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I don’t know much about trains, and I know less about trains operations and about signalling.

 

The following is my guess as to the meaning of the signalling diagram for Banff, Scotland from 1959.  There are a few things that I do not understand, and there are bound to be a few things that I’ve misunderstood.  My terminology is most likely wrong in places too.

 

Please post any corrections, and I will correct what I’ve written lest anybody else stumble over this at a later date and assume that I know what I'm talking about.  Thanks in advance to anyone who takes the time to read this.

 

The corrected version is posted below.

 

Picture1.jpg.8690684992cf81b0c105c37eb7d00b4f.jpg

 

The “pulls” at the bottom are the levers in the signalbox.  Red pulls are for stop (red) signals, black are points, and blue is for Facing Point Locks (FPLs).  I think the table under the row of pulls shows the interlocking. and that the physical levers would have actually been these colours.

 

Signals 1 and 2 face the station platforms.  The diagram seems to show signal 2 applying to the north platform, but I think this might be a mistake, since it seems weird that the left signal would apply to the right track coming out  of the station, and vice versa.

 

I think that signals 1 and 2 might be “starter” signals, in that they control departure of a train from the platforms into the block towards Tillynaught.  The diagram suggests that this would be a “Down” train, but even there I’m not sure.  I’ve read that “Up” in Scotland means towards Edinburgh. Whilst Banff would be crow-flight closer, it’s a terminus, and so any journey to Edinburgh would have to be via Tillynaught, and hence should be an “Up” train. So confused.

 

Anyway.

 

So I think signal 1 should be for the south platform, and can only be off if point 3 is in the normal position.  Similarly, signal 2 is for the south platform and can only be off if point 3 is reversed, although this doesn’t appear in the interlocking table.

 

Pull 4 is the FPL for point 3, which means that when pull 4 is pulled (on? locked? active? applied?), then pull 3 cannot be changed.  I understand that FPLs where used for facing movements of passenger trains, but it’s not clear to me whether they would have been used for trailing movements, or for non-passenger trains, including engines without rolling stock (light engines?).  I would assume that the FPLs would be used during facing gravity-shunt movements when there wasn't an engine.

 

Signal 5 is a ground signal and faces the engine sidings. I don’t understand why it is shown white.  Signal 5 can only be off if pull/point 6 is reversed.

 

Pull 6 controls both trap 6a and point 6b, thereby stopping an engine unexpectedly encroaching on the “main” line by trailing though points 6b.

 

FPL 7 locks point 6, and can only be locked when FPL 4 is also locked.

 

Ground signal 8 faces into the goods sidings, and can only be off if points 9a and 9b are reversed, which are controlled by pull 9.

 

FPL 10 locks point 9b, and can only be locked when FPL 7 is locked, and hence also when FPL4 is locked.

 

Signals 11, 12, 13 and 15 face Tillynaught.  I think these are “home” signals, accepting Up trains from Tillynaught.  Signal 11 is drawn smaller than signals 12 and 13 – would it have been physically smaller in practice?  I don’t know if the red bar under signal 13 means anything.

 

Signal 11 controls access into the goods sidings, and can only be off if points 9a and 9b are reversed.

 

Signal 12 controls access to the north platform, and can only be off if points 3 is reversed, and if FPLs 4, 7 and 10 are locked.

 

Signal 13 controls access to the south platform, and can only be off if FPLs 4, 7 and 10 are locked.  Point 3 would have to be normal, but this is not detailed.

 

Pull 14 is a spare - I suppose there would just be a gap in the switchbox lever frame.

 

Ground signal 15 controls access into the engine sidings, and can only be off if points 6b are reversed.

 

There is an unnumbered fixed distant signal down the line towards Tillynaught.  How far might  this have been?

 

Finally, there are three unnumbered points in the goods siding, and one in the engine sidings. These would all have been operated from ground levers, and not have required signals nor interlocks.

Edited by aardvark
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If you are making a model of this station you will need a crossover between the goods shed road and the Nth platform to allow locos to run round their trains.  Runing round by propelling trains up a gradient and allowing them to run back down by gravity isn't very easy to arrange in a model, though it may well have been used in the full size station.

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10 minutes ago, aardvark said:

The “pulls” at the bottom are the levers in the signalbox.  Red pulls are for stop (red) signals, black are points, and blue is for Facing Point Locks (FPLs).  I think the table under the row of pulls shows the interlocking. and that the physical levers would have actually been these colours.

The "pull list" show which levers have to be pulled before you can pull the lever in question, so in that sense they do show the interlocking. For example, before you can pull lever 5 you have to pull lever 6.

