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56 minutes ago, uax6 said:

 

If you put a slugged relay (ie a slow to operate relay) in circuit with the coils, you can switch in a resistor in series with the coils. This will then reduce the operating hold voltage and the needles will stay put. You might be able to get the coild sto work with a resistor anyway. I'd want something like 2000 ohms min on the coils, 3-4K ohms coil resistance would be better. Never metered a peco coil, but guessing much less than that.

 

Andy g

 

As often the case in model railways, there are clearly several ways to achieve a given objective and that sounds like another viable plan. Thanks.

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If centre zero meters could be had, they would have the advantage of being able to be wired as per the prototype - or at least the early prototypes that used galvanometers  before they were integrated with track circuits and signal locks. 

I found wiring diagrams for early (and later) LNER blcok instruments here

http://www.lymmobservatory.net/railways/wiring_diagrams/lner/simple_block.htm

 

The Tri-ang instruments worked from a 12-15 16V DC or AC supply but required a six wire loom between the instruments and two wires from each to a battery or power supply. The power supplies could be separate so the wires between them could have been extended as far as internal resistance would allow. (Ideal I'd have thought for a garden layout so long as the instruments weren't left outdoors)  

The design's deliberate resemblance to the BR "domino" instrument is obvious

1791174187_Tri-ang1964blockinstrument.jpg.c2f5bdfa3f61a023bb5f60e18fecc8a1.jpg

these are the four pages of the instruction sheet.

Triang Bell set 1.pdf

Triang Bell set 2.pdf

 

 

From the very few photos of the interior that I've seen (I can PM these to anyone interested)  they were very simple with no electronic components. In each plastic case was a bell and a bell tapper (for the other insrument) , the commutator, and that had a wiping contact to power one of the two solenoids in the other instrument. These were pretty heavy duty (so not point motor solenoids) mounted directly behind the indicator window so as to attract a hanging  iron indicator needle that would move over to the pole of the energised solenoid. This was probably a sturdier arrangement than a meter and, though obviously not to the same spec, the innards of the Tri-ang block instruments look very similar to that of a very basic prototype block instrument though without the local repeating needle (which was wired in series with that for the box in rear) That would be pretty essential for a real instrument as the signalman would know what the indication was in the box in rear  should there be a power failure or a break in the wire. This would also be the reason for having the neutral "normal" or "line blocked" indication as that would be a failsafe default but arguably you wouldn't need that in a model so Tri-ang left it out.   

  An instrument equivalent to this wouldn't actually be  too difficult to build though you'd have to know how to wind four simple coils with wire that wouldn't overheat if they were left on for extended periods.  

Edited by Pacific231G
mainly grammar and typos
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9 hours ago, Pacific231G said:

If centre zero meters could be had they would have the advantage of being able to be wired as per the prototype - or at least the early prototypes that used galvanometers  before they were integrated with track circuits and signal locks. 

I found wiring diagrams for early (and later) LNER blcok instruments here

http://www.lymmobservatory.net/railways/wiring_diagrams/lner/simple_block.htm

 

The Tri-ang instruments worked from a 12-15 16V DC or AC supply but required a six wire loom between the instruments and two wires from each to a battery or power supply which didn't have to be common so the wires could have been extended as far as internal resistance would allow. (Ideal I'd have thought for a garden layout so long as the instruments weren't left outdoors  

The design's deliberate resemblance to the BR "domino" instrument is obvious

1791174187_Tri-ang1964blockinstrument.jpg.c2f5bdfa3f61a023bb5f60e18fecc8a1.jpg

these are the four pages of the instruction sheet.

Triang Bell set 1.pdf 415.7 kB · 7 downloads

Triang Bell set 2.pdf 548.91 kB · 4 downloads

 

 

From the very few photos of the interior that I've seen (I can PM these to anyone interested)  they were very simple with no electronic components. In each plastic case was a bell and a bell tapper (for the other insrument) , the commutator, and that had a wiping contact to power one of the two solenoids in the other instrument. These were pretty heavy duty (so not point motor solenoids) mounted directly behind the indicator window so as to on attract a hanging  iron indicator needle that would move over to the pole of the energised solenoid,be atracted to the energised pole.

