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bécasse

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Everything posted by bécasse

  1. I too found your model of a 2-WIM impressive, significantly helped by the roof colour which certainly matches memories. I did wonder if you had over-provided the designated non-smoking accommodation, which was quite scarce in the early 1950s and which I suspect was limited to the two third-class as built compartments as I think that there may have been a swinging door in the side "corridor" between these two compartments and the five first-class as built ones. I did wonder, too, whether some at least of the smoking compartments might have had the frosted-glass (SMOKING) signs, certainly some of the ex-Brighton SUB sets did.
  2. There is a photo currently for sale on eBay which shows 58047 on a passenger train at Burnham with the three-window arrangement plus an external box under the middle window which had been removed by the time your 1952 photo was taken (and which must have been in position prior to the repainting of the box into GWR colours). This photo must date between May 1950 when 58047 was renumbered from 1303 (LMS) and August 1952 when it was withdrawn (from Highbridge shed). There is a photo in the NRM collection showing the later two-window arrangement and the modified downpipe which is dated 20 September 1958.
  3. The 1952 photo appears to show the box in GWR colours (two shades of stone) so it had probably been repainted just after engineering responsibility (inter alia) passed from the Southern Region to the Western in 1949 (? IIRC). The 1960 photo shows the box in WR colours (chocolate and cream) so it had been repainted again (and necessarily, given the alterations) before responsibility passed back to the Southern in 1958 (? IIRC again - and might this bit have remained WR?). Note that the downpipe had changed between the two photos too.
  4. That would appear to be a non-corridor London area 4-set which, IIRC, were broken up during the war years following the abolition of 1st class on London area suburban trains, but would have still been in their normal formation in 1939. There were 4-sets in the Birmingham area too and it seems possible that they might have worked down as far as Oxford, with the Fairford branch as a fill in turn.
  5. I have shown the minimum signalling for the layout but have since realised that that layout would not have been retained at electrification. If parcels traffic was worked in off-peak, which is certainly possible, the SR would have removed the run-rounds in the platform roads but added a run-round crossover, hand-worked, between the two middle roads, which in turn would have converged before joining no.1 platform road prior to the road over bridge which constrains the layout. This would have resulted in rather different signalling arrangements which would include the access to and from the "berthing siding" alongside the route towards East Croydon (which I had forgotten before). The mid-1950s schemes used both three-lamp feathers and theatre-light route indicators but access to the platforms would have been indicated by the latter - and with only one signalled "small yellow light" route into the middle sidings (a hand lever selecting which siding), the platforms can assume their obvious designations of 1 (north) and 2 (south), which is what theatre-light indicator could display. There are, in effect, calling-on signals because, until the December 1957 box at Cannon Street, the SR used a yellow light to permit access to a partially occupied terminal platform, a green light indicating that the road was clear to the stops. New installations from late-1958 showed a green light for a clear road and a red plus a pair of position lights for calling-on (the initial installations displayed a C in the third aperture on the position light signal but that practice was soon discontinued). SR colour light signals at that period did indeed have pigs ears and they also had long "ARP" hoods, making them very distinctive but raising the possibility that in N and 2FS merely modelling the signals accurately might well be sufficient without actually lighting them. In fact, away from the beam, it was remarkably difficult to see if the real things were lit (which is why the pigs ears were provided for trains drawn up to a signal). I will provide a diagram of what I think the layout and signalling would have been from the 1955 resignalling but I am away for a few days and diagrams take some time to prepare. All the features that I have mentioned can, in fact, be found somewhere on the Gloucester Road and East Croydon box diagrams that I posted in pdf format and which repay study as they represent an interesting period of colour light signalling using Westinghouse miniature lever frames (which, I might add, were an absolute delight to work).
  6. If the crossover is between two sidings (as you say) then it would be worked by hand levers, quite probably a separate lever for each end, and there would be no fixed signals, ground or otherwise. The responsibility for safe working would lie with the shunter if there is one or otherwise the loco/train crew, speeds would be low anyway. The shunter would communicate with the loco/train crew using hand signals as comprehensively described in the Rule Book. If there was a train involved and there was no shunter then the guard would effectively take the role of the shunter, and if there was just a loco involved without a shunter the fireman/secondman would take that role. In some locations it would be necessary to come to understanding with the signalman as to the shunting to be undertaken (for example, if the shunting in progress would prevent the acceptance of an arriving train into a reception road) but in others that was unnecessary.
  7. Having sworn and cursed on more than a few occasions, I eventually developed a method which is relatively simple and works well. Firstly I create the trapezoidal sides of the roof, with adequate support to ensure that they are stable and at the correct angle, but marginally, say 1mm, under length. Then I create the ends in a slightly thicker material, eg 30 thou if the sides were 20 thou, cutting them marginally oversize to start with and then trimming them until they will just pass into the triangular openings at each end, noting that they will probably end up marginally different sizes and thus need orientation markings. I then drill or punch a few holes in each of these ends. Then I cut two triangular pieces of, say, 20 thou which are perhaps 3 mm wider than the marked ends and weld them to these ends, the holes facilitating a good flow of solvent. When properly dry, these are added to the appropriate ends of the roof using plentiful amounts of solvent. Finally when these joints have dried thoroughly the ridges resulting from the oversize lips can be sanded down and one ends up with a nice stable hipped roof.