 

13 minutes ago, aardvark said:

Signals 1 and 2 face the station platforms.  The diagram seems to show signal 2 applying to the north platform, but I think this might be a mistake, since it seems weird that the left signal would apply to the right track coming out  of the station, and vice versa.

I think you are right. The pull list shows that to pull lever 1 you need to pull lever 3 first, which sets the route for the North Platform.

 

14 minutes ago, aardvark said:

I think that signals 1 and 2 might be “starter” signals, in that they control departure of a train from the platforms into the block towards Tillynaught.  The diagram suggests that this would be a “Down” train, but even there I’m not sure.  I’ve read that “Up” in Scotland means towards Edinburgh. Whilst Banff would be crow-flight closer, it’s a terminus, and so any journey to Edinburgh would have to be via Tillynaught, and hence should be an “Up” train. So confused.

1 and 2 are indeed the starter signals and 11/12/13 are the home signals. The other signals are shunt signals. It does seem odd for trains leaving the station to be Down trains but there may be a reason. It's only a convention anyway so don't worry about it.

 

16 minutes ago, aardvark said:

Pull 4 is the FPL for point 3, which means that when pull 4 is pulled (on? locked? active? applied?), then pull 3 cannot be changed.  I understand that FPLs where used for facing movements of passenger trains, but it’s not clear to me whether they would have been used for trailing movements, or for non-passenger trains, including engines without rolling stock (light engines?).  I would assume that the FPLs would be used during facing gravity-shunt movements when there wasn't an engine.

When a lever is not pulled it is described as in the Normal position and when it is pulled it is Reversed. When a signal lever is Normal the signal is ON and when it is reversed the signal is OFF. The FPLs don't apply to trailing movements. You can tell this from the pull list. If they did, then lever 1 would need lever 4 as well as lever 3 to be pulled before lever 1 could be pulled. The pull list also tells us that the FPLs are needed for all facing movements over the points they lock.

 

20 minutes ago, aardvark said:

Signal 5 is a ground signal and faces the engine sidings. I don’t understand why it is shown white.  Signal 5 can only be off if pull/point 6 is reversed.

I don't know why signal 5 is white either. I think it should be red the same as 8 and 15. See comment on 11/12/13 below.

 

21 minutes ago, aardvark said:

Pull 6 controls both trap 6a and point 6b, thereby stopping an engine unexpectedly encroaching on the “main” line by trailing though points 6b.

Correct. Wherever possible, points are worked in pairs as a crossover for exactly that reason.

 

22 minutes ago, aardvark said:

FPL 7 locks point 6, and can only be locked when FPL 4 is also locked.

Yes. Strictly, "FPL 7 locks pint 6B and can only be reversed when FPL 4 is reversed".

 

23 minutes ago, aardvark said:

Ground signal 8 faces into the goods sidings, and can only be off if points 9a and 9b are reversed, which are controlled by pull 9.

Yes. As with points 6, 9A and 9B are worked as a crossover.

 

24 minutes ago, aardvark said:

FPL 10 locks point 9b, and can only be locked when FPL 7 is locked, and hence also when FPL4 is locked.

Yes, but see note on terminology for FPL 7.

 

25 minutes ago, aardvark said:

Signals 11, 12, 13 and 15 face Tillynaught.  I think these are “home” signals, accepting Up trains from Tillynaught.  Signal 11 is drawn smaller than signals 12 and 13 – would it have been physically smaller in practice?  I don’t know if the red bar under signal 13 means anything.

 

Signal 11 controls access into the goods sidings, and can only be off if points 9a and 9b are reversed.

 

Signal 12 controls access to the north platform, and can only be off if points 3 is reversed, and if FPLs 4, 7 and 10 are locked.

 

Signal 13 controls access to the south platform, and can only be off if FPLs 4, 7 and 10 are locked.  Point 3 would have to be normal, but this is not detailed.

Yes. These are the home signals. 11 is smaller because it is for a non-passenger move into the goods yard. I don't know what GNoSR signals actually looked like though.

 

I think the red bar is the one that has escaped from signal 5.

 

There is no mention of 3 points in the pull list for 13 signal because it isn't pulled to allow 13 to be pulled.

30 minutes ago, aardvark said:

Pull 14 is a spare - I suppose there would just be a gap in the switchbox lever frame.

There would be a lever in the frame, probably painted white. If there were no lever at all it would be described as a Space not a Spare.

 

31 minutes ago, aardvark said:

Ground signal 15 controls access into the engine sidings, and can only be off if points 6b are reversed.

Yes.

 

31 minutes ago, aardvark said:

There is an unnumbered fixed distant signal down the line towards Tillynaught.  How far might  this have been?

