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61656

Christleton Junction - 1986 - It’s back (or it will be)

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A couple more sessions at the weekend saw some more track laying. The sidings for the electric loco stabling point are now laid. Although they only need to hold an 85 length loco, I ensured that you can fit a 16 wheeler in there if the need arises, with further space for a fairly substantial buffer stop. These sidings are going to be modelled as additions to the layout at the time of electrification, as there was no need for loco changes at the south end prior to that point. The photos show a rat and a 40 pausing between engineering duties.

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Up at the north end, the points have been laid to the shed area. My original intention was that the shed roads would run parallel with the back wall (to the left of the photo), however trying several different trial layouts demonstrated that the roads will be slightly longer if they curve with the mainline. This will allow 2 x 45 or 3 x 25 instead of 2 x 47 on the shortest roads. Hopefully curving with the mainline will give less of a train set look too.

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Also, the first of the terminal platforms, number 3, has been laid and can be seen gently curving away from the complex station throat. In the second shot you can appreciate that it may look complicated, but is just a fancy double junction, with the roads for platform 3 and 4 being parallel through the junction.

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This just leaves 3 points, 2 platform roads, 4 sidings and a short connecting track to lay. I think I am going to be about 1 yard of wooden sleepered track short!

Edited by 61656
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Anyone else got a sore neck/broken computer screen?

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Anyone else got a sore neck/broken computer screen?

I've spent ages working out what you're talking about, and then tried viewing the page on a PC rather than an ipad. It appears that the ipad auto corrects the picture rotation, but PCs don't. As I use the ipad to upload the photos and they appear the right way up, I'm not sure how to correct the problem! What's even stranger is that the rotation of the pictures on a PC doesn't relate to the original orientation of the phone use to take the pictures. I'll bet there's a thread somewhere on here that tells me how to fix it...

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The other option would be to distribute ipads to everyone following the thread...

 

On a modeling note, is the electric stabling going to be part of the visible bit of the layout, or is it on the off-stage bit on the far side of the overall roof?  Also, remember that curved shed roads will mean a curved shed

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The other option would be to distribute ipads to everyone following the thread...

 

On a modeling note, is the electric stabling going to be part of the visible bit of the layout, or is it on the off-stage bit on the far side of the overall roof?  Also, remember that curved shed roads will mean a curved shed

There doesn't seem to be an easy option on the photo rotation; I've found a few other users have the issue, but no real solution other than to post from a PC. A 'period appropriate' solution! Future submissions will use multimate and supercalc.

 

The electric stabling will be visible. The buffers will end next to an electrification era retaining wall, cut into the original embankment at the entrance to Christleton tunnel, where the mainlines disappear. The real Christleton tunnel is a twin bore taking the line under the Shropshire Union Canal. If you google it, you can get an impression of how I might make a bit of reality meet fiction. You can then observe that I'd forgotten it was twin bore when I laid the track! Luckily, just 300mm or so to lift.

 

The shed roads will curve to follow the mainlines, but be straight for the sheds. Most of the sheds will be low relief with just the stabling roads modelled out in front. They need to arc through about 20degrees to make the most of the standage. Standing on your head to view the depot point work photo, the right hand lead off the right-most Y point is the approximate direction the roads will follow.

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A couple of updates, one technical and one railway related. Firstly I've been looking into the photo orientation problem and have put a more detailed explanation on the link below. The summary is it's to do with modern camera devices and the way they store photos. Newer software will check the photo properties and correctly align it, but older operating systems and browsers may not. The upshot is if I take pictures with the phone held sideways with the volume buttons down, they will appear the right way up on here.

 

http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/115331-uploading-photos-from-ipad/

 

Now onto more railway progress. Platforms 3 and 4 are both now laid, together with the former engine release line for platform 5. This had to be laid before the platform 5 line as its alignment is dictated by the three way point and I want the two roads to be parallel. I debated adding a cross over at the end of platform 5 to allow trains to run round, but only being able to fit in a 3 coach train would highlight the platform length compromise too much for my liking - the 08 will have to do the work! Platform 5 will mainly be parcels and DMUs, so not much of an issue.

