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QUOTE (John Webb @ 4 Aug 2010, 17:19) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Thanks, everyone, for your encouragement.

Tony - we're only publically open on November 14th 2-5pm, having switched to our Winter openings of once a month.

Regards,
John

Thanks for that John but to late for me I'm afraid.I will be in the UK from the 6th to 13th Nov. Maybe next time.
 

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Sorry for the lack of updates - partly through ill-health and holidays and partly because wiring and the like are not very photogenic!

Wood troughing is gradually being put round the site to take cables to power signals and lights - with the darker evenings we need to improve the path lighting, althought the recent extension to the down fast platform at St Albans City Station means we get some useful overspill from the new lights on that!

A control system has been put together to operate the 4-aspect signal sequence demonstration but awaits more troughing to allow it to be connected up - also the original 24Watt bulbs need to be changed for 5W ones - partly to keep the power consumption down and minimise the wiring needed and also to avoid dazzling the visitors when they are looking at the signals.

The new interface to extend the signalling demonstration in the box has been slightly modified following initial tests with the controlling computer; we hope to have it running regularly early in 2011.

An original Midland Railway ground frame donated to the box has been renovated and will eventually be used to operate the ground discs we have as a further extension of our garden-based displays.

Regards,
John Webb
 

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A brief update.
All 18 multicore cables have now been laid in to connect levers and instruments to the new simulator - just got some 120 connections to make at each end of the cables!

The control system for the 4-aspect signals demonstration is complete and checked out and the small relay boards for each signal are under construction.

Outside about 90% of the wooden cable troughing is in place and wiring-up of the various lights will start soon. We were very lucky with the wood for the troughs - Network Rail decided to dump a large quantity of old fencing material next to our site which was ideal!

We have decided where the Midland Railway ground frame will be sited; we shall build a replica frame hut to keep the weather off it. We shall also resite

Opening Dates for 2011 are now settled and have been posted seperately in this forum, although we may extend opening times next Winter as visitor numbers have remained encouragingly high this year.

Regards,
John Webb
 

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Update on the last few months - absolutely nothing photogenic at all, I regret so no pictures!

Work is well underway on the new computer/simulator and the related connections to the levers and instruments. We have been able to "run trains" on the fast lines for the first time, but a number of problems shown up have now to be solved by software or hardware changes.

In our small museum work continues on sorting out and displaying many items and getting them labelled appropriately.

Outside in the garden the new cable trunking is in use with our path lighting now on a time-switch and improvements to the supply to our semaphore signal lamp. Work goes on to clear the area for the ground frame and hut we intend putting up.

For our new demonstration of colour light signalling the sequential controller has yet to be installed and connected up to the four 4-aspect signals we have in the garden.

John Webb
Member, St Albans Signal Box Preservation Trust
 

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Hi John,

Thanks for the update - it's good to hear that it's all coming together.

Regards
 

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At long last an update we can easily illustrate!

Yesterday we 'lit up' the first part of our 4-aspect colour light signals (CLS) demonstration.


The picture above shows the first CLS showing 'Red' and it's Banner Repeater showing 'signal at stop'.



shows the CLS at 'Double yellow' and the Banner Repeater at 'clear'.

We now expect to have the demonstration fully working by Easter (Open Afternoon on 24th April). We'll also post a video on YouTube when complete.

At our February open day we saw our 5000th recorded visitor since September 2008 pass through the box; he was a ten-year old lad from St Albans and he went home with a certificate, a couple of our model wagons and other goodies to mark the occasion.

A new flat-screen monitor has been installed to better show off the videos we have of the box, and rearrangements of our museum exhibits continues.

John Webb
Member, St Albans Signal Box Preservation Trust
 

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Well done John. Nice to see the progress continuing
.
 

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Discussion Starter · #68 ·
The 4-aspect demo is now fully working:

All green


'Train' has passed signal number 2 but remains in the 'overlap' beyond 2 - so signal 1 remains at red.


The train has passed signal 3 and signal 4 ('approach controlled') has just started clearing for the diverging line at the junction ahead.

The signals are fitted with 5watt car tail-lamp bulbs rather than the original 24watt double filament lamps - this enables us to use lighter cabling for the signals without resorting to 100 volts and using the signal head transformers. (We want to stick with extra-low voltages around the garden for safety reasons!)

