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Glen Arriff

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  1. This is true. I reckon that it was largely due to the supine nature of railway regulation in NI. The GB Inspector of Railways made the rules for the companies. The NI regulation was largely ineffective and sometimes downright unsafe - see Coakham on the Ballymacarrett accident. I imagine, though I cannot be sure, that the companies in NI simply bought their material from GB suppliers and after a certain point it came with yellow arms so they standardised on that as best practice. I could be wrong of course. If they had made yellow a regulation in NI as it was in GB then I suppose all companies like the Swilly or the SLNCR would have had to comply for NI track, and that didn't happen as far as I know. The modelling consequences are that we can do pretty well as we please. For semaphores anyway - lower quadrant unless it is Larne, somersaults for the rest of the NCC, and colours as we see fit for whatever era suits. As for small cross border set ups, anything goes. If really you want a signalling free-for-all, try the Bangor line where there was at least one of everything (even most shunting signals).
  2. Trying again with the photo of Ennis on 1 August 2008
  3. The arms installed by the CIE S&T department were slightly tapered outwards towards the end as Compound recalls. Reflective surfaces were used towards the end as required for sighting purposes. They had quite a distinctive look and were unlike anything in GB or NI. They were all lower quadrant. As the direction for GB distant signals to be yellow took place after independence, it was not applied as a requirement south of the border. CIE signal arms were not distinguished by colour in the way that British ones were, and they went even further their own way when reflective surfaces started to be applied to some of them. Distant signals in NI followed suit with GB and converted to yellow distants with a black chevron. As for the companies like CDR, Swilly, DNGR and so forth I, often wonder what colour their lower quadrant distant arms were as the photos are usually black and white. For instance, what did the GNR(I) do on either side of the border? The Sligo Leitrim just dotted various ancient designs of signal around as they took the notion. The reflective coating applied to some CIE distants and gate signals was a yellow/orange shade on the outer section beyond the white chevron. The yellow outer and red inner reflective coatings were a bit pearlescent and seemed to be slightly different shades in certain light conditions. Apart from the outer portion the rest of the CIE distant arm remained technically red, but the red reflective version had an orange or pink look under certain light. Reflective home signals would also be different shades of red as only the inner part might be reflective (I would post a photo but I cannot get it to work). NIR also used reflective coatings in some cases to improve conspicuity. The down distant at Dunmurry was an early one to have a reflective coating applied. That definitely looked yellow and black to me in all light conditions. CIE shunting signals were generally round discs apart from some ex-GNR(I) rotating ones and some really old rotating indicators (as at Loughrea and Dunsandle for instance). Gate signals generally followed the distant fishtail pattern with the stop board mounted on the gates, but some were fully signalled on busier lines. At the other end of the scale were ancient double armed gate signals on the Burma Road, the North Kerry and elsewhere. So the vast majority of Irish mechanical signals were lower quadrant semaphores. Exceptions were the somersaults on the NCC, plus the few upper quadrants as noted. Then there were the Sykes banner signals on the Bangor line, one platform starter at GV St in Belfast, and a few other places. The UTA also put one somersault signal in at Queens Quay. The NCC was responsible for signalling policy on the CDRJC, though it remained standard lower quadrant territory. However, I seem to recall that the starting signal at the old CDR station in Derry (which was pulled off when the business which used the site in the 1970s was open) was a somersault. That is getting a bit off topic.
  4. Larne Harbour (not Larne Town which kept somersaults while it remained a block post) was resignalled with Upper Quadrants in 1932. The whole place was resignalled by the NCC to bring the former narrow gauge platform into use as a second platform for standard gauge trains. The UTA installed a pair of electrically operated automatic upper quadrant signals in each direction between Sydenham and Holywood. These had pointed ends to indicate automatic operation. As the UTA did not have any upper quadrant signal arms in stock they took old lower quadrant ones, reversed the colours in the spectacles and moved the lamps and the arm pivot to suit. These survived into the late 1960s at least.
  5. The broken bits were lying in the boxes before I lifted the locos out. I couldn't work out what they were at first and I thought they might be spare air pipes until I found those in the bag. Strange that it happened twice and both at the cab end where it can be noticed, especially on the Supertrain livery after it came apart again and got lost. Not so noticable on the black loco and it has stayed intact anyway as it only broke in one place. Only later did I notice that the broken bits in the other two boxes were in fact the vacuum pipes. If I had been quick enough, or devious enough, I would have taken the pipe off the one sent back to Hattons, but I did not understand where the broken bits came from until too late. The missing axle ends were not in the box and must never have been fitted. The actual handrail on the fourth one was OK but the plastic pin moulded on the end was missing. Gluing that to the body at the cab end was easy and it stayed glued. I can switch part of the layout to DC which I usually do for a first test and the difference in speed was apparent from the start. That isn't so unusual as runing in usually helps plus some lubrication, but I never had it so bad. Then again, if I was not running them as a pair I might never have noticed. In the end I used two of Murphy chips and two others which I programmed up myself. They are all from the same original manufacturer and all come with the same straight line non-logarithic default speed table. It is a footery business customising them, but it works. So far running in hasn't changed anything. I have done similar things with the Bachmann Mogul and the OO Works GNR 0-6-0 but those were mild tinkering jobs. The Hornby skew motor under my MetroVicks and Birmingham Sulzers need taming too but mostly all these are about sticky starting. The 121s were first Murphy product I have had which needed reprofiling. All my other central motor and flywheel types are very progressive in relation to increasing voltage and current levels. Fine detail is great, but things like vacuum pipes and the under chassis pipes on the cement wagons are very easy to break. Well, if only one in a hundred are faulty then somewhere there are 399 which are fine. That thought is a comfort to me.
  6. You were unlucky. My experience must be the "froth" mentioned above. I ordered 4 also from Hattons. All four had faults. One had no axle bearings on one bogie. Hattons said to return it, and then refunded my money as they had sold all their stock. They said it was a limited edition and they had no chance of getting replacment parts. That was a blow as it was one of a pair and nobody else I could think of had one. Eventually found it in Kernow but it cost a lot more there. The other three had various faults - two had broken vacuum pipes and horns and one broken hand rails. I contacted Hattons and said that I was reluctant to send them back if all they were going to do was refund and those ones were sold out everywhere. They said that I could glue them back together and they would graciously agree that this would not invalidate the guarantee if anything else went wrong. One of them needed three joints and later fell apart with the bits lost in my ballast somewhere. The fourth one had broken handrails with Hattons again suggesting that I could bodge it up. Faced with that or sending it back for a refund I had to do it. When the one arrived from Kernow, number 5, it was the only one with no faults. So much for the great packaging for the broken bits, but the missing rotating bearings were an assembly fault. The axles were sticking out of the bogies, so that one had to go back. Luckily I now have all four, even if one has only the vertical bit of the vacuum pipe left. I waited ten years for a 121 model so perhaps I should be grateful. The pair I run in multiple have very different speed profiles and I had to do a lot of trial and error re-programming of the DCC chips to stop one pulling the other at low speed and the reverse effect at high speed. The other two are different too, but I do not used them in multiple as they represent the pre-1975 state and were not yet fitted to run in multiple then. Apart from that, they are perfect.
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