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TommyDodd

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Posts posted by TommyDodd


  1. .......Lots of solid facts.........

     

    It would appear that all the proposals for a line to Ullapool envisaged it being built as standard gauge. There are no references to narrow gauge for this line, though at least one other line was definitely to be built as narrow gauge.

     

    Thanks for a rapid, comprehensive response, (even if it wasn't necessarily what I was hoping to see). Oh, well...


  2. I understand the de-icing work is mostly now done by the MPV's. They probably could have been made available in time but whether or not the right decisions based upon the best possible information were made will need to be reviewed.

     

    I think the early onset of snow & ice is partly responsible. When the big falls came some areas (including mine) were still operating under special Autumn Operating Instructions (IE working TCB reg 3.5, CCTV/MCB crossings in manual raise, daily jetting trains) so the MPVs would still have been configured for rail-head treatment- though in our area RHTT duties have this year been 100% 66 that were in previous years undertaken by an MPV set and a top'n'tail 66 pairing.


  3. ........ got his wife on board and she has got him building ships.

     

    It's unusual, but can happen. This spring I took my other half to the model village at Bekonscot. When we arrived, she was very reluctant to consider even one building in the garden (my line is 16mm NG outdoors), but we left with a "To build" list, in her handwriting, that covered 2 sides of notepaper. Likewise a tidy-up of a cupboard a couple of months ago led to the discovery of a Lilliput HOe train-pack (U1 class and 3 Murtalbahn coaches). These were put on display in the living room (without my intervention or suggestion, I might add) and the 'to do' list now features a Murtalbahn-inspired portable layout as soon as we can agree on where it will live. Now I know how Doctor Frankenstein felt when he threw the switch and watched his creation lurch out into the world. I'm sure there are many of you who've wished for a bit more sympathy or even enthusiasm from your other half when trying to find home or budget for the hobby, but be careful what you wish for.....


  4. I dread to think how much I've spent on books over the years, but I suppose I've still got most of them. It would be difficult to pick a favourite, but my best effort at a selection would be...

     

    NOSTALGIA/"THEY WERE THE DAYS"

     

    The already-mentjoned Vaughan "Signalman's" trilogy gets a mention for helping me while away many a long nightshift. I should also mention David St J Thomas's "The Country Railway"- an excellent window into how the railway fit into the world around it. In similar vein "With the LNER in the 20s" by Humphrey Household and "Milk Churns to Merry go Round" are autobiographical tales of railways past that really put you right there.

     

    LOCOMOTIVE

     

    A tricky category- there are indifferent books on favourite subjects, and excellent books on subjects I wouldn't normally be interested in. David Wardale's "The Red Devil and other tales from the age of steam" isn't really suited to casual, relaxed dipping into- it's technical in the extreme and quite heavy going, but superbly done and very informative (it covers his attempts to modernise steam locos in South Africa, China and elsewhere). John van Reimsdijk's "The Compound Locomotive" is a beautiful, well-researched, readable and persuasive book on a subject not usually covered in any detail. In the "modern" field, two American books I particularly like are "When the Steam Railroads Electrified" and Noel T Holley's magnificent "The Milwaukee Electrics", the latter a brilliant work which covers all the technical detail while remaining well-written and readable.

     

    PROFESSIONAL/OFFICIAL

    I like official publications, as well as commercial products written for railway professionals. Rules and regulations can be hard work, but there are a few gems out there which are both well illustrated and interesting. I particularly like the GWR's 1947 (I think) general appendix, complete with colour guide to signals, and all kinds of useful photos and diagrams, from the correct way to load a wagon with planks to operation of slip-coach coupling mechanisms. Also worth a look is the Southern's "Signalman's General Instructions" which unusually for SGIs is not just reams of rules, but also a fully illustrated user's guide to every bell, block, describer and token/tablet instrument they owned, in all their bewildering variety.

    OS Nock's "single line railways" is actually a manual of railway design construction and operation for the governments of newly independent former colonies. In similar vein there are a series of booklets by the UKRAS (UK railway advisory service) for the same market which are well worth finding, explaining some very technical stuff for the non-technical. Going back another 50 years there is a magnificent 8 volume epic "Modern Railway Working" which forms a complete guide to how to plan, build, equip and run a real railway- and which doesn't seem to cost the earth when it turns up in bookshops (I paid £60 for all 8 volumes, not so long ago).

