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> Sources of Information on Signals, Books on prototypes and models
John Webb
post 6 May 2010, 17:40
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Richard - I'm not at all certain. Bob Essery's book does not contain any dimensions other than the red light being 12ft from the ground. Again SRS or HMRS might be worth approaching. Lenses for main line signals seem to have been standardised at around 9inch diameter for many years, so it may be possible to scale from photos.

regards,
John
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Lancashire Fusil...
post 6 May 2010, 22:24
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Thanks for this thread. I have just ordered the Squibb text and look forward to receiving it shortly.
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MEGair
post 7 May 2010, 12:48
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I am in the process of considering signals for the layout and have looked at various resources.

I have just received Cyril Freezers book on Model Railway Signalling and it looks like its well set out and easy to follow. I borrowed 'Signalling in the Age of Steam' Michael A Vanns, Ian Allan, 1995, ISBN 0 7110 2350 6 from my local club, but found it hard to take in.

Thanks John for the resources.
regards
Mark
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John Webb
post 29 May 2010, 19:45
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QUOTE (Simon Gott @ 4 May 2010, 20:06) *
Another recent addition:

A Scratchbuilder's Guide to Semaphore Signal Construction - Peter Squibb - Wild Swan - Softcover, 112 pages, 158 b/w, 55 colour illustrations. 33 drawings. 19.95

Usual Wild Swan quality and thoroughness. Not for the casual purchase, but well worth it if you are interested in signals and want to model them well.


I've just bought my copy and can confirm it's usefulness, particularly as a source of information on the fine detail. Amazing array of photos, both of the prototype and of models. But not for the beginner - it perhaps can be considered as a follow-on to the "Constructing and Operating Semaphore Signals" published by Booklaw Publications and mentioned in previous posts.

Books by Signalmen:
Yesterday's Railwayman by D A Newbould, published by Oxford Publishing Co. in 1985, ISBN 0 86093 331 8
Autobiography of someone who joined British Railways in 1956 as a 'Booking Boy' and his progression as a signalman, controller and a List Clerk in his 14 years on the railway. A number of B/W photos. (Second-hand book bought for 3)

'The Worcester Patch' by Matthew W. Morgan, published by Noodle Books (Kevin Robertson) in 2010, ISBN 1 906419 21 9. 13.95
Another autobiography of more recent vintage and of someone who had a rather shorter time on the railways. Lots of B/W photos plus a small selection of colour ones at the rear of the box. The book looks at a number of signal boxes in the Worcester area with diagrams of each box at different periods in its life.

Regards,
John Webb
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John Webb
post 12 Aug 2010, 21:46
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In September's 'Hornby Magazine' there is an article on Multiple Aspect Signalling and equipping an 'N' scale layout with three-aspect signals.

'Railway Modeller' for September announces that PECO are giving away a new booklet with the October issue on 'Semaphore Signalling'.

Regards,
John
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John Webb
post 1 Feb 2011, 14:06
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"Aspects of Modelling - Signals" - by Nigel Digby, published by Ian Allan, Nov 2010, ISBN 978 0 7110 3427 3, cost 14.99, 96 pages numerous B/W and colour pictures and diagrams.

A very useful addition to the model railway scene. The first 63 pages look at the basic principles of signalling, the block system, the signal box, signals, points and interlocking on the prototype, the rest of the book looks at how these can be represented on the model railway, in particular the problem of 'compression' present in most layouts. The final chapter on modelling signals looks at the range of ready-made signals and kits available, but does not go into great detail about construction.

There are numerous colour photos, both of prototype and of models, diagrams and B/W photos. These cover a wide range of subjects from the early days of signalling to modern colour light.

There is a short Bibilography and a list of 'Useful websites'; both of which I think have significant omissions and could have been rather larger.

But I think the book worth getting if you want to get the signals on your layout reasonably in accord with prototypical practice.

