Model Railway Forum banner
1 - 20 of 23 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
763 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have recently bought a book called Treacey's British Rail containing a selection of the late Bishop of Wakefields railway photographs. There are 2 seperate photo's of class 31's with the headcodes reading a solitary letter C in the second character position with no other numbers displayed. Both date from around 1960 and the locos don't even ave overhead warning flashes fitted.

The airfix green class 31 also carried this code so i was wondering if it referred to a particular type of train.
The loco in the first photo is hauling empty coaching stock and the second a local sevice from Kings Cross. If any of you know what it refers to please do tell.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,497 Posts
'C' certainly used to stand for empty coaching stock trains as well as other types (see topic elsewhere in this forum about headlamp codes).

But why a diesel loco should carry this (or a model) I do not really know. Perhaps it was something certain drivers did to approximate to the old headlamps?
I have a copy of the 1972 Rulebook which is admittedly ten years later; but this says nothing on the subject.

Regards,
John Webb
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
763 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I bought a reprint of a pocket size book explaining headcodes a couple of years back and all it said about 4 code boxes was that they were being introduced by BR but didn't give any real info. A total waste of money the book was and a waste of time reprinting something so out of date without updating it to cover the last 40 years. The trouble with a lot of the Ian Allen reprints boils down to that. Perhaps i'll post the question to those nice chaps at model rail.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,497 Posts
I've looked at copies of the 1960 and 1972 editions of the 'General Appendix to Working Timetables and books of Rules and Regulations' published by British Railways which I bought at a railway fair at Richmond in September last year.
The 1960 edition gives headcodes and shows them as still on steam locos for either lamps or discs. The classes are graded A to K. It says nothing about diesels fitted with indicator boxes.

The 1972 edition (which I presume replaced the 1960 edition) says:
"..... all locomotives and multiple-unit trains fitted with indicator boxes must carry classification numbers in the first section of the box...."
It then then lists headcodes for lamps or discs but shows them on what is meant to be the front of a diesel loco. The classes by 1972 are graded 1-9 & 0.

Interestingly neither mentions the 4-Character Train Identification System headcodes - I have an Eastern Region (Southern Area) "Supplementary Operating Instructions" published in September 1967 (Sorry should be 1969). This refers to the introduction of this system on the Great Northern and Great Eastern lines and including the former LMS London Tilbury and Southend line. This uses the classification number as the first character, a letter as a route indicator as the second character, and two digits as a train identifier "code shown at the top of each column above timings in W[orking] T[ime] T[able]."

So I am further convinced that the "C" displayed on the front of the diesel in your photo was probably an unofficial indication by the driver of the sort of train he was driving. (Or may have been a local instruction which was not recorded nationally.) Are there any light(s) or white disc(s) displayed which could confirm the train classification?

Fascinating what one question can turn up!
Regards,
John Webb
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
QUOTE (John Webb @ 10 Feb 2006, 22:35) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I've looked at copies of the 1960 and 1972 editions of the 'General Appendix to Working Timetables and books of Rules and Regulations' published by British Railways which I bought at a railway fair at Richmond in September last year.
The 1960 edition gives headcodes and shows them as still on steam locos for either lamps or discs. The classes are graded A to K. It says nothing about diesels fitted with indicator boxes.

The 1972 edition (which I presume replaced the 1960 edition) says:
"..... all locomotives and multiple-unit trains fitted with indicator boxes must carry classification numbers in the first section of the box...."
It then then lists headcodes for lamps or discs but shows them on what is meant to be the front of a diesel loco. The classes by 1972 are graded 1-9 & 0.

Interestingly neither mentions the 4-Character Train Identification System headcodes - I have an Eastern Region (Southern Area) "Supplementary Operating Instructions" published in September 1967 (Sorry should be 1969). This refers to the introduction of this system on the Great Northern and Great Eastern lines and including the former LMS London Tilbury and Southend line. This uses the classification number as the first character, a letter as a route indicator as the second character, and two digits as a train identifier "code shown at the top of each column above timings in W[orking] T[ime] T[able]."

So I am further convinced that the "C" displayed on the front of the diesel in your photo was probably an unofficial indication by the driver of the sort of train he was driving. (Or may have been a local instruction which was not recorded nationally.) Are there any light(s) or white disc(s) displayed which could confirm the train classification?