    A similar 'how to' manual was published in 1 volume in 1896 dealing with light and narrow gauge railways, Mackay's "Light Railways". A replica appeared about 15 years ago in a limited edition-grab it if you see it, but I was very fortunate to find an original a couple of years ago, and treasure it- if I could rescue 1 book from a burning house that would be it.

     

    NARROW GAUGE- my particular interest.

    So many to choose from. In amongst the dense historical works and the fluffy photo albums, there are a few that stand out. Gratton & Band's "The Ashover Light Railway" is simply beautiful, and both Patrick Taylor's "The West Clare Railway" and Hendry & Hendry's "The Manx Northern Railway" are for me examples of how a line history should be done, perfect blends of fact and flavour. Other outstanding titles are both by L G Marshall, "Indian narrow gauge steam remembered" and "Spanish Narrow Gauge steam remembered". These are photo albums, but particularly good ones with excellent, informative captions and quality shots of fascinating subjects.

     

     

    MODELLING

    Lots of good stuff out there these days, but for me 3 that don't just inform but inspire are:

    How to Operate your Railroad- Bruce Chubb. An American book from the 70s, this is an informative, readable step by step guide to taking a layout and turning it into a railway that functions just like the real thing.

    The Living Model Railway- R P Hendry: Operations again, with a british flavour. Does exactly what it says on the tin, talking you through a layout which models not just what a railway looks like but what it 'is', using models to simulate the real thing as closely as possible.

    A Garden Railway Adventure- Nick Trudgian. Pure inspiration, as the owner and creator tells the beautifully illustrated story of one of the finest garden railways in existence.


  5. Decisions, decisions........

     

    I love Oxenholme, for its beautiful setting, architecture and sheer atmosphere- to me it still retains the timeless feel of a main line junction in the middle of nowhere, a place that only exists to allow you to change into the branch train (which, mirabile dictu, still runs). Another favourite is Knaresborough, period atmosphere in a lovely setting, complete with gates, semaphores and that unique signalbox. Beverley and Bridlington still ooze NER spirit, complete with tile maps. It's easy to mourn what's gone, but this thread shows how lucky we are there is still so much left to enjoy.


  6. An 07 should be suitable (see link below). BR 07s were Ruston model LSSE, identical to the LSSH apart from the transmission system (electric instead of hydraulic). The only thing to look out for is the number of wheels. THe ruston classification took into account loco size & power and transmission system but didn't differentiate between wheel arrangements. LSSE meant Locomotive, 275hp, standard gauge, electric transmission and was available as an 040 or 060 depending on what the customer needed.

     

    http://www.silverfoxmodels.co.uk/shunters_trams/british_rail_class_07_Ruston_0-6-0_shunter.htm


  7. Over the last few years, we haven't had that many really snowy winters, though it feels rather ironic typing that right now. For me, the opportunity to run and take photos in the snow is a rare treat and one to be taken full advantage of. I'd always been jealous of those of my fellow 16-millers organised enough to have built working ploughs in time to use them. Last christmas I finally managed it, had tremendous fun clearing the track the old-fashioned way and look forward to doing the same again this winter (score so far, 40 yards cleared, numerous derailments and 1 broken coupling). I just wondered what everyone else thought and did.

     

    [Edited to correct a spelling mistake]


  8. Or the post could be short enough to allow the signal to be seen through the bridge hole - as was the case in umpteen places. And indeed numerous examples of GWR signals placed on the left of the line to which they applied. Moving the signal further away from the points (as did sometimes happen) introduces a need for track circuits and they were none too common on West Country branch lines.

     

     

     

     

    Maybe all the pointwork at that end moved when the line was extended - perhaps in order to keep it nearer to the new 'box on the platform?

     

     

     

     

    They seem to have managed ok at Tavistock for 70 years, with virtually the same arrangement as in the plan in the OPwink.gif

     

     

     

     

    Apologies for slow response (shift change night-to-earlies over the weekend meant time and brain function were in limited supply). Taking those points in order:

     

    A short post peeping through would also be a valid alternative, if the location allowed (too far to the left and the bridge abutment would mask the arm, too far to the right fouls the structure gauge) though I wouldn't fancy being a driver on that line- place yourself on the footplate of an up goods, class J or K, and imagine having creep your way towards that signal with all that weight behind you . I hope I didn't come over too didactic (I did use the word "might" in my first post) and sound like I was asserting that these things Must Be Done, but the combination of overbridge, restricted view ahead (the presence of a cutting is implied by the overbridge) sharp right hand curve and a right hand drive loco flags up signal sighting as a potential issue. My suggested alternatives were exactly that, suggestions. The quickest, easiest answer wouid simply be for the layout builder to get down to drivers' eye level, squint along the track and see for himself, and I think it would be time well spent

