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St. Simon

Collingwood - A Privatisation Era Southern Region Layout

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Hi,

 

Whilst I'm waiting for space in which to start building the centre baseboards, I've started to build some of the buildings:

 

First up is the Modern Footbridge, this comes from a Faller kit, a kit I have always wanted to build as it looked great! It is similar to the one at Southampton Airport Parkway not that far from Fareham, but I found it to be too tall for a British layout (it is design to be stood on low level platforms and be clear of OLE), so I've cut it down to size. This, along with the need to hide wires for internal light meant that I changed the lift shafts to be clad in solid sheets rather than fully glazed units.

 

IMG_0608.jpg.a1eaa28b5968b00e0f88d29e7ebd0595.jpg

 

IMG_0609.jpg.23074008d50767ebf57d219937f04a1c.jpg

 

The next building is also a Faller kit, this time being their new Workshop Kit, this is going to be a Network Rail Maintenance Depot, and I did want to put a different interior into it, however, the interior that comes with the kit is so nice that I decided to keep it, the building will be at the back of the layout, so hopefully no one will notice the machinery equipment in a NR DU:

 

IMG_0604.jpg.c7948e149db540b77d217a852da93820.jpg

 

IMG_0605.jpg.b63e1da911bbea735594872ace91bdd5.jpg

 

I still have it fit interior lighting and then the roof before it is complete (as well as some people)

 

The final building in this trio is Collingwood Area Signalling Centre. This is made up from three PECO LK-83 Signal Box Kits based together:

 

IMG_0606.jpg.0c6e0aa5bbd3943575b60fdfca41a568.jpg

 

For this, I decided on fitting a full interior of both the operating floor and equipment room. So far I have some of the equipment room components:

 

IMG_0607.jpg.c57f35925797ad46d47ba931ca54292c.jpg

 

They are 3D Printed, the NX Panels are printed to my own design, whilst the Workstation came from Shapeways. I have decided that I won't use the NX panels, instead making it an IECC Workstation Signalling Centre, so I will get more Work Stations to fill the operating floor. I did originally want to go for an interior of a relay room downstairs, but I couldn't be bothered designing and drawing all the relays, so I have decided that to get some models of WestLOCK and SMARTLOCK Interlockings printed instead. This will also match the actual signalling control of the layout.

 

Once I have completed these three, I will either start building all the MERG Modules that I need for the first couple of boards or I will look at building the station buildings.

 

Simon

 

Edited by St. Simon
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Hi,

 

A small update in relation to the Signalling / Electronic Side of Things....

 

Last night I finished the Automatic Route Setting on the panel, this will be able to set routes and prioritise trains based on their headcode, just like the real thing. The layout won't be solely operated by ARS, but it will reduce the need to man it with three people all day at a show so that people can take breaks or talk to the audience. This now means that the interlocking and signalling control side of things is complete, so I can now start building the modules to interface with the layout.

 

Also, I have commissioned 'Big Train Sounds' to record some custom station announcements, these will be played from underneath the layout (quietly) and correspond with the Train Describers, I believe that this will be the first exhibition layout to do this.

 

Simon

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Hi Simon,

Love the sound of the layout, and what your planning with the signalling. Am following along with interest.

 

The Faller footbridge also has hints of Reading to it, and encasing the lift shaft has made it more British. Cannot think of anywhere, where we have glass lifts onto platforms in the UK?

 

I am planning to use MERG modules for my new 2mm layout, for controlling a variety of things from point work to section power supplies, so will be interest to see how your building and using them.

 

Rich

Edited by MarshLane
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As I am from Fareham, I am looking forward to see how the layout comes on.
Are you planning to use the girder bridge over the road before going on to the viaduct, If you go back far enough there used to be 2 viaduct bridges over the road. One for the 2 lines for Portsmouth traffic and another 2 lines for the Gosport traffic.
They changed the platform layout when they replaced the viaduct bridges for one girder bridge.
There was a signal box roughly in the same place as you are proposing but has been long since removed.