Though obviously not to the same spec. the innards of the Tri-ang block instruments look very similar to that of a very basic prototype block instrument though without the local repeating needle (which was in series with that for the box in rear) It looks like it wouldn't actually be  too difficult to build though you'd have to know how to wind four simple coils with wire that wouldn't overheat.  

 

Very informative. I think the secret to the success of this type of design is all in the coils. Ones designed to be kept on seem, to my mind at least, a better bet than using ones that are not designed to be left on but with the power supply tweaked to stop them cooking.

 

Somewhere in the back of my mind is a design using servos but with the two servos (one each side) moving a permanent magnet into position to pull the needle over from a central biased position. It has the low power, low current advantages of the servo combined with the action of the solenoid electromagnet type. It could work with the servo 4 boards (and a CBUS system too, for those who can cope with such black magic).

 

A three position rotary switch would switch one servo, the other servo or no servo.

 

The advantage over the single servo with three positions is really just the way the needle moves. That little bounce and twitch as it goes over. 

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1 hour ago, t-b-g said:

 

Very informative. I think the secret to the success of this type of design is all in the coils. Ones designed to be kept on seem, to my mind at least, a better bet than using ones that are not designed to be left on but with the power supply tweaked to stop them cooking.

 

Somewhere in the back of my mind is a design using servos but with the two servos (one each side) moving a permanent magnet into position to pull the needle over from a central biased position. It has the low power, low current advantages of the servo combined with the action of the solenoid electromagnet type. It could work with the servo 4 boards (and a CBUS system too, for those who can cope with such black magic).

 

A three position rotary switch would switch one servo, the other servo or no servo.

 

The advantage over the single servo with three positions is really just the way the needle moves. That little bounce and twitch as it goes over. 

Thanks Tony

To be perfectly honest, were I installing something like this (several of the pre SNCF companies used similar block instuments though not block bells) I'd probably opt for Peter Denny's system of lights.  You'd only really need two of them as the central  "line blocked" indication would be indicated by no lights being illuminated though the "commutator" switch would still be centre-off.  

 

Something that does occur to me is that as a very general rule, the balance between prototypical operation and the finer points of scale and detail of the actual models seemed far more tilted towards operation for our predecessors and far more the other way now.  Peter Denny's approach seemed unusually well balanced in that regard but people like Frank Dyer also wrote a lot about operation.

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1 hour ago, t-b-g said:

...The advantage over the single servo with three positions is really just the way the needle moves. That little bounce and twitch as it goes over. 

Excellent ideas are being posted but let’s keep in mind my main reason for initiating this thread, which is to persuade some manufacturer to make one for me so I don’t have to worry about the electronics technologies. I just want to “plug and play”.

 

Just a thought, my signals bounce beautifully under the control of Megapoints servo controllers. Does anyone have Dave Fenton’s ear?

Ian

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Out of the present crop of designers and manufacturers, I would have thought that somebody like DCC Concepts would be a good one to talk to. They could certainly handle the technological side of things and have a track record of coming up with slightly non "run of the mill" products.

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I would really like a simple RTR set of block instruments - even though my layout is pretty small! An electronic "bell" might be more appropriate, as it would allow you to adjust the volume.

 

Sounds like something a company such as Train-Tech could produce.

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On 25/03/2020 at 23:51, t-b-g said:

 

You may well be correct but there is no doubt that a servo doesn't have to be just two positions and if there is an easy way to set one up to work three positions, as suggested above, I would be interested in hearing what it is.

 

I have seen devices where a servo mirrors the movement of a pot directly. Something like that would give you 3 possible positions very easily but only if you have somebody that knows how to do it involved. That ain't me!

 

A common analog voltmeter can be simply be converted into a 3 position block instrument, the trick is how you drive it. For example 0 volts for the left indication, 6 volts for the middle indication and 12 volts ror the right indication using a 12 volt meter. If you make 0 volts (open circuit ) train on line, you have a reasonably fail safe system.  The servo alternative does not have this advantage. 

 

Cheers,

Terry Flynn.

 

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49 minutes ago, nswgr1855 said:

 

A common analog voltmeter can be simply be converted into a 3 position block instrument, the trick is how you drive it. For example 0 volts for the left indication, 6 volts for the middle indication and 12 volts ror the right indication using a 12 volt meter. If you make 0 volts (open circuit ) train on line, you have a reasonably fail safe system.  The servo alternative does not have this advantage. 

 

Cheers,

Terry Flynn.

