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pete_mcfarlane

Saltmarshe Road - more progress

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I'd always planned that my diorama for the 2011 challenge would (eventually) be extended in to a full layout. Links to the original posts are here:

 

http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/45495-saltmarshe-road/

http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/37467-ser-station/

 

This is a small Southern stations on an ex-SER line in the middle of a marsh somewhere in southern Kent. The time period is 1930s to about 1970, which I can just about get away with by changing road vehicles around. 

 

So, four years later and having finally bought a house with a suitable spare room, I'm now working on a track plan for the actual layout. Thinking about the space I've got, (which has an area approx 15'6" x 7'10")  I'm going for several small stations on a branch line shades of Yaxbury and Catle Rackrent. The original diorama is going to be incorporated in to the terminus of the branch.

 

After a few weeks of doodling and more detailed sketches, I've come up with this. There's a full size drawing on lining paper using C&L templates, and an attempt at doing a signalling diagram 

 

There's a siding to a ballast pit somewhere off stage (shades of Dungeness) and the second platform is now used as a cattle loading dock, as happened at New Romney. There's also a small yard for general goods, so there should be enough operational interest. 

post-1187-0-00637700-1439761205_thumb.jpg

 

Lever numbers are:

1. Ground signal for points 4 and 7

2. Down Home

3. FPLs for points 4 and 7

4. Yard points

5. From yard up starting signal (ringed goods signal)

6. Yard points

7. Crossover

8. Up main starting

9. Up main shunt signal

10. From ballast siding ground signal

11. From cattle siding up starter (ringed goods signal)

12. Ground signal up main to headshunt

13. Crossover

14. Ground signal cattle siding to headshunt

15 Ground signal headshunt to cattle siding

 

There's a couple of ringed goods starting signals, which seemed to survive on this bit of the Southern well in to the 1960s. 

 

Does anyone have and feedback, comments or abuse on this? My many worry at the moment is that I've done the 'signal for every possible manoeuvre' thing that some preserved railways go in for and ended up with too mnay ground signals. 10 and 12 may be unnecessary for example. .

 

Edited by pete_mcfarlane
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Looking at photos New Romney seems to have been de-signalled at some point in SR days, and worked as one engine in steam (possibly the only station in the country to have mixed trains, no signals, and 9 coach trains to London!). I wonder if that explains the lack of signals within the station?.

 

I found this diagram of Westerham, which suggests shunt signals for moves between the sidings and running line, but nothing else. I suspect I do have too many shunt signals, although i do like the idea of signalling it with some of these SECR pattern ground signals. MSE seem to do a kit. 

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This is my revised version, losing a few ground signals.

 

post-1187-0-53521600-1439934899_thumb.png

1. Ground signal for points 4 and 7

2. Down Home

3. FPLs for points 4 and 7

4. Yard points

5. From yard up starting signal (ringed goods signal)

6. Yard points

7. Crossover

8. Up main starting

9. Up main shunt signal

10. From cattle siding up starter (ringed goods signal)

11. Crossover

12. Ground signal cattle siding to headshunt

13. Ground signal headshunt to cattle siding

 

I'm not completely sure about number 9 - some SER stations had a shunt signal in similar locations (Cranbrook for example), and others didn't. 

 

I'm also aware that my number/planning doesn't include the up advanced starter (is that the right term?) which would be controlled by this box (I'm assuming that the down distant would be fixed). I might not need this on my control panel but if I *really* wanted to be OCD I'd need to have the lever in my model signal box.....

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Good to see "Saltmarshe Road" back again Pete, always found the original posts fascinating and inspirational (not to mention that superb photo of Dungeness!). Look forward to much more. Best wishes, Tim.

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I do wonder whether #12, and maybe #13, should be yellow, to be passed in the On position when the crossover is not reversed.

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That's a good point (and possibly also applies to 10 for moves in to the ballast siding).

 

I'm not sure if the SECR used yellow shunt signals (I need really to go through my pile of Onward/Invicta backnumbers to see if there's any information on SECR signalling). The SR certainly did, as there's some photos/information here on the SeMG site: http://www.semgonline.com/proto/semaphore_10.html

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Fascinating concept, and great locale in which to set it.

