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The Stationmaster

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The Stationmaster last won the day on October 19

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    A long and catholic interest in railways but especially operations and signalling and not put off by over 40 years in or associated with the industry in Britain and abroad. Also enjoy photography, some DIY, gardening and travel.

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  1. And it doesn't look like some sort of fairground ride either - which the TPE one definitely does!
  2. In reality is' more or less an exact copy of what was done at Eurostar only using different names. First Class accommodation is divided into two with (on Eurostar) a massive difference in catering and various freebies between the two newly created 'classes'. On West Coast the naming is different (as no doubt is 'the offer' to each grade of accommodation) so teh sales pitch will also differ. Makes more sense for the WCML version to be pushed as Premium Economy because it will probably have a much larger market for Standard Class upgrades.
  3. However that implies the highest road speed at the crossing would be that of a horse galloping - so 15mph limit for road users. Job done, trains back to line speed.
  4. Thanks Phil - I was obviously looking in the wrong place (I blame the index, again). The interesting question of course is when did TC indications first begin to appear on diagrams? The earliest I can trace with any certainty are in the 1930s when it appears that the original single white light to indicate an occupied track circuit was first used - it could possibly have been used even earlier than that. The two red lights in a single lozenge shaped cut out would seem to have come some time later. I suspect that Wolvercote Jcn might not be a very good example as it was a wartime job being altered in 1942 when the Down Loop from Oxford North Jcn was added. Incidentally the change of style would not have depended on the size of the installation but would have been governed by the date on which the Drawing Office Instruction was issued. One of the biggest losses to the student of GWR signalling is that a comprehensive list of Drawing Office Instructions - let alone example of them - never seems to have come to light where they're accessible the enthusiast world. They were the GWR, and subsequently WR, equivalent of Signalling Principles and also covered such things as interlocking standards but over the years I have only learnt a few oddments from the people who used them and have never seen any of the written versions.
  5. Typical Reading stores effort on replacement buffers I wonder if the Fitters did it on purpose?
  6. Doing a lot of delving through old photos I think it might well be Chester General although something doesn't quite match over on the left.
  7. Yes, the original style of showing track circuited sections was a red centre line on the diagram drawn through the track circuited section of track. (I know that for a fact as I own a diagram which has track circuits shown in that manner. I don't know when the style changed but I'm fairly sure that it was sometime between the wars - it might be mentioned in one of Vaughan's books (one I haven't got). I wonder if the change came in when illuminated diagrams became compulsory for 'boxes with 5 or more track circuits? I think we can reasonably safely say that as long as Reading Drawing Office survived, in whatever form/location, WR diagram style in respect of track circuits did not change from the WR standard to the BR standard but it would need some dated diagrams to be certain of that. (The recent GWR Signalling Practice book appears not to cover the subject although its index is rather poor.)
  8. If we are going to see anything GWR I think it is only likely to be rolling stock this year with the prairie still coming up over the horizon somewhat behind booked time. A Collett restaurant car would be nice and a Collett full brake would be even nicer. but b no doubt we'll get what we get. If there are any hi-fi steam outline loco updatings I would have thought the Back 5, or even the 8F, are likely candidates with lots of permutations available and a potentially wide market that could run on for several years before tiring which has to be the way to go for hi-fi models. The real 'excitement' strikes me as more likely coming from something like a proper revamp of the Railroad sub-brand to help widen market appeal at more attractive price points and thus highly suitable for Hornby's new approach to franchise outlets and even pop-up shops etc. That's the area they look to be determined to promote as part of widening their market base and attracting increased entry level customers so I won't be in the least surprised if they have a go at it (at long last).
  9. The (G)WR Route Availability disc system/Power Group codes continued in everyday use until introduction of the new BR Freight Train Loads system in 1968. However passenger train (Note *) loads on the GWR/WR had long been expressed in trailing load tons listed by class (or a grouping of classes) of engine and the first GWR Passenger Train loads Book was published in January 1927. Note * : - The original Instruction referred to passenger, fish, parcels, and empty stock trains. (milk trains and newsaper trains were counted as passenger trains).
  10. Yes - not at all unusual to have 4ft arms reading into bay platforms at both termini and through stations in GWR days. As far as the lock(ing) bars are concerned the use of two inside bars on the switch rails definitely happened and there are photos around which show it - including some surviving on lines which closed in the late '50s/very early '60s. I suspect they might have been something of a maintenance headache but can't recall coming across anybody who spoke about having to look after them. Again it really depends on teh date and whether there had been problems with maintenance however I a would have expected that if one set of bars were replaced by track circuits the others would have been done at the same time
