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Lock, block and brake




I have three sets of trains for Shelf Island: trains for normal operations; workings by the local preservation society; and visitors. All of these include passenger services. From the Regulation of Railways Act, 1889:
"1.-(1.) The Board of Trade may from time to time order a railway company to do, within a time limited by the order, and subject to any exceptions or modifications allowed by the order, any of the following things:
(a.) To adopt the block system on all or any of their railways open for the public conveyance of passengers;
(b.) To provide for the interlocking of points and signals on or in connexion with all or any of such railways;
(c.) To provide for and use on all their trains carrying passengers continuous brakes (…)


Block System

A block system is difficult to model in such a small space. I am hoping to define two blocks: the main line from Fairport to the tunnel below the dismantlers, and the line in the tunnel and through to the fiddle yard. There will be a signal near the mouth of the tunnel, and I want this to work automatically showing danger when the tunnel has a train in it, and line clear the rest of the time.

The link span between Fairport and the main baseboard uses half a metre of plain line to represent a few miles: the headshunt for Fairport, a section of main line, and the headshunt for the branch to the dismantlers. I am happy with this as long as the link stays without scenic adornment, but block signalling does not make any sense here.



The railway will have facing point locks on the four visible sets of points used by passenger trains. I haven’t actually modelled the facing point locks yet, but when I have worked out how to represent one of them and I have done the ballasting I can add them all. For the time being, the ground frame at Fairport has a blue lever as well as a black lever.


Braking Systems

The railway has steep gradients and normal operations use air-braked trains. This needs very little modelling effort from me because most of the prototypes were or are air-braked. I need two assumptions, which I will declare here so maybe I remember:

  • The ex-BR class 11 (built with no train brake) is retrofitted with air brakes for its train.
  • The BR Mk1 coaching stock and derived vehicles are retrofitted with air brakes.

The local preservation society has a collection of vacuum-braked Bulleid coaches. To make the most of these (and indeed to use them for passenger services) I have made three more assumptions:

  • The ex-USATC S100 (no train brake) has been retrofitted with a vacuum brake.
  • The ex-USATC S160 (modelled with a train air brake for service in Europe) has been retrofitted with a vacuum brake.
  • The ex-Isle of Wight LB&SCR E1 has a train vacuum brake

I imagine, my visiting engines are in their original states. For passenger trains they haul either some Lima Mk2 stock (air braked) or the Fleischmann Bulleid stock.



Parkin K, "British Railways Mark 1 Coaches" published by HMRS (especially the last sentence):


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