 

I'm no signalling engineer, and my rule book grasp us a bit flaky, but my reaction on looking at your plans was that I felt a desperate need to economise, in true SR fashion. This is the middle of nowhere, and it is bristling with expensive signalling ........

 

Do you really need 5 and 10? Could you get away with 11 points being in "terra incognito", so simply spring/hand worked,maybe with a sprung trap (hand closed) to protect the platform road from a runaway entering controlled territory? Why control 6 points from the box? You mention an advance starter - why do you need one?

 

"The Board also request that you submit, to its next meeting, an evaluation of the cost savings, andv operational implications, of working this final section of the line under OES arrangements, and demoting the signal cabin to a GF, released by a key carried by the Guard. Every penny counts!" :-)

 

My thinking is that, with judicious shunting, you might be able ensure that all departures are controlled by 8, and that, if you want to have two trains at the location simultaneously, there might be provisions in the the SR rule book! or precedent in a Sectional Appendix, to permit a goods train in possession of the staff/token to enter section from a siding under flag control by the signalman, rather than the control of a fixed signal, I'm not sure.

 

Beluncle Halt, and the runaround points at Hayling Island might be worth a look.

 

The answers might depend on whether you want it to look "SECR, before SR economy drive", or "post economy drive".

 

Meant both constructively and humorously.

 

Kevin

 

PS: just remembered Leysdown, signalled by a bean-counter after my own heart,mand very similar to your track layout http://www.s-r-s.org.uk/html/sre/R1852.htm

Edited by Nearholmer

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That's an interesting set of suggestions. There's some food for thought in there.

 

At the extreme end of things some of these smaller SER termini do seem to have been de-signalled completely in the 1930s . New Romney has already been mention, and Hythe seems to be another one. Since another station of the Romney branch (Lydd) kept it's extensive signalling I'm wondering if this was about saving the cost of employing the signalmen rather than reducing the number of signal to be maintained, especially as taking them out (and altering the locking frame) would probably cost more than keeping them.

 

Some of what I've designed is copied from signalling diagrams in various books on Southern branchlines, hence things like points 6 being controlled from the box rather than with a set of levers (that came from one of the stations on the Elham valley line) although it would make equal sense to have it as hand points. 

 

I'd also admit that there's a little bit of copying things I like from photos (hence 5 and 10, which are based on the SER ringed siding signals which survived at quite a few SER locations in to the 1960s. Westerham had one which is in endless photos of that branch in its last days). It was also designed to have two trains in the station at once, mainly to make it more interesting to operate (because branch terminals can be pretty boring to operate/watch). So I may be cheating a little hear to make it more complicated just to allow me to build some signals and run more trains. 

 

I also did a bit more digging on SR yellow shunt signals - these seem to be a late 1920s innovations, and until the 1950s used miniature arms rather than the more usual disks. According to an undated SR diagram in my copy of 'A pictorial record of Southern signals' pre-group shunt signals could also be painted yellow, as could the ringed goods signals. Ppresumably this was just a case of the original red arms being repainted but I've yet to see any photos. 

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Pete

 

I understand all of that - what is good for the real railway isn't always the most entertaining to create or operate in model form.

 

If you want to go to the other extreme, a station that was, before the SR got at it, madly over-signalled was Heathfield, in Sussex. It had miniature semaphores to control every conceivable, and many inconceivable, moves, and I always think that Messrs Saxby and Farmer must have laughed all the way to the bank when the cheque to pay for it all arrived from their former employer, the LBSCR.

 

Kevin

Edited by Nearholmer

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A very minor update to the plan, to show the yellow ground signals (to allow shunting past them in to the sidings whilst they are at danger).

post-1187-0-84927100-1440274453_thumb.png

1. Ground signal for points 4 and 7

2. Down Home

3. FPLs for points 4 and 7

4. Yard points

5. From yard up starting signal (ringed goods signal)

6. Yard points

7. Crossover

8. Up main starting

9. Up main shunt signal

10. From cattle siding up starter (goods signal – yellow arm)

11. Crossover

12. Ground signal cattle siding to headshunt (yellow arm)

13. Ground signal headshunt to platform line (yellow arm)

 

The thinking behind this station is that it's the end of a straggling branch somewhere in the Rye/Romney Marsh part of the South Coast. It's one of Edward Watkins' pipe dreams - most of these SER branches were never intended as rural backwaters, they were always going to be new ports to rival Dover and Folkestone (Port Victoria and Dungeness) or were part of stillborn through routes that never got finished (Sandgate, Westerham, and Hawkhurst). 