Fascinating what one question can turn up!
Regards,
John Webb
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
using the letter C in the four digit headcode box in the early 60s was to indicate to signalmen the class of train using the current headlamp codes as shown in the appendix at the time,i.e. A express passenger through to K stopping goods.When the first class 31 D5586 arrived at Hornsey Depot fitted with the 4 digit box and only 2 lamp brackets, the crews were unable to display the correct headlamp code, so the letter was used as a stop gap until the 4 digit train codes were introduced.regards John A Webb Harpenden p.s.i'm not a modeler just a retired train driver
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
in the film twice round the daffodils the opening scene is a dmu pulling into a station which looks like a branch line maybe
the train is a dmu and the headcode is 2c52, the shot along the platform showing the passengers alighting shows 1 on several carriage doors indicating
first class coaches
its hard to pinpoint where this was filmed and the camera angle in the first shot doesnt show the station name properly
the film was made in 1962
what am wondering is whether the headcode is genuine or fictitous
anyone got any ideas? i realise codes were duplicated in different regions and correct identification is difficult
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,497 Posts
QUOTE (flag and whistle @ 27 Nov 2011, 14:17) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>in the film twice round the daffodils the opening scene is a dmu pulling into a station which looks like a branch line maybe
the train is a dmu and the headcode is 2c52, the shot along the platform showing the passengers alighting shows 1 on several carriage doors indicating
first class coaches
its hard to pinpoint where this was filmed and the camera angle in the first shot doesnt show the station name properly
the film was made in 1962
what am wondering is whether the headcode is genuine or fictitous
anyone got any ideas? i realise codes were duplicated in different regions and correct identification is difficult
According to "Horton's Guide to British Railways in Feature Films" the shots in this film were made at Seer Green station on the GW/GC Joint Line with a class 115 DMU.
With a 2C52 headcode we have a class 2 train - the C may indicate a train originating in the London area - from the limited information I have. (A Working Time Table from the period for that area would confirm this.)

Regards,
John Webb
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,684 Posts
Here's one you won't find in any BR publication


If a Signalman in a proper box where he could see the trains and they could see him received information that a train was approaching with a strange headcode - or he saw a strange headcode before the train reached him - he would put himself where the Driver could see him and, once the Driver had tooted recognition he would slap the top of his head (very gently of course). Most drivers would recognise this , toot and at least prepare to check their headcode. Any that didn't understand would stop or get onto an SPT (Signal Post Telephone).

In the rare event of something showing a red and white on the front staff would get the Driver's attention and point side-to-side. This would usually get the headlights corrected.

Red and white is the combination used (where available) for shunting. White is the normal front end while red on the front is an emergency stop signal for all traffic in the opposite direction. People did not make that mistake!

When a tail light was wrong on an MU in any way the Signalman would turn sideways and slap his backside (gently - not Basil Fawlty style). This would result in the driver getting the guard to sort out the tail light.

A wrong or missing tail light on loco hauled would result in the train getting pulled up at the next box. This was because MU stock could be dealt with inside the train on most occasions while loco hauled could not.

There is a bell code for "Train Past with incorrect headcode" and another for "Train Past without tail lamp" and I can't recall either of them. In fact "Train Past without tail lamp" has two codes. One to the Box In Advance and one to the Box In Rear - and I could never recall which code was which when I had to use them - something like 2-6 and 6-2... anyone got a list to hand?

No train should ever have any head or tail lights carried or illuminated mid train. This would be a "Stop and Examine" if the train could not be readily / safely stopped or, when safe to do so, a case of putting back on the train to have a chat with the crew.

None of this explains the OP!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,630 Posts
QUOTE (Bear 1923 @ 28 Nov 2011, 08:25) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>No train should ever have any head or tail lights carried or illuminated mid train. This would be a "Stop and Examine" if the train could not be readily / safely stopped or, when safe to do so, a case of putting back on the train to have a chat with the crew.

Hear hear - manufacturers of RTR diesels (and operators of quite a few otherwise excellent exhibition layouts) please note. If the train becomes divided where the tail light is, then on an absolute block section the signalman might assume the train is complete and allow the next train into the section. Admittedly he might smell a rat if he was belled a "proper" train and only the engine turned up.

About ten years ago I shouted across to the driver of a short parcels train in the through roads opposite Derby station that his loco tail light was on despite being coupled to the train. His reply was that it must have been like that all the way from London. Probably a result of the lack of manual signalboxes by that time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,497 Posts
QUOTE (Bear 1923 @ 28 Nov 2011, 08:25) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>......A wrong or missing tail light on loco hauled would result in the train getting pulled up at the next box. This was because MU stock could be dealt with inside the train on most occasions while loco hauled could not.

There is a bell code for "Train Past with incorrect headcode" and another for "Train Past without tail lamp" and I can't recall either of them. In fact "Train Past without tail lamp" has two codes. One to the Box In Advance and one to the Box In Rear - and I could never recall which code was which when I had to use them - something like 2-6 and 6-2... anyone got a list to hand?.......
Train passed without Tail Lamp: 9 to box in advance, 4-5 to box in rear (preceeded by the emergency Call Attention signal)

But my 1960 copy of the "Regulations for Train Signalling and Signalmen's General Instructions" doesn't give a code for 'Wrong Headcode" - was this perhaps a local instruction in some areas?