Far enough for the driver to stop before the home signals. The distance woudl depend on line speed, gradients and curvature, etc.

 

32 minutes ago, aardvark said:

Finally, there are three unnumbered points in the goods siding, and one in the engine sidings. These would all have been operated from ground levers, and not have required signals nor interlocks.

Yes.

 

Hope this helps.

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1 hour ago, aardvark said:

Signals 1 and 2 face the station platforms.  The diagram seems to show signal 2 applying to the north platform, but I think this might be a mistake, since it seems weird that the left signal would apply to the right track coming out  of the station, and vice versa.

Signal 1 is for the north platform (the lower platform in the diagram) and signal 2 is for the south platform. Points 3 normal is for the south platform, which is why the north platform starter 1 requires lever 3 to be reversed.

 

I have a question for the signalling experts though. Why does 7 require 4 and 10 require 7?

Edited by Jeremy C
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1 hour ago, aardvark said:

The diagram suggests that this would be a “Down” train, but even there I’m not sure.  I’ve read that “Up” in Scotland means towards Edinburgh. Whilst Banff would be crow-flight closer, it’s a terminus, and so any journey to Edinburgh would have to be via Tillynaught, and hence should be an “Up” train. So confused.

The GNoSR appears to have used "up" for "towards Aberdeen", but from Banff to Aberdeen required a reversal at Grange, so Banff to Grange is "down".

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39 minutes ago, Jeremy C said:

 

I have a question for the signalling experts though. Why does 7 require 4 and 10 require 7?

 It marginally simplifies the interlocking although I'm not entirely sure the pulls 12 and 13 on the diagram are 100% accurate, 12 should be 3,4,7,10 and 13 similarly 4,7,10. This assumes that 10 requires 7 and 7 requires 4 is actually correct.

Regards

Martin

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1 hour ago, Martin Shaw said:

 It marginally simplifies the interlocking although I'm not entirely sure the pulls 12 and 13 on the diagram are 100% accurate, 12 should be 3,4,7,10 and 13 similarly 4,7,10. This assumes that 10 requires 7 and 7 requires 4 is actually correct.

Regards

Martin

I had wondered that, but if that were the case I expected to see 12 just requiring 3 & 10 and 13 just requiring 10 (matching the actual interlocking).

 

I also wondered if it was to avoid pull-betweens on 5 and 8, but it looks to me to be interlocked the wrong way round to do this. Of course, the signalman could avoid a pull-between by setting 4 normal before pulling 5, and 7 normal before pulling 8 (both levers will be free), but he is not compelled to do so. I have no idea what is considered good (or even acceptable) practice in this regard.

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1 hour ago, Jeremy C said:

I had wondered that, but if that were the case I expected to see 12 just requiring 3 & 10 and 13 just requiring 10 (matching the actual interlocking).

You have to be a bit careful here, you shouldn't assume that the pulls are necessarily an accurate representation of how the interlocking is put together, for example with all levers normal to pull 12 you have to pull 3,4,7,10 in that order even though the actual locking is between 10 and 12. I think it likely that 6 locks 9 and of course the other way round and normal practice should be to return levers to normal so 5 as a pull between 4 and 6 ought not to happen. It will almost certainly be a 5 1/4" pitch Stevens frame so a shunt signal pull between isn't too much of an issue anyway.

Regards

Martin

Edited by Martin Shaw
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9 hours ago, Jeremy C said:

Why does 7 require 4 and 10 require 7?

 

9 hours ago, Martin Shaw said:

assumes that 10 requires 7 and 7 requires 4 is actually correct.

I think this is so that all three facing points are locked before the signals to the platform roads can be cleared. I haven't come across this before but it seems to make sense.

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20 hours ago, St Enodoc said:

Hope this helps.

 

It most certainly does - my thanks go to all who posted :clapping_mini:.

 

The following is a heavily edited version of the initial post, corrected with your input.

 

Picture1.jpg.16be5bc033407824cbac245180ba3021.jpg

 

The “pulls” at the bottom are the levers in the signalbox: red pulls are for stop (red) signals, black are points, blue is for Facing Point Locks (FPLs), and white is a spare level.  The physical levers would have actually been these colours.  The “pull list” below shows which other levers must be pulled before a lever in question can be pulled, and represents some of the interlocking.

 

Signals 1 and 2 face the station platforms.  The diagram erroneously shows signal 2 as applying to the north platform, since it would be weird that the left signal would apply to the right track coming out of the station, and vice versa.