 

The station itself has a small amount of general goods, some seasonal movement of sheep further inland (as on Romney Marsh), and a siding to a ballast pit for extraction of shingle (which I seem to remember was sent from Dungeness to Stoke for use in pottery making). I've got room for a few more such small stations in my layout room, so I should be able to have quite a good branch system when it's all done. Positioning it in the part of the World means that I can probably squeeze in a extension of the Hastings/Ore electrification to allow part of the layout to be electrified to run my small collection of EMUs. 

 

It will be OO and built to reasonably finescale standards. Current thinking is to use SMP track and Copperclad points - I used some C&L for the original diorama and experimented with one of their point kits, but decided that life was too short and copperclad will be quicker. 

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I can't really see the purpose of No.9 to be honest - i suspect the line described in your scenario would be so quiet as to not need a shunting signal but that No. 8 would be cleared for a shunting move.

 

I do wonder about the whole 11, 12 & 13 business and whether the crossover would have been reduced to handpoints in later years.

 

 

Incidentally depending on period (and it would fit yours) any 'modern'  (i.e. Southern Railway standard ground shunting signals) with a  yellow arm would not have a  half disc pattern but would have a  miniature semaphore arm in yellow with a black vertical band.

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Having looked at the pictures of the acorn from which your layout is set to grow, I was mightily impressed, and will follow what comes next closely. I will promise to keep quiet on the signalling front, having already given my threepen'orth.

 

If you do decide to expand this into a multi-location empire, can I put in an early vote for something inspired by the Rye Harbour branch? One of the most fascinating bits of shingle in Britain, the Rye Harbour area, and you'll be relieved to learn that it didn't have any signalling at all.

 

Kevin

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If you do decide to expand this into a multi-location empire, can I put in an early vote for something inspired by the Rye Harbour branch? One of the most fascinating bits of shingle in Britain, the Rye Harbour area, and you'll be relieved to learn that it didn't have any signalling at all.

I spent a few days in Rye 4 years ago, and checked out the 'harbour' (it's basically a bit of riverside). It would make a nice model, or the inspiration for a freelance on. There's even a grounded SER 6 wheeler still in place there. 

 

 

I can't really see the purpose of No.9 to be honest - i suspect the line described in your scenario would be so quiet as to not need a shunting signal but that No. 8 would be cleared for a shunting move.

 

I do wonder about the whole 11, 12 & 13 business and whether the crossover would have been reduced to handpoints in later years.

 

 

Incidentally depending on period (and it would fit yours) any 'modern'  (i.e. Southern Railway standard ground shunting signals) with a  yellow arm would not have a  half disc pattern but would have a  miniature semaphore arm in yellow with a black vertical band.

I did wonder about number 9, although there do seem to be examples of the SER doing this on some of their branches and it surviving in to BR days.

 

Check out this photo of Lydd Town on eBay, which I found by chance whilst looking for something else. The nearest signal allows down trains to start from the up platform, and a shunting arm (to allow locos to run round, or good trains to shunt beyond the end of the loop and set back in to the yard?). It's a SR replacement for an earlier SER ringed signal, and this on the same line as the completely designalled New Romney station. 

 

I'm now ploughing through a big pile of SECR Society magazines, to see what information is in there. 

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I spent a few days in Rye 4 years ago, and checked out the 'harbour' (it's basically a bit of riverside). It would make a nice model, or the inspiration for a freelance on. There's even a grounded SER 6 wheeler still in place there. 

 

 

I did wonder about number 9, although there do seem to be examples of the SER doing this on some of their branches and it surviving in to BR days.

 

Check out this photo of Lydd Town on eBay, which I found by chance whilst looking for something else. The nearest signal allows down trains to start from the up platform, and a shunting arm (to allow locos to run round, or good trains to shunt beyond the end of the loop and set back in to the yard?). It's a SR replacement for an earlier SER ringed signal, and this on the same line as the completely designalled New Romney station. 

 

I'm now ploughing through a big pile of SECR Society magazines, to see what information is in there. 