Regards,
John
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
66 Posts
QUOTE (Bear 1923 @ 28 Nov 2011, 08:25) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Here's one you won't find in any BR publication


If a Signalman in a proper box where he could see the trains and they could see him received information that a train was approaching with a strange headcode - or he saw a strange headcode before the train reached him - he would put himself where the Driver could see him and, once the Driver had tooted recognition he would slap the top of his head (very gently of course). Most drivers would recognise this , toot and at least prepare to check their headcode. Any that didn't understand would stop or get onto an SPT (Signal Post Telephone).

In the rare event of something showing a red and white on the front staff would get the Driver's attention and point side-to-side. This would usually get the headlights corrected.

And it still continues today. Especially between drivers. If you notice another train showing incorrect lights you give a few smart blasts on the horn and tap your head. If that doesn't work you jump up and down and flash your lights at them - well I do anyway.


WRT to wrong headcodes. Nowadays when using Cab Secure Radio the signaller enters the data into the system and the headcode appears in the LED diplay once the radio is set up. It's a Rulebook requirement to get it put right if the signaller has accidentally entered the wrong code - it's also very much in the driver's interest as it could result in being given a 'wrong route', which if taken will be put on both signaller's and driver's records forever.

Apologies for pulling the thread even further off topic.

Cheers,

John
 

·
Chief mouser
Joined
·
11,775 Posts
QUOTE (Bang Road @ 28 Nov 2011, 10:51) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>If you notice another train showing incorrect lights you give a few smart blasts on the horn and tap your head. If that doesn't work you jump up and down and flash your lights at them - well I do anyway.

So if we see a train with flashing lights and a driver leaping about like a Dervish all the while sounding it's horn we can just say:

"Oh there goes John"

Regards
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,684 Posts
QUOTE (John Webb @ 28 Nov 2011, 10:22) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Train passed without Tail Lamp: 9 to box in advance, 4-5 to box in rear (preceeded by the emergency Call Attention signal)

But my 1960 copy of the "Regulations for Train Signalling and Signalmen's General Instructions" doesn't give a code for 'Wrong Headcode" - was this perhaps a local instruction in some areas?

Regards,
John
I knew you'd have that!


Now I'm tasking the brain with the "Wrong Headcode"... I'm pretty sure that we had it and that it was national for 1978 on (if not before). I would hunt out my Sig's Regs but (apart from not having a clue which direction to head in) I have to go to work between now and next year - and I have a fear of avalanches...
If it did exist it was national not local or Appendix.

I told you I could never recall the correct code - I wasn't that far out when working though - just had to not get them the wrong way round.


Then again... I've rattled the brain around a bit...

I know there was a "Last train signalled incorrectly described" between boxes. Perhaps I am thinking of that'?

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,630 Posts
Trains introduced in the last 20 years or so have a "hazard light" button - sometimes literally the same as you'd see in a road vehicle. IIRC it flashes both red and white lights so as to give the maximum warning to an approaching train. Compared with flashing the lights manually it has the advantage that it will still work if the driver has to leave the cab. There have been several collisions with derailed trains, or collisions with objects which had just been seen by drivers of trains in the other direction, which might have been prevented or made less severe if this had been introduced earlier.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,497 Posts
QUOTE (Bear 1923 @ 28 Nov 2011, 11:22) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>.......I know there was a "Last train signalled incorrectly described" between boxes. Perhaps I am thinking of that'?
I'm pretty sure that last code was when the signalman had sent the wrong code - perhaps 3-1 for a stopping passenger when he meant 1-3 for a branch passenger train, where that was allowed.
Regards,
John
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
66 Posts
QUOTE (7113 @ 28 Nov 2011, 11:21) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>So if we see a train with flashing lights and a driver leaping about like a Dervish all the while sounding it's horn we can just say:

"Oh there goes John"

LOL - oddly enough, quite a few people do.


QUOTE ("Edwin")Trains introduced in the last 20 years or so have a "hazard light" button - sometimes literally the same as you'd see in a road vehicle. IIRC it flashes both red and white lights so as to give the maximum warning to an approaching train.

It may well vary with stock type as to which lights flash. I know on the Networker family of MUs, the SOP following an incident is to switch on the Tail lights in the leading cab and press the Hazard button, which causes both Day & Night headlight to flash together.

Best wishes,

John
 

·
In depth idiot
Joined
·
7,679 Posts
QUOTE (driver john webb 317345 @ 21 Oct 2008, 11:43) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>using the letter C in the four digit headcode box in the early 60s was to indicate to signalmen the class of train using the current headlamp codes as shown in the appendix at the time,i.e. A express passenger through to K stopping goods.When the first class 31 D5586 arrived at Hornsey Depot fitted with the 4 digit box and only 2 lamp brackets, the crews were unable to display the correct headlamp code, so the letter was used as a stop gap until the 4 digit train codes were introduced.
Contemporary with this, circa 1960, the newly introduced Cravens DMU's (TOPS class 105) on the KX suburban routes, often ran with just a 'B' displayed in the left hand box of their two character headcode display.
 
1 - 20 of 23 Posts
Top