John Webb
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steam-driven boy
post 2 Feb 2011, 09:48
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Hi,
There's a 'Supertest' feature on colour light signals in the February Model Rail mag, with semaphores to be covered in the next issue.

Regards, Gerry.


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... being a bear of very little brain...

My N Project: 'Solsbury Hill' Track Plan
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John Webb
post 13 Feb 2011, 18:58
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New Resource for information on signalling matters

"The Blower" - the forum associated with John Hinson's website www.signalbox.org - has a new section aimed at railway modellers http://www.signalbox.org/forum/viewforum.php?f=16 which I and other contributors hope will provide a better opportunity for modellers to get expert advice on how to add signals to their layout.

Regards,
John Webb
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John Webb
post 5 May 2011, 16:55
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Focus on Signalling is a new DVD by Transport Video Publishing, Wheathampstead, Herts.

Subtitled "Traditional Signalling How it works and where it is", it runs for about 100 minutes, and is divided into two parts, although adverts now appearing in the railway press mistakenly say 'Two discs'.

My main interest in this DVD is that some 23 minutes were filmed at St Albans South Signal Box, with which I'm closely involved. I hasten to add that the box is not getting a percentage of sales of this DVD!

I have posted a detailed list of the contents of this DVD in the Media section at https://www.modelrailforum.com/forums/index...mp;#entry193959 (Sorry - can't insert a 'Topic Link' for some reason!

Regards,
John Webb
(Trustee/Publicity Officer, St Albans South Signal Box Preservation Trust)
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Bear 1923
post 6 May 2011, 20:42
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QUOTE (John Webb @ 6 May 2010, 17:40) *
Richard - I'm not at all certain. Bob Essery's book does not contain any dimensions other than the red light being 12ft from the ground. Again SRS or HMRS might be worth approaching. Lenses for main line signals seem to have been standardised at around 9inch diameter for many years, so it may be possible to scale from photos.

regards,
John

Sorry - I've only just stumbled on this thread.

The 12ft dimension is the definition of "Driver's eye level" which is 12ft above rail head. This is usually applied to the red (or yellow for a Distant) aspect of colour light signal. (In other words to the most restrictive aspect).

I have never seen a dimension for semaphore signals. This can partly be explained by two things. 1. In earlier periods there was a lot of opinion that semaphore arms should "always" have a sky background. 2. The design of Lower and Upper Quadrant signals puts the arms at different heights type against type. This is rather obscure. In freely viewed situations an upper quadrant replacing a lower quadrant signal might have the pivot of the arm at exactly the same height above rail head... but the arm in the "Off" position will be higher. This means that when a signal will be sighted under anything like a bridge an Upper Quadrant arm must be brought lower down the post / to a pivot height above railhead that is lower.

A different factor is what, if not a sky background, will be sighted beyond the signal arm / what the signal arm will be sighted against. This applies particularly on curves.

The BoT requirement was that, except where exempted, the normal location for a signal arm/head for a Running line was to the left of the track to which it applied or, when raised above the line, to the left of the centre line of the track. This basic principle is still applied.

B)
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John Webb
post 7 May 2011, 09:36
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Dear B
Thanks for your contribution, but in post #15 Richard admitted he was asking about colour light signals, not semaphores and had made a mistake in his first post!

Are you professionally involved with signalling? (Just wondered, having seen some of your very detailed replies elsewhere in the Forum.)

Regards,
John Webb (St Albans South Signal Box Preservation Trust)
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Bear 1923
post 7 May 2011, 19:19
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John
I was a GPR Signalman back in the mists of time. I had to divert to central London Ticket Offices but at the same time had access to I Mech E library services. I then escaped London and returned to the track. I'm not sure whether this counts as "professional". As a result I have an immense mix of odd bits of information.

I grew up with Finescale 0 Gauge with the result that I always looked at the job with an eye to what modellers would want to know. I was also involved in training signalmen from scratch (straight from the job centre and early induction schemes). My own signalling instructor was ex army and a stickler for precision in how things are worded.

I am no longer involved with rail work due to a damaged eye.