 

 

One of the articles  in MRJ described just such a system in detail. There are often many ways to get the same result and one of our little gang has a saying that if you ask 4 modellers how they would do something, expect at least 5 different answers.

 

What matters most for the present thread is what method a manufacturer could produce and find a market for at a sensible price.

 

I wonder if Hornby still have the tooling for making the old version from many years ago and could produce a fresh batch?

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1 hour ago, t-b-g said:

 

One of the articles  in MRJ described just such a system in detail. There are often many ways to get the same result and one of our little gang has a saying that if you ask 4 modellers how they would do something, expect at least 5 different answers.

 

What matters most for the present thread is what method a manufacturer could produce and find a market for at a sensible price.

 

I wonder if Hornby still have the tooling for making the old version from many years ago and could produce a fresh batch?

 

My view is the market for block instruments is very small, way too small for Hornby to even have it on their radar. The money is in locomotives and to a lesser degree rolling stock. Most purchasers of models are mostly collectors and are lucky to have a table top size layout, let alone operating signals.

 

Cheers,

Terry Flynn.

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1 hour ago, nswgr1855 said:

 

My view is the market for block instruments is very small, way too small for Hornby to even have it on their radar. The money is in locomotives and to a lesser degree rolling stock. Most purchasers of models are mostly collectors and are lucky to have a table top size layout, let alone operating signals.

 

Cheers,

Terry Flynn.

 

You could well be right. Perhaps we are wasting valuable modelling time even discussing it.

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Posted (edited)

I would love it if Hornby could resurrect  the original Triang bell signalling set but I’m not holding my breath. However I do believe there is a market for a reasonably priced set of block instruments. Just look at the niche products that companies like DCC Concepts, Megapoints and MERG think it is worthwhile to produce. Not everyone is a collector.

 

One small point - can the bells please have variable sounds and volume so that we can be polite to neighbouring layout operators and identify which bell is ringing.

 

And to Tony and Terry I would say this is what RMweb is all about. It is a virtual model railway club, absolutely invaluable as a way of meeting and chatting to friends in these days of isolation. It’s just a shame we cannot buy each other rounds of beer while we discuss. Nexbtime you are in Askrigg...

 

Ian

 

Edited by clecklewyke
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Bells may be the hardest thing to source as in this digital age they are becoming redundant. Perhaps chimes could be used instead, they certainly would be easier to make.

 

Some have used WT588 (a number if variants exist) sound modules that can play .WAV files. The larger implementations can store 4Mb of files and for our purposes, they can be mono, not stereo. The sounds can be triggered by key presses, on the larger modules 10 are available, so provide a choice from pre-loaded files. They will drive an 0.5W 8-ohm speaker directly. I have no idea what this would sound like. Sugar cubes for loco sound seem to be 1W.

 

Please don't assume I know a lot about these modules, I just read a few web pages :o

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23 hours ago, Tim V said:

Of course, these are mostly double track instruments that are being shown ...

Surely, for British practice before 1967,  those are the only instruments you could have as a single track section would require a token or tablet machine at each end rather than simple block instruments. 

After 1967 tokenless block working would be possible as described here.

http://www.trainweb.org/railwest/gen/signal/tkblock.html

For our purposes it could be simplified so you wouldn't need  track circuits, treadles or interlocking with signals. 

Actually, thinking about this, perhaps Tony could explain the system used on Leighton Buzzard which, unlike the rest of the Buckingham branch, is single track but does AFAIR use block instruments (light rather than needle)  between the terminus and the fiddle yard. How is/was it worked when integrated into the rest of the main layout?

 

There was a discussion about this in the context of single lines in Scotland about four years ago

https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/113085-information-please-on-scottish-tokenless-block-working/

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3 hours ago, clecklewyke said:

I would love it if Hornby could resurrect  the original Triang bell signalling set but I’m not holding my breath. However I do believe there is a market for a reasonably priced set of block instruments. Just look at the niche products that companies like DCC Concepts, Megapoints and MERG think it is worthwhile to produce. Not everyone is a collector.

 

One small point - can the bells please have variable sounds and volume so that we can be polite to neighbouring layout operators and identify which bell is ringing.

 

And to Tony and Terry I would say this is what RMweb is all about. It is a virtual model railway club, absolutely invaluable as a way of meeting and chatting to friends in these days of isolation. It’s just a shame we cannot buy each other rounds of beer while we discuss. Nexbtime you are in Askrigg...