  11. The Bolton signals are the type supplied by the McKenzie, Holland and Westinghouse Power Signal Co Ltd a joint company formed in 1907 to carry on what had previously been a joint operation between the two parent companies (i.e. McKenzie & Holland and the Westinghouse Brake Company) which had first worked together on the Bishopsgate power signalling installation installation in 1899. The joint company was completely taken over by the Westinghouse Brake Co, in 1920 when it acquired certain assets of the Consolidated Signal Co. The takeover of the Consolidated signal Co also gave Westinghouse Brake Company control of Saxby & Farmer, McKenzie & Holland (England) plus two other overseas signalling companies. Westinghouse then changed the company name to the Westinghouse House Brake and Saxby signal Co but altered it to the Westinghouse Brake & Signal Co in 1935 The Bolton ground signal were therefore supplied by the joint company and not by the separate British Pneumatic Signal Company and four of them were installed at Slough Bath Road in 1913 as part of an installation the joint company supplied to the GWR (source GWR Magazine, 1913 - which also carried an advert for the joint company What is not clear is if the British Pneumatic Signal Co and the Pneumatic Electric and General Engineerin Company (which later became the Consolidated Signal Co) were one and the same - the year in which both companies were founded is the same but the former is mentioned in contract documents of later dates. What is clear however is that both the British Pneumatic Signal Co and McKenzie, Holland and Westinghouse Power Signal Co were installing signalling equipment of US origin after WWI and probably prior to that war.
  12. A bit of research in a 1901 Summer STT reveals the following - A dated MFO Excursion from Portsmouth passing Reading West Jcn at 12/15 with a 5 minute stop at Oxford - destination not known but it ran beyond Oxford to 'somewhere'. It returned calling at Oxford, again for 5 minutes. not much over an hour later which suggests that it probably ran no further than Banbury or if it ran over a much longer distance it meant some unbalanced coach working. I suspect it was probably worked by a GWR engine north of Basingstoke. A Southampton and Leicester express running daily, via the DN&S to Didcot, 12 minute stop at Oxford, the southbound working - much later in the day - had only a 6 minute stop at Oxford with another 6 minute stop at Didcot. The times at Oxford in both directions would have been sufficient to change engines but I would think it more likely that a GCR engine didn't come onto the train south of Banbury and possibly not until Leicester - the 1910 Bradshaw might show if there was time for a GWR engine to get that far north. Interestingly there was a Paddington - Southampton 'Fast passenger' - presumably via the DN& S, but I don't have the relevant STTs beyond Reading. Leaping forward nearly half a century to the summer of 1947, so perhaps still suffering from wartime effects the following took place at Oxford - DOWN TRAINS SO 12.46 - 12.51 09.30 Bournemouth Central - Birmingham. Change engines FSO 13.13 - 13.21 09.32 Bournemouth West - Birkenhead. Change engines SX 22.30 - 23.00 21.40 Swindon - York) SO 22.50 - 2325 22.00 Swindon - York) Worked by an LNER engine DLY - see Sunday working below. SUN 16.28 - 16.40 10.50 Swansea - Sheffield. No doubt worked by an LNER engine from Swindon - long established working (but not there in 1901) UP TRAINS MX 00.57 - 01.30 20.10 Sheffield - Swindon. Note * MX 04.24 - 04.52. 22.00 York - Swindon and Bristol. Note *. One of these trains would be worked by an LNER engine and the other by a GWR engine because otherwise there would be an unbalanced LNER engine at Swindon SO 13.43 - 13.50. 12.15 Birmingham - Bournemouth West. Worked forward from Oxford by an SR engine. FSO 14.11 - 14.18. 09.20 Birkenhead - Bournemouth West. Worked forward by SR engine. SUN 00.57 - 01.30 20.10 Sheffield - Swindon. Engine worked through SUN. 04.24 - 04.52 22.00 York - Bristol. Engine worked through. Again one of these two trains off the GC probably had a GWR engine and the other had an LNER engine. as there was only one northbound passenger train balance. Oddly in the Winter service of 1946 there had been daily trains had between Bournemouth West and Birkenhead and between Bournemouth West and Newcastle both changing engines at Oxford with the SR engines working back on balancing services. Quite why they don't appear to have run in at least part of the Summer of 1947 I haven't got a clue but it could well be due to errors (of omission in the Oxford Station Working Book. If and when I get a chance I'll check against the 1947 STT although that will be quite a big delving job.
  13. I'd be surprised if we see some sort of interim RAIB report in less than 4 weeks, I doubt we'll see the full report in under a year (and probably longer). In the meantime from everybody's point of view I trust that NR, the operator, and rolling stock owner are doing something to identify the problem then at least mitigate it sufficiently to get the trains back on their booked work before any longer term solution is implemented
  14. That is definitely where I would start. There appears to be something about these trains which means they do not correctly operate some track circuits. That could mean there is smething in the specification/design which is not right and it also raises the question of whether or not the trains were specified as being required to reliably operate certain types of track circuit in all operating conditions? Far worse than all of that is this must raise some very serious questions about the test phase. Trains don't suddenly cease to operate track circuits they were correctly operating a few days or weeks previously - the laws of physics don't change by whim. What can change of course - as already mentioned - is wheel/railhead contamination (by leaves at this time of year). But leaves fall off trees every year so that should have been considered in the spec/design and one has to ask if that was not the case why was it not the case? Does the answer lie in very low unsprung weight and/or the wheel profile?
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