Inside the signal box our control box for the signals has it's own mimic diagram:


John Webb
 

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Discussion Starter · #69 ·
On Saturday 30th April we had been invited to attend the John Keble Church MR Show. So we went with new display boards and other bits and pieces:


Close-up of the boards and our GPL signal on it's new base:


Unfortunately amongst things that I forgot to take was the spare battery for the camera, so I regret I can't post pictures of any of the layouts that were there - quite a shame.
 

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Interesting all that NRM advice about signalbox painting .

My wife's stepfather was a long serving signalman at Peak Forest, Chinley and Buxton.
He had a story about Buxton No. 1 being painted by a squad from Derby who when finished wanted to know where Hindlow was.
"Hindlow? That's been shut these past twenty years, Hindlow has."
"Not according to this sheet here - it says here it were painted 7 year back!"
"Can't have been."
"Ah booger it! Then I'll purrit down as painted Surri!"

LF&T
 

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On Sunday 3rd July some 70 Preservation Trust members and invited guests were present to watch Lord Faulkner, Chairman of the Heritage Railway Association, unveil the plaque comemmorating our National Railway Heritage Award given us last year for the restoration of the St Albans South signal box:


The plaque and box in slightly brighter weather the following day:


Update:
Besides the unveiling mentioned above, a minor milestone was passed this week when the last of eighteen twelve-core cables was connected up to the new simulator interface. We now have just a 100 or so connections still to make to the instruments and levers at the other end of the cables before the wiring is finished and the new simulator can be fully tested.
 

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Congratulations to everyone concerned.A wonderful job of work.
 

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A hearty "Well done" to all concerned! So often we don't miss things 'till they're gone, things that were making our lives a little richer even if we were hardly aware of it. When it's gone it's too darned late! Hats off to those who take the trouble.


That building brings back memories of the Leigh-on-sea signal box. However when there was talk of preservation it suddenly and entirely vanished over a single weekend, there on Friday, gone on Monday.

Such a pity that BR was so much better at vandalism on the poor 'ol Fenchurch Street line than running trains! They vandalised infrastructure to no benefit that was doing no harm but did provide a little variety. Such things as small masterpieces of the founder's art, attractive fluted cast iron canopy supports and platform seats complete with the "LTSR" logo cast in. All replaced with bland standardised rolled steel sections and those ghastly "S" shaped seat offerings.
 

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Thanks for the thanks and congratulations.

It's not only been my pleasure to keep you up-to-date but as a Trustee with responsibility for publicity almost my duty!

A minor correction to my post #72 above - Lord Faulkner is President of the Heritage Railway Association, not Chairman.

Regards,
John
 

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Discussion Starter · #77 ·
HERITAGE OPEN DAYS 2011

Held on the 10th/11th September, we had first painted up our Multiple-Aspect Signal heads:

(compare with the photos in post #68 to see the improvement.)

One member laid on this collection of BR Totems from stations on the adjacent line:

(If anyone has the missing totem he'd love to hear from you!)

And outside, AlbanRail, a local company, were entertaining us with garden railway layouts:


Trouble was that only 330 people turned up compared to 600+ last year - the local council didn't get their publicity booklet to every house as in past years and this seems to be the major factor.
 

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284 Trains a day!

In preparation for choosing a section of Timetable to be programmed into our new simulator which goes 'On Line' next year, I've spent some hours in the last week looking through a 1975/76 Working Timetable.

On a typical Monday-Friday there were some 284 trains passing the St Albans South signal box. The maximum in any one hour was 24, between 8 and 9am, almost matched by 23 between 6 and 7pm. There was a minor peak of 14 trains between 11pm and Midnight caused by several parcels/newspaper trains running at that time.

Regards,
John Webb
 

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First Report of 2012:

We have made a large shelf for better display of our smaller items:

This reuses a large shelf which once supported the down-rods and balance weights that assisted the working of the signals and points - note the stencilled numbers which identified which was worked by which lever for the S&T technicians when carryoing out maintenance and repairs.

The Chiltern Model Railway Association has allowed us this year to have a small stand at their annual exhibition in St Albans:


Outside we have a new working signal:

These are LNWR ground frame signal levers - one of which is connected to the Midland ground disc signal.

John Webb
 

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Looking super John.
 
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