Unless they were using the wrong type of signal arm that is a Shunt Ahead arm - which is used to signal a shunting move into the forward section.  Now that is also what your No.9 would be doing although in some respects it is a bit oversignalled - however if the SER did it that way (and you clearly have evidence they did) then that is the form No.9 should take and it would be prototypically correct.

 

It is one of those things which could happen when Pre-Group signals, often with a slightly different meaning were replaced by 'standard' (to the owning Company) signals in later years.  As it's right next to the signalbox it counts in my view as not strictly necessary and wouldn't happen everywhere at such small stations.   BUT if that is how the owning Company interpreted it and did things that way then copy them and use a Shunt Ahead subsidiary arm and not a disc.

 

Hope that helps.

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It is one of those things which could happen when Pre-Group signals, often with a slightly different meaning were replaced by 'standard' (to the owning Company) signals in later years.  As it's right next to the signalbox it counts in my view as not strictly necessary and wouldn't happen everywhere at such small stations.   BUT if that is how the owning Company interpreted it and did things that way then copy them and use a Shunt Ahead subsidiary arm and not a disc.

 

Hope that helps.

It does help - I'm now wondering if the SER had a tendency to over signal their stations.

 

I now think that I need to do a bit more research. The SECR society magazines and website drew a blank apart from information on signalling at the London termini and signalling diagram for the Bexhill West branch (a copy of the Crowhurst diagram is here - a minor country junction with every possible move signalled). The Signalling Record Society look to have some information on the SER lines available, so I'll look in to that. I can start on the rest of the layout without needing to be 100% certain on the signalling. 

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I spent a few days in Rye 4 years ago, and checked out the 'harbour' (it's basically a bit of riverside). It would make a nice model, or the inspiration for a freelance on. There's even a grounded SER 6 wheeler still in place there. 

I remembered that I'd taken a few photos of the grounded SER coach body - something like this definitely need to be included in some part of the layout.

post-1187-0-60460800-1440358415_thumb.jpg

 

I've also been working on the signal box. having said that the SER seemed to be generous with their signals, they seem to have been slightly less generous with the accommodation for the men who worked them. This is based on plans of the Sandgate branch boxes in the Wild Swan book on the line, and seems very small and basic compared to the signal boxes on other lines. The poor old signalman has no toilet (presumably he had to walk to the station) and the ground floor room for the locking seems to have restricted headroom and no external door (presumably there's a trap door in the floor above). 

post-1187-0-79879200-1440358417_thumb.jpg

It's made out of Evergreen plastic sheet and section, with ABS stairs and some Wills roofing (to match the station building I made years ago). It's now ready for painting - the doors and windows will be added once this is done. 

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A quick update on the signal box - it's had a coat of primer (I tried some Games Workshop spray primer, which seemed to work quite well). The woodwork should be a colour described by the Southern as 'Stone No1a'. Now I've never got on with the Precision version of this colour - it doesn't seem to match photos, which in any case seem to show quite a lot of variation in this colour on Southern buildings. I suspect that it faded very quickly, especially in coastal locations, and far more quickly than the green parts of the woodwork. 

 

So the signal box has been painted with Valejo acrylic 'Flesh colour' with a hint of white. It's also had some grey stippled on to it to simulate peeled paint. The next step is to apply several coats of thinned varnish with a hint of white, to 'fade' the whole thing every further. I'm going for a slightly tatty look to the signal box, as if it's due a repaint. Hopefully this will work - I've used the technique before on wagons. 

post-1187-0-66764200-1440885891_thumb.jpg

 

 

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Looking good; it shouts South Eastern.

 

I agree that the SR "light stone" is a difficult colour to get right, but I also wonder if we get misled by BR(S) having adopted a slightly lighter shade. Anyway, the opposing forces of dirt, making it darker, and the sun, bleaching it lighter, probably give plenty of latitude!

 

Kevin

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I also wonder if (as supposedly happened with the green for the locos) different works mixed their own slightly different interpretations of the colour.

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Another progress update!

 

The signal box is slowly being painted. In the meantime I've been constructing some points - copper clad and 16.5mm gauge. These use C&L materials and their templates. So far I've made a B5 turnout for the goods sidings, and one B6 crossover for the loop. 

post-1187-0-04005800-1443731757_thumb.jpg

These are slowly getting easier as I gain more practice - the first one needed a lot of adjusting, which lead in turn to lots of replacement timbers as I applied too much heat to unsolder the rails and the copper came off the paxolin base.

