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The Stationmaster

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The Stationmaster last won the day on January 6

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About The Stationmaster

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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. There was certainly a normal way (which in many respects the correct way when you think how Shunters worked) and that was with the lever leaning towards the toe end of the point. This meant that a shunter (or anyone else) would always be pulling the lever towards the heel end of the point and in theory he would be looking to check the switches had moved correctly as he did so. And as it was the Under Shunter working the points by looking back he would also be looking towards the Head Shunter making the cuts, handsignaliing the Driver and towards any wagons coming towards him. If the lever
  2. I don't know if they were although they certainly got onto the Marlow branch. I don't know if they were clapped out (unlikely given regular engine changes on DMUs) and they were lighter than the Pressed Steel cars but they didn't have the oomph - for whatever reason and they definitely weren't as reliable but then Reading knew teh Pressed Steel cars inside out and had long got the measure of them.
  3. Another thing some Signalmen with block bells - even on the Western where most had very distinctive sounds - was to 'slug' them, usually with chewing gum () to alter the tone of the bell. Another trick which one of my Signalmen used regularly was to feel some of the bells after one had rung, easy to tell which one had rung if you did that.
  4. Don't forget that for some time past Hornby have in any case only 'allowed' retailers to apply a set level of discount to their retail customers for a certain period after they receive their supply of a model - and that applies to all their retailers. They've also cut-off supplies via their previous wholesaler which effectively allowed any retailer buying from that source to apply whatever level of discount they wanted/could afford although overall I think that change has probably benefitted 'real' retailers by knocking out cheapskate competition from peoiple trading from their home etc.
  5. Our local branch line was reduced from double to single line in 1961 and although the terminus retained a signal box the signals were all replaced by colour lights operated from an NX panel although the points remained mechanically worked. Control of the entire branch - considerably rationalised - was later, early 1970s - transferred to a remote power box 10 miles away. the Kent Coast electrification and resignalling in the 1960s also brought remote controlled colour light signalling to some branch lines although not necessarily single lines.
  6. St Kew Highway didn't have a headshunt. The siding layout was unaltered when the trailing connection from the Down Loop, via a diamond crossing, to the yard was altered to a facing connection from the Up Loop in 1939 and the disc reading to the dock and adjacent siding was resited at the single to double connection at the Wadebridge End. The long siiding at the Wadebridge end was always accessed by a trailing connection in the Up Loop. Port Isaac Road did indeed have trailing siding off the Up loop which gave access to the dock and goods shed sidings but i doubt it was used for
  7. Not me guv - although it was technically on my patch at one time but I was basically put in charge of the Western Valleys (or rather what was left of them). i see the late turn Signalman was out not to make friends with various people - handling levers without a cloth was far from popular as it caused rust to develop on the lever handles and failing to observe the niceties of a certain Block Regulation (although commonplace) was a bit naughty while being filmed.
  8. Timetable mileages - Abercynon - Pontypridd = 3.5 miles Pontypridd - Clarence Road via Tonteg and St Fagans = 14.5 miles. Clarence Road - Penarth = 5 miles
  9. I wonder why it said 'when empty' as GWR Stores Vans normally collected stuff for repair/disposal as they went round their booked circuit as well as delivering stuff.
  10. Agree that no signal can be cleared - Rule 39a as it once was. But clearing in reverse order was very much frowned upon on the Western (and of course sequential locking prevented it anyway where it was fitted) as it was regarded as a potentially unsafe way of working because it could encourage bad habits - such as a tendency to leave signals 'off or not apply the Regulations correctly at single line crossing stations. Hence Signalmen were always taught to clear signals in the correct order (and, as I was taught, that they should be taken to task if they did otherwise; our Chief
  11. Where as a matter on interest? Certainly not in the West of England because while there werea number of locations on single lines accessed in that manner it definitely wasn't a majority going from signal box diagrams. And, as ever, I would be very careful regarding the accuracy of things like OS maps - generally available signal box diagrams are going to be far more accurate. And of course the ultimate in some places was that while a connection might have been facing it could only be shunted by a train making a reversing movement (e.g Thorverton after the trainling connection
  12. I am fairly sure that the Park Royal units were sent to Reading because they were useless on gradients. They were used on our branch where they couldn't keep time in the Down direction because of the gradient - a short stretch of 1 in 101!
  13. Some types had a nasty habit if hitting fellahs in a particular place should they inadvertently happen to walk into one
  14. It depends on how the particular instruments were arranged. If there was more than one instrument in a section they were electricallly organised into 'groups' and a key could be returned to any instrument in that group. SAll the keyd s ina group v could be withdrawn at any time but all had to be replaced before the token section was released for normal operation. I suspect that in reality trolleys would usually go back to teh site they had started from so the key would go back in an strument there. the system used fairly ordinary Annett's Key Instruments.
  15. Plenty of former Enginemen will tell you that one. anywhere away from officialdom and it might possibly have happened. As far as specially trained Firemen are concerned that was definitely not universal practice on the WR - one of my former supervisors carried out his very first firing turn - after being appointed to the grade - on a push-pull train (the Marlow Donkey). And I know it happened at another (G)WR shed where a former neighbour had fired for many years and almost anybody in the grade was put on push-pull trains.
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