Edited by Guy13
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Hi Simon, As I used to work at Doves Ford opposite HMS Collingwood, this just caught my eye. I used to go up to the Station sometimes in my Lunch Hour for some theropy, haha.:good:

I left the area in 2005 but will be moving back to the Portchester / Portsmouth area soon, so will be watching this with interest. It's a Station plan that I drew out many years ago to build but never got around to it so I hope it all comes out well.

 

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Hi,

 

I've been trying to think of ways to presenting information on the layout to the exhibition audience. I'm conscious that most (if any) members of an exhibition audience will know what the headcodes on the Train Describers are or what they relate to. So, I've created a 'Arrivals and Departures' screen to be shown to the exhibition audience next to the signalling screen:

 

871997824_CollingwoodCIS.JPG.7f452180fb8c73e32d815c1e2fc09194.JPG

 

I've made the screen look like one you might find within a waiting room or on a platform, but it is significantly different to these in operation. In reality, each individual service that passes through the station would have its own headcode, and whilst I would like this to be the case on Collingwood so that it is ultra-realistic, I've come to the conclusion that I need something simpler.

 

There are two reason for this; one is it would require custom software and complex logic / technology that I don't have the time or skill to develop, whilst the second is that it would also require the layout to be run to a fairly rigid sequence. My operators and I have run sequences on other layouts before, and whilst they work, it is quite difficult to write a good sequence and they can quite quickly get out of course (particularly if multiple operators are involved) and they also require a 'get out of jail' card to work around problems. This wouldn't be easy in such a rigid sequence. Also, I want the layout to be easy to run by anybody and allow my operators a degree of freedom of what they can run at anytime, a sequence wouldn't allow this.

 

Therefore, I have decided to give each group of services a single example head code, so all Victoria to Southampton services are 1J14, all Portsmouth to Waterloo services are 1T30 etc., that can be run at anytime in any order. Because of this, instead of the 'time' as would be shown in reality, I have show the train headcode, which will also relate to what it shown on the signalling panel.

 

Also because of the 'any train, any time' policy, the expected column will shown 'ON TIME', 'APPROACHING' or 'ARRIVED' instead of delayed, cancelled or an expected time and the trains won't be added / removed from the screen, only the status will change.

 

I've chosen to show both passenger and non-passenger trains that would be normally timetabled in reality, so this excludes light engine moves, departmental, engineering, charter and test trains, mainly because I ran out of space on the screen! Information about these excluded trains will be shown on supplementary information boards along the front of the layout.

 

I hope people will find this an interesting way of presenting information about trains on a layout and if you have any questions, please ask!.

 

Regards,

 

Simon

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Even though I've built layouts and visited shows since 1977, I haven't a clue on Headcodes or Train Describers, so that would be something new to me,

 

All the best.

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On 10/09/2019 at 09:45, MarshLane said:

Hi Simon,

Love the sound of the layout, and what your planning with the signalling. Am following along with interest.

 

The Faller footbridge also has hints of Reading to it, and encasing the lift shaft has made it more British. Cannot think of anywhere, where we have glass lifts onto platforms in the UK?

 

I am planning to use MERG modules for my new 2mm layout, for controlling a variety of things from point work to section power supplies, so will be interest to see how your building and using them.

 

Rich

 

Hi Rich,

 

Thank you for the kind comments!

 

Now you come to mention it, yes the Footbridges does have an element of Reading about it and only place I can think which as glass lifts is at St. Pancras, but they are from the lower level to the higher level of the concourse rather than a footbridge on a platform.

 

Yes, I've never built MERG modules, but I've seen them being built and have been told they are quiet easy to build, so hopefully it will all work, I believe the difficult thing is getting the internal signalling logic on the computer working, the inputs and output modules should be simple (yes, I know that's blown it!)

 

On 10/09/2019 at 20:27, Guy13 said:

As I am from Fareham, I am looking forward to see how the layout comes on.
Are you planning to use the girder bridge over the road before going on to the viaduct, If you go back far enough there used to be 2 viaduct bridges over the road. One for the 2 lines for Portsmouth traffic and another 2 lines for the Gosport traffic.
They changed the platform layout when they replaced the viaduct bridges for one girder bridge.
There was a signal box roughly in the same place as you are proposing but has been long since removed.