  8. Down road Three aspect G/Y/R plus miniature aspect Y plus theatre route indicator 4/3/2/1 sited immediately prior to the first crossover encountered. Up road Three aspect G/Y/R sited at exits from platforms 4 and 1. Three miniature aspect G/Y/R sited at exits from sidings 3 and 2 (which would be trapped). Four aspect Y/G/Y/R sited at exit from branch on to up local line. Motor-worked floodlit round red disc sited immediately before crossover facing to trains shunting back into platforms or sidings from the up road (no route indicator). The southernmost platform would be platform 4, then sidings 3 and 2, then platform 1 alongside Katharine Street. The miniature aspect signals are the same as the other signals in general dimensions but have a partially obscured lens. The crossovers near the buffer stops would be worked by a 4-lever ground frame sited between the two sidings, two levers being the (electrical) release from East Croydon box, the other two levers working the actual crossovers, probably mechanically. There would be a shunting bell by the lever frame.
  9. That certainly looks an excellent position for it. However, I am not quite sure why ice would be being delivered to a tube station, can I suggest positioning a pedestrian on the pavement apparently talking up to the driver.
  10. The attached pdf shows the 1954 diagram for the new Gloucester Road Junction box plus the various East and West Croydon and Norwood area boxes. This was prior to the inauguration of the new box at East Croydon in 1955. Norwood_1954.01D.pdf
  11. A Traction Inspector who was almost invariably either a current or a former (having switched to the TSSA) member of ASLEF and who knew how his cards were marked, so not an actual SC/LDC rep but still a true drivers' representative whose views would be acted on. (There was almost no NUR membership among SR electric train drivers - a fact which had led to the unusual situation in 1955 of a skeleton steam service being provided on certain electrified routes.) There was a tendency among some railway managers (usually former graduate trainees who weren't quite making the grade) to treat the Unions, and especially ASLEF, with disdain. However, I remember being told by one of tutors, while serving a three month "sentence" at The Grove in 1975, that, if you treated Union reps with proper respect and listened carefully to their views, they could be some of the most useful people on the railway, certainly more useful than the average middle manager (who often had their own axe to grind), and, indeed, that was my subsequent experience.
  12. Maybe my memory is failing but I have a vague recollection that the roof pitch might have been slightly different too, given that the Airfix wagon was of a standard BR design based closely on, but not a precise copy of, the GWR design, although by probably not so much as to worry about on a model.
  13. You clearly don't realise how powerful ASLEF were on the Southern then, they even dictated the colour that the insides of driving cabs were to be painted (very pale green). The point about the platform starters is simply that they had, at least, to have colour light distants (as both I and you have described) and once one had provided any colour light aspects (and the power supply for them) it was cheaper to provide a full aspect signal - it wasn't done at normal fringe locations because one had to have a final semaphore signal somewhere at the fringe but this wouldn't have been a normal fringe location because it would have been the first signal that trains starting from the terminus encountered - it might well, in fact, have been the only signal before trains joined the up local line (which would address some of the potential workload issues that Oldudders mentioned since East Croydon would have had to control the junction anyway). Once one accepts that, the provision of one single motorised semaphore at the entry throat to the terminus, even ignoring sighting committee issues (and you would have been a brave man to have ignored them), would have been a nonsense. It wasn't done at Coulsdon North (and a colour light signal was provided as West Croydon A's outer home too) and it wouldn't have been done here. I have added a pdf of East Croydon's 1955 signalling below but note that significant changes were made not long afterward to further increase capacity including the removal of the middle siding, bi-directional working of the easternmost line to/from South Croydon and the ability to route trains on the down local through platform 1 while another service turned back in platform 2. The last nearly led to a very serious accident in the early 1980s when a change of mind on the part of a signalman led to a down train being confronted with a red (and, more importantly, a conflicting movement) after the previous aspect had been double yellow - something that the locking should have prevented but didn't. East_Croydon_1955.01D3.pdf
  14. I think that you have forgotten the quite minor matter of distant signals. Both platform starting signals at a Croydon Central with a separate semaphore box would require colour light distants below the stop arms so might as well be full colour light signals, and, as regards the home, while it was obviously commonplace for semaphore homes to follow on from multiple aspect signalling (which provided their distant), doing so for one signal would not only be considered poor practice but would probably prove unacceptable to the (powerful) ASLEF reps on the sighting committee.