 

I had to build another trap point to protect the platform road from the release line and two speedlink sidings and realised I will need a third trap for the kick-back siding off the double slip; that should be the last point (to build and) to lay - you can see where it will go in the top photo. The kick back siding will be for engineers' trains, together with a lot of stored material much overgrown that is left over from the electrification project.

 

Thoughts are now turning quite seriously to the wiring, including route setting and track circuits. I've arranged a suitable amount of beer to thoroughly discuss the arrangements with the Major this weekend.

 

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Looking excellent, such a nice neat flow to all the crossings, well done, also glad your pics are sorted mate.

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Looking excellent, such a nice neat flow to all the crossings, well done, also glad your pics are sorted mate.

Thanks Andy. The camera helps hide one or two of the minor kinks and twists, although it also highlights a couple you can't see normally! The track going into platform one looks quite angled in pictures.

 

There are a couple of places I think might need sorting, but really need to do some running to see how big the problems are. I remember reading - I think in the Railway Modeller about Don's miniature New Street - that track was tested by reversing a 10 coach set at full speed round the layout. Seems like the right approach, but I'm not sure I'm brave enough!

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Thanks Andy. The camera helps hide one or two of the minor kinks and twists, although it also highlights a couple you can't see normally! The track going into platform one looks quite angled in pictures.

 

There are a couple of places I think might need sorting, but really need to do some running to see how big the problems are. I remember reading - I think in the Railway Modeller about Don's miniature New Street - that track was tested by reversing a 10 coach set at full speed round the layout. Seems like the right approach, but I'm not sure I'm brave enough!

When I hand built the Points for my FAILED Bitton Project I pushed about 15 16T Minerals back through the Points to test them.

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Bearing in mind that the Major has a history degree as opposed to being an electrical engineer, I think the main function of his visit will be to drink said beer and use blurred vision to make the trackwork look kink-free...  Reversing a 10 coach set at full speed is certainly too brave for my money, but the sppedlink wagons are the ones to be really concerned about.  I reckon that as long as a train of them will traverse most of the layout you'll be looking good.

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Track laying on the scenic side is complete! This feels like something of an anticlimax as I can't actually run anything, not least because the Powercab is now in week 17 of its 4 week lead time...

 

Attention will now turn to some very temporary wiring to allow trains to run in two circles at least. With no point motors to hold the switch rails in place, there will be some 4mm scale clipping and scotching and minor bonding work required. My intention is to have around 6 points that can move to allow the operational concept to be tested. I also need to lay a couple of temporary loops in the fiddle yard; I haven't really decided on a track plan for the fiddle yard and I have hardly any trains to store, so a basic arrangement will be fine for now.

 

Hopefully there will be trains running before and over Christmas, prior to dismantling the layout and starting work on the wiring proper. The initial plans are being drawn up at the moment, starting with a signalling plan and route table. Drawings for the NX panel with basic interlocking will follow from there. It gets fairly complex fairly quickly!

 

Whilst the layout is dismantled there is some baseboard work to be done. A couple of cross braces will be fitted (there are a couple of obvious dips) - these couldn't be fitted before as I didn't have the Marcway points to know the exact geometry and thus where point motors will be. The weight of the paint tins used when gluing the track has also highlighted some areas for consideration of extra support. I will also fit a backscene around the scenic section directly to the wall whilst the boards are down.

 

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Quite a few updates to talk about today, but far and away the most important is that after a lot of different frustrations trains are now moving. I've attached links to a couple of videos, from which you can see the evidence of progress and a lot of issues to resolve too, not least the quality of my camera work!