 

Yes, I will be using the Girder Bridge over the road and then going into a brick viaduct, but they'll only be a single line each, I did want to include the Gosport Branch, but I couldn't get the geometry to work!

 

Interestingly I haven't found any information regarding Fareham Signal Box yet!

 

On 10/09/2019 at 21:08, Andrew P said:

Hi Simon, As I used to work at Doves Ford opposite HMS Collingwood, this just caught my eye. I used to go up to the Station sometimes in my Lunch Hour for some theropy, haha.:good:

I left the area in 2005 but will be moving back to the Portchester / Portsmouth area soon, so will be watching this with interest. It's a Station plan that I drew out many years ago to build but never got around to it so I hope it all comes out well.

 

 

Funnily enough, I drew this track plan out as a layout when I was living on HMS Collingwood and thought "this would make a great layout", but it is only now that I've realised that it would really be a good layout plan!

 

Simon 

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4 minutes ago, Andrew P said:

Even though I've built layouts and visited shows since 1977, I haven't a clue on Headcodes or Train Describers, so that would be something new to me,

 

All the best.

 

Hi Andrew,

 

I've never seen it used properly on an exhibition layout, and to be fair, it is only recently with the advent of real time trains and open train times that headcodes and train describers have come into the knowledge of the wider modelling world.

 

Simon

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On 21/09/2019 at 21:16, St. Simon said:

 

Hi Andrew,

 

I've never seen it used properly on an exhibition layout, and to be fair, it is only recently with the advent of real time trains and open train times that headcodes and train describers have come into the knowledge of the wider modelling world.

 

Simon

 

Hi Simon,

It is although the advent of RTT and OTT has confused the issue significantly as many people now thin things like 467T and 612D are actual head codes!! Even Network Rail cannot provide an answer as to why the freight head codes are scrambled!  But I agree, it not something that has been used much (if at all) on exhibition layouts and would do well - perhaps with some adjacent board explaining the three parts to a nLnn (ie 1L23, 6T83) head code for those who want to know more?

 

Rich

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On 21/09/2019 at 21:10, Andrew P said:

I haven't a clue on Headcodes or Train Describers, so that would be something new to me,

 

 

Without wishing to hijack Simon's post ... I thought it might be worthwhile for anyone reading this now or in the future to quickly explain head codes and train describers, what they are and how they work.  This is a broad overview so please do not take this literally!!

 

An identification number (ie loco number or wagon number) is only really of use in four circumstances, 1) identifying the asset (ie allowing one Class 66 to be physically distinguished from another), 2) for the driver or train crew seeking his/their loco for the day), 3) for maintenance staff to make sure they are fixing a fault on the right vehicle and reporting back the work done on a specific vehicle and 4) for yard staff shunting vehicles to ensure the right wagons/coaches end up at the right destinations.

 

For the majority of other people on the railway, they have no interest whether it is 60008 with 14 BDA steel wagons or a 700104, a Class 700 Thameslink unit.  What is important in rail operations to planning staff, signallers, station staff etc.. is the path - the space for a train on the network.  All trains that run have a path, a guaranteed space on the network and these paths fall into four categories and each path is allocated an indentifyer, a headcode.  Paths can be WTT, VAR, STP or VSTP

- WTT paths mean the timings are valid for that train for the duration of the timetable on the days specified (ie Tuesdays Only or Monday-Saturday).

- VAR are a VARiation of the WTT path (ie amended because of a platform change at a station, or a freight path going to a different destination)

- STP  are where the timings are valid for that train for the specified week, again on the days listed - an Monday, Tuesday Only (MTO) path may not be valid on the following Wednesday (ie MTWO) for example)

- VSTP are basically STP but put together at short-notice by control for the current day (generally they depart within four hours of being requested)

 

The path will show the time of the train at all timing points on route along with any stops it needs to make (and whether that stop is pathing (ie to let something past), crew change, run-round, attach/detach traffic etc) down to which platform it should use at each station (more specific for passenger services and whether it should be routed along the Main or Slow lines.