  15. Yes, I do think that it would have been as hard and fast as that simply because it was a (very) short terminal stub, had it lead somewhere (cf. West Croydon) semaphore signalling would have been retained. Even without considering the ongoing manning costs of a Croydon Central box (even single-manned you would have needed at least three posts), the capital cost of installing equipment to interface between the two (c/l East Croydon, semaphore Croydon Central) boxes would probably have been greater than the cost of installing c/l signals (and point motors, although they might well have been installed even with semaphore signalling, while track circuits would have been required to work TCB anyway). (If the line had led somewhere, the interface would have been required anyway either before or after Croydon Central so its cost wouldn't have been an issue.) The Croydon Central situation wouldn't have been very different to that of the Coulsdon North terminal platforms which were, of course, included in the scheme. Incidentally, I doubt whether it would have been much different if Croydon Central had been retained just as a parcels terminal (i.e. not available for passenger trains) although the terminal throat itself would probably have been worked by hand levers, perhaps concentrated in a shunting cabin, perhaps not, with just the reception and departure roads being track-circuited and having subsidiary c/l signals governing access from and to the main running lines (cf. Lovers Walk, Brighton, although that was a twenty year older scheme, of course).
  16. If it still existed Croydon Central in 1985 would have recently have had its second generation of colour-light signalling installed and almost certainly the run-round loops would have gone (although I suppose stabling sidings might have been retained*). First generation colour-light signalling would have been installed c1953, probably controlled from East Croydon box although Croydon Central again might have had its own, but at least one run-round loop would have been retained for parcels traffic (which would probably have been an important user of the station). It is rather ironic that most RMweb forum posts are about colour-light signalling installations at dates which are far too early for the suggested fictitious location to have been considered for them, whereas here you are asking about semaphore signalling at a date several decades after colour-light signalling would undoubtedly have been installed! Incidentally, your London-end siding with facing access is extremely unlikely (although not totally impossible, particularly with a mid-1980s new installation), historically nobody liked unnecessary facing connections. * They were originally stabling sidings, not run round loops, and I rather doubt whether the one on the departure (north) side ever was a run round loop.
  17. I use artist's gloss acrylic varnish, varnishing the lead balls and then letting the varnish half-dry before pushing the balls into place. The varnish is readily available almost anywhere that sells artists' materials and comes in reasonably priced small bottles which seem to last, in both senses of the word, almost indefinitely. I apply it with a small brush which is then washed out using washing up liquid and warm water.
  18. In the old days I used to sometimes bump into Don at the Manchester Model Railway Society Christmas show and we would always quip about what a good show it had to be (and, of course, was) to bring him all the way down from Scotland and me all the way up from the South Coast.
  19. You might be right about the Southern, I don't know, but the point I did try to get over was that they would normally only be provided where there was some problem in giving the relevant hand signal, usually because of the position of the signal box. In those days nobody, including the Southern, spent money unnecessarily.
  20. For shunting ahead into a single line (and it would be a common practice in at least one direction at just about every signalled station on a single line), the provision of a "shunt ahead" arm under the main arm on the starting signal was probably far more useful than providing an advanced starting signal and would have had a much lower cost. The main advantage of providing such a signal was that it authorised movements which would otherwise have required a hand signal from the signalman and at some stations the siting of the signal box might have made that difficult and/or time-consuming. Both starting and shunt ahead signals would share much the same interlocking, although they would obviously (except at some ER/NER locations) be locked to be mutually exclusive pulls, and any electric locking with the single line instrument (by no means universal especially historically) would differ. There were probably many, many more locations with a shunt ahead arm than an advanced starting signal, but even so most single line passing stations would have had neither.
  21. At the moment, the clumps of trees look as if they are almost equally spaced out whereas the reality of nature would favour a more random distribution with more trees clumped together. Can I suggest something like that shown in the attached illustration with clump 2 moved towards single tree 3, and clump 6 moved towards single tree 5, in both cases forming a fairly open clump not dissimilar to clump 4. This would actually give better viewing spaces. Given that there is in reality a near-continuous line of trees, I would add a similar near-continuous line of low-level bushes, some over-hanging the river, to fill the gaps between the trees while retaining good viewing of the layout.
  22. The WR seems to have been quite careless with its signal box keys as I acquired several, including a GWR example, when my late father-in-law, a former bobby on Reading panel, passed on. I also acquired a set of GWR flags (albeit well-used), a number of hand lamps (of which I still have aa well-restored GWR example) and a pilotman's BR(W) arm band. Talking of hand lamps, they would not only be kept by an opening window but, at night, lit and with the red glass already in the lens, and placed with the lens against the wall so that the light couldn't be seen until it was needed. A late friend, a bobby at Feltham in the 1950s, was working a busy night shift when he realised that a train was charging along a head shunt towards a substantial concrete stop clearly under the impression that they had come out onto a parallel running line where indeed a stick was off for an approaching passenger train. He always said that he acted instinctively at the time and just pushed the lamp straight out through the glass window, there was no time to open it. Fortunately the crew saw it and stopped in time. He always reckoned that he was the only person on the railway with a commendation recorded for breaking a signal box window.
  23. Just to prove that there is nothing new under the sun, I remember receiving exactly the same advice from George Slater personally some sixty years ago, even though the composition of Mekpak has changed considerably in the intervening period and no longer contains MEK if I remember rightly. Do check that the solvent doesn't affect your print though, inkjet printers weren't around in those days.
  24. I certainly remember seeing in the 1960s diagrams where track-circuit occupancy (or rather non-occupancy) was indicated by eye-ball indicators rather than lamps. What I can't now remember is whether any of them were in ex-GWR boxes but it seems likely.
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