     

    Second point, moving the pointwork at the town end: Possible, yes but plausible, no. Why on earth would any railway go to the time and trouble of a relay and resignalling and while doing so shorten a passing loop by a good few feet? The presence of the bridges at either end of the station suggest that this is not naturally level ground-every square foot flat enough to lay track on has been expensively dug out, and in that situation they wouldn't have built one inch more than they thought they needed. Then, having expensively won those extra few feet of loop length, would they casually throw them away? I doubt it, at least during the era in which this line is set (ask me again in the early 70s if the line survives).

    In the end, I have to admit my gut reaction to the "old" box was that it just looked wrong. I've done my best to explain why it does, and you've done your best to provide a logical rationale for why it would be there; a well reasoned rationale but one that just doesn't convince me- that box still looks wrong to me. It's not my railway, but if it was and I was faced with the choice of explaining away something questionable or doing away with it I know which I'd pick given the choice.

     

    Your reference to Tavistock is 100% accurate, but I think misses my point. I'm not cricticising the location of his intended platform box, far from it.. As I said-"If I was signalling the layout from a clean sheet I would ........ put a single box where your platform box is". What I was trying to say was that a single box at the mid point of the loop (IE inside the overall roof) would have been completely impractical for sighting reasons, as part of a rationale for the station having 2 boxes at one part of its life. The OP's plan is set in the time between nationalisation and Beeching, but the author wants (as indicated by the existence of his suggested out-of-use) box to suggest the location's history by modelling the remains of earlier eras. The history of this location, according to the OP, would divide naturally into 3 phases: 1) as built as a terminus 2) as first rebuilt as a through line and 3) as modernised with the single platform box, the model being set in phase 3 but with the remains of earlier phases visible. Phase 1 signalling we have already dealt with- 1 box at the town end (though we differ on its location), phase 3 is as drawn (1 operational box on the up platform). I was explaining why I thought phase 2 signalling would almost certainly have required 2 boxes, giving a rationale for an "out of use" box to be modelled at what appears to me to be a more suitable location.

     

     

     


  9. First, the good news. Even without reading your post a quick glance at the track plan told me "early west country branch with Brunellian overall roof", so you're on target for suggesting the atmosphere you want. I've read through the suggestions and agree with them, and have only 2 to add.

     

    1) The Up home (assuming trains go down to the terminus and up to the junction) might be a bit awkward for sighting, that close to the road bridge abutments (bearing in mind the GW placed their signals assuming right-hand drive locos). 2 possible alternatives are

    i) Move it "outside" the bridge, which would aid conspicuity. It could then be made even easier to spot by either painting a white square behind it on the bridge or giving it a "sky arm", a post tall enough to give the arm a clear sky background. The downside be that a train stood there might be out of sight of the signalbox, and unable to observe hand signals for shunting movements (making additional ground-discs necessary)

    ii) Leave it where it is and improve its visibility by either giving it a co-acting sky arm visible to approaching trains a good way off, or providing a banner somewhere beyond the bridge (which might not even be on the modelled portion of railway, but we'd know it was there...)

     

    2) The position of your old, out of use signalbox is a bit odd, remote from the station and only just in operating range of its associated pointwork. If I was signalling the layout from a clean sheet I would (depending on period) either put a single box where your platform box is, or have two, one at 6'8" along x 1'"8 in and the other at 17' x 1'. In the days before track circuits, boxes were placed as close to the points they controlled as possible, to a) shorten rodding runs making points easier to operate and less vulnerable to changes in temperature and B) more importantly, give the signalman as good a view as possible of any shunting operations over points he controlled- it's surprisingly easy, in the absence of sophisticated safety equipment, to swing the road under a movement. With a terminus you only have to worry about the points at one end of the layout so my first suggested position would have sufficed for the layout at that stage, but when the extension opens you hit a snag. Originally BoT regulations would not allow a facing point to be further from it's controlling signalbox than 110 yards, that's 1320mm or 4'4" in 4mm scale, and you had to have a good view of every point under your direct control. Some stations managed a long loop from a single box by placing it halfway along the loop, but that would be impractical in this case- that lovely overall roof would spoil the view. The only alternatives are i) control the country end points from a ground frame (usually beneath the GWR's dignity, though they did resort to it on odd occasions, such as Yelverton), or provide a second box at the location suggested, on the opposite side of the line to the first. Companies did that, where practical, to allow both sides of the train to be frequently examined for defects by signalmen as they passed by. Your platform box would date from much later, when improvements in rodding allowed the maximum reach to be increased to 180, then eventually 300 yards (for mechanical points- electric points have no limit), enabling the company to manage with 1 box instead of 2.