 

To signalling staff, they have no interest (other than the train length) in how that train is formed or what the locomotive is, it is all about the path and its timings.  Therefore each path is given a four character alpha-numeric identity.  Each character denotes different things.  Take a sample head code 1E01 the 05:40 Edinburgh to London Kings Cross, which is LNER's flagship 'Flying Scotsman' service:

1 - the first character is always numeric between 0-9 and denotes the class of train

E - the second character is always a letter, and denotes a type of working or more commonly the destination

01 - the third and fourth characters are always numeric and are purely an identifier.

These codes are not unique, for example Edinburgh Waverley has two trains on a weekday with the head code 2G11 - one is the 0616 to Glenrothes with Thornton, the other is the 1217 to Cowdenbeath.  But where a head code is used twice the two trains will NEVER run at the same time in the same signalling area.

 

The type of train follows a common standard.  In recent years, as operations have changed different meanings are now used, these are listed in brackets below

0 - Light Engine, 1-Express Passenger, 2-Local Passenger, 3-Parcels (some ECS workings), 4-Freight services timed at 75mph, 5-Empty Coaching Stock/MU Positioning workings, 6-Freight Services timed at 60mph, 7-Freight Services timed at 45mph, 8-Freight services timed at 35mph, 9-Unfitted Freights (segregated workings or inter-regional passenger workings requiring special attention).

 

The class of train is always denoted by the speed of the slowest wagon.  Back when coal was moved in large quantities, the big HTA bogie hopper wagons for EWS were limited to 60mph when loaded and 75mph when empty - therefore all coal trains ran as Class 6 (ie 6D23) when loaded, and Class 4 (ie 4D25) when empty.  Many Thameslink services and some CrossCountry workings, along with Virgin Euston to Edinburgh/Glasgow via Birmingham services are now allocated Class 9 head codes rather than Class 1 to clearly identify them to signallers.

 

The second character can vary depending on the location.  Services within the former Eastern Region for example will used A for London-bound, but inter-regional workings from Scotland use E to denote heading to the Eastern Region.  Z is a special head code for charter workings or VSTP services.  In freight operations, G and T are generally used for local STP trips. Some workings ie. test trains always use the same head code to signify to staff what they are - ie structure gauging train etc, and 1Z99 is always given to a rescue locomotive en-route to recover a special train.  For some reason all freight train head codes are scrambled by Network Rail when released to third party systems like Real TimeTrains, Open TrainTimes and Railcam, unless the operator requests otherwise.  GBRf are the only freight operator to request that their services are not scrambled, hence why the proper head code appears.  So remember if you see a head code that is three numbers and a letter (ie 629T) this is completely fictional, changes each day for the same path and means absolutely nothing to anyone!!

 

In signal boxes, trains move along the diagram (whether on a computer screen or on a panel) indicated by red lights to show the track circuits currently occupied by the train and the head code displayed on a four charter 'Train Describer' or TD to show the signaller what the train is.  For example, a signaller seeing 4L01 would immediately know it is a 75mph freight working heading for East Anglia - in this case an intermodal service.

 

To put this into some context.  On today's railway in the manual signalboxes, most now have TRUST computer access - TRUST tracks all train movements across the network.  This was a view in Barnetby East signal box, just a week or so before its closure back in December 2015 - the TRUST computer screen is visible on the right:

 

20151219-DSC_5119.jpg.bcbfee76338d6a4d1e197fb8d2665a31.jpg

 

The TRUST screen can display many things from detailed info on a particular working (le a particular path) to an overview of all services (paths) at that location.  This was the line up for Barnetby on that night, the four character head codes being clearly visible as a means of identifying what is what:
20151218-DSC_5107.jpg.f6a4b95cfb790707b7521f7c2200433b.jpg

 

In the older power boxes, the train describer (TD) is used to show the position of trains on the route:

 

IU20180613-DSC_5723.jpg.e56cf9d85a4c2d1e9ffce8c2c2116eda.jpg

 

This was Derby Power Box before it closed and transferred to the East Midlands Control Centre (EMCC) at Derby.  This part of the panel shows Derby station (although the freight avoiding lines had been removed at this point to allow the new platforms to be built.  The TDs are clearly visible, with one showing 1V87 in Platform 6 and 6V09 in Platform 4.  The head codes denoting a Class 1 passenger service heading to the South West (signified by the V) while the other is a Class 6 freight working.