 

Since the last update I've been making steady progress with the temporary wiring. I was in two minds about whether to undertake the temporary wiring or not, as it will need some additional work to remove it later, however I decided I really wanted to test the operability of the layout before making some big commitments in terms of wiring, point motors and signalling. In the videos you'll see a lot of red wiring, deliberately red to ensure none of it gets accidentally left behind, which provides some basic functionality across the layout. 8 of the 40 points can be moved to allow some simple testing of train movements. Having got trains running I'm glad I did - the pleasure of movement has counteracted all the trials and tribulations of the last few weeks! It also proves there's no-one like a signal engineer for ruining the look of good permanent way.

 

In terms of the layout and how the first trains have run, everything has gone smoothly - there has barely been a wheel off the track. There are a few soldered joints need filing to smooth running, but generally there have been very few running issues. There are a couple of areas where there is a consistent jerk, which will need some further investigation to identify the cause. Each of the continuous runs have had 6 coach trains reversed at full speed around them without any hiccups, although I haven't been brave enough to try this with 4 wheel speedlink wagons as yet! Also I've noticed that top speed seems to be fairly pedestrian (even without a 31/4), hopefully a play with the CV settings will sort this.

 

Far and away the biggest frustration over the last few weeks was the absence of a DCC controller (the promised 4 weeks soon became 4 months), and after a lot of fruitless conversations I made the decision to change supplier, something I should have done sooner as a Power Pro and slave cab were in my hands within 48 hours of making the call.

 

I then suffered a few evenings of difficulty getting the locos to operate, which although agonising at the time can be put down to dirty track, poor pick up arrangements (two of the locos have been stripped right down and fully cleaned), an unnoticed electrofrog point in the fiddle yard (I really thought they were all insulfrog) combining with an ungapped copperclad sleeper 20 metres away to cause the mother of all intermittent faults.

 

The first video of the 37 is separated by about 8 hours of work to get to the one of the 45 leaving platform 4. When the first loco purred effortlessly down the layout at the first time of asking I was really believing the DCC dream! Now things are running it all seems a little trivial, but a lot of Latin was expended in solving the issues. I think a couple of the locos are suffering from historical gremlins - the risk of buying second hand with no service history. Also, if anyone knows what part number to order for a spare class 25 hook and loop coupler I'd be much obliged!

 

 

 

So now it's time to spend a few nights testing (playing) trains and see if it provides the operational interest that I'm hoping for. I also plan to spend a few nights inserting sleepers and sorting out the visual appearance of the trackwork whilst the trains run round. In parallel to this, the first signalling plan has been drafted and some of the interlocking circuits sketched out; I hope to disassemble the layout early in the new year, which means the wiring the plans for each board need to be finalised by then.

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Well you have been busy. It's looking great the trains look spot on going through that lovely Pointwork.

 

Cheers Peter.

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Another update following a couple of running sessions over the weekend. There are some really nice operational possibilities, even with just 20% of the points in an operable state. DCC really does make a big difference; so nice for example, to have the loco at the buffers follow a departing train down the platform - although you really do need 2 operators for that. 

 

Friday night saw an operating session with my father, it's probably over 20 years since we last ran a 00 layout together. He's been busy in the garden over the last few decades playing with Pennsylvanian G scale, which explains why he needs to be reminded every now and again that we run on the left in the UK! It was good how much parallel running you can do whilst shunting and you can see the potential for more once more points become available. The lack of the through loops and the avoiding line from yard to depot do limit the operation somewhat, but it's still good fun to operate.

 

The coaches run well, and the trucks run well forwards - I think the pivoting axle and tension lock couplers are not a great combination for shunting. I quite like the idea of 3 link couplings for the freight stock and kadees for the coaches. I can only think of one or two locos which I plan to have on both freight and passenger, so having different couplings probably won't be a big issue. 

 

Another video to enjoy, this time a class 40 crawls up to where the signal will be in platform 2, hooting and opening up as the signal clears. There's just one annoyance in the footage as the sound unit skips, no amount of tinkering with the pick ups seems to  fix this. I suspect that more wheels than 8 will be needed to keep the current flowing.

 

 

 

 

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Well you have been busy. It's looking great the trains look spot on going through that lovely Pointwork.

 

Cheers Peter.