    SO the upshot of all that waffle is that if you really want both old and new boxes the best place for the old one would be at the country end of the station, on the up side (I would expect that the original town-end box would have been demolished on abolition, since it would get in the way of shunting and yard work). Since this box would have been smaller, having less pointwork to control, this gives you an opportunity to strongly suggest location and age by modelling a small pokey structure from an earlier age, say a GWR type 1 or something stone-built by the Bristol and Exeter.

     

    Hope you find the above useful, or at least mildly interesting.


  10. That's a tiny turn table Mickey.....................................I guess that it's about 6inches long? Just about enough to turn a pannier?

     

    The Princetown turntable, and its twin at Yelverton (junction with the Plymouth-Tavistock-Launceston branch) were not provided for regular turning of locomotives at all, but solely to turn the snowplough when it visited the line. The Princetown branch was vulnerable to drifting snow, being high on Dartmoor, and since it served the prison of the same name (and was one of the few branchlines to be built with a government subsidy, since that was the only way to get the GW to serve the prison) it was considered particularly important to be kept running in poor weather.


  11. I can give you two examples in Lincolnshire, one urban and one rural:

     

    The Lincoln Corporation Tramway (at around 2 miles one of if not the shortest municipal electric tramway in the country) ran down the High Street, crossing two main railway lines on the level, the GCR on the approach to St Marks' station (closed 1985, station now an Argos, unusual octagonal brick single storey gate-box survives as a burger bar) and the surviving GNR line 300 yards further north. This crossing was controlled by HIgh St (GN) box (which still stands, out of use since summer 2008) and unusually controlled the trams with a pair of somersault arms facing up and down the road.

     

    Further afield, the GNR's Willoughby to Sutton on Sea branch had a road level crossing on the outskirts of Sutton called "Tramway Crossing". The line wasn't the first to reach the small resort town, for in 1883 there opened the 2'6" gauge Alford and Sutton Tramway, which operated a steam-hauled street running line for both passenger and goods services. Sadly, the opening of the standard gauge in 1889 took away the bulk of the tramway's traffic and it closed that same year, but the gate-box controlling the level crossing was never renamed, and was thus known as "Tramway Crossing" right up until the line closed in October 1970.

     

    Further afield, one of the most impressive bits of level crossing equipment I've ever seen was where the LILO (Linz local railway) crossed a city centre street on the approach to the lokalbahnhof. This modern electrified light railway (a tramway with attitude, and some interesting old locos) had to cross a road used by 'trackless trams' (as trolleybuses were originally known). Now, the trouble with trolleybuses is that since they don't have metal rails to complete the electric circuit they have to have a pair of overhead wires (and points and crossings at route junctions- a veriatble railway in the sky) so it would be impossible to have all the knitting at the crossing at the same voltage. The solution used was to run the Lokalbahn wire slightly lower and have a series of flat S-shaped steel bars attached to it and electrically live, holding their cars' pantographs down clear of the trolleybus wires while leaving a gap for their poles. The line has since been diverted into the town's main station (Hauptbahnhof) and I don't think that crossing exists anymore, so I'm glad to have seen it when I had the chance.


  12. Hello, one and all. I found this site last night at work, trawling on the Network Rail intranet forum and spent the rest of the quiet bits of the nightshift browsing (from which you'll have gathered that I play trains for a living- signalman for the last 19 years, mostly traditional but now computerised SSI). I'm into all aspects of railways; main line, branch, light, tram, narrow gauge or industrial, any era, any motive power, and any company or even country. I've done a fair bit of travelling in the last few years in search of narrow gauge and steam activity in Eastern Europe (though getting married last year put a dent in the gricing and modelling budgets). Modelwise, my own line is 16mm scale narrow gauge in the garden, using live steam, though I also occasionally participate in the "by the rulebook" operation of a friend's coarse-scale O gauge layout. Apart from the live steam, my specialist interests are prototypical signalling (naturally) and operating practice (currently working on adapting an American style car-card & waybill freight forwarding system for my line). Well, that's the introduction done. Now, if you'll excuse me I'm off outside to steam a loco to push my working snowplough around the railway before all that lovely white stuff melts!

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