 

When signal boxes close, they transfer to the modern day signalling centres, now also known as Rail Operating Centre or ROC.  In these situations computer monitors are used to display the route under the control of the signaller, but again the head codes and TD provide the same situation.  This is desk in the EMCC at Derby controlling the Leicester/Coalville area:

 

IU20180613-DSC_5780.jpg.9fe76fc22085affdd0f340846c049fc5.jpg

 

But a close up of one of the screens shows the same TD system is still in use:

 

IU20180613-DSC_5824.jpg.704cb434608d5b36adc015769e63fd49.jpg

 

In this case 1F33 is a Class 1 passenger service bound for Sheffield - all 1Fxx head codes at this time were East Midlands Trains services between London St Pancras and Sheffield.  They still are, but now operated by East Midlands Railway.  The freight, 6M77 is again a Class 6 freight bound for the Midlands area.

 

Apologies this post ended up being far longer than I anticipated, but hopefully it goes someway to explaining what Simon is referring to with head codes and how they are used by signallers and railway staff.

 

 

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On 28/08/2019 at 16:05, St. Simon said:

 

I have decided that I won't use the NX panels, instead making it an IECC Workstation Signalling Centre, so I will get more Work Stations to fill the operating floor. I did originally want to go for an interior of a relay room downstairs, but I couldn't be bothered designing and drawing all the relays, so I have decided that to get some models of WestLOCK and SMARTLOCK Interlockings printed instead. This will also match the actual signalling control of the layout.

 

Once I have completed these three, I will either start building all the MERG Modules that I need for the first couple of boards or I will look at building the station buildings.

 

Simon

 

 

It should be noted that there are quite a few examples of NX panels being used to control SMARTLOCK (and also presumably WestLOCK) interlockings.

 

Lots of folk seem to think you need an IECC to go with computer based signalling (be it BR SSI or the more modern equivalents - but actually thats not true. Wimbledon and Three Bridges both use NX panels to control Commuter based interlockings with no problems at all.

 

Its even possible for an IECC setup to actually control a relay based interlocking, al you need is a multiplexer to interface the two (in fact he same bit of kit to interface a panel to a SSI but connected in reverse)

 

Personally its a bit of a shame you have gone down the IECC route - a bunch of computer desks just isn't very 'railway', where as the NX panel has a long railway history and in some respects is the spiritual successor to the 'mini lever' signal frames developed in the 1930s when power signing really took off.

Edited by phil-b259

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On ‎22‎/‎09‎/‎2019 at 22:54, phil-b259 said:

 

It should be noted that there are quite a few examples of NX panels being used to control SMARTLOCK (and also presumably WestLOCK) interlockings.

 

Lots of folk seem to think you need an IECC to go with computer based signalling (be it BR SSI or the more modern equivalents - but actually thats not true. Wimbledon and Three Bridges both use NX panels to control Commuter based interlockings with no problems at all.

 

Its even possible for an IECC setup to actually control a relay based interlocking, al you need is a multiplexer to interface the two (in fact he same bit of kit to interface a panel to a SSI but connected in reverse)

 

Personally its a bit of a shame you have gone down the IECC route - a bunch of computer desks just isn't very 'railway', where as the NX panel has a long railway history and in some respects is the spiritual successor to the 'mini lever' signal frames developed in the 1930s when power signing really took off.

 

Hi Phil,

 

Yes, you are right about NX panels and SSI and I did think about this for a while. But there are a few reasons I went with the Work Stations.