 

Ian

 

 

Hello Ian.

 

I agree 100%. I was trying to be ironic (in a tongue in cheek kind of way) but it probably didn't come across very well. Discussing such things whether or not they actually lead to anything is half the fun.

 

The block instruments for Leighton Buzzard are the same as the ones on the double track section. There are two sets of lights, for up and down trains, just as there are on the double line section for up and down lines. Not prototypical but entirely practical.

 

I have put some feelers out to see if I can obtain a real GCR block instrument and if I do, I may well consider measuring it up to possibly create a scaled down replica. From the photos, it looks as if the GCR used separate instruments for up and down lines, at least in some cases, rather than a combined double line type. The one I am enquiring about has a single "dial" and is marked "Down Line", so presumably had a matching one for the "Up line".

 

Cheers

 

Tony

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52 minutes ago, t-b-g said:

I have put some feelers out to see if I can obtain a real GCR block instrument and if I do, I may well consider measuring it up to possibly create a scaled down replica.

 

Take a look at John Brighton's Website https://steamlinesheffield.wordpress.com/page/1/ and scroll down towards the bottom you'll see Blocks & Bells where he shows his Home Built Block Instruments. I think there was an article in Scalefour News and / or MRJ.

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10 minutes ago, Pannier Tank said:

 

Take a look at John Brighton's Website https://steamlinesheffield.wordpress.com/page/1/ and scroll down towards the bottom you'll see Blocks & Bells where he shows his Home Built Block Instruments. I think there was an article in Scalefour News and / or MRJ.

 

I have worked those on John's  layout, along with the superb electrically interlocked lever frame. The article in MRJ that Richard Challis was involved with covers them. They are very nice.

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3 hours ago, t-b-g said:

 

Hello Ian.

 

I agree 100%. I was trying to be ironic (in a tongue in cheek kind of way) but it probably didn't come across very well. Discussing such things whether or not they actually lead to anything is half the fun.

 

The block instruments for Leighton Buzzard are the same as the ones on the double track section. There are two sets of lights, for up and down trains, just as there are on the double line section for up and down lines. Not prototypical but entirely practical.

 

I have put some feelers out to see if I can obtain a real GCR block instrument and if I do, I may well consider measuring it up to possibly create a scaled down replica. From the photos, it looks as if the GCR used separate instruments for up and down lines, at least in some cases, rather than a combined double line type. The one I am enquiring about has a single "dial" and is marked "Down Line", so presumably had a matching one for the "Up line".

 

Cheers

 

Tony

Hi Tony

That answers my question too and I've also found some photos I took of the Leighton Buzzard instruments at a couple of ExpoEMs etc. It occurs to me that the  BR(W) single line tokenless block instruments could also be functionally reproduced but I can see why it made sense on Buckingham to use the same instruments throughout the layout.

I found this example  and it does look as if the GC separated their sending and receivng instruments

https://www.junctionrailwayana.com/sites/default/files/20200219_105457.jpg

The Science Museum's colection also includes a GC pegging  sender which is well photographed from several angles. It's for a permissive goods line but, apart from the needle face, seems identical in design. 

https://collection.sciencemuseumgroup.org.uk/objects/co209562/block-instrument-great-central-railway-sending-block-instrument

 

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15 hours ago, nswgr1855 said:

 

A common analog voltmeter can be simply be converted into a 3 position block instrument, the trick is how you drive it. For example 0 volts for the left indication, 6 volts for the middle indication and 12 volts ror the right indication using a 12 volt meter. If you make 0 volts (open circuit ) train on line, you have a reasonably fail safe system.  The servo alternative does not have this advantage. 

 

Cheers,

Terry Flynn.

 

Actually you want centre zero meters, -volts gives you line clear, +volts gives you train on line and no volts gives you Line blocked.

 

Line blocked is the default position on the real things (also with no volts). I can see no reason why, if you really want to, you couldn't add line clear release to the model versions, along with the other proving wiring....

 

One of the tricks in boxes if the bells sound the same is to add a bit of blue tack to the inside of the gongs, which allows them to be tuned...

 

I can't see why getting bells would be a problem these days, you can't get much simpler!

