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t-b-g last won the day on November 26 2011

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  1. That was an exercise well worth doing. It does look so much better modified like that.
  2. I did once operate a layout where the full set of bell codes was in use. Several moves required "blocking back" codes and there were some trains that had either banking engines or other things that needed more than just the basics. It made my brain hurt.
  3. I only operated one of Chris Matthewman's layouts once, many years ago, for a short while so I can't remember how they did it but it would seem logical to me to turn the light back to red when a train set off, so it gave a "train on line" indication. So green only ever means "I am ready for the next train". Red always means "I am busy with something so you can't send me anything". This is where the two way switches and lights work, as both operators need to know the the other one is ready. No doubt somebody will find a flaw in the idea but I can't see one!
  4. I am trying to remember the very simple light system that the late Chris Matthewman had on his layouts. From memory, there were switches at each operating position, which simply changed a light from green to red at the other end. So if you were busy with something, you left your switch on red, which showed a red light at the next station. As soon as you were finished and ready for the next move, you put the light to green. If your switch was set to green (giving a green light at the other end) and you had a green light (given by the switch at the other end) it meant tha
  5. I loved it but I don't think Ken ever approved. There were a few punters watching who might have been on the point of calling for the men in the white coats too. Seeing us shouting "ding ding" up and down the layout may have set the image of the hobby back several decades.
  6. If somebody asked me to memorise 64 different codes before I could work their layout they would be looking for another operator. Although I am a big fan of bells, I also firmly believe that just the basic call attention, train code, train entering section and train out of section are enough on a model. Operating a model shouldn't be so complex that it stops people enjoying themselves.
  7. The layout I learned to work block instruments on had a very simple device of a paperclip hanging on the arm of the bell striker. You would hear a bell, look up and whichever one had a paperclip that was still twitching was the one that had rung. As somebody has mentioned, on Buckingham there is a very simple electrical circuit for the 4 bells at Grandborough Junction. It involves a capacitor which stores the juice. When a bell is rung, it discharges the capacitor and lights a LED, to indicate which one has rung. I only have one instrument at the station rigged up so fa
  8. I had wondered about a latching relay to go from bell to light mode. You could operate it from the "other end" so that the switch happens when the first bell is acknowledged. A contact on the block instrument could cancel the relay when the instrument is changed from "train on line" to "line blocked" after the 2-1 train out of section is acknowledged.
  9. That sounds very much like my kind of model railway!
  10. One of the big problems on a layout like that is finding a like minded large enough bunch of people who are a) capable of running a layout that way and b) want to do it on a regular basis. I know one chap who had a layout that would have been ideal for 5 or 6 operators but he mostly ran it by himself and found it very hard work and ultimately not very enjoyable. Gainsborough is an interesting example as they do operate it regularly every week, so they gain the experience, confidence and skill to run a railway like that. If you have a group of friends who would like to o
  11. On the big layout I used to operate regularly, I found that being able to hear the bells at other stations was a big help. If I was at station C and I heard station A offering an express to station B, I got a little bit of advance notice to clear my main lines as I was going to be offered something with 4 bells very soon. It would also tell me if the next operator was busy. For example, if I was at station C and had a train ready to send to station B but station B was exchanging bells with station A, I would wait until I heard 2-1 for train out of section before I calle
  12. Easy. Two buttons. Call attention rings a bell. When it is acknowledged, a second button flashes the lights. Or a two way switch marked bell/lights that allows one or the other to be activated. The same electricity could ring a bell or flash a light depending on which way it is set. If you have a bunch of operators who all like bells, you just use them but you have the option to make most of them silent if you want to.
  13. One of the layouts I have operated had 12 operating positions. 2 fiddle yards and 10 scenic areas. There were various junctions and routes that joined and split and some stations had 4 sets of block instruments and bells. It was on 3 levels, so at an operating position you were surrounded by bells coming from above, below and behind you as well as your own. It was where I learned to operate such things and I thought it was wonderful. Others visited and thought it was a nightmare. The whole hobby is about compromise and I never had a problem hearing the bell at the "othe
  14. In this hobby we all have things we like and things we don't. It used to annoy when people would say "I don't like such and such therefore it is a bad thing" when they are really just giving their personal opinion. Nowadays I just accept that some people see things like that. Block bells do tend to always bring the same "Marmite" reactions. Those who find them irritating and those who enjoy them. I am firmly in the second group, having operated several layouts with them and many without. A layout without them, where one operator has to ask the next one "Are you ready for the goods
  15. Masham and Tanfield it was. It was two separate layouts that were joined together just for exhibitions. They could be exhibited individually too. Probably about 1974/5 from memory. I was just a kid but I remember seeing this great long thin layout going most of the way across the school hall.
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