 

Thanks Peter. They look even better coming in the opposite direction as they come over the curved cross over too. I'll try to get a video of that, once I work out the best way to secure my phone in a position that captures as much of the move as possible.

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Just realised I've not actually commented on the brilliant layout yet, looking good keep it up

 

David

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Just realised I've not actually commented on the brilliant layout yet, looking good keep it up

 

David

Thanks David

 

Feels like it's coming together now - even Mrs 61656 has been along for a driving turn! No end of stuff to do, and the more I do the more I realise there is to do, but there's nothing like trains moving.

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Whilst the operating department have been putting the layout through its paces, the backroom boys in the signalling department have been busy with the signalling plan and the route tables, the first versions of which are shown here.

 

The route table will be used to generate the circuitry for a simplified relay interlocking, which will set routes, prevent opposing routes and clear signals based on train detection. A number of the points are shown as hand points, which will have modelled levers, but will still be motored, hence they still have a number.

 

Routes will be set using a simple version of the entrance - exit principle with route locking purely on a latch relay relay for the selected route. Once I've done the route tables I'll draw up some generic circuits so you can see how it will all work.

 

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In other news, a Lima class 87 together with a donor Bachmann warship for it's bogies is on its way. I plan this to be my first project loco, as it will need a lot doing to it to be a convincing model of the real thing. This one will be in rail blue, which limits the choice of loco as about half of the 87 fleet were in Intercity mainline livery by the end of 1986. 5 of the class shared names with the LNER P2s, so I will probably choose one of those (or even have 87036 Mons Meg which was the only P2 name not carried by an 87 as far as I can work out; the name did end up being used on 86401 in 2015 though).

 

 

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First of all some loco developments, with the first electric traction arriving. It being a Lima 87 meant that a test run was never an option, but I did take the opportunity to take a couple of pictures predicting the future before serious work commenced. There are a couple of shots of the 87 having brought a Euston - Holyhead service in prior to being replaced with diesel traction, whilst a pair of 45s await their departure times on trans-pennine services.

 

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It wasn't long though before the loco was stripped down, rubbed down and receiving a coat of primer. In parallel (who says I can't multi-task?), a Bachmann warship has been stripped down to its component parts ready to be the donor power for the 87. Don't be deluded by the illusion of rapid progress - it will take me ages to get it done. I now have a massive shopping list of parts to obtain to enable me to put it back together, including new bogie side frames, windows, buffers, high-speed pantograph, handrails, pipes and cables etc. I also think this will prompt the change over process to Kadee couplings as I don't want to do the job twice.

 

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Progress with the interlocking design continues, with the controls specified for 48 routes and about 24 still to go. For each route I specify:

- entrance and destination

- points normal and reverse

- opposing routes (routes in the other direction which conflict)

- conflicting routes (routes in the same direction which conflict). This is different to mainline practice, but I've decided to do the conflicting route resolution by testing signals set rather than points locked as it makes route release easier.

I also specify which track circuits need to be clear for the signal aspect (and occupied for call-on routes), as well as track circuits occupied for approach control (i.e. The signal will only clear when a train is on the approach to the signal).

 

Route setting will test opposing, conflicting routes and track circuits with points in them, a successful test will set a latch relay and also temporarily pick a relay which will trigger a diode matrix circuit to set the points.

 

When the route relay is latched, the signal will then test the track circuits and clear accordingly.

 

When the train has passed the signal, the track circuit occupancy will return the signal to red. At the end of the move the operator will cancel the route, which will latch the route relay the other way.

 

Points will also be able to be set individually, again subject to the relevant track circuit being clear.

 

The route controls are proving that I'll need a lot of relays, some routes having over 20 conflicting and opposing routes for example. Unlike the real thing, I'll be combining circuits and making multiple use of relay contacts where I can. I've started a new sheet in the excel sheet of routes to show which routes oppose which, this shows which circuitry will be common for multiple routes and thus which can be used to reduce the volume of wiring.