 

Andy g

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2 hours ago, Pacific231G said:

Hi Tony

That answers my question too and I've also found some photos I took of the Leighton Buzzard instruments at a couple of ExpoEMs etc. It occurs to me that the  BR(W) single line tokenless block instruments could also be functionally reproduced but I can see why it made sense on Buckingham to use the same instruments throughout the layout.

I found this example  and it does look as if the GC separated their sending and receivng instruments

https://www.junctionrailwayana.com/sites/default/files/20200219_105457.jpg

The Science Museum's colection also includes a GC pegging  sender which is well photographed from several angles. It's for a permissive goods line but, apart from the needle face, seems identical in design. 

https://collection.sciencemuseumgroup.org.uk/objects/co209562/block-instrument-great-central-railway-sending-block-instrument

 

 

I didn't know whether to give that a "Thanks" or an "Informative". Consider my response both! It is reasonable evidence that the one I am looking at is a typical one rather than a rare beast. 

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The late Richard Chown' s Castle Rackrent layout in the basement of his house comprised six interconnected stations on a single track line in Ireland.  Whilst the operators had visual contact with the team at the next station on the line train communication was by battery powered bells.  Much fun could be had when the next station up the line had got themselves into a bit of a fankle and could not accept the next train when it was belled to them.   The reply could in extreme cases result in use of an unofficial we cannot accept hand signal in the form of two fingers .:diablo_mini:

Malcolm

Edited by dunwurken
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34 minutes ago, dunwurken said:

The late Richard Chown' s Castle Rackrent layout in the basement of his house comprised six interconnected stations on a single track line in Ireland.  Whilst the operators had visual contact with the team at the next station on the line train communication was by battery powered bells.  Much fun could be had when the next station up the line had got themselves into a bit of a fankle and could not accept the next train when it was belled to them.   The reply could in extreme cases result in use of an unofficial we cannot accept hand signal in the form of two fingers .:diablo_mini:

Malcolm

 

I used to operate a large layout with 12 operating positions. Each bell had a paperclip hanging on it that vibrated long after it stopped ringing, so you could tell which of your many bells had rung. It was GWR practice. Each run from one station to the next took the train out of sight behind a partition down the middle of the room, so you couldn't see what the other operator was doing. The bell code 6 - 2 would sometimes ring out "Train unusually long time in section". In model terms it meant "The train went ages ago, it must be there now, what are you messing about at, get the 2-1 rung!" The hand signal response was no good due to the partition but the language got a bit colourful sometimes.

 

Folk who don't "do" bells can be missing out on much fun!

Edited by t-b-g
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Posted (edited)

After helping to operate Richard Chown’s French layout at Utrecht a few years ago I was offered an invitation to operate Castle Rackrent and I’ve always regretted not taking it up.

 

i’d watched progress on C.R. ever since I saw it when it was a minimalist harbour station with a  fiddle yard concealed behind a warehouse. I later was privileged to see the whole system filling an Edinburgh church hall, with even a semicircl going round  the stage. Alas i moved from Edinburgh and never found the time or money to visit Richard’s basement. But I realise that I’ve incorporated many of his ideas on my layouts. A great, inspirational man.

 

ian

Edited by clecklewyke
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1 hour ago, clecklewyke said:

After helping to operate Richard Chown’s French layout at Utrecht a few years ago I was offered an invitation to operate Castle Rackrent and I’ve always regretted not taking it up.

 

i’d watched progress on C.R. ever since I saw it when it was a minimalist harbour station with a  fiddle yard concealed behind a warehouse. I later was privileged to see the whole system filling an Edinburgh church hall, with even a semicircl going round  the stage. Alas i moved from Edinburgh and never found the time or money to visit Richard’s basement. But I realise that I’ve incorporated many of his ideas on my layouts. A great, inspirational man.

 

ian

 

I didn't know Richard very well but I met him at Wigan show a few years ago when he and his team were exhibiting that amazing French viaduct layout. I talked to him about how much I had liked Castle Rackrent when it had appeared in the magazines and I was asked if I would like to go up for a visit to see the whole system.

 

Just like you, I didn't do it when I should have done and it is too late now. In many ways, it was my sort of layout. You didn't need masses of locos and stock but it looked like great fun operating. It was a model of a railway, not a station. Running a goods along the line, stopping at stations to shunt the yard, getting out of the way when a passenger train is due. Proper operating, rather than running some trains. 

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