their age. Perhaps they are LNWR posts - judging by the cap on top - with LMS UQ arms. I am open to being corrected. As generic UQ signals they are good though.

Real signals aren't meant to be pretty (although there's no reason why a modeller shouldn't go for this option if he/she chosses - it's their railway). John notes Driver's Eye Level and 12 foot above rail head. This is the standard for Colour Light Signals placed to the left of the line they apply to as the approaching train crew see the signal. To this we can add a host of variations according to local conditions, date company/region and (very much) local practice - for example - Manchester do things differently from Crewe.
Broadly though !2 foot DEL on the left of the line or only as far to the right as the centre line (above the line!) applies and everything else adjusts around that - for CLS. The most restrictive aspect is always closest to Driver's Eye Level. (The rest are above or below it).
Semaphore was and survives as a whole other ball game. Much early practice aimed for a sky background for the arm(s). The lamp(s) and aspects could be lower (seperate from the arm). Semaphore could also be located "Wrong Side" more often. That is - anywhere to the right of the centre line of the track to which the signal applied. This was facilitated by the frequent greater height of semaphores.
Incidentally - in general UQ semaphores can have the pivot of the arm lower than LQ while achieving the same effect.

Brackets
Plain posts are less expensive! Real railways prefer this - most of the time.
Very, very, very extremely occasionally the real railway would bracket a signal arm out to the left of the track to which it applied when the approach to the signal was an exceptionally severe right hand curve. However - this would "usually" be in a situation such as a viaduct or where another condition meant that there was physically nowhere to locate a post further to the left than normal. For a bracket to be used there would not normally be another track to the left of the track that the signal applied to (as with a viaduct). I have seen a single example of a post placed to the left of a refuge loop - i.e stepped one track over (to the left) from the line to which it applied. (Stourbridge NWR) That signal has gone now. Clearly that semaphore had to be high enough to be seen over anything standing in the refuge.

Compression
John has mentioned the issue that models are compressed and therefore truly accurate signalling is made nearly impossible. A viable option is to figure out how straight and long the layout would be "in reality" and then design the signals from there.
A factor to keep in mind is that where the Signal Sighting Committee is unable to achieve a sighting situation that complies with the Line Speed and it is decided to not add in a Banner Repeater Signal - then the solution will be to impose a greater (i.e. more restrictive) Permanent Speed Restriction on the approach to the signal. Put another way - if it's not possible to sight the signal early enough at Line Speed instruct all movements to slow down to a suitable speed with a PSR.

Brackets again...
A much more - in fact a far more - common situation is for a signal to be bracketed from the left of the line out to the right to provide adequate sighting on the approach on a left hand curve. It is also possible for a bracket to be placed with the main structural post to the right of the track and the bracket projecting to the left to place the signal arm (or head) as close to the line to which it applies as possible/appropriate. Such a bracket can reach over a track for the opposite direction.
The assorted variations become complicated without access to posting diagrams/sketches.
One thing to recall with steam trains and semaphores - the signal arms should be placed so that, as far as possible, for most of the time the signal indication will not be obscured by smoke from opposing or standing trains.

Bracket Modelling.
One principle issue:- how are you going to get the signal arm drive out across the bracket? It can be done. It takes a bit of extra effort to do it so that it looks nice (and not over-scale and clunky).

Individaul Distant Signals.
tongue.gif
Given that these would usually be about a mile out from the first Stop Signal of any signalbox I do wish that the hobby trade wouldn't bother to make them!

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Bear 1923
post 12 Oct 2017, 12:00
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QUOTE (TidzaBoy @ 7 Nov 2010, 22:11) *
sorry, forgot to ask the question re - bracket signals.
On my circular layout, will the signals on the clockwise circuit generally be bracketed to the left and Anticlockwise bracketed to the right, to help viewing for the driver? I intend to use Upper and lower quandrant signals, only a few though. I don't really have any straightish track, trying to keep the curves as large as possible ( within my small shed - not easy!) .... but I think a few bracket signals would look good.....
joe

Looking at this again.
Signals for clockwise - i.e. a right hand curve - MOST likely to be plain posts in the conventional poisition on the left of the track to which they apply. Possibly stepped a yard or so to the left. If there is a siding on the left "in the way" the main post of a RH bracket might be placed outside (to the left of) the siding to bridge over the siding and place the signal arm/head close to the standard position. This will clearly be on the high side - although the arm need not be on a "normal height" doll - it can sit low on the footboards of the bracket or even (in front) below them. (There's a nice example at Melton Mowbray).

Signals for Anti-clockwise - i.e. left hand curve. These might well be bracketed to the right - to put the arm over the centre line of the track as seen on the approach. They might, exceptionally, be bracketed further to the right - more likely to the 6ft rail. possibly to the 6ft way - not likely to the 6ft rail of the opposite line - and beyond that it would be more likely to be a post placed "Wrong Side" over beyond the opposite line - a taller signal to provide sighting over any opposing movement.

Perhaps this is a little clearer.

Unless you wish to maintain originality in your signals I would be inclined to replace the massive operating pull rod with something thinner - microfibre fishing line is good. Being prejudiced I'd also be inclined to replace the Distant arm with a Stop arm - you might be able to get a nice, etched example of a corrugated arm.
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