 

Signals 1 and 2 are “starter” signals, in that they control departure of a train from the platforms into the block towards Tillynaught.  The diagram show this to be a “down” train.  GNoSR appears to have used “up” for “towards Aberdeen”. Banff to Aberdeen required a reversal at Grange, so Banff to Grange, and hence Banff to Tillynaught is “down”.

 

Signal 1 should be for the north platform, and can only be cleared if point 3 is reversed.  Similarly, signal 2 is for the south platform and should only be cleared if point 3 is normal.

 

FPL 4 locks point 3, which means that when FPL 4 is reversed, then point 3 cannot be changed.  FPLs were only required for facing movements of passenger trains.  I would assume that the FPLs would also be used during facing gravity-shunt movements when there wasn't an engine.

 

Signal 5 is a ground signal and faces the engine sidings, and is erroneously shown white, but should be red.  Signal 5 can only be cleared if point 6B is reversed.

 

Pull 6 controls both trap 6A and point 6B (which operate like a crossover), thereby stopping an engine unexpectedly encroaching on the “main” line by trailing though points 6B.

 

FPL 7 locks point 6B, and can only be reversed when FPL 4 is also reversed.

 

Ground signal 8 faces into the goods sidings, and can only be cleared if points 9A and 9B, are reversed. Points 9A and 9B are controlled by pull 9 and also operate like a crossover.

 

FPL 10 locks points 9A and 9B, and can only be reversed when FPL 7 is also reversed, and hence when FPL4 is also reversed.

 

Signals 11, 12, 13 and 15 face Tillynaught and are “home” signals, accepting up trains. Signal 11 is drawn smaller to show that it controls non-passenger moves into the goods sidings.  Signal 11 can only be cleared if points 9A and 9B are reversed.

 

Signal 12 controls moves to the north platform, and can only be cleared if point 3 is reversed, and if FPLs 4, 7 and 10 are reversed.

 

Signal 13 controls access to the south platform, and can only be cleared if FPLs 4, 7 and 10 are reversed.  The little red mark under signal 13 appears to be the red missing from signal 5.

 

Pull 14 is a spare.

 

Ground signal 15 controls moves into the engine sidings, and can only be cleared if trap 6A and point 6B are reversed.

 

There is an unnumbered fixed distant signal down the line towards Tillynaught.

 

Finally, there are three unnumbered points in the goods siding, and one in the engine sidings. These would all have been operated from ground levers, and not have required signals nor FPLs.

 

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20 hours ago, DavidCBroad said:

If you are making a model of this station you will need a crossover between the goods shed road and the Nth platform to allow locos to run round their trains.  Runing round by propelling trains up a gradient and allowing them to run back down by gravity isn't very easy to arrange in a model, though it may well have been used in the full size station.

 

Thanks David: what you have said is undoubtedly correct, it would cause the layout to deviate significantly from the prototype, so I have to give this a good thinking and decide which way I want to go.

 

Greenock and District Model Railway Club used a Black Beetle in their Inverboyndie layout (Hornby magazine, Aug 2015).

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1 hour ago, aardvark said:

 

Thanks David: what you have said is undoubtedly correct, it would cause the layout to deviate significantly from the prototype, so I have to give this a good thinking and decide which way I want to go.

 

Greenock and District Model Railway Club used a Black Beetle in their Inverboyndie layout (Hornby magazine, Aug 2015).

An alternative would be to have a spare engine, either a station pilot or another passenger loco, waiting in the shed area. Also not prototypical but not as bad as adding extra tracks?

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5 minutes ago, St Enodoc said:

An alternative would be to have a spare engine, either a station pilot or another passenger loco, waiting in the shed area. Also not prototypical but not as bad as adding extra tracks?

 

No button for "very interesting" or "I hadn't thought if that".

 

Would sure beat Hand of God shunting.

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I had thought about fitting brakes to some of my coaches as they run away on what were once level carriage sidings.

For now I am using super neo magnets to hold coaches in place. I planned brakes working on one bogie powered by a small motor and controlled by the innards of a small sort of 1:50th scale R/C car,  but I have been thinking about it, stock piling bits and not actually doing it for 30 years. Add in DCC and it should be relatively easy ,

Add in a level main board and a 1 in 75 or so approach,  Brakes in one brake coach per train, and all the brake vans, maybe a couple of wagon chassis with brakes and swap bodies? to lead the goods trains.  

Sounds do able. Might even get off my backside and finish my coach and brake van with brakes project, though I reckon Bachmann will probably have an RTR DCC version out before I get mine finished

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On 09/07/2020 at 12:45, DavidCBroad said:

If you are making a model of this station you will need a crossover between the goods shed road and the Nth platform to allow locos to run round their trains.  Runing round by propelling trains up a gradient and allowing them to run back down by gravity isn't very easy to arrange in a model, though it may well have been used in the full size station.