 

They need tiebars adding, and the insulation breaks need filling with Miliput. They aren't the most accurate representations of British track ever (I felt slightly puny after seeing the article on point construction in the latest Scalefour News)  but look much better than any RTR points. And I made them!

 

I've also sent off to the Signalling Record Society for their CD full of SR signalling diagrams, to help get tot he bottom of how the layout should be signalled. 

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Another set of points - as you'd expect, the more I do this the easier it gets. This pair (a A5 point and set of trap points for the yard) took an evening to do, so I'm getting quicker as well. The mess on them in the photos is where I've attacked the copperclad with a slitting disk to create the insulation gap. My soldering is also neater, as I've got the hang of it. 

post-1187-0-29825100-1443992414_thumb.jpg

post-1187-0-50035500-1443992416_thumb.jpg

This leaves me with one crossover to do. 

 

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The Postman brought me this today - the CD of Eastern/Central section signalling diagrams from the SRS. It will take me a while to wade through them all and work out how prototypical my diagram is, but again I'm slowly getting there.

post-1187-0-97714000-1444064518_thumb.jpg

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An interesting evening of looking at signal box diagrams. I've drawn a few conclusions which should end up with a slightly tweaked signalling plan:

 

  • Some railways seem to have quite standardised signalling - for example the GWR did things the GWR way. The SER seems to have used contractors, so the signalling varies depending on who bid the lowest, and how they did things

For example, Lydd town has economical facing point locks. Nowhere else on the SER seems to use them, not even the other stations on the same branch. A few stations (Winchelsea for example) have the level crossing controlled by a ground frame next to it, which slots the signals controlled by the main signal box. I'd not seen that before.  

  • This gradually changed under the SR, which seems to have followed it's usual practices, such as replacing multiple ground signals or goods arms with a signal signal controlling multiple routes.
  • It follows that I need to be careful to avoiding having a 'bitsa' signalling scheme, with a random selection if different practices. My wide time period isn't going to help (1930s - 1970) as I'd not really thought of this before. My thinking was that buildings and track would stay the same, and only things like road vehicles (and the rolling stock) would differ.
  • Since I don't want interchangeable signals (too fragile) I need to follow SR practice and accept that it might be slightly anachronistic for 1930 and 1970. I also need to pick the signalling practice from one line and follow that.
  • So I chose the Hundred of Hoo line. Oddly enough, my original inspiration for the Saltmarshe Road diorama was a picture of Sharnal Street on that line, and (checking the signalling diagram) it even has a ringed yellow goods signal, as per my signalling plan. You can see it here - on the left hand side about halfway up.  

There a few other minor tweaks needed, and some decisions. For example the SR seems to have had gone through a phase of removing subsidiary ground signal arms from signal posts, and having a separate ground signal. Do I model that, or have the ground signal arm on the main signal post?

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A bit more of a planning update. I’ve been playing with the Modratec SigScribe software to design a lever frame and interlocking, with the eventual aim of using one of their 18 lever frames with locking. These aren’t cheap, but seem to be well thought of. I’m nearly there – the bit I found tricky was incorporating the Southern’s cost-saving measure of using a single shunt signal for multiple routes.

 

Speaking of shunt signals, a day or so after discovering that Sharnal Street had a yellow ringed good signal identical to the one I need to act as a starter for goods trains starting from the disused second platform (with a yellow arm to allow shunting into the siding beyond the loop) I was idly flicking through the Wild Swan book on signal construction. And lo and behold there’s a decent photo of this very signal. Despite the caption in the book describing it as SECR, it seems to be an early SR example – basically a lower quadrant LSWR design. These early SR signals seem to feature quite heavily on the various ex-SECR branches, so I suspect I’ll need a few, MSE seem to do all the bits necessary to make them. I also need to investigate the various different options for operating the servos.

 

I’ve also made some progress with the signal box. No photos as yet, but the windows are fitted. I’ve also made a start on the lever frame. I bought the Ratio signal box detailing kit, only to discover that I couldn’t fit an 18 lever frame in to my box. After a bit of head scratching I discovered that the lever spacing was about 2.75mm – just over a scale 8” which is way more than a real lever frame. So I’ll use the Ratio levers in a homemade frame to get a more realistic spacing.

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