 

1 - The NX Panels I had printed were too tall and didn't come out all that well. I didn't want to go back and spend the money getting new ones printed and the Workstations are a nice model.

2 - I've never seen an IECC modelled (although I haven't seen any NX panel boxes modelled either) 

3 - I kind of want the 'real' control of the layout to reflect what is on the model, i.e. if I'm using an IECC to control the layout at an exhibition, I would like the model to be an IECC

 

I want Collingwood to be a completely up to date and I think it would be quite different to have an IECC with CBI Interlockings.

 

Simon

Edited by St. Simon
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Hi,

 

As mentioned, I have now started a topic on the creation of Collingwood IECC:

 

 

New developments on it will be posted on this layout thread and then explained in greater detail over in the above thread later on.

 

Simon

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Hi,

 

Over the past week or so, I've been thinking about the design of the layout and how to make it more exhibition friendly and easier to construct.

 

I've realised that the L shape I was planning as going to be too restrictive for exhibitions and would take up far too much space. So, I have redesigned the left hand end of the layout:

 

Collingwood_New.jpg.6845df4f2823bc6e8f9b3f1195aa8aa0.jpg

 

The line now curves in the opposite direction and through 180 degrees to the rear of the layout, although the backscene will  cut through so that it doesn't look odd (i.e. the track curving to the direction it has just come from). Also this will enable be to get my longer freight trains in whilst using a 5ft fiddle yard board.

 

The curves are 3rd radius on the inner and 4th radius on the outer. I have created a 1:1 version on a proper CAD program and plotted it to test clearances, and I'm pleased to say everything fits quite happily! I know it is still quite sharp, but the real thing at Fareham is sharp as well, I'm going to make the sharpness a feature and add check rails as well as a heavy speed restriction. 

 

You might twig that I have also had to move the whole track layout towards the front of the layout to fit the curves on a 5ft board, This is actually advantageous at gives me slightly more space at the rear for buildings and actually moves the points around away from the baseboard bracing. There are a few advantages to the changes:

 

1) The layout is now 1ft shorter and 3ft narrow than before (t is now 21ft x 5ft), making it more compact without loosing any track spacing

2) The operator space is now totally contained with the layout space rather than requiring additional space

3) All but one of the boards is 5ft x 2ft (the other is 4ft), which means they'll be easier to pack up and transport

 

The scenic features at the left hand have changed a little to make a river rather than a harbour and the road is now at an angle due to the track curvature, but other than it hasn't changed.

 

The changes don't affect the signalling or electronics, which are starting to take shape, I have got the first of the MERG Modules to build over the next month or so. I then hope to start the baseboards in December with the plan to get all the track and electrics for at least the junction and station board down and tested by the end of January.

 

Simon

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This is good!

 

It is about as far from my way of playing trains as it gets, but what I like is that it promises to push the boundaries a bit - it is original.

 

Did you see the mock solari indicator, and hear the PA announcements on the big P4 1970/80s Southern Region layout are GETS? What you are planning has a similar era-evoking feel about it.

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7 minutes ago, Nearholmer said:

This is good!

 

It is about as far from my way of playing trains as it gets, but what I like is that it promises to push the boundaries a bit - it is original.

 

Did you see the mock solari indicator, and hear the PA announcements on the big P4 1970/80s Southern Region layout are GETS? What you are planning has a similar era-evoking feel about it.

 

Hi,

 

Thank you, yes, it will be a little different, I hope the reaction to it will be good when it is at an exhibition and that the CIS display adds something to it.

 

10 minutes ago, Nearholmer said:

Did you see the mock solari indicator, and hear the PA announcements on the big P4 1970/80s Southern Region layout are GETS? What you are planning has a similar era-evoking feel about it.

 

Yes, I did, it is very impressive and I'm trying to do a modern version of it!

 

Simon

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Is there enough space between the Portsmouth fiddleyard and the station to be able to operate both? It looks a trifle tight to get an operator into that space.

 

 

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28 minutes ago, Siberian Snooper said:

Is there enough space between the Portsmouth fiddleyard and the station to be able to operate both? It looks a trifle tight to get an operator into that space.

