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QUOTE (John Webb @ 18 Jun 2016, 17:13) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>For Bear 1923 (and anyone else!) next open days are 26th June, 10th and 24th July, 14th and 28th August (2-5pm on all those days) and extended opening 10am-5pm Sept 10th/11th for Heritage Open Days. We expect to have the new LED signals working by September if not before.

Thanks for that!
 

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QUOTE (John Webb @ 28 Jun 2016, 15:37) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Earlier this year we undertook some civil engineering works in one of the flower beds. The result:

Now that the plants have grown, the train appears and disappears. As you might well presume, this is to entertain our younger visitors! (It's not yet fully signalled, I have to say.)
Is this age discrimination???
 

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QUOTE (John Webb @ 3 Apr 2017, 21:51) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>The Mayor of St Albans Recognition Award
The box won it's third major award last week. We had been invited to send eight representatives to the Mayor's Annual Awards Dinner, held on the 28th of March. We were not told why we'd been asked to go, and when we got to the dinner, held in the St Michael's Manor hotel in St Albans, there was no mention of us on the evening's programme! The general scene:

(Several box representatives are on the right of the photo.)

Eight other people or groups received their awards, chosen by a committee, before, at the end of the evening, we were called forward. We then found that the Mayor makes their own special award separately from the committee - here is the certificate we were given:

It transpired from the Mayor's presentation speech that she had fond memories of her youth watching trains on the WR line by her village in Warwickshire, and as a consequence had visited our box on a number of occasions with her grandchildren.

There was also an engraved glass trophy for us to display:


Following the presentation, our Chairman in his acceptance speech was able to give our Open Days on the 1st/2nd April considerable publicity! And afterwards he was interviewed by Radio Verulam, who also sent someone along on the Sunday Open Day to record what was going on.
Makes up for not getting anything from the HRA 2016 awards!

From the elation of the above award, back to the more prosaic. Replacing the signal arm broken by Storm Doris:


And refixing the repeater switch to the back of the arm:


'The Big Weekend' - English Tourism Week event 1st/2nd April. We had extended opening 10am-5pm on both days. We were concerned at the seeming lack of publicity in the local press, and the attendance of only 117 people on the Saturday seemed to confirm our concerns. But on Sunday 253 visitors came, to our relief! Donations and sales were very good as well, making a success of the weekend.

John

Who bent the signal post ladder like that??? B)
 

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QUOTE (John Webb @ 2 Aug 2018, 13:20) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>A rear view showing how this was a conversion from a shut signal with an arm - Westinghouse 1942 according to the main body casting:


John

Good to see your progress

Looking at the back of your "dummy" we can see the heavy cast metal "body" arm below the aspect holes and partly hidden by the top of the leg - which forms the flat floor that the original casing for the oil lamp would have sat on in the middle of the structure. To the right of the floor is the lamp bracket that held the lamp casing in place. The spindle passes through just below the floor and at the back of the signal is attached to the blinder - the kidney shaped lump of metal on the bar from the back end of the spindle. The disc of the signal is a standard SR "half moon" designed to be well clear of any adjacent live rails. (For reasons not known to me the GWR also used half moon discs on some shunt signals). Discs replaced small straight arms quite soon after the introduction of semaphore shunt signals. The straight arms were only the depth of the heavy metal arm but the same length as the width of the disc. They were red or yellow with a vertical white or black stripe near the left hand end - so miniature versions of full sized signals.

Usual request...
Next open days/special days?

B)
 

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Being pedantic (for a change
) I wouldn't call the "On" position of a Yellow Dummy "Caution". "Caution" is the On aspect of a Distant or Repeater Signal - shown as a single yellow - it is a Running Signal indication. A Yellow Dummy is a Non-Running signal - and all Non-Running signals indicate permission to move as far as the line is clear prepared to stop short of any obstruction.

The difference between Red and Yellow dummies in modern practice is that Red Dummies may only be past when "Off" for all routes while a Yellow Dummy may be past when "On" when the route is set for Non-Running routes (i.e. head shunts and other Non-Running sidings) but may only be past when Off when the route is set onto a Running Line (i.e. out from sidings/Non Running lines).

Yellow dummies have been being phased out since about 2000 - I'm afraid I don't know the exact date. Since the naughties they have been banned from being installed in New Works and amendments.

An alternative to a Yellow Dummy is to provide a Red Dummy which is kept "Normally Off" when the route is set for the Non-Running route(s). This is sometimes elaborated by there being a second Red Dummy in the opposite direction which also "Normally Off" when the Non-Running route is set - when the Dummy is power worked or a Position Light the two (opposed) signals may be on the same control... Bear in mind that the authorised movements are "prepared to stop short of any obstruction".

On development - the thin yellow bar with a vertical black stripe became replaced by various shapes of disc quite quickly in most cases. The various combinations of yellow on black or white seem to be more of e Regional variation with preference for one or the other tending to persist to the present. I do suspect that Yellow on White came first.

I hadn't noticed the typo.


 

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John


Is that a "fog signal placer"? AFAIL except on London Underground "Fog Signals" - aka "detonators" - are those lovely round things placed on the rail that go "BANG" when a wheel strikes them. Am I right in thinking that your "new" rusty item is for placing those?...
Also - which railway company was it from lease?