Hi David,

 

If you do this - then it's no longer Banff......

 

Phil H

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9 hours ago, aardvark said:

The diagram erroneously shows signal 2 as applying to the north platform, since it would be weird that the left signal would apply to the right track coming out of the station, and vice versa.

Ah, I now see why you wrote this; I hadn't noticed the two lines pointing to the signal arms. It looks as if the draughtsman originally drew each signal mounted on its own post, but then did not change the position lines when he drew a bracket signal. I don't recall seeing lines on a signalling diagram showing which arm is for which road, but there should be a line on the diagram showing where the post is located.

9 hours ago, aardvark said:

FPL 4 locks point 3, which means that when FPL 4 is reversed, then point 3 cannot be changed.  FPLs were only required for facing movements of passenger trains.  I would assume that the FPLs would also be used during facing gravity-shunt movements when there wasn't an engine.

I suppose this depends on how the move was carried out. If the loco just moved out of the way into the other platform, then I doubt they would have been locked, unless the signalman particularly wanted to check that the locomotive was clear of the points by making use of the locking bar worked from the FPL lever. I suppose the signalman would have given hand signals for the movements from the signalbox. However, if the locomotive went to the engine shed or to take water, then I imagine that 12 or 13 would have been cleared for the gravity shunt, and presumably later on for the locomotive, even though the line was occupied, since no shunting signal is provided for that purpose. [Edit: you can clearly see signal 13 cleared for the light engine movement in the video below]

 

You might need someone with local knowledge to discover whether or not the starter would have been cleared for backing a train out of the platform. Banff would probably need permission from Tillynaught for the move, so it ought to have been possible to get a release if using the signal was allowed.

Edited by Jeremy C
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Following Martin's excellent find, I see there is another video, showing a different method of carrying out the shunt. No signals are visible, nor is the signabbox, but since neither locomotive nor carriages appear to have reached signal 13, any signals (if there were any) must have been given by hand by the signalman.

 

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5 hours ago, Martin Shaw said:

I've found a snippet on utube taken in 1959, worth a watch.

 

I’ve seen the 1959 video previously, but it is worthwhile viewing it again from a signalling perspective.

 

The gravity shunt starts at 1:16, and we see the 55185 simmering away in the engine shed siding.  It then pulls back out onto the main line, and backs into the south platform.  At 1:49, you can see signal 13 has been cleared for this move.

 

Would anyone care to comment as to what the white object is in the foreground at 1:35?

 

4 hours ago, Jeremy C said:

Following Martin's excellent find, I see there is another video, showing a different method of carrying out the shunt. No signals are visible, nor is the signabbox, but since neither locomotive nor carriages appear to have reached signal 13, any signals (if there were any) must have been given by hand by the signalman.

 

The second video is from 29/6/64, less than a week before the last train on Saturday 4/7/64, and well after the removal of the switchbox in 1960, along with, I suspect, the signals and the signalman.

 

Gravity shunt starts at 1:13, and shows 78045 giving the carriage a good pushback in front of the engine shed. At 1:28, you can see the ground levers probably controlling points 6 and 9. As the carriages roll back into station, we see the loco waiting patiently in the north platform.

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3 hours ago, micknich2003 said:

Ideally you want a copy of the signalbox "Special Operating Instructions" and also the relevant "Sectional Appendix". Try the Signal Record Society site.

 

Yes, they probably would be useful, but I won't lose any sleep.

 

I couldn't find anything relevant on the SRS website, although that's not to say it isn't there :read:

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I hadn't spotted the ground frames.

 

I imagine the three levers are what had been 6 and 9, and a single lever for the two FPLs, normal in the locked position. The north platfform has now gained a trap, since with no signalman it now needs to be isolated from the running line. The locking bars have been removed (There appears to be a hint of a locking bar (10) at 1:49 in the first video).

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1 hour ago, Jeremy C said:

I hadn't spotted the ground frames.

 

I imagine the three levers are what had been 6 and 9, and a single lever for the two FPLs, normal in the locked position. The north platfform has now gained a trap, since with no signalman it now needs to be isolated from the running line. The locking bars have been removed (There appears to be a hint of a locking bar (10) at 1:49 in the first video).

The rodding from the ground frame shows exactly that - one lever for the two fpls and another lever for each of the connections.

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18 hours ago, aardvark said:

Would anyone care to comment as to what the white object is in the foreground at 1:35?

Yes, it's signal 5 on the diagram, typical and common in Scotland, Stevens flap ground signal. They were often painted white to help prevent staff tripping over them in the dark.

 

Regards
Martin

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