 

Now you've said it, no there won't be, however, the fiddle yard doesn't have to be that wide so I could reduce it to give some more space.

 

My plan is that there won't be two operators in there, the signaller will sit near to the delivery unit than the station and his 'workstation' will be on wheels so it can be moved around slightly.

 

Simon

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I honestly think that the signaller should sit “out front”; the audience would find it all so interesting.

Edited by Nearholmer
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1 hour ago, Nearholmer said:

I honestly think that the signaller should sit “out front”; the audience would find it all so interesting.

 

Hi,

 

I would prefer that personally (it would save the cost and complications of a 2nd screen), but when I asked the question of where it would best be situated in this thread:

 The general agreement was don't have some sitting out the front as it spoils the view. Now, I could position the workstation at the fiddle yard to prevent blocking the view, but I've find when I have done that with Norwood Road, nobody really notices the panel.

 

There will be a screen out the front showing a simplified signalling panel with the CIS display, with some additional explanation to it, just not the person.

 

Simon

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5 hours ago, St. Simon said:

 

Now you've said it, no there won't be, however, the fiddle yard doesn't have to be that wide so I could reduce it to give some more space.

 

My plan is that there won't be two operators in there, the signaller will sit near to the delivery unit than the station and his 'workstation' will be on wheels so it can be moved around slightly.

 

Simon

 

I would allow at least 2ft 6ins or 750mm in new money,  even for a single operator in the space. 2ft 600mm is just too tight and I'm quite slim at a 30 inch waist.

 

 

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Hi All,

 

I have decided to make yet another change to the layout (I really must start building it, then I won't have the time to change it!).

 

Now that I have gone with the 'walking stick' shape, I've got an additional few feet of scenic area. I suddenly realised last week that I now had just enough space to include something I have always want to include on a layout........A Level Crossing.

 

The problem I have is that actually I don't have enough space to do a full size Level Crossing, but I don't want to do a simpler crossing like an AOCL or ABCL, because I don't think that would look right. Also, I've seen full barrier crossings modelled before (such as the excellent one on Ravensclyffe), and as with almost everything else on this layout, I want it to be different.

 

So I've decided to model a Manually Controlled Barriers On-Call Crossing or an MCB-OC. 

 

These can be found on lightly used small (generally B class) roads where the rail traffic outweighs the road traffic. An MCB-OC is very similar to an MCB-CCTV Crossing, but on an MCB-OC, the Crossing Barriers are normally lowered, the barriers only being raised at the request of a crossing user who has to push a button to alert the signaller to the need to raise the barriers.

 

An MCB-OC actually has quite a few advantages for the modeller, one is that they are smaller than normal full barrier crossings, they only use 2 barriers making the mechanics of the barrier movement slightly easier, the road lights / yodel alarms are only on when the barriers are lowering rather than every time a train goes past and (for me at least), the signalling controls and interlocking are much simpler. 

 

For my MCB-OC, I'm going to make it work so that the Audience will interact with it, by placing the request button at the front of the layout, so the audience can act as the crossing user. There are obvious problems with that, such as the tendency of kids pushing the button constantly, so I'll have to add a timer so that it can only be operated once every 5 or 10 minutes  as well as being interlocked with the signalling.  

 

Another 'change' I'm going to make to the layout is where the signaller sits, following Nearholmer's comments on this thread:

 

 

I had planned to have the signaller around the back, but as I've had a few comments on the above thread about having someone out front fielding questions as well as people wanting to see the signalling screens, I've moved them around to the front:

 

958203454_CollingwoodTrackPlanv3.jpg.c8f0485bc6248af0812b87bbd5b58d1c.jpg

 

The problem I have now is that I have nowhere for my ground lever frame to go, but I think I will put that around the back as there is no easier place to put the yard operator out front and it'll have shunting easier as they can move up and down to uncouple wagons (or at least see uncoupling magnets).

 

That's all for now...

 

Simon

Edited by St. Simon
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