Thanks
 

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QUOTE (John Webb @ 1 Oct 2019, 09:38) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>As we understand it, it was what told the 'Fogman' what the signals were showing so he could place detonators appropriately. No idea at present which company it is from; we hope our member we got it from can tell us in due course.

Regards,
John

Thanks John

That makes the device a Fog Signalman's signal indicator. I suspect that they tended to be provided by the signal manufacturing companies rather than made by the railway companies. They were predominantly installed where there was heavy traffic so that the Fog Man had quick information about the signal indication. This also meant that they tended to be at the locations that had detonator placers - which were installed to reduce the risk of Fog Men getting hit by trains (rather than to avoid any danger from the detonators themselves - railway "dets"/fog signals were substantially safe).

Where there were multiple tracks (and the various signals for them) both indicators and det placers could be located in safe positions - usually to the side of the track in the cess area. This meant that one fog man could signal a number of lines and not have to cross or get near the track.

I think that these indicators were made more necessary by Upper Quadrant signals - because their counterweight was usually close to the top of the signal where it couldn't be seen in a fog. With a Lower Quadrant signal the counterweight was normally at or near the base of the post making it possible to be seen by the Fog Man - also by train crew at the signal.

I knew Southern Drivers who had had to climb signal ladders to discover the position of the UQ signal arm during "pea soup" fogs in the 1950s and 60s.

There were many designs of det placer. Some of them were "single shot" that had to be reloaded each time - others had a magazine and a mechanism to feed the next det into the holder that put them on the rail head.

At one (I think early) stage the practice at some places (?on some companies?) two detonators a number of feet apart were used for fogging. This was to ensure that at least on should go off (i.e. the dets were less reliable at that time). In order to not waste a second det when the first exploded there was a device that would lift the second det if/when the first went off - the "blast" from the first being enough to flip the mechanism and move the second. This had a single det holder at each end of a rod mounted beside the rail. The device presumably had to be kept well lubricated. It would have had the advantage that, if the first det did blow the second could be put back on the rail as soon as the train had cleared - meaning that there would be a t least one det in place almost immediately. As far as I know these devices were never used with magazine placers.

Fogging was a cold, wet, horrible job that could last for days. Fog huts were not always provided and those that were ,were usually small and not necessarily much use. Even if they did have a small iron stove the fog man had to acquire fuel for it - which may well have been a lump or two of coal from loco crew in steam days... A good reason to keep friendly with loco crew - especially if they might not bother to slow down to deliver the lumps of coal. Where there was an indicator I might suspect that a fog man might find a way to sit an empty bean tin (or similar) on the top of the indicator arm so that it would fall off and clatter when the signal aspect changed - this might allow him some rest from observing the indicator and, possibly, let him get into a little shelter.

When dets are used for other purposes (except train protection) - such as flagging signals - their use is known (unofficially) as "banging down" - i.e. providing a caution signal to train crew.

B)
 

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There were a number of different token exchange designs at various times around the national system.
The GWR one was potentially the most common and possibly the most long lived. Their design catered for both delivery of the "used" token of the Section being exited and collection of the token for the forward section about to be entered.
Deposit/collection of tokens with fixed equipment was both safer - certainly for the signalman - and avoided the train having to slow down as much for the exchange. I don't recall the exact speeds allowed but (don't quote me) I think the exchange gear could be used at as much as 20mph... A speed that no-one would want to make an exchange by hand!
The Llangollen Railway has a very good example at Glyndyfrdwy - just where the passing loop starts on the opposite side of the line from the Box. I have seen this combination of drop-off and collection equipment used. The GWR system included a 3rd part - a large rope net after the collection arm - to catch any token that missed the arm... Clearly a better option than having to search for a token in the lineside vegetation.
When I was a kid I heard a tale of a young fireman who so messed up an exchange that the token (and holder) bounced and flew over the side of a bridge and into a stream... The "culprit" had the task of wading in and retrieving it.

In later years "automatic" token exchange apparatus was fitted at least on some BR locos - There is at least one model of a loco fitted with the gear - I think a smaller Standard Class - ? made by Bachmann?

In 2015 the West Somerset Railway had the ground based gear of a pattern of exchange apparatus at Washford. Slightly oddly this is on the single line through the platform and part way along the length of the platform with no immediate access in either a board crossing or a step in the face of the platform.- however, this did put it very nicely where it could be photographed.
An Electric Token Block (ETB) Block Post at a location with no passing loop is not as odd as it might sound. It acts in the same way as a Section Splitting box on Double Track - enabling trains to follow more closely - that is - it cuts a possibly long single headway into two shorter headways.

It did have to be kept in mind that such an ETB Block Post should not accept a train from both (opposed) directions at the same time - even though the token instruments would be capable of doing this... As proved at (IIRC) Waddon Marsh on the West Croydon-Wimbledon line on one occasion in my experience. (Wasn't me!).
A completely different feature of that route was that, running 2 car EMUs the fairly long level crossings could cause a slow moving unit to become "gapped" on the crossing.
Much more obscurely - where London trams ran on the plough system for power collection a tram could also end up gapped where the plough had to be lifted for one line to cross another... I know this because, according to family legend, my Mum's Dad achieved it and completely jammed up traffic at a junction until a following tram could come along and shove his tram forward to where it could collect powere again.

 
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