 

As all this is quite complicated, I have a three stage strategy to do the wiring. In the first stage, all the wiring will be run for the points and track feeds from the interlocking to the baseboards, I'll also prepare the point diode matrix. This can be done without interfering with the temporary arrangement which currently allows trains to run. In stage 2, a possession has been booked to dismantle the boards and do all the wiring on each board for track feeds, points and signals. At the end of stage 2 the railway will be able to operate in a simple mode with the points being driven through the diode matrix, but without interlocking or signal controls. Stage 3 will be undertaken in parallel with things like ballasting and scenic work as I suspect the actual wiring and testing of the interlocking will be enjoyable for about 10 minutes at a time!

 

Hopefully this makes some sense and is at least of a little interest!

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Re signalling plan :

 

Some quick comments.

 

The point numbering is not clear, although guessable - there are points with no numbers.

 

Shunt 419 has nowhere to shunt to, there needs to be a limit of shunt somewhere !

 

420/422 would probably be a single signal with stop and await instruction boards preceeding them, the local shunter would control which trains moved.

 

If you are going to use platform 2 for terminating trains from Warrington/Chester then make 414 a main aspect and renumber 120/2/4 to 122/4/6 (I'd do this anyway as that was the way it was done in the North West)

 

Points 527 would have a shunt signal for set back moves as it's also possible to route trains into P3 via 533 (rev)

 

Points 531 would also have a shunt for moves towards the depot lines, means locos don't need to visit the bays to change depot lines. (but depends on the physical space on the layout - one of the compromises for models)

 

The normal lie of some of the points is wrong, for example 529 should be set to protect the passenger lines (reversed from it's as drawn position), 517 / 527 the same. 525 normal lie would be to route trains onto the right line.

 

cheers.

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Re signalling plan :

 

Some quick comments.

 

The point numbering is not clear, although guessable - there are points with no numbers.

 

Shunt 419 has nowhere to shunt to, there needs to be a limit of shunt somewhere !

 

420/422 would probably be a single signal with stop and await instruction boards preceeding them, the local shunter would control which trains moved.

 

If you are going to use platform 2 for terminating trains from Warrington/Chester then make 414 a main aspect and renumber 120/2/4 to 122/4/6 (I'd do this anyway as that was the way it was done in the North West)

 

Points 527 would have a shunt signal for set back moves as it's also possible to route trains into P3 via 533 (rev)

 

Points 531 would also have a shunt for moves towards the depot lines, means locos don't need to visit the bays to change depot lines. (but depends on the physical space on the layout - one of the compromises for models)

 

The normal lie of some of the points is wrong, for example 529 should be set to protect the passenger lines (reversed from it's as drawn position), 517 / 527 the same. 525 normal lie would be to route trains onto the right line.

 

cheers.

Beast - some really detailed and much appreciated feedback. I'd already picked up on a few of the issues as I put together the route lists. Some issues I've addressed already, others will wait until I've completed the controls, otherwise I risk changing the normal lie of points in some routes and not others.

 

So, in order:

 

- Point numbering, including omissions, needs correcting. This will happen once the route tables are complete.

- Shunt 419 now routes up to a limit of shunt in rear of 134 numbered 427. There are also routes there from 131 and 133, but not the bays.

- I have 420 and 422 because 531 and 530 (not numbered on the plan above) are a 3-way point. 531 needs to be motored, so by definition does 530. A machine and a hand-point in a 3 way would be interesting to work out!

- Shunt 414 is now main signal 118, with the old 118 now 116.

- A set back from 527 isn't necessary I don't think. 129 signal has both possible routes to 135, but 134 to platform 3 can only come in with 533 normal. This is because coming in via 533 reverse only locks routes up, it doesn't free anything additional (as far as I can see). 533B through to 524 points are all back to back, there's no standing space between any of them.

- a set back at 531 is a good suggestion. There isn't one because it would mean standing over a set of points or being foul of another line to have one. I intended to have one between 517R and 519R, but anything longer than a Wickham trolley would be standing foul of either 517N or 519N.