Sorry if my answers are a bit long

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John Webb
post 7 May 2011, 20:19
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QUOTE (Bear 1923 @ 7 May 2011, 19:19) *
......................Sorry if my answers are a bit long

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Don't apologise! There's an awful lot of modellers who don't appreciate the complexities of signalling and your detailed responses help to make that complexity very clear - in all senses of the word.

Regards,
John W
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Bear 1923
post 8 May 2011, 06:38
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You know what I said about my own signalling instructor?

Well...

I maintain that railway signalling is not complex.

I've checked this out with some really serious technical people and (if sometimes reluctant to admit it) they agree that railway signalling is, basically, a binary system. You can't get much simpler than that.

This goes back to my being trained and training others. The system is one of "Yes" or "No". Interlocking in particular works that way - but it applies to everything. Either you can or you can't. It is not "This allows this and then...". Like a computer this is Y or N. If it is Y then Y or N is the next step. If that it Y then Y or N is the next step... over and over again. We don't think about a computer making those choices millions of times for a couple of strikes of the keys. In the same way we don't think of the list of Yes/Noes that we make when we know the regulations and jump from one question way down a line of questions to what we know is the answer... and this is sometimes why we end up with accidents attributed to "Signalman's error" - South Croydon being one example. (I always hated "Key Outs").

My instructor, Frank, also hammered into us that all working began from a "Normal" condition and, whatever happened, you had to end up back at the "Normal" condition. You might arrive to a shift with a non-normal situation in progress - you took over the shift at the stage working had reached - you might hand on the shift at the same stage or a subsequent stage but, sooner or later, someone would return the working to normal. the working had to return to "Normal". The only exception was when a Box closed out for good.

Some things about railway signalling are made complex.

One factor is that there is an awful lot of defective description and/or practice out there. A lot of the errors are miniscule. This includes material in daily use by signallers. This is why Network Rail spends a fortune on training, retraining, updating, testing, rewriting rules (still) and sending people on "Safety Critical Communications" courses... and people still get it wrong... So it's hardly surprising if other railwaymen, let alone non-rail-people observe things and come to inaccurate conclusions. This isn't to knock anyone or say that I have the perfect solution/knowledge. I know that I get it wrong and make mistakes. Fortunately I got through my rail career without any of my errors being serious. (Even the best Nexus Replicants have a biological/human component so we will never be entirely fault free).

Of course it doesn't help when situations like groundframes and signalboxes occur. To cover where Groundframes are used and to begin to cover how I had to do a whole lot of other explanation. Even if one excluded office staff and on-train staff other than guards and drivers I would expect that the vast majority of rail staff would look at a signalbox type structure and assume that it was a "signalbox", with a signalman in it doing signalling things that keep trains apart. The questions of whether they are Block Posts, non-Block Posts or groundframes would frequently never disturb their happy lives.

Then there is the situation that almost any principle or rule will end up having an exception. Signals are supposed to be on the left opf the line or above the left hand half of the line (I have omitted to say "to which they apply" so that could confuse things)... so then we have "wrong side signals"... and, naturally, a "wrong side signal" can be something completely different in a different context...

The thing we need to do is to start at basics... and this is why BR signalman's training always started with Absolute Block over Double Track... And that had to "go back" and talk about what tracks there are and where...

See... it's all dead easy really...

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Bear 1923
post 8 May 2011, 06:54
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Some binary questions...

Is "that track" one on which trains make journeys between one place and another?
    YES - then it is a "Running Line".
    NO - then it is a "Non-Running Line"
    Are there Exceptions?
    YES - there are some lines - terminal platforms for one - that are not quite one thing or the other.
    NO - are you sure?
    Is there a clarification?
    YES - "unclear" lines are defined as Running Lines or Non Running Lines. If they are one they will fall into the rules for that category and if they are the other they will fall into those rules. There are no "couuld be one or the other" situations - once they have been defined. Their definition can be changed.


Oops - got to go and do things...

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