- The normal lie of points is somewhat arbitary these days, unless they are self normalising. With a panel and relay interlocking they stay in the last used position, so would be included in route controls for flank protection. I'm only specifying flank protection for trap points, although as it's only saving me the cost of a diode I should may be reconsider. There's certainly nothing worse than seeing a photo of a train moving past points set the wrong way*. That said, a panel should look 'right' and probably in the 1970's signal engineers would still have been doing things like a mechanical frame.

 

Really good comments though - keep them coming! You'll have 80 odd routes to check shortly...

 

 

*Possibly there are some things worse than this in life...

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- The normal lie of points is somewhat arbitary these days, unless they are self normalising. With a panel and relay interlocking they stay in the last used position, so would be included in route controls for flank protection. I'm only specifying flank protection for trap points, although as it's only saving me the cost of a diode I should may be reconsider. There's certainly nothing worse than seeing a photo of a train moving past points set the wrong way*. That said, a panel should look 'right' and probably in the 1970's signal engineers would still have been doing things like a mechanical frame.

 

Really good comments though - keep them coming! You'll have 80 odd routes to check shortly...

 

 

*Possibly there are some things worse than this in life...

 

Points which act as traps will return to normal once the tracks (circuits) are clear - self normalising points

but

it's your layout and it doesn't make a huge difference for the model, other than the drawing looks a bit odd to those of us who study such things.

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Points which act as traps will return to normal once the tracks (circuits) are clear - self normalising points

but

it's your layout and it doesn't make a huge difference for the model, other than the drawing looks a bit odd to those of us who study such things.

 

Were all traps self-restoring or was that LMR practice?  I know there were some in 1960s WR schemes which were not self-restoring for very specific reasons due to usage and other operational factors.

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Were all traps self-restoring or was that LMR practice?  I know there were some in 1960s WR schemes which were not self-restoring for very specific reasons due to usage and other operational factors.

Two different issues to talk about: flank protection and auto-normalisation.

 

Historically the two were very much interlinked, but are less so in a modern interlocking. Flank protection is the protecting of the route a train takes by moving points outside the route to divert any run away movements away from the route. This is provided implicitly with a cross-over for example, where each end of the cross-over is controlled by the same command or lever. With a mechanical lever frame the signaller (signalman at the time) would return all levers to their normal position when a train had passed through the route. Hence points were designed to be in their most protective position when they were normal.

 

With the advent of relay and later electronic interlockings, the return to normal position was not applied by default; points only move when requested by a route request. This is a good thing, as it reduces wear on points. However, it also means that trapping provision, would not inherently be provided until a route was set that called them as flank protection. Thus for trap points, and some others, auto-normailisation is provided to return the trap points to normal upon release of the route. It is not normally provided for points on running lines, unless there's a good reason.

 

This means that all my trap points should auto-normalise. For my sanity's sake they won't (route locking of points and subsequent release based on a timer is far too complex for a model railway - although I will think about it!), but like all flank points it's easy to include them in a diode matrix and call them to protect a route at the time of setting. Beast's comments do raise some issues for my plan though, for a starter, all the points should have a normal position that provides the most protection (mostly for working in degraded mode, where a signaller should be able to assume that returning everything to normal before talking a driver past a red signal gives him maximum protection). More concerning, I've realised that there is no trapping protection between the depot and platform 5. I'll need a set of traps somewhere! I'm sure I'd accounted for this so will to compare the actual layout to the designed one - it's possible I've swapped some points around in laying them down to get the most pleasing curvature.

 

25 years of being a signal engineer only serves to remind me that we're almost always wrong...

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For working in any sort of degraded mode the Signalman/ler should assume nothing in respect of the positions of points but should set them according to the route-setting table contained in the Signalbox Special instructions using the individual control switches; so in many respects it doesn't matter which way they lie as they must be checked and locked.  And if detection is down the points should be clipped by a route setting agent in accordance with the Signalman/ler's instructions and he will (should) work off the route setting table.

 

I generally found that the (very occasional) Signalman who assumed something was